A quick Google search will reveal an ugly truth: dog doors are expensive. And the worst part? They’re not built to last.
The best way around this dilemma is to build your own doggy door!
Now, don’t panic if you’ve never picked up a drill before. The plans we’re listing for you are very beginner-friendly, along with a couple of complex plans if you’re looking for a challenge. Remember that phrase, “Even a caveman can do it?” That phrase has never rung truer than today.
So, stop shopping for expensive dog doors. Here’s how to do it yourself.
The 10 DIY Dog Door Plans
1. 5-Minute Doggy Door by frankenfoamy
|Door mat, ½“ PVC pipe, paint stick, screws
If you’re dipping your toes into the DIY pond of projects for the first time, anything that takes only 5 minutes sounds like a dream. This doggy door by frankenfoamy is a simple build using a car floor mat and a PVC pipe. The owner built it into a sliding window that leads out into an enclosure for his dog to do its business.
Granted, it’s not the nicest-looking dog door, but the builder clarifies that the build is temporary until he can develop something better. This is a great idea for desperate dog owners needing a doggy door yesterday!
2. Pet Door in a Screen Door by Heather’s Handmade Life
|24.5” vertical boards (2), 3” spring hinges (2), 10” horizontal boards (2), paint (optional), cabinet door knob (optional)
|Drill, scissors, paintbrush(optional)
If you have a screen door, don’t be nervous about cutting into it to make a dog door. This plan by Heather’s Handmade Life offers peace of mind to dog owners with its simplicity.
This dog door deserves a prize for being the cutest build that’s equally affordable. It looks like a door you’d see in Alice in Wonderland, complete with a doorknob. The door is attached with spring hinges, so it can automatically swing shut after your dog pushes it open.
3. An Almost Indestructible Doggy Door by Grandma’s House DIY
|Mud flaps, magnet rolls, Gorilla Glue
|Box cutter, measuring tape
Durability is a big reason why many dog owners choose to build a dog door. The doors found online often don’t last very long, but a homemade door can last a lifetime if built correctly.
This plan by Grandma’s House DIY uses a basic dog door design with mud flaps and magnet rolls. Usually, you see mud flaps flapping behind the back tire of a big truck. They’re designed to protect the vehicle from dings and dents.
As a dog door, they work wonders at keeping the cold air out and lasting much longer than your typical dog door. The best part? No drill required! All you need is a box cutter, measuring tape, and some gorilla glue.
4. Magnetic Dog Door Flap by Crystal Reimche
|Magnetic tape, vinyl floor runner, duct tape, contact cement
|Box cutter, scissors, jigsaw
If you want to ensure the dog door stays shut at all times, try this plan by Crystal Reimche. The dog door has magnetically sealed flaps designed to keep the cold air out. However, your dog can still push the flaps open with ease.
The interesting part about this plan is that it uses an inner flap and outer flap to make entering the house easier for the dog.
You don’t need a drill to make this dog door. All you need is a box cutter, scissors, and the required materials. However, you might need a jigsaw if you haven’t cut into the door before. The builder uses contact cement, but you can also try Gorilla Glue.
5. Dog Door Out of a Window by ExquisiteDobermans
|Plexiglass, cinder blocks, concrete, swing hinges, 1’ x 3’ board
|Table saw, drill
Instead of cutting into a wall or door, why not build the dog door into the window? This plan from ExquisiteDobermans uses durable plexiglass for the door and concrete-filled cinder blocks as steps outside the window.
This plan doesn’t have a list of materials except for what’s mentioned in the video. We’ve listed it as a moderately difficult design since you’ll have to figure out what materials and tools you’ll need.
The builder does show a finished dog door next to a work-in-progress dog door, so you can see how it looks in different stages of the build.
