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How to Make a Collapsible Travel Dish

How to Make a Collapsible Travel Dish

*Originally published at CraftStylish.com. You can find the article, complete with photos, here.

This craft project is a great way to make sure your pet always has a place to drink or eat, no matter where you take him or her.

What you'll need:
  • Oilcloth, two colors
  • 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.

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. For the oilcloth version, start with two 9-inch x 12-inch pieces of oilcloth. I like to use two different colors because it makes the finished bowl extra pretty, but you can also cut two pieces of the same color.

This size will yield a bowl that's appropriate in size for most cats or small-to-medium dogs. If your pet is larger, like Billy, feel free to enlarge the starting pieces—just add the same number of inches to both dimensions.

Place the two pieces with right sides facing out. Anchor them together at the four edges with pieces of painter's tape. (Unfortunately, pins leave permanent holes in oilcloth, so we'll use tape to hold the pieces together instead.)

Sew around all four edges.

Sew along all four edges with a 3/8-inch seam allowance. You can sew right over the tape—it will peel off in pieces around your seam.

If you've never worked with oilcloth before, I'd recommend that you practice sewing on some scraps before you undertake this project. Oilcloth has a tendency to "stick" to your machine's presser foot—if this is happening, try Futuregirl's elegant solution. You'll also find that you need to apply some gentle pressure to keep the oilcloth moving over the machine's feed dogs.

Trim the seam allowances to 1/8 inch.

After sewing, trim all four seam allowances to 1/8 inch.

Fold the resulting sheet in fourths.

Time to begin the origami: Fold the sheet in half crosswise, so you end up with a rectangle that's 8-1/2 inches long by 5-1/2 inches high. Then fold that rectangle in half down the middle, as shown.

When you're folding the oilcloth, be sure to crease every fold. Oilcloth will not hold these creases for very long, so you'll need to keep re-creasing with each step. You can use a bone folder for this, or a spoon, or the back of your thumbnail.

Note: the side of the oilcloth that's showing at this step will be the outside of the finished bowl.

Fold the upper left corner in toward the center.

Unfold that last fold, and place the rectangle so that the folded edge is at the top. Then, fold the left-hand corner down to match the center crease.

Repeat the fold with the upper right corner.

Do the same thing with the right-hand corner.

Open the right side back out in preparation for reversing the fold.

Now, open the right-hand corner back out.

Turn the fold inside out and flatten it again.

Turn that folded triangle inside out and then flatten it. Repeat this process on the other side. Are you remembering to crease all your folds with each step?

Fold the right-hand corner over to the left side. At the end of this fold, you should have a smooth triangle.

Next, take the right-hand flap and bring it over to the left, as shown in the two photos above.

Fold the two outer corners in to meet at the center.

Fold the two corners in to meet at the center. Do the same thing on the other side.

Fold the bottom edge up.

Temporarily secure the fold with painter's tape.

The bottom edge now has two layers. Fold the top one up, and anchor the fold in place with painter's tape. Flip the piece over, and repeat this process on the other side.

Once you've done this step, the bowl shape will emerge.

You'll need to orient the bowl on your sewing machine so it covers the end and the outside lip of the bowl is being sewn.

Back to the sewing machine! The bowl needs to wrapped around the edge of the machine. Older models may require you to remove a piece to reveal a smaller sewing area like this. Newer models may not require any adjustment.

Sew 1/8 inch from the folded edge.

Install a heavy-duty sewing machine needle. Sew along the folded edge with a 1/8-inch seam allowance.

Note: you're sewing through several layers of oilcloth here. Older machines can handle this, but some newer, introductory model machines may not be up to the task. Definitely try sewing on some scrap oilcloth before you try this step.

Sew along the edge of the flap, following the original seamline.

Then, remove the tape. Stitch along the edge of the flap, following your previous seamline.

Repeat these two steps on the other side, and the bowl is complete!

If your pet is sensitive to smells, you may want to place the bowl in direct sunlight for several hours to bleach out any scent from the oilcloth.

To fold the bowl, bring the sides in toward the center and bring the two flaps together.

To fold the bowl up, just bring the sides without flaps in toward the center, and then bring the flaps together in the center. You can keep folding, wadding up, or crushing the bowl from there—it'll pop back into shape.

To clean the bowl, just wash it with soapy water and then invert it on a dish rack to dry. I definitely would not recommend putting it in the dishwasher!

Note from Banfield: Please monitor your pet when using this product because it can pose a choking threat if your pet chews on the material of the dish.