There are dog bowls…and then there are DIY Hairpin Legs dog bowl stands. Both accomplish similar aims, but the humble dog bowl falls short when it comes to elevating the look and feel of your room instantly. With a set of DIY Hairpin Legs, you can easily create a custom raised doggie feeder, to make mealtimes more enjoyable for you and your pup.

Note: Be sure to check with your vet before building your raised dog bowl stand. Some dogs do better with their bowls on the ground, particularly if they are at risk for bloat.

Materials List

Your DIY Hairpin Legs and wood tabletop size will depend on your dog and your dog bowls. See our notes below for more information on selecting your materials.

  • 1 – Set of 4 DIY Hairpin Legs, 2-Rod Design, 3/8” thick, in desired color
  • 4 – DIY Hairpin Leg Floor Protectors (optional)
  • 1 – Piece of quality wood board (we used a pine project board), cut to desired size
  • 2 – Stainless steel dog bowls (bowls with a larger rim will be easier to work with)
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Compass
  • Pencil
  • Electric drill/driver to pre-drill holes/attach hairpin legs
  • Screwdriver to attach hairpin legs (if preferred)
  • 1/2” wood drill bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill bit to pre-drill holes (prevents wood from cracking)
  • Painters tape (optional)
  • 16 – Screws (shorter than the thickness of your board)
  • Sanding block or sandpaper (80-, 150- and 220-grit)
  • Finish of your choice
  • Foam brush, paintbrush or clean rag (old t-shirts work great)

Step 1: Select DIY Hairpin Legs for Your Dog's Height

To determine the right height for your raised dog bowl stand, The Nest recommends measuring your dog from the floor beneath your dog’s front paws to the top of your dog’s shoulders, and subtracting six inches (the tabletop should sit level with your dog’s lower chest).

We selected four 9” DIY Hairpin Legs, 2-Rod Design, in black with a 3/8-inch thickness. We received a free set of DIY Hairpin Legs Floor Protectors with our order since we ordered more than three DIY Hairpin Legs—yay!

Step 2: Map Out Your Doggie Tabletop

The total size of your wood board will depend on the size of your dog bowls and the placement of your DIY Hairpin Legs and bowls. Before cutting your wood board (or buying it pre-cut), it may be helpful to lay out your DIY Hairpin Legs and dog bowls on a piece of cardboard and trace them. You can also make a sketch, or draw directly on your board and cut it down to size when you're done.

Each DIY Hairpin Leg has a base plate, so remember to allow two inches for these in your layout. Overlaying our build with a sketch, you can see how things translate with our 9.5-inch dog bowls, and the DIY Hairpin Legs base plates.

Step 3: Make Your Bowl Cutouts

Once you have everything laid out, it's time to calculate the size of your bowl cutouts, and draw them on your wood board. To determine the size of the openings for your bowls:

  • Measure one of your bowls, including the rim
  • Flip the bowl over, measure just the rim and double that number
  • Subtract the second number from the first—that's your cutout size

Use a compass to draw out each bowl cutout (you can also use a string and nail). Place your compass needle (or nail) at the center point of each bowl. Then draw your cutout circle using half the cutout diameter (radius).

With your cutouts marked in, place your board on a suitable surface so you’re not drilling into anything underneath it. Drill a hole at the inner edge of each cutout circle using your drill and  the half-inch drill bit.

Next, insert your jigsaw blade into one of the drilled holes. Carefully cut along the inner edge of the cutout circle. When both cutouts are complete, sand your wood board, including the insides of the cutouts.

Step 4: Choose & Apply Your Finish

You want to look for a pet-friendly finish, and Home Depot has a list of  “food-safe” finishes that you can start with. Most modern finishes are said to be okay after they've fully cured, but check with the manufacturer to verify you have the right product for your project. We struck out with two polyurethane reps who couldn't recommend their products since they weren't FDA-approved.

We decided to try out three finishes we haven't used before: tung oil, danish oil and walnut oil (because it was in our pantry). While these finishes may not be able to keep up with modern finishes or super slobbery dogs, they do have merits when it comes to easy application, water resistance and stain protection. 

How did they compare?

Truth be told, they all looked pretty much the same to us after we applied them according to the instructions, though walnut oil seemed to be the darkest. We opted for the tung oil in the hopes that it would be more water-resistant, but it’s too early to tell. Once you settle on your finish, follow the instructions to apply it.

Step 5: Add DIY Hairpin Legs & Floor Protectors

Your tabletop is finished—it’s time to add your DIY Hairpin Legs! Place them on the corners of your board, spacing them evenly. Mark the drill holes with a pencil.

To prevent your board from cracking, pre-drill the marked holes, being careful not to drill through your board. An easy trick is measuring the thickness of your wood board, and marking your drill bit with a piece of painters tape approximately 1/8-inch shorter than the thickness of your wood board. Drill each hole until you reach the edge of the painters tape.

Once your holes are pre-drilled, attach each DIY Hairpin Leg with your screws and a screwdriver. Add a DIY Hairpin Legs Floor Protector to the bottom of each hairpin leg. With that, your DIY Hairpin Legs raised dog bowl stand is ready for use! Drop in your bowls, fill it with tasty treats and spend some well-deserved time with your furry friend.