DIY: Collapsible & Portable Dog Water/Food Bowl

Collapsible Dog Bowl

It’s about 120 degrees outside today. It’s hot enough to fry an egg – ok, not really since you can’t fry an egg below 157 ºF. But it’s hot enough that my dog, Rosey, couldn’t walk more than 10 minutes before wanting some water. I always carry a reusable water bottle but I don’t carry a water bowl for her. I don’t want to carry one more thing when I walk and I always find myself, clumsily, trying to hold water in my cupped hand for her to drink. Have you tried to hold water on your cupped hand? Yea. That doesn’t work as well as you think. I spill more water than she can drink.

So from a pile of saved plastic dog food bags, I picked out a bag to upcycle to make this collapsible water bowl for Rosey. I collect her dog food bags just in case I can make something out of them, despite my hubby’s screaming that they are going to attract cockroaches. He can’t prove that but he screams at me for saving them anyway. Then, he saw this bowl and ate his words. I love it when my actions are justified.

And see? Rosey “ruvs” her new water bowl! She pawed it! Slurrrrrrrp!

dog water bowl by ecokaren

Here is how you can make a collapsible/portable ‘origami’ versatile bowl – dog water bowl, in this case. It’s very convenient since you don’t have to carry a bowl for going on walks. Just fold this up, put it in your pocket, and open it up when you need it. If you are going on a long trip or a hike, you can use it as a food bowl too. Don’t forget to carry some dog treats just in case she/he does something good while walking, like saving you from a wild animal. Or a mugger. Wait. That’s same thing. Never mind.

I used paper for the tutorial since slippery plastic bag didn’t ‘stay put’ for me to take good pictures. You can practice using paper before making a ‘real’ one. It’ll be less frustrating with paper than a slippery plastic.

Collapsible Bowl

You’ll Need:

  • A square piece of plastic sheet, like a dog food bag
  • Pencil
  • Scotch tape to hold the flaps down when making or to secure any loose flaps afterwards. (optional)

    dogbowl by ecokaren

If you are using a dog food bag, wash the inside with soap and warm water and rinse well so there are no food scraps stuck to the plastic. Dry thoroughly. Then, cut the seams and cut out a square piece, in any size.

General Origami Tip: The patterned side should be on the OUTSIDE if you want the pattern to show up on the outside. Sounds obvious, eh? If you are working with plastic, go over the creases with a bone – no, not a steak bone but a bone that you use for making creases for book binding. But you can use a letter opener or back side of a knife.

Then, follow the following directions, fast! (How is that for an alliteration!)

1. Cut dog food bag into a square. Gather two opposite corners and fold in half, diagonally.
2. Open the square and fold the square in half, horizontally.
3. Fold the paper into a triangle with the pattern inside.
4. Push the two bottom corners of the triangle inward towards the middle to make a square.

dogbowl DIY ecokaren

5. Fold down one of the top corners in half.
6. Flip over and repeat on the back.
7. Take the folded flap and fold 1/3 way up to the top
8. Take the rest of the flap and fold it up to the edge, aligning it up on top.

dogbowl DIY2 ecokaren

9. Open up the unfolded sides. Take the left corner and fold into the middle.
10. Fold the right corner in towards the middle also.
11. Fold the top corner down half way. See how the corners meet in the middle? Repeat on the back.
12. Fold the top edge down so that the edge lines up with the corners on the sides. Repeat on the back. (see close up on #13)

dogbowl DIY3 ecokaren

13. Mark the sides where the flap underneath is located on both sides, as shown.
14. This is the trickest part. Fold the top flap underneath the bottom flap, along the marked line.
15. Tuck in the other side and smooth out.
16. Repeat on the back and it should look like this when finished. And now you are ready to carry it in your pocket!

dogbowl DIY4 ecokaren

17. And now, when you need to open it up, just flatten out the pointed triangular corner bottom and pat it down flat.
18. You see how it’s shaping up to be a square box?
19. Voilá! You made a box and now you are ready to give your thirsty pooch some cold water!
20. You can start a collection!

dogbowl DIY5 ecokaren

Here is a close up.

dogbowl with reusable bottle ecokaren

By the way, you can use this box for a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. and not just as a dog’s water bowl. Just in case you can’t think of any other ways to use it, here are some suggestions on what to put in them.

  • Office: Paper Clips, thumbtacks, staples, erasers
  • Kitchen: use food safe material for making the box for food … loose garlic cloves (I usually have a few on my kitchen window sill), candies, jelly beans, or other snacks
  • Craft Room: buttons, beads, pins, and million tchotchke
  • Toy Room: marbles, lost legos, lost jigsaw pieces, the other million tchotchke

You get the idea…

And remember N.E.V.E.R. never, never, never, N.E.V.E.R. leave your pet in the car in the summer, I don’t care how quickly you are going to return to the car. Imagine yourself being trapped in a car, in a 120 degree heat!?! It doesn’t matter if the window was opened. It can still be very dangerous to an animal.


  1. trix15cat says

    What a great idea!! I’ve done this box pattern before but have only used it for packaging small gifts. I love all the other uses! Thanks again!! BTW…how are you able to save all this packaging? Don’t you run out of room? My husband says if I start collecting anymore containers (plastic containers, some boxes, cans,magazines…etc…etc), well, I may be out on the curb. He just doesn’t get it!!!  😉

    • says

      trix15cat LMAO! He must know my husband. He says the same thing! I swear. he puts my stuff out in the recycle bin when I’m not looking because things disappear sometimes. But I do recycle cardboard boxes and a few magazines (I get most of them digitally so I only have Country Living, which I love thumbing thru). I don’t use cans so I don’t have many. But oh, glass jars….that’s my weakness.  I have way too many. But I always find things to use them for…like giving leftover foods to guests. :)

  2. HilaryLG says

    Wow.. awesome.. I’m gonna make a LARGE one for my dog.. He loves to be out in the heat & I have to drag him in..  I usually put icecubes in his bowl (big ones made in plastic containers..)  This would be perfect!

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