This recycled project shares tips for creating garden art dogs from repurposed rubber boots or wellies. It is inspired by UK artist David Kemp and his garden dogs made from old miner’s boots.
For more ideas, see 50 Creative and Recycled Garden Art Projects here.
How to Make Dogs From Boots
Dog Boot Inspiration
I first saw this idea when UK artist David Kemp created these fantastic dogs from redundant miner’s boots. I love them. And the project has been on my creative to-do wish list since then. It took all this time to find cheap boots, all in the same color and style, at the thrift shop. It’s a totally goofy yet fun project and I enjoyed making it. Hat tip to David Kemp. His art is fabulous.
See How It’s Done
First, watch the video instructions for a good overview. And see the dog walk!
I cannot call this a traditional tutorial because there are so many different boots out there and no two will be cut and arranged the exact same way.
And, although the project is not really complicated, it’s hard to describe some of the steps!
I will, however, share my tips for making this pup, so you can make your own. I’ve provided a video and lots of photos to help you.
The biggest concern is making a wrong cut and wrecking a boot—although there’s probably a way do adapt to such bloopers.
To take the pressure off, get a few extra boots or, better still, do some test cuts with sheets of paper to be sure they will fit as desired.
Supplies & Materials
Here’s everything I used to make the dog.
- Rubber boots (1 adult pair, 3 kid pairs=8 boots total)
- Scrap wood – 2×4 and 1×2 pieces to form a body, legs, and neck
- Wood screws – to construct frame and secure boots to frame
- Scissors – strong, all-purpose for cutting the boots (it’s not hard)
- Eyes – I used bolts – test out what you have and see what looks good / dog-like
- Tongue – red belt
- Scarf – bandana
- Bolts and washers – to join rubber pieces and add a little steampunk finishes
- Drill and bits – to put holes in rubber for bolts and affix screws
- Optional – a proper dog collar and leash would be cute too!
1Plan Your Dog
First, plan how you will place the boots. You could use boots of various sizes like I did, or all the same. Just make sure the four leg boots are all similar.
2Make a Frame
I used a piece of 2×4 and some 1×2 wood to make a body, four legs, and a neck support. Size them according to your boots. I made mine so it was just a few inches taller than the leg boots.
3Assemble Your Dog Frame
The four legs go on as-is.
Secure them to the wooden legs with small wood screws.
The tail, body, and neck and head are made from 2-3 boots.
4Create Tail and Body
In this next photo, you can see the tail boot. I cut it right down the middle of the back, and then around the ankles (a few inches), from back toward the front. Test before you cut! Use a sheet of paper to test out the best cuts first.
The tail boot is secured to the frame with a 2″ wood screw in the sole, right into the wood.
5Make Dog Head
The head is made from two boots (top of head boot and lower jaw/neck boot). The neck boot has some cuts to help it contour to the body. I also added an extra piece of boot to better conceal the area where the neck and body (tail boot) meet.
Before attaching the top boot (top of head), do the cuts for the ears and top of head (see below).
Then attach it with a screw to the lower head boot. The last step is to fold over the top head flaps (more on this below) and secure them in place.
To finish the head (when it has been secured to the jaw/neck boot), the back flap (heel of boot) is folded down into the boot (toward the front) and then the big front piece is folded right over it, and down the back, forming the top and back of the head. Secure it in place with a screw into the sole (at back of boot).
Here’s the back of the head. It kind of looks like a goat!
6Add Finishes Touches
I added two screws to the tops of the ears because they were sticking up too much. Your dog might have ears that should stick up: depends on the breed.
Test out different options for eyes. Dog eyes are basically a solid colour without whites showing. I used the drill to make holes for the eye bolts.
If the area where the neck boot joins the body/tail boot looks unfinished, add an extra piece of boot overlapping the two. I used nuts and bolts at these joins both for vanity (I like the steampunk look) and to keep things secure.
The tongue is a piece of red belt. I used a bandana instead of a collar, as all the fashionable dogs like to do.
And that’s it. If you did it right, your dog will walk like mine does (see video, above).
This project is included in this ebook:
25 Garden Art Projects & Ideas
by Melissa J. Will
Grab the top garden art DIY projects and tips from Empress of Dirt
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~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