This write up is how I built it the rough cost was about $100-$120 in materials, However before you begin, you should know if I was to build it again. I would do the following differently which should also bring your cost down to about $60-$80
- Make it smaller. Mine is 15x15X45 all said and done, its just a little too big if I did this again I would do it 12x36 (I started making another one for a friend 12X12X36 is a much better size)
- With the smaller size I would probably use 3 Gallon buckets as the warp pipe frame. (They fit great on the smaller box)
- Make it lighter - The floor and roof boards along with the frame are pretty heavy. As previously stated I am current making another one and using a 1/2 in ply for the floor and roof and 1/4 in ply for the walls. You need to use something sturdy for the floors and roof to mount the pipes on.
- Inside the pipe I used carpet because it was quick and easy and I had some left over from another project. However sisal rope is commonly used in similar projects and I would recommend using that inside the pipes if you are making a smaller one as the cats seem to like the rope more an are more inclined to climb it.
PS I am in no way shape or form a carpenter and there is probably a better, smarter and safer way to do this then how I did it.
Step 1: What You Will Need
First off I would like to say, that if I was to build another one of these things, I would do a few differently. I have put my thoughts for improvement on the cover page.
I should also note that the Home Depot I went to lied, or was quite generous with their rounding on the wood specs (A lot of 8in wide was really 7.5in and a lot of 1in thick was really .5in)
Seeing as the bits and pieces of wood you need are relatively small, you can find a lot of the wood in the Culled lumber section and save yourself some cash,
What you will need
Screws Lots 2in ($5)
Screws 1in ($5)
Stud Finder (No, your wife or girlfriend does not count. You need the actual one, or a willingness to poke several holes in your wall) -
Bracers 6 4in - To attach it to the wall ($15)
Bracers 2 3In - To help attach buckets ($5)
2 1inx2inx8ft Lumber For frame ($15)
Plywood 1 Full 4ftx 8ft sheet 1/4 in - For Walls ($20)
2 1inX8inX8ft Lumber - For Floors and Roof ($15)
2 5 Gallon Buckets - For warp pipes ($10)
Carpet about 15in X 6 feet Lining the pipe ($10)
1 yard Dark green fabric - Covering the warp pipe ($10)
1/8th yard Light Green fabric - For flair ($5)
Staple Gun w/ Staples - Attaching cardboard material to pipes
Wood Stains or paint. I used wood stains (Golden Oak, Chestnut and Dark Oak) But paint may be cheaper and easier
Painters Tape - For making out areas to stain
Razor blade - To fix painting mistakes and to cut designs in tape
Hot Glue - To help secure carpet to pipes
Cardboard Box - To make the bucket have more of that warp pipe shape
Duct Tape - To help secure the cardboard
1 6er of good beer - To help enjoy the fruits of your labor ($10)
A friend - To help mount it
Time, Lots of it
Step 2: Building the Frame
Wood you will be using
-1inx8inx8ft (Really 0.5in, 7.5in 8ft)
The dimensions I used for the box were 15inX15X45in
Take your 1inx2inx8ft Lumber and use it to construct the frame for a box. Make sure you use 2 screws at the top and bottom of all the corner pieces to make sure its sturdy.
The way I did it was I made 2 15inx45in rectangles as the frame and then used 4 leftover pieces of the 1X2 Framing to set the height to 15in MINUS the thickness of the 1inx8inx8ft which will be your floor and and roof. Once your box is all screwed together, it should be pretty sturdy (before you put on the floor and roof)
*Depending on where you are going to mount this, You may also want to stain the floor and roof boards before you mount them*
Cut the floor and roof to size, I left a little crack in the middle so the kitties could have a little more light when inside. *when mounting this make sure you screw it into the vertical beams as well as the horizontal rectangle framing
Once you mount the floor and roof, the box should be really sturdy
**In the pic above is a smaller 12x12x36 one I am making. I used a 1/2 X 3in trim lumber to make the frame and added some supports in the middle to help beef it up
Step 3: Painting the Panels
For me this was the longest and most time consuming part. I decided to stain all the details on the box (Including the lines), but it may be easier to use paint.