6. The Two-Flap Solution by gwylan – Instructables
|Plywood (14” x 17” x 1/4”), multiwalled plastic sheet (10” x 13”), magnets (2), butt hinges (2) with 12½” or 5/8” screws, ¼” x 10” oak dowel, fine wire, eyebolts (2), scrap wood, 5” strip of galvanized sheet metal & four 3/4” screws, weatherstripping, wood glue, finishing nails (optional), silicone sealant, duct tape, isopropyl alcohol
|Saw, drill, utility knife, ruler, hammer, screwdriver, clamps (optional), chisels, mallet (optional), pencil
This plan by gwylan on Instructables is another method of keeping the door overlapped around the hole instead of just filling the opening. The previous plan we mentioned that had a similar build used a vinyl floor runner, but this build uses a multi-walled plastic sheet, a thicker and sturdier material.
There are quite a few materials and tools that go into this build, so it won’t be a cheap plan for new DIYers. But if you have many of the listed items, the door is a great affordable option.
The plan itself is straightforward and should be an easy build for anyone that’s worked with wood before. If you haven’t worked with wood, this is a nice challenge but certainly not impossible.
7. Another Screen Door With Dog Door by Famous Artisan
|1’ x 4’ board (3), 1’ x 3’ board, 1 roll of spline, 1 roll of screen, 3 screen frame kits, window screen clips, swing hinges, handle kit
|Miter saw, table saw, finish nailer, brad nailer, chisel, quick clamps, hack saw, spline roller
This plan from Famous Artisan is a seven-step process to adding a dog door to your screen door. Cutting into a screen door isn’t difficult, but this specific build requires you to be savvy with a few different saws. For that reason, we’ve listed this plan as challenging.
This build uses swing hinges so your dog can come and go as it pleases without leaving the flap open. There’s no inner or outer layer, so the springs will work both ways.
The finished product looks great. If you already feel comfortable using the required saws, this build will be a breeze.
8. Doggy Door Through Brick Wall by Sidney Jones
|PetSafe wall entry pet door, flex tape, white paintable latex caulk
|Drill, masonry drill bit set (5 pc), 6” double edge wallboard saw, 4½” 4.3 amp angle grinder, 4½” metal/masonry grinding wheel, chisel, hammer, measuring tape
You don’t see many dog door plans that cut through brick, but this plan from Sidney Jones does! Cutting through brick isn’t easy, so don’t plan on this build being a piece of cake. You will need specific tools to complete this plan.
Thankfully, it only takes three steps to complete. Once it’s done, it looks fantastic. We highly recommend this plan for anyone wanting to cut through brick on the exterior of a home.
9. Design Your Own Dog Door by the Honest Kitchen
|Screws, sheet metal, paint, rubber flap
|Sander, drill, saw, glue, measuring tape
The Honest Kitchen has provided an easy guide for constructing your own doggie door to the exact specifications that you need. This plan is rather simple and provides lots of directions for installation while still providing you with plenty of customization options.
10. Buildipedia DIY Dog Door
|Flap (rubber or plastic), glue, screws, aluminum strip
|Ruler, drill, sawhorses, jigsaw, sander, scissors
Even if you aren’t a DIY expert, you should find this plan within your grasp. It’s a beginner-friendly plan that lays out exactly what you need to do using very simple tools. You will need a jigsaw and sawhorses, though, so you may need to purchase some tools if you don’t already have them.
With all that said, this is one of the easier and least expensive plans on this list.
Types of Pet Doors
So, which pet door is right for you and your dog? That depends on your level of experience and your living situation. It helps to know what kind of dog doors are available so you can make the best decision.
What Can I Use Instead of a Doggy Door?
A reason why dog doors don’t work out for many homeowners is the flap itself. It tends to warp over time and doesn’t connect to the magnet when this happens.
If you don’t want to use a basic dog door, you don’t have to. This list is proof that you can use just about anything as long as it works for you and the dog. Some of the materials the builders used in this list include:
The possibilities are endless. You just have to get creative and think about what is most important to you at this point. Do you need something quick and easy? Do you need something durable and long-lasting? Whatever it is, really think about the potential of different materials.
The best part about this list is a dog owner’s creativity who needed a fast and affordable solution. It’s fun seeing how people come up with their own version of dog doors and bring them to life.
There are plenty of options for you to try, so don’t give up just because a plan looks hard. You’ll make some mistakes, but that’s the fun part of learning a new skill. We hope this list gave you some ideas and inspired you to try something new!
Featured Image Credit: VictoriaG1988, Shutterstock