Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Harry Potter Cat Tree, Because Our Kittys Are KEEPERS

IT'S DONE!

 
 Behold its glory. 
BEHOLD IT I SAY!

Yep, our sisal fabric arrived yesterday, so John and I were finally able to finish our newest build: the Kitty Quidditch Tower. All that's left is adding a pillow inside, and fashioning some hanging snitch toys for them to bat at. (I'm thinking I'll sew felt wings to a craft pom-pom.)


 

Features include two interior cubbies in the tower, padded vinyl beds in each hoop (held in place with Velcro), and sisal-wrapped posts for climbing. The roof peak is open on both sides for easy jumping up to the hoops.

As for the cats, our two girls were inseparable from this thing the second we dragged it inside to start painting. They love sleeping on the hoops and fighting over the top spot. And now that we've added sisal for them to climb? Oh yeah, HUGE hit.


If you follow my Instagram Stories then you've been watching this build take shape for about two weeks now. I got the idea when I spotted a round tube on a cat tree somewhere online, and immediately thought of a Quidditch goal post. I sketched out a design for John, who loved it so much he instantly sat down and drew out a to-scale version:

(Our original plan was to have the hoops be enclosed tubes with holes for jumping. We changed it on the fly during building.)

Lots of you have been asking for templates, but drawing up plans are a massive amount of work for John, and he's already moving on to bigger party projects over here. (You're welcome to keep asking him on FOE, though; I know my hubby, and he can't say no to you guys for long. :D)

So while I don't have a template to share, I'll do the next best thing I can: build photos and a general walk through. If you're an experienced wood worker, then this shouldn't be too hard to recreate.

We started literally from the ground up with a one-inch thick MDF base and posts made from two 2X4s screwed together:

John shaved off the edges with a table saw, then I sanded them smooth to give a rounder shape.

The tower framework:
Made from more 2X4s, because they're cheap! (The total cost for wood on this was about $60.)

 To support the side posts we have a single thick dowel that goes all the way through the tower: 


This is incredibly strong. Our posts barely wobbled when I took a hammer to the side of them.

I have a hard time visualizing things, so here's John holding up a sample hoop to help me see how the end results would look:


We cut the hoops on a scroll saw, and sanded down all the sharp edges:

The tower walls and hoops are cut from MDF.

 Building the rounded hoop beds with 1X2 slats, which are held in place with both nails and wood glue.


 The tower peak was the most difficult part of the whole build, and all I can tell you is it took John several tries and a whole lot of "winging it" to get right:


After just two evenings' work, John was done with all the hard stuff:
 Now ready for paint!

We went with Hufflepuff colors because this is a 'Puff household - except for Suki, who is definitely a Slytherin. :D If you look closely you can see I chose a very dark brown paint instead of black, though, to give it a warmer contrast. Our steampunk room is so dark it still looks black, but it blends better.

I'm still on the fence (heh) with this fake grass carpet I added to the base: the cats love the scratchy surface, but I worry about it fraying. I melted the outside edges with a lighter (I did this outside to avoid the fumes), so that's helping, but if the girls start chewing on it too much I'll take it up and look for something else.

The cherry on top is this cute wooden flag John made from Masonite and a small dowel:


To install it John had to drill UP from inside the tower, since we forgot the hoop would be in the way, oops. Since we were worried about cracking the top peak we backset the flag about an inch, so it's not in the exact center on top. You can only tell from the side though:


I'm quite proud of these beds on top: I made them from scraps of the old carpet padding we pulled up from the game room, slip-covered in leftover faux leather from our dining room curtains. (I love free crafts!) The carpet pad is super dense and squishy, and has a nice heft to it, but to keep them from sliding I added velcro on the edges.

 

Finding real sisal for the tower scratching pads was surprisingly hard (who knew it was so rare?) but all our internet searches led back to one place: Sisal Rugs Direct. If you hit that link it'll bring you to their Remnant page, where for $35 (includes free shipping) you'll get an approximately 2X12 strip of super high quality rubber-backed sisal. Not sponsored or anything, we're just big fans. We only used a little, so we have tons left over for replacing these strips down the road, or for making more scratching posts around the house!

Oh! Eva and Suki love batting at each other through curtains and sheets, so I added a little curtain on the lower doorway with more scrap fabric and velcro:

It's hilarious watching a little white paw suddenly dart out and smack Eva from time to time. :D

Speaking of our kittens, here they are chilling in their new tower:


Our steampunk room has terrible light for photos, but here are a few shots to show you how the tower looks back there:

  We built it to fit exactly in this space beside the loveseat.

