How to Make a Dog Kennel From a Tarp

How to Make a Dog Kennel From a Tarp

Fido’s outside a lot.

You go to work for the day, and you want them to have a nice place to sleep in, stay in the shade, and beat the heat to the best of their ability.

You need a dog kennel tarp – an inexpensive, durable, weather-resistant solution that’s different from the standard, run-of-the-mill wooden doghouse. We’re going to show you how to make it from the ground up.

We’re going to make a functional kennel that your dog actually enjoys being in, while also keeping costs as low as possible by utilizing a sturdy, long-lasting tarp. Let’s show you what you need to know.


How to Make a Dog Kennel With a Tarp?

There are two ways you can do it: a tarp roof on a wire fence enclosure (with a gate), or you can take that one step further and make a full wraparound that requires a bit more work.

These tend to last longer and absolutely have better insulation, so for harsher climates, it’s a must-have.

Simple Kennel: Step-by-Step Guide

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To make a simple kennel, you’re going to need to have a 10’x 10’ fenced-in enclosure with a gate for your dog. You’re just going to be building the roof here, so the structure itself should already be assembled.

1. Measure and Cut

Utilizing PVC pipes, since they’re inexpensive and easy to work with, you’re going to cut them in the exact measurements you need to create a steeple-style roof. This can be done with a lot of different tools, so use what you have.

Make 45°F angle cuts for the pieces that are going to touch at the steeple, and attach them together with some form of adhesive.

2. Curing and Inspection

Whatever adhesive you used on those PVC pipes has to cure. Let it cure, then check it out to make sure everything is solid. If it’s all good, proceed to the next step.

If not, you’ll have to find a way to reinforce those areas, whether it’s with a type of adhesive or by reconstruction if there were any mistakes.

3. Cut the Tarp

You have the measurements of the enclosure you made, so now it’s time to cut your tarp to fit. Your tarp should hang down over the sides just a little bit, so keep some extra slack on the sides (we have a way to secure additional tarp material at the end).

If it’s too small, rain is just going to get in through the sides right next to the tarp, and that’s not going to help anyone out.

4. Drape the Tarp

After everything is cut to size, drag your tarp over the top of the enclosure you’ve made. It all goes well, there’s a bit of extra material hanging down on each side. This helps with rain ingress so that your pup doesn’t get hit from that “sideways rain” that always seems to happen.

5. Secure the Tarp

Once the tarp is a good fit and you’re confident, use a hole punch to create grommet holes along the corners. You should have four holes, which you can then place grommets inside of and snap them into place.

This will be your anchoring point for bungee cables or ball bungees. Once the grommets are in place, run your bungees through the holes and secure them to the PVC piping.

6. Secure the Roof

Now you have to lift the whole thing and put it on top of the kennel. To be certain that this isn’t going to slip and fall, you have a few options at your disposal.

You can use zip ties (about ten) to hole down the two sides to the top of the chain link fence, or you can use additional bungee cables. Normally we would vote for ball bungees here, but zip ties would probably have a better hold on a pre-existing fence.

Insulated Wraparound Kennel: Step-by-Step Guide

YouTube video

1. Repeat “Measure and Cut” from the First Guide

View above and repeat the same PVC construction as mentioned before. We’re not going to secure a small tarp to the top, so create this and ensure it’s ready to go.

2. Affix the Roof

Without any tarp on it, it’s time to affix the PVC roof you’ve made to the top. Zip ties, ball bungees; use whatever you’d like, but make sure it’s nice and secure. It’s going to undergo more wind force than the first dog kennel we’ve made.

3. Measure the Full Kennel

You want measurements from the ground on one side, up the fence, up the roof, down the other side of the roof, the other side of the fence, asnd back to the ground. We’re going to pull a tarp over this entire thing.

4. Secure Tarp Piece

Once you have a tarp with the appropriate dimensions, you can puncture holes in the tarp after it’s been placed with a hole punch. Use these to secure ball bungees between the tarp and the chain link fence.

5. Measure a Front and Back

Now you have the front and back to worry about. Measure from the ground up to the top of the steeple. When you order a tarp to fit this space, you will have to alter it and re-seam the edges to make it fit. Once you have these, secure them in the same way.

6. Cut the Door Hole

Your fence has a gate, and you want it to be accessible for you and your pup. Once the front tarp piece is hanging over the front, cut a hole the same size as the gate.

Punch more holes in the new piece of fabric as well as the edges of the gate area, use grommets, and secure them in place. This isn’t 100% perfect, but it will help keep heat in when the gate is closed.

What Kind of Tarp Should You Use?

What Kind of Tarp Should You Use?

You have two types of tarps that would work best: vinyl, and insulated. These can be used at different times depending on how your setup is rigged.

A vinyl tarp is going to help block out light, heat, and rain alongside debris that comes down with the rain. This is a basic shield that you can use for a dog kennel and keep them nice and dry, though they do little in providing insulation.

An insulated tarp will also work, but you have to be careful with it. You can use an insulated tarp if you live in climates where it’s cold or snowing for eight months of the year (looking at you, New England), to help keep your dog warm while they’re outside.

Vinyl tarps are durable, but not quite as much as insulated tarps. Insulated tarps are excellent, until there’s a tear and the closed cell foam is exposed. That’s when water can get inside, mess with insulation properties, and cause a mess.

How Often Do You Need to Perform Maintenance on a Tarp Dog Kennel?

How Often Do You Need to Perform Maintenance on a Tarp Dog Kennel?

Not all too often at all. Tarps are designed to hold up to the worst of bad weather, meaning you’ll be able to leave them alone and just let them work. However, there are some things you should look for when you go out to clean your dog’s kennel.

  • Frayed Ends: The edges can become frayed over time, or from your dog chewing on them. This isn’t a big cause for concern, but it’s something you should be aware of and monitor so they don’t turn into tears.
  • Tears: Any slices in the side of the kennel will let cold air and rain in. These should be very visible, and easy to patch. They should always be patched from the outside or wherever the weather is hitting it, that way you don’t end up with rain pooling up inside and creating waterborne bacteria.
  • Abrasions: These appear like worn down sections of the tarp, which can be where rain is constantly hitting it or another area where branches and debris keep falling in the same spot. Abrasions can be touched up with a coating to preserve their life.
  • Leaks: Obvious tears in the roof or sides that are allowing water in, and warm air to escape out. Most leaks can be patched if they’re caught in time, just be sure they’re not being caused by your dog being too rough with their kennel.
  • Tie-Downs: If you use ball bungees to keep this secured to the frame, check them to ensure your dog hasn’t been chewing on them. Even if so, they’re resistant, you just want to correct your dog’s behavior so you don’t have to replace them anytime soon.

Custom DIY Dog Kennel in No Time at All

You don’t want your four-legged friend to suffer in the rain and the cold, so regardless of which dog kennel type you make out of a tarp, you’re doing them a service that will help in every condition.

Make sure to check on this as frequently as possible to ensure they’re not clawing at the tarp material or trying to bite their way through it. With our tarps, it’s going to take ages before they’re able to penetrate them, but it’s good to double-check to curb their behavior.