Introduction: Cat Dalek
After seeing an awesome Game of Thrones Throne for a cat on Instructables I decided I wanted to make some geeky cat furniture too. After debating which fandom to use and what object to make I settled on a Dalek. It seemed purrfect since cats and daleks are both vengeful murderous creatures. After looking through numerous pictures online I decided to base mine off the bronze and gold. I decided on the bronze because the bronze is closest to my cardboard color and I didn't want to paint the whole thing, knowing my cat will inevitably eat the box. If you are not making this for a cardboard-hungry feline, I find spray paint works pretty well and is definitely the quickest way to paint it.
Body of Dalek
- Lots of flat cardboard (see dimensions in next step before selecting cardboard)
- Five toilet paper tubes
- One paper towel tube
- Rulers/yard sticks (4 is ideal but one and another straight edge is doable)
- X-acto knife or box cutter, honestly a box cutter or a cardboard saw of sorts is probably better, but I didn't have a good one
- Hot Glue gun and quite a few glue sticks, like at least 30
- Writing utensils
- Paint and brushes- black, white or silver, and what ever colors you want for the body
- Two plastic Easter eggs
- Egg Carton
- Pringle can
- more cardboard
- Paper grocery bag
- Water and Flour
- Baseball size object,this will go faster with multiple, I used a few plastic ball pit ball
- 1 balloon
Step 1: Cutting Up Some Cardboard
You will need a bunch of cardboard, your writing utensil, rulers and your cutting utensil.
You will need to cut the following pieces
- 2 XL pieces
- 2 L pieces
- 2 M pieces
- 2 S pieces
- 4 Middle pieces
- 3 8" diameter rings
- 4 tab pieces
- 15 decorative pieces
The sized pieces (XL-S) will be varying trapezoidal shapes that are best created with the help of four rulers, although I used a 2' ruler and a 1' ruler for most and that worked just fine. I started this process with a rough footprint I made out of newspaper and worked my way up and altering the dimensions as needed. These are my final dimensions for each piece. See pictures for further shape reference. If you have a nicer side of your box you would like on the outside you will want to cut your same shapes opposite each other, cutting one and flipping it over to trace. To attach the pieces together I left about a half inch of space on the longer edges of some to add tabs, to make the tabs use your cutting device to cut about half way through the cardboard or at least enough to still have the tab and shape attached with one layer. This will allow them to move as a hinge so you can easily manipulate the angles while gluing together. It doesn't really matter which pieces you add the tabs to as long as there is one for each connection but I have included where I left tabs.
The following dimensions will be: 'left' side, bottom, 'right' side, top, tabs
XL- 16", 12.5", 16.5", 7.5", No tabs left on
L- 16.5", 11", 16.25", 5.25", One has two tabs One has one tab on the left side*
M- 16", 7.5", 16.25", 3.5", Both have two tabs
S- 16.5", 4", 16", 1.25", One has a tab on the left side
*The piece with one tab should also have the opening for your cat to enter, mine is roughly 8" tall and 7.5" at the bottom
The middle pieces will connect the body and the ring sections. I labeled them in the drawing by how they will attach together. I started with a 6" tall strip of cardboard and cut it up to more easily make tabs to glue together. Since I was making this pattern as I built this my middle pieces are not cut exactly to fit together they are made to overlap, if you want them to fit together exactly just cut your shapes without the shaded parts of my drawing you will then glue edges together instead of tabs. I also decided to cut out some little tabs (about 3"x1") to give the middle a little better structure.
The following dimensions will be: 'left' side, bottom, 'right' side, top check the pictures for tabs
A- 6.5", 7.5", 7", 1.75"
AB- 6.5", 5", 6.25", 1.75"
CD- 6.5", 5", 6.5", 2.25"
C- 6.75", 7.5", 6.25", 3"
The decorative pieces will adorn the middle pieces for some extra flair to your dalek. You will need to cut around 13- 4.5"x 1.25" 4- 2.25"x 1.25" and 1- 3"x2.5" pieces, paint the same color as the bobbles.
For the rings you could find something with similar diameters to trace or if you're like me and don't want to measure a bunch of bowls, mark a center spot on your card board, lay your ruler across it with the dot at either 4" (depending on the circle size) and make marks on your cardboard at the 0" and 8" marks then spin your ruler continuing in this manner a couple times until you have enough dots to connect into a circle. Once the rings are drawn you will need to add the inner edge. Each ring should be 1" thick.
The tab pieces, there are two kinds of tab pieces you will need. One will hold up the rings and allow your cat to peer out at their enemies before smiting them with their dalek death ray. The other will add support to the connection between the skirt and middle pieces.
