How to Build a Dog House With Straw Bales


Keep your dogs cozy and dry with a 12-by-12' straw bale doghouse that’s easy to construct and only takes 10 minutes to build after preparations are done. Straw bale doghouses are inexpensive and energy-efficient shelters that keep the warmth in during the cold season and the heat out in the summer. A well-constructed straw bale doghouse is durable and can last up to 15 years.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4-inch nap roller
  • 1 gallon deck enamel
  • Circular saw
  • 3 sheets of 3/4-inch, 4 by 8 plywood, CDX or exterior grade
  • Galvanized nails
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • 7 planks, 2-by-6-by-12
  • Shovel
  • Leather gloves
  • 25 straw bales
  • 10 mm plastic sheeting, cut to 12-by-12
  • Dirt

Paint one side of the 4-by-8' plywood sheets with deck enamel to prevent your dogs from ruining the wood with mud and moisture. Allow to dry. Cut one sheet to measure 4-by-6' and reserve the 2-foot piece. Cut two, 2-by-6-by-12 planks to measure 9 feet, 9 1/2 inches. Cut 5 pieces, 2-by-6-by-12 planks to measure 7 feet, 9 1/2 inches.

Level an area for your doghouse, about 12 feet by 12 feet with a shovel. Frame the level area by setting the 9-foot planks at north and south and the 7-foot planks at east and west, corners touching. Nail together. Plan a south-facing entrance.

Square your frame so both diagonal measurements are 13 feet, 2 inches. If the frame isn’t square, tap with a hammer to align.

Center three, 2-by-6 planks parallel with the north and south sides for your interior platform. Leave approximately 10 inches between the inner planks. The outer sides of the planks should measure 21 3/4 inches from the exterior of the 12-by-12 frame.

Set a 4-by-6 sheet of plywood, enamel side up, on the platform. Nail plywood to planks 2 inches from interior plank edge at 6-inch intervals. Allow 25 1/4 inches between the platform and exterior frame to set bales into so they are resting on the wood, 2 inches from the ground for ventilation.

Place straw bales horizontally between frame and interior platform starting at the northwest corner working clockwise until you reach the south side where the entrance will be. Align a bale adjacent to the frame to create a weather barrier. Place a bale at the opposite side of the entrance, flush between the frame and platform, and lay another bale against it on the ground. Stack the remaining bales on top of the first ones.

Set your reserved 2-foot plywood piece, enamel side down, across the entrance. Lay two 4-by-8 plywood sheets over the top of the doghouse, enamel side down. Push sheets together to close any openings. Tuck a 2-by-6 post between the floor and ceiling for extra support.

Lay remaining 10 bales on the roof, working from the center to the roof’s edge. Cover the straw roof with a 10 mm plastic sheet to protect it from moisture. Heap soil over the plastic, enough to keep it from shifting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use rice straw bales if you live in a rainy climate as they will not get moldy. Most straw bales hold up against rain and mildew if you keep the bales off the ground as instructed.
  • For a more permanent straw bale construction, consider adding stucco to the exterior; your structure will last considerably longer, up to 100 years.
  • Pack bales close together to prevent gaps between their walls.
  • Ensure the deck enamel is water-based, environmentally-friendly and safe for your dogs.

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