How to Make a Collapsible Travel Dish for Your Pet

comments (16) February 6th, 2009     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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This project modifies a basic origami fold to create a pet bowl that holds water with no leaks.
Pushkin gives it the NOM NOM test, and finds it very satisfactory.
The bowl folds nice and flat, so you can tuck it in your pack or tote.
This project modifies a basic origami fold to create a pet bowl that holds water with no leaks.

This project modifies a basic origami fold to create a pet bowl that holds water with no leaks.

Photo: Diane Gilleland
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I used to have a giant dog, named Billy, and I would take him on long hikes in the hills. He always got thirsty, so I had to carry a bowl and water for him in my backpack. I wish I had one of these oilcloth bowls back then! They hold water beautifully and take up almost no room in a bag. (My current pet, Puskin the Cat, is no fan of hiking, but he was more than willing to pose for photos, provided that I put a little food in the bowl first.)

What you'll need:

  • Oilcloth, two colors (see below)
  • Ruler and pencil
  • Scissors
  • Low-tack painter's tape
  • Bone folder (optional)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Heavy-duty sewing machine needle

This project is based on a simple origami bowl. In fact, I recommend that you fold up a paper bowl before you attempt this oilcloth version. It will help you better understand the overall structure and make working with the oilcloth a bit easier. There's a phenomenal tutorial over here to take you through the process in paper.

A Note on Oilcloth: When you're shopping for oilcloth for this project, check labels and ask questions. Some oilcloths are treated with chemicals that could be harmful to your pet. Look for a non-toxic, untreated oilcloth instead.


Tape two pieces of oilcloth together at the edges with painter's tape.


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posted in: pets, oilcloth

Comments (16)

Mickay writes: Unless home made with safe products, oil cloth should not come in contact with food nor drinks, for this cool project use laminated cotton - it's safe for drinks and food.
Posted: 5:48 am on April 9th
Craig27Jannie writes: Don't you acknowledge that it's high time to receive the personal loans, which will make you dreams real.
Posted: 11:44 pm on August 29th
Pfer writes: Awesome result, I made a larger one to use for serving sandwiches or other finger food at picnics, the dish easily folds up for storage in side pouch of my cooler. Also, instead of using oil cloth I made plastic fabric by re-cycling plastic grocery bags and fusing them together. Only 1 layer of fabric was needed to make dish. You'll find more info about recyclinig plastic garbage bags into fused plastic fabric here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNziDXtm1SA
Posted: 12:09 pm on July 1st
angiepangie writes: GREAT project. I want to make these and use them as a promotional item for my dog business. Do you all think that putting a layer of plastic between the two layers of canvas would also work?
Posted: 10:20 pm on August 16th
beaderonboard writes: This is a great idea, I have two dogs who go every where with me, they will love these bowls, I will have to make a his and hers.
I do think it would be better to make your own oil cloth though, with a heavy canvas and natural tung oil, which is not toxic.
Thanks for sharing.
Posted: 5:53 pm on April 28th
peagood writes: I love this project, and became aware of it when a customer came into our store to buy oilcloth for it. The oilcloth we use, and most likely the one pictured here, is made by Oilcloth International, and in their about page, they state that it has a certain level of pthalates in it that keep it flexible, and so it falls under the recent CPSIA act of 2008 that prohibits it from being used in certain products: http://oilcloth.com/about.php. Sunlight causes PVC to deteriorate, so your suggestion to put the product in the sun to help the smell dissipate might be a concern: http://healthychild.org/issues/chemical-pop/phthalates/

I hate to be a fearmonger, and while I use a lunchbag made from oilcloth to carry our food (wrapped or in containers) often and use oilcloth in other applications around our house; and considering glass houses, stones etc. -- I'd still use a different material for this project, - others have suggested above.
Posted: 3:45 pm on March 8th
Eternal_Clouds writes: thats a great idea for trips thanks!!!!
Posted: 10:44 pm on March 7th
RubyKitty writes: Good idea, and really nice clear photos.
Posted: 3:32 pm on February 9th
CoffeePotPeople writes: I hope you don't get tired of hearing you're a genius, because You Are a genius. This is definitely going onto my To Do list.
Posted: 2:32 pm on February 8th
Sister_Diane writes: Frumsglassmenagerie and GlacierBlue, your points are very well taken. I'm so grateful to everyone for adding so much good value to this discussion! I love the idea of using a tightly-woven canvas. I might add one caution: it seems to me that sewing along the folded edge of the finished bowl might be a very heavy-duty job with canvas, so I'd definitely recommend some testing with scrap fabric in that case.

...And now I'm all intrigued at the idea of making my own oilcloth!
Posted: 10:55 am on February 8th
Frumsglassmenagerie writes: Great project. Thanks for sharing and for opening the door to lots of human use ideas. For the tiny amount of time my dogs would use it (in the car, on hikes), it could be made of untreated tightly woven canvas.

The original oilcloth was environmentally friendly because linseed is not a petroleum based product. It is a natural byproduct of processed flax. For those that want to go that far, it is pretty easy to make.
Posted: 9:20 am on February 8th
GlacierBlue writes: This is a fabulous project, however please, please, please research the TYPE of oilcloth used. Nowadays, most are treated with harmful chemicals such as Scotchgard, and Teflon!! When searching, don't just guess ... please specify the natural, non-toxic kind that is usually made from cotton, canvas treated with natural flaxseed oil (like in the olden days) or other non-toxic, laminated fabrics. Nowadays, you really do have to be oh-so-careful careful (especially with those little ones who put full faith and trust in us).
This is definitely a wonderful, and useful project!!


Posted: 8:23 am on February 8th
Sister_Diane writes: RacyTracy, I believe this dish is safe to use as it's designed. Oilcloth is made from vinyl, which is also used in lots of other pet products, from kennel parts to chew toys. I do recommend leaving the dish out in sunlight for several hours to bleach out the scent of the vinyl, as I mentioned in the post. And I would not recommend using this dish or any plastic dish to heat pet food or water in a microwave, as that can leach toxins from the plastic.

But for occasional use on walks or travel, this dish is a safe vessel for food and water.
Posted: 2:20 pm on February 7th
SuzNTX writes: OMG-what a fantastic pictorial! I need to get the supplies and try my hand at this. Thank you for taking the time to put this together for us!
Posted: 11:00 am on February 7th
RacyTracy writes: Nice project, but is oil cloth safe for animals to drink from?
Posted: 10:58 am on February 7th
croqzine writes: Genius! This is a great project!
Posted: 4:19 pm on February 6th
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