Ring tabs- 6"x 1.5" with 3/4" long horizontal cuts at 1", 3" and 5"
Support tabs- 1"x 3" with fold at 1.5"
The rest of the dalek will be made of paper mache or cardboard tubes.
Step 2: Paper Mache
Doing the paper mache early in this process is best since it takes a while to dry. Unless you have an abundance of extra newspaper or a tarp and a decent amount of indoor space I advise doing this outside on a day above 50° with minimal wind. Just in case you don't know how to make paper mache paste, mix all purpose flour and warm water in a bowl until a little thinner than pudding. I found cutting newspaper in half twice long-ways gave me nice sized strips for the side bobbles. Leaving a few longer(about the short length of a page) were good for a starting strip to mark the middle of the ball. You'll need to paper mache about 40 half spheres with about a 3" diameter and one large half sphere(I used a balloon) about 8" in diameter. Once set I used a ruler and some scissors to loosen the edges and cut tabs up to the middle and then squished lightly around the hardened paper mache to loosen it from the mold.
Once off the mold I used a can of spray paint to paint the small bobbles gold and a bottle of paint to paint the 8" sphere brown.
Step 3: Assembling the Skirt
To assemble the dalek we will be using a glue gun. Start with your two L pieces and glue them together with a nice gobby line of hot glue down the entire length of the tab then stick the tab to the inside edge of the same length side. I found it worked well to alternate adding pieces to each side. Connecting the XL pieces on either side of the L pieces with the same length sides. Then connecting the M pieces to those and the S pieces to the M's. Once all these are connected it is easiest to connect the S pieces if you have another set of hands. Before you glue the S pieces together, if you haven't already done so, stand your "dalek skirt" up to see how the S pieces will connect. Once you have them lined up have your other set of hands hold everything in place except the S pieces and one of the M pieces(this will make it easier to pivot the S pieces together), Start the line of glue at the bottom of the S tab and continue to the top before attaching them together. You may need to squirt more glue in as you squish them together depending how well they stay.
Step 4: Assembling and Attaching the Middle
The middle goes together pretty similarly to the skirt except the tabs are a little wonky. You'll need your five middle pieces and the middle piece tabs. Line pieces A-C up based on photos and glue together, saving piece D for very last. Once the first four pieces are glued together you will attach them to the top of the skirt. Do this by applying hot glue to the top of one skirt piece at a time and putting the corresponding middle piece together with it. The pieces should go together to leave the front open. Continue working your way around the dalek adding glue to one section and gluing together. Once the string of middle pieces are attached to the skirt use your tab pieces to reinforce the middle's connection to the skirt. Leave Piece D alone until after the head is attached.
Step 5: Assembling and Attaching the Head + Finishing the Skirt
To assemble the head you will need your 8" paper mache sphere, your 8" rings and your head tab pieces. Fit one ring inside your head sphere and glue in place, if you can get glue on the inner edge too that's great, if not that's ok too. Once that ring is glued in paint the sphere to match your dalek body.
After paint is dry mark your head ring into quarters and slide two tabs onto two of the marks, add the other rings into the slots on those tabs. Add the other two tabs sliding them onto the rings from inside. Using hot glue, glue together all the places cardboard comes together.
Once your head is structurally together line it up on top of your middle pieces, you might have to wiggle and squish the middle pieces together for it to fit nicely. it should fit with the bottom inch of the tabs inside the dalek and the bottom ring sitting on top of the middle pieces. Once lined up glue the ring in place.
Once the head is attached find middle piece D and line up to fill the gap in the front. You may need to trim the top of edge(s) to make it fit properly. Once fitted glue into place starting with one side then the other. Make sure the first side is together before moving on. You may need to tip the dalek over or hold above you to squish the tabs together so they stick.
Step 6: Build the Accessories
There are 6 different types of accessories on the dalek. These consist of the middle stripe, the blender arm, the death ray plunger, the eye stick, the decorative pieces, the lights and the bobbles. The blender arm and the death ray plunger will be connected with another piece I will call connector blocks.
The Middle Strip is made of paper bag. Cut a roughly 35" strip of 2" paper. Also a 3" by 12" strip. Starting at one edge of middle piece D, work your way around the dalek(away from piece D) cutting pieces of 2" strip to fit a little more than each piece with the goal of covering the seam, between the middle pieces and the skirt, until you're to the opposite side of piece D that you started with. To cover the seam of piece D use the 3" strip to measure for length, trim piece to taper from 3" to 2" at opposite ends. This will help to bridge the more uneven gap caused by piece D while not looking completely wonky where it meets up with the other strips.
The Connector Blocks are basically half a 2.5"x 2.5" cube. To make these draw a 2.5" square and two more off two different (kitty corner) sides. Divide one of these adjoining squares in half. Cut this shape out and score the uncut lines so the piece folds into have a square. Trace this piece to make another. Cut out and score the opposite side of the first so you have two half cubes that fold together opposite each other. Paint these to match the bobbles.
