Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials
Base - This should be at least 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) thick to give it the appropriate weight/center of gravity. Using a thinner piece will result in the tree being turned over very often.
Tree - Any piece of driftwood or wood you rescue from becoming humus. Mine is about 3.5 feet (1.07 meters) tall. With the base the final product is right at 4 feet (1.22 meters).
Dowel Rod - The simplest way to connect the two pieces of wood. The one I used was 7/8 inches wide (2.22 centimeters). You could probably get away with using a thinner dowel, but I'd probably use two or three rods for added stability.
Cat Toys - Without these it's just some wood standing on top of some other wood. I suggest different types of yarns and strings. Any craft store will have yarns, strings, and lacy bow type stuff that can be used. My girlfriend has this lying around for some of her projects and I absconded with a few pieces. Bells, shiny things, and toy mice are always a plus.
The tools for this project are simple:
Reciprocating Saw - Used for cutting off loose pieces of wood or shaping the tree to your liking.
Cordless Drill - I drilled some holes in a few of the branches so I could work with the lengths of string I had available. By inserting the string/yarn through the branch instead of going around the whole circumference I was able to gain a bit more length for the dangling toys/string.
Palm Sander - I made sure to round the edges and corners as much as possible. I don't know that this is necessarily a requisite but I know that when I run into this thing in the dark some night it's going to hurt less if the edges are gone.
Corded Drill - I love my Craftsman Cordless drill but the little 15.6 volt battery just wasn't up to the challenge of drilling the paddle bit into a solid stump. I guess I should have made sure the battery was fully charged before I set to work. Fortunately dlewisa had a corded drill nearby that made short work of the hole.
Hammer - Not pictured but absolutely essential for Step 3 and one of the Optional Steps.