Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to Make your Own Cat Tree / Condo / House for only $50

Here I will show you how to make the cat tree / condo / house in the picture displayed. I have been making them for 2 years now and will show you a basic model and how to build it for your kitty step by step. You can make them as elaborate or as simple as you want, but here's a model that I've perfected:

Approximate Cost for Materials = $50
Approximate Time to Build for Beginner = 4 hours

Tools you will need:
-Utility Knife
-T51 Arrow Type Heavy Duty Staple Gun
-Circular Saw
-Screw Driver
-Sharp Scissors
-Speed Square
-Tape Measure
-Permanent Marker

Materials you will need: (may vary)
-1 small box 3/4" Screws
-1 larger box 2" Screws
-8 2" x 2" L-shaped metal support brackets
-1 small box 1" nails
-1 boxes T51 1/2" Staples
-1 small container of Carpet Glue
-200 ft 3/8" Sisal Rope
-1 4x8 sheet of 1/2" particle board
-2 2x4s
-1 1x2
-1 12" x 48" Cardboard Concrete Tube
-Approximately 50 sq ft Carpet (No Foam Pad Necessary)

Step 1: Cut the Parts
-1 24"x24" particle board (pb) square for base
-1 24"x24" pb octagon for mid-section, find the center and make a 3"x3-1/2" square hole in the middle for the post (also make 7"x7" square hold on one side for porthole for cats to jump through - optional
-1 18"x18" pb octagon for top
-2 60" 2x4 for post
-2 14" 2x4 with 45 degree cuts on one end (angle cut is optional)
-7 6" 1x2 for octagon top rails
-2 16" half pipe shaped cardboard pieces
-2 13" half pipe shaped cardboard pieces

Step 2: Assemble Post, Attach Mid Octagon Section
Make sure 2-60" 2x4 are evenly aligned together and screw together the 2x4s together on both sides (4 screws each side) to make 1 solid post. Then decide which end will be the bottom. From the bottom, Measure up 30 inches and draw a line. Then slide the 24"x24" mid octagon section to the line and attach to the post with 4 L-brackets and 2" screws into the post, 3/4" into the particle board. Again, from the bottom, measure up 17", draw a perpendicular line, then measure up 18-1/2" from the bottom and mark another line.

Then Cut the area in between the lines to notch out a hole for your 2x4 bottom level. Make sure you're on the opposite side of the post that the first notch was on, and make another notch by measuring down from the top 15", mark a line, then down 16-1/2" from the top, and cut another notch for the top mid level 2x4 to wedge in to the post.

Then put the squared end of each 14" 2x4 into each notch with the longer flat end facing up (if you angled them, if not don't worry about it) again making sure they face opposite sides of the post as to balance the structure, and screw them in with 2 2" screw for each.

Step 3: Attach the base
Measure the center and attach the post to the base squarely with 4 evenly spaced 2" screws through the bottom of the base into the post. Then attach 4 L-brackets to support the post to the base with 3/4" screws into the particle board and 2" screws into the post (so they don't poke through)

Step 4: Attach the Cardboard
Line up 2 of the half pipe shaped 15" cardboard pieces to make a more solid piece and attach length wise facing (like a skateboard half pipe) up to the bottom 2x4 sticking out of the post with 3/4" screws evenly spaced. Then attach the other 2 13" cardboard pieces to the upper level 2x4 in the same manner.

Step 5: Attach the Top
Attach the 18" top octagon to the top of the post using 4 2" screws and attach the 7 6" 1x2s to the top of the octagon on to make a side rail by screwing 2" screws through the bottom 2 per piece (may have to alter sizes to get to fit) Leave an open area for the cat to jump into on the side that the stepping level is right under it.

Step 6: Attach the Rope
This is a long process, don't sweat it just take your time. Start from the base attach the start of the rope to the bottom of the post with 1 nail on the side you don't want to be seen (for aesthetic purposes) and continue to use that side for the nails. Then wrap and nail every 5th wrap around the post keeping the rope as taught as possible. 100 ft of rope should take you the entire length of the post.

Step 7: Attach the Carpet
This isn't a perfect science. You don't need to carpet the bottom, just need to get about 2 inches wrapped over the edge to staple. Make sure to use carpet glue unless you want your kitty eating staples. Start by gluing the top surface area evenly, cutting the carpet piece for the base with a cut on the back non-facing side, sliding it into place, stapling generously. (don't worry you'll remove these later after the glue dries) You'll also see a lot of carpet strings sticking up and the carpet may not look completely uniform, just leave it, we'll fix this later.

Then work your way up each level. The cardboard levels are difficult because it needs a lot of staples to get it to stay. You'll need to glue and clamp (leave overnight) the ends of the half pipes because otherwise there will be gaps in the carpet, but just take your time and try to use as few pieces possible especially on the top of the surface as to create a uniform look.

Work your way to the top. Carpeting the top will be the most difficult because you'll want to carpet the bottom of the top octagon to create a more professional look.

Step 8: Finishing Touches
Now that you have let the glue dry overnight you want to pull all the staples you can from the top surfaces of each level (generally can leave them underneath). Then take the sharpest scissors you can find and snip off all the stray carpet hairs and uneven areas. Also, if you have any extra rope you can drill a 1/2" hole through the top rail opposite from the ledge the cats jump up on the make the hanging knotted rope (see the picture of the cat tree for location of this - optional)

That's it, Congratulations! You now have a full size cat tree you can be proud of at a fraction of the price of buying one new and your cats will love you for it!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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