 At one point we talked about aging the tower, but happily the yellow we picked looks great back here: not too bright or cartoony, and blends well with our gold-toned bricks. So it's staying this way for now.

 I'll end with a few more beauty shots from outside on our deck:



Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and John or I will do our best to answer!

 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed! And if you liked this you'll want to stay tuned; we have several more big builds we're hoping to finish for the Hufflepuff Slumber Party, and I'll be posting everything here ahead of time, SPOILERS GALORE. Mwahahaaaa.

'Til next time!

22 comments:

  1. That looks incredible! Your kitties are the luckiest around. <3

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  2. Adorable! How do the cats gain access to the 2nd floor? I see what appear to be ramps in the "plans", but don't see any entrance in the finished product other than the circle or the top of the peak.

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    1. The cats can jump right into the 2nd floor opening; once we realized it wasn't all that high for them, we eliminated the interior ramps. (I'm already watched Eva jump from the ground to the very top of the tower, ha.)

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  3. This is fantastic! So much more fun than typical cat furniture.

    Do the cats fight over the top spot?

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    1. All. The. Time. If you follow my Stories you've seen a few of these epic battles, lol.

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  4. Ermergerd! You mean I don't have to spend all that time glueing and wrapping sisal rope around the pillars on my cat tree? YOU are a GOD! I bow down to your DIY glory!

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    1. Yes! Sisal is amazing! We have an old scratching post made with it that's lasted over a decade, and because it's made up of natural fibers it doesn't catch the cats' claws the way carpet does.

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    2. I bought a small sisal doormat on clearance for a few dollars with the intention of attaching it to a wall that juts out between our kitchen and hallway, so our cat Mallaidh could have a convenient scratching pad. She currently scratches at the rug beneath the dog's dishes and gets its fibres stuck in her claws, then she leaves little green bits of rug all over the house. :-/

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  5. Ooooooh, this is so good!!! I love it!
    (Suki the Slytherin… oh dear. 😆)

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  6. I would LOVE plans for this, but I am totally patient and can wait unti after the Christmas party. And make sure to do it thru the Etsy store so we can PAY for the plans!!!

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  7. Video of kitties in tower, please? Pretty please?

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  8. The hours and hours (and rope burned hands) that I have gotten from wrapping sisal rope was completely unnecessary? I will definitely be using sisal fabric in the future! For a VERY simple scratching post you can use carpet tubes (Home Depot and Lowes have them for free usually by the outdoor carpet cutting station) they are super thick cardboard about 4” in diameter. Hot glue a cheap doormat around it. We have a six foot one that we just lean into a handy corner (so no base or top) but our kitty doesn’t like vertical scratching (did you know that cats have preferences about scratching, there was a research study).

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  9. Can we see a shot from the back, please? :) I am in AWE; but if we're not going to get templates until John hasn't got any bigger projects, it would help to see the back.

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  10. My 5 cats are acting disinterested when I showed them the pictures which means, of course, that they desperately want a Quidditch tower of their very own! The human father can follow directions very well and would be more then willing to pay for the plan if
    John can be persuaded. If it helps, I am a fellow
    Hufflepuff and 3 of the 5 kittens are as well! Please, please, please!

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  11. That title had me cackling! But, the design is on point!! I love that it fits in with your decor so perfectly. I think that's my biggest hurdle with cat towers - they tend t be rather ugly and not go with anything!! This has so much Charm, though - it's fantastic.

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  12. Could you please make a couple of "Kitten Grows Up" posts so that those of us who don't use InstaGram could see more images of Suki and Eva?

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    Replies
    1. I keep meaning to, then I get overwhelmed by trying to post 100 different 10 second videos, ha. I'll try to get to it, though, promise.

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  13. OK, Jen and John! I just ordered the sisal. My hubby John is going to make some scratching posts for Miss Sakura. How did John, thoj, attach the sisal? My John, (thos!) says he is afraid to use glue. So I told him I'd ask! Thanks!! ANnd thanks for the link. I didn't want to buy that fake plastic-y crap from the stores!

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    Replies
    1. Yay sisal! The best way to attach it is with staples, but make sure they're heavy duty ones - and smack them with a hammer afterward to be sure they're in nice and solid.

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