- Take your ply wood and and cut it to the size of the box (I also made it about 0.5in too tall to create a nice lip for when the cats sleep on top of the box. I say the size of the box and not 15x15x45 because There may be some small errors with the size of the box and you can correct them by cutting the faceplate and side walls to look even.
- Map out the faceplate and walls. Use tape and your ruler to map out the bricks and question mark on the box. My bricks are 5X7.5 in and I just took a little off on each side to make the lines. It was also easier just to make lines all the way across the box and then cut out the parts I dont need with a razo rblade
- Once you have your design mapped out stain or paint in your lines between the bricks (I used a very thick coat black oak) and wait for this to dry.
- Once this has dried, remove the tape for the brick lines. Examine any areas where the stain may of bleed and remove with a razor if needed.
- Once the lines are removed and touched up, Apply a nice thin coat of chestnut, If you gave the black lines proper time to dry, you can just go over the brick lines and the second coat of stain should make them darker. I also used this color to fill in the question mark.
- Once done let it remove the tape for the lines and touch up with a razor if needed.
- By now all your tape should be removed and your brick lines and ? should be looking good..
- Assuming everything is dry, fill in the background of the ? with golden oak.
- ONCE COMPLETE DO NOT ATTACH THE FACE OR SIDE PLATES TO THE BOX. IT IS EASIER TO MOUNT THIS TO THE WALL WITH THE WALLS OFF.
Step 4: Making the Pipes
Take your bucket and cut out the bottom. Make sure you leave about a 0.5 In lip on the inside as this will help you secure them to the structure later.
Take the metal handle from the bucket and remove it. (You can do this by cutting it or pushing really hard and down on it) Cut cardboard strips about 4in thick and long as possible. Staple the cardboard into the meaty parts of the bucket and wrap the cardboard around about 3/4 complete rotations to get the desired thickness. When you do this, the top should be flush with the top of the bucket, but the bottom should about 1 in longer then the top meaty part of the bucket.
While stapling the brim, your staples may stop reaching the bucket, switch to duct tape and continue till its the desired thickness. Once complete, tape up that sucker good so it doesn't go anywhere
Take your dark green cloth and wrap your bucket in it. Its best to staple it snug and all the way around on the bottom first. then work your way around as you go up the bucket. Remember, 1 side of the bucket will be facing the wall, so try and use that as the side where you put your staples.
Seeing as the bucket is not perfectly round, when you get to the over hang at the top of the pipe, tuck the excess material under the pipe to keep snug and staple into place. Repeat this till you get to the top, and then staple into place and cut off the excess material.
Go to the inside of the bucket, there should be quite a few staples in there. Bend them all down flat so you can apply the carpet in the tube and not poke your kitties paws!
Now take your carpet and place it inside the pipes, to get a rough measurement on how much you need. Cut the carpet to that rough size. Put your carpet back in there hot glue it into place and cut out the excess material when done.
Take your light green fabric and cut a few strips to make it look like light is reflecting off the pipes and staple it into place.
Step 5: Mounting
Take your pipes and put them on your box where you want them. Trace out where the bottom inner lip of the pipe will line up. Then cut out a hole leaving about an extra 0.5in or so, to help with mounting. Use the braces to help mount the buckets, I put them inside the pipe and inside the box. I then put 1in screws through the 0.5 in lip of the plastic to help secure the fit.
By now you should be realizing this thing is huge and you have no chance of mounting it to the wall. Call a friend over to come help you. Find the Studs in your wall. Studs are usually placed 16 in apart so you should be able to mount all your bracers into the studs *THIS THING IS HEAVY, DRY WALL ANCHORS WILL NOT WORK! DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT*
Mount the box to the wall using the top and bottom bottom of the frame (3 5in bracers on top, 3 on bottom)
Shake the box to make sure it is securely mounted.
Attach the ? faceplate and sidewalls with screws
Take your carpet leftovers and staple gun them to the top of the box or add a comfy pillow.
Put some catnip or wet food on top off or inside the box.
Drink beer with your friend and watch your cats "figure it out"