How to Make a DIY Washable Pet Food Tray

May 05, 2023

How to make a customizable pet food tray that will hold up to water and messes!

I made an adorable, washable feeding station using scrap wood and paint we had on hand and we LOVE it! It turned out so cute. 

This is the second time I've made a custom DIY pet food tray. I'll show you my first version at the end of this post! 

I think figuring out the best spot for pet food bowls is hard -- you want it out of the way, but still easily accessible. I shared some of my favorite pet food station ideas for animals years ago -- there are so many great ideas! Although I don’t have anything that cool, we did need something to corral the dog and cat food bowls.

We kept them in our pantry before I did the huge makeover last year. When that was finished, we tried keeping them in the mud room for awhile, but it felt like we were always bugging the animals when they were eating since it was near a walkway. 

So we decided to move them back into the pantry at the end of the room, but I wanted to build a new pet food tray to coral their messes a bit. 

Our dog seems to drip more out of their water bowl than actually drink it, and our cats drop their food all around their bowls. We needed something that could be washed and hold up to standing water over time. 

Thankfully I had most of the materials needed for this cute tray already, so this was a super inexpensive project!

I started with a piece of scrap wood for the bottom of the tray, and then mitered the ends of a 1x2 to make a "frame" around the bottom:

mitered corner on trim
This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.
I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links. 
See my policies and disclosure page for more information.  

This tray is a great beginner project if you're just starting out with tools and DIYing!

I measured the pet bowls to see what size I needed and I ended up with 30 inches for the base of the tray. I cut down my 1x2s for the lip on my miter saw. 

To attach the trim, I added a bead of wood glue before nailing them into the sides of the base with my nail gun: 

wood glue on side of wood

If you don't have a nail gun, wood glue would be sufficient -- you'll just need to let it dry before moving on. 

And then because I wanted this to be water tight I caulked the gaps between the base and the trim. This is super important to keep any water from getting into the crevices!

I had this wood primer from Sherwin-Williams on hand and it was perfect for this project since it's made to protect exterior surfaces that get rain: 

DIY wood cat food tray

Any primer will work, but this version just gives a bit more protection. 

Wood surfaces can hold up to a lot of moisture with caulk and paint! 

A few coats of good paint will prevent even MDF from absorbing water. 

After two coats of primer, I put a quick coat of white paint on just the base of the tray and then let that dry for day before moving on to the adorable part of this DIY. :) 

I got some pet wall vinyls last year for another project, and thought this tray would be another cute way to use them! I put a few on the bottom over the white paint:
cat face vinyl

You can find the cat face vinyls here and the dog bones here.

Keeping the vinyls on, I painted a couple coats a light gray over the entire thing: 
painting with foam roller

I color matched our pantry cabinets to get this color, here's the formula you can take to the paint store:
perfect gray paint color formula

It's such a lovely gray color -- no weird undertones at all!

Next, I wanted to add some feet to get the tray up off the floor. I wanted it to be open a bit underneath in case water spilled out. 

I found these cute little wood toy wheels at the craft store and painted four in that same gray paint: 
wood toy wheels

I attached these into each corner underneath the tray with screws. 

After the paint was fully dry, I used some tweezers to pull up the dog and cat vinyl designs:
peeling up vinyl

The last step was to add a protective coating using this Krylon clear coat spray I already had. You can finish it off with a couple coats of polyurethane as well. 

I let everything dry for a full day before putting the food bowls on the tray. It turned out SO cute!!: 
DIY dog and cat pet food tray

Adoyable as my neice would say! :) 

I kept walking around with it, showing my family how stinking cute it was. 😂

I made it to fit at the end of our pantry: 
gray vertical shiplap on walls

We don't walk down that far since that end cabinet opens out towards us, so it's plenty out of the way. 

I like having their food back in here so they have more of a calm space to eat. It's also great because we keep the cat and dog food in that cabinet and it's easily accessible. 

The animals seem to like it. Ha! SO cute: 
cat and dog food tray
I found our cat food bowls at HomeGoods, and a similar elevated dog bowl stand can be found here

It's out of the way and gives them plenty of room. This tray also elevates their food bowls, which is better for food digestion. 

The pantry door is rarely closed, and we have extra food and water out in our basement kitchenette if needed. 

I put this simple project off forever, and finally got it done for around $10 in materials!:
gray pantry with pet food station

Years ago I made a very similar tray at our old house. I used some painter's tape to create a simple striped design on that one: 

painting stripes on tray

I think the size was the exact same! I don't know what happened to this one -- I can't remember what we did with it. We had SO many things go missing in our move, maybe it was one of those. 

It turned out really cute as well -- you can customize these so many ways when you make your own pet food tray:

DIY striped pet food tray

I’ve made quite a few decorative trays in my day, including this tray with leather handles, and this Lego hideaway tray

I can never find the perfect sized tray at pet stores, so this is a You can change these up so many ways -- add some handles, use a stencil on the base, whatever you want – the possibilities are endless! :)

Never miss a post by signing up to get posts via email. 
Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. Hi! I love this idea! I'm not crafty enough to replicate it, but it's so pretty. Where did you get your feeding bowls?

    1. Hello Kayla, we got the two lower bowls from HomeGoods and the taller one from a local dog bakery.

  2. After putting down the frog tape, wipe it down with a damp rag. It will seal the edges so paint doesn't run under.

  3. I have the same problem! Thank you for sharing your free/cheap fix. I'm off to gather my scap wood.

  4. I love this tip… Thanks for sharing such awesomeness my friend. HUGS and have a blessed St. Patricks day

  5. What a cute idea! I think I need to make one for my little furry guy.

  6. Oh my gosh, I love this, and never thought of it. I like it so much better than the bowl stands. This will keep the water and dry food contained much better. I knew there was a reason I haven't picked one up yet. Thanks!

  7. I need to make this for our house. We serve the pets on place mats since they have a set feeding schedule but this would at least contain the water and dry food we leave out for the pack of creatures I live with. PS - Why are cats such jerks sometimes? My youngest knocks over the dog food all the time.

  8. i have to get some trays for the food its a great idea.i have two cats and one of them puts her front paws in the water dish and pulls it and moves it across the floor,why she does this i dont know.i have had other cats and they never did least the tray will keep the dish from going to far.unless she decides to move the tray .i will give it a try.

  9. Such a good idea! It's been on my list to find a pet food tray for weeks. I'll just go to the garage for scrap wood now:). Thanks for sharing this terrific idea:)

  10. I really like this idea. I might try to do this. I have a question though. Do you keep your cat's food on the tray with your dog's food? Does your dog leave the cat food alone??? Just curious. I keep moving my cat's food around trying to find a place where he can get to it but the dog can't.

  11. I just recently read somewhere that the reason cats slosh their water around is because their water bowls are too small -- they don't like their whiskers touching the sides when they drink -- so they slosh the water out so they can drink it off the ground. The solution is to use a shallow bowl that is extra wide.

    Love your tray!

  12. wow how come I never though of thaaaaaattt!! so so simple yet looks so quirky! love it...will try it with chevvron stripes!!

    Check out our decor ideas at


  13. This is such a great idea! Ineed something like this for my dog because she is such a messy eater!

  14. I'm surprised you are able to feed your dog and cats together. Our dogs gobble up cat food (dry or wet) if the can get to it. A vet told me it's because cat food is high in protein, and dogs crave protein. We have to feed our cats on top of the freezer away from our dogs.


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!