Concrete Dog Food Bowl Instructions
These are the original and best "how-to" instructions for making quality concrete food bowls for dogs.
This free concrete dog food bowl step-by-step instruction guide is offered at no charge, but with absolutely no warranty.
What you'll need:
( x 3, if making more than 1 or 2 )
Optional, but advised:
1 The stainless steel dish should be about 8" inside diameter and about 3/4" deep. You can find these as either a candle plate or more often as an electric rangetop burner cover. Just be sure they are 100% stainless steel. I prefer them with a lip if I can find them, but usually the rim of the burner covers is just rolled. Price varies widely. I have gotten them for $1 each on closeout at Walmart, and seen the four cover set for about $15-18 if bought at full price, with many in between.
2 The ring can be made from pretty much any cheap 4-6 quart plastic bowl. You'll have to cut the bowl at a place where the wall is still tapered, but not too steeply. It should be about 1/2 inch narrower (diameter) at one end versus the other. Ideally the diameter would be 8-8½" but I was never able to find one that I didn't have to cut a piece out of and duct tape it together to make it the appropriate width to fit inside the stainless liner (see pictures below). Doing so works just fine, but if you can find a bowl with the proper diameter it would make it last longer. I've used tin snips to cut some of them, on some I have used a hacksaw and some I have used a flat tip on a soldering iron, it depends on how thick and much 'flex' the plastic has. A dremel might do the trick too. Cutting out the ring is definitely the hard part of this project, but worth it.
Approximate total time to complete: 3 hours
Note: It is best to make these bowls when it will be mostly clear and no lower than 50-55° nor higher than about 85-90° for at least two days.
Note: Some people use cement for their dog bowls but I think concrete makes them more durable in climate extremes.
Note: These homemade concrete bowls could also be used for cats, horses, ponies, goats, chickens, and other pets and animals.
IMPORTANT: Please be sure to read through and thoroughly understand this entire how-to guide before starting!
Receipt for the 16 inch saucer and concrete:
This is the packaging from a set of covers I bought. I got them at Walmart for about $8-10 and there are two that can be used (two that are too large unless making some for larger dogs, as noted at bottom 3):
Example of the stainless steel liners. This one is a candle plate:
This one is a burner cover:
An example of the rings cut out and what's left of the bottom of a bowl after cutting one:
Close-ups of how the plastic ring fits inside the liners:
Notice that it flares out from and fits looser in the one without a lip. This is desired, in that it allows the liner to sit more solidly in the concrete base.
Place the saucer on a level work area where you won't mind a little concrete spillage. If you have used it in the past be sure to clean it out as much as possible. A 'beater' screwdriver is useful here. The cleaner it is, the better the bowl, and the easier it comes out more neatly. Some people have told me that they find spraying the inside with wd-40 or vegetable spray at this point makes them come out easier but my experience is that it isn't of much help. Invert the ring as shown in the saucer:
Place the liner over the inverted plastic ring:
I use dish gloves from this point on.
Mix up one 80 pound bag of regular concrete (or appropriate portion thereof) according to the directions on the bag. Some people like to use cement, heavy duty concrete, or a custom mix. If you don't know or have a preference, regular concrete is best.
Carefully place 2-3 heaping double handfuls around the edges and gently push the concrete up, under the lip while agitating the saucer a bit. Be sure to keep it centered, and don't push it under too hard, but you don't want any voids either. Smooth it around evenly then completely fill the saucer the rest of the way with concrete.
Once filled you may need to use or adjust the shims to make sure the saucer is fairly flat/level.
Next, gently agitate the saucer a bit more and smooth it with your (gloved) hands.
You want the air bubbles to surface, without all the rock settling.
Let them set as-is in their saucers for at least a day or two then turn over/pop out in a sunny, out of the way spot. When flipping them upright you can usually just sort of pull the saucer off the bowl. Rinse them out and off gently and let them sit out another few days to a week.
They're stronger when left to cure properly.
It's pretty easy to get six of these made in a weekend if you make the first batch Saturday morning and the next Sunday late afternoon/evening, during the summer.
These concrete dog bowls are the perfect size for feeding dogs up to about 70 pounds. They're deep enough to catch the dog food, even if tossed from a pretty fair distance, but shallow enough to rinse out easily. The flared base of these homemade concrete bowls resists food going underneath and their heavy weight helps them sit firmly on the ground. As with my concrete water bowls, the stainless steel liner makes them more sanitary and easy to keep very clean, and mostly prevents a dog from biting its food against abrasive concrete. You can DIY and make these quality concrete dog food bowls yourself, plus they are great for other pets and numerous other uses around the yard and garden as well.
3 You could probably go to an 18" saucer with the 10" liners from the burner cover package for very large dogs if you adjusted the depth of the ring to about 2", but I have not tested that to be sure.
Be sure and check out the Concrete Water Bowl Instructions too.