For the Blender arm you will need a toilet paper tube. Mark down about a half inch and fold the top down to that line bringing the edges together to close one end. Glue these in place with a small amount of hot glue. Mark your toilet paper tube into fourths and draw lines down the sides. Off each of these lines draw a long rectangle roughly a half inch wide. Leaving about a half inch from either end. Leaving one long side attached, cut the same three sides of each rectangle. Fold these flaps outward to create your blender arms. Paint the whole thing white or silver.
You will need a paper towel tube, one egg spot from an egg carton, and one left over bobble to create the Death ray plunger. First paint the tube white or silver and the egg spot and bobble black. The egg spot and bobble will create the plunger part. Once these two are dry glue the egg spot to the top of the bobble, see picture. Once they are together and the tube's paint is dry, glue the tube to the top of the egg carton.
For the Eye stick you'll need your pringles can, two toilet paper tubes, some cardboard and a small piece of your paper grocery bag. Squish the end of one of the tubes to fit inside the other. Nest them together to your desired eye stick length. Paint this white or silver. For the eye measure about 2 inches down your pringles can and cut off. Paint black. Trace your pringle can circle onto your paper bag and a smaller circle in the center(I used a small paint bottle). Paint the outer ring black and the inner ring an eye color(white). Once all paint is dry glue the paper to the pringle can ring. Once glue is dry apply glue to the white eye tube and stick to the back of the paper bag eye, so that the long tube is inside the pringle ring. The eye stick also has a small housing piece that goes over it. Draw out two connected triangles, DIMENSIONS, cut out and score down the center.
Decorative pieces are just a bunch of gold rectangles. You should have around 13- 4.5" x 1.25", 4- 2.25" x 1.25", and 1- 3" x 2.5". Paint them all to match the bobbles.
Lights require two toilet paper rolls. Mark off 2" from the top and cut four flaps to that length. Fold all tabs into the tube. Crease. Unfold two. Fold across top of tube and bend extra into tube. Unfold one flap out of the tube with one still bent. Cover top of bent piece with glue and glue standing piece together to form a small closed tube.
Bobbles should've mostly been made in the paper mache step, but to recap, paper mache 40ish half spheres around 3" in diameter. Free them from the molds and paint accent color(gold). NEW INFO, because the front two skirt pieces got so thin the paper mache bobbles do not fit. I used a few more egg carton egg spots and a couple plastic egg halves painted gold. Warning with both, if you use spray paint it will not want to stick to the shiny egg plastic and may run off, if you can not find a paper egg carton to save your life the spray paint may cause your egg carton to kind of bubble and melt. I kind of liked the bubbly egg carton look for mine but they would not fit toward the very top so I used a combination.
Step 7: Attaching the Accessories
Attaching the accessories consists of adding the middle strip, the bobbles, the light bulbs, the eye stick, the connector blocks, the death plunger, the blender arm and the decorative pieces. Gather up all these pieces and a whole bunch of hot glue sticks.
Middle strip Working your way around the dalek, glue the strips to evenly cover the middle/skirt seam,
Bobbles Map out your spacing first!! To do this I tipped the dalek on its side and used one bobble to mark rough dimensions for a guide to stick the edges once I started gluing. Once traced, one by one, apply glue to opposite edges of the bobbles and stick in place om the dalek. Do the same with the egg carton and egg halves.
Eye Stick Cut a V on the end of the eye tube to help it stick to the head dome. Glue in place, holding until sure it is secure. Once secured line up the housing piece above the eye tube and mark the top and end for reference when gluing. Glue in place, this piece took quite a bit if glue and holding before it would stay on its own.
Connector blocks Fold into the half-cube and glue together connecting edge. Once set, apply glue to diagonal edge and inside of sides, stick to front slanted sides of dalek as pictured. May need to squirt more glue to attach properly. Repeat on other side,
Death Plunger Apply generous amount of glue to end of death plunger tube, glue directly to front of left connector block. Hold until glue has completely set.
Blender Arm Apply glue to open end of blender tube and glue to right connector block.
Decorative Pieces More glue! Starting with the front attach the largest decorative piece to the top half of middle piece D. Attach the small decorative pieces above the connector blocks, two for each side. Finally work your way around the middle pieces gluing the remaining decorative pieces. Alternate attaching one on each side, working from front to back to keep the spacing even.
Step 8: Finished Dalek
Now you have a Dalek for your cat to enjoy! You could add a blanket to pet bed to the inside, as well as poke a string, feather or other toy between the rings for your cat to attack from within.
Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge