Any cat owner knows how much of an eyesore cardboard cat scratchers can be. They are cheap-looking, flimsy, and lack any personality or style. But cat lovers know they are an absolute must! I decided to give mine a quick, cheap, and easy facelift and create this DIY Cat Scratcher Box! I feel so much happier looking at it now, and I’m sure my cats are happier using it too!
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Materials You Will Need To Make a DIY Cat Scratcher Box
How to Select a Cat Scratcher
You can purchase cardboard inserts at any pet store, online, or at most big box stores, but some brands are different sizes than others so they aren’t completely interchangeable. Make sure to choose one brand you plan to stick with and use that for your permanent cat scratcher measurements.
Step By Step Instructions To Build A DIY Cat Scratcher Box
Let’s give this corrugated cardboard insert a modern look to go with the rest of my decor!
Measure insert and cut box base
I took my cardboard insert and measured and cut out my base.
For the base you have a few different materials to choose from. You can use wood, or you can purchase MDF or particle board. I used a sheet of particle board for my base because it was a fraction of the cost of wood. Also, the base of my new cat scratcher is not visible, so I didn’t worry about the look of the particle board as opposed to wood.
Cut your sides
I used poplar wood for the sides of my scratcher. I chose boards that were ¼” thick and 2 ½” wide. This was the perfect height to come just slightly higher than my cardboard scratchers. The less cuts you need to make the better! I recommend you do the same and find something that is the right height all on its own. This will make for straight, nicely finished edges all around.
Cut the ends of your sides using a miter cut so that when you piece it all together, your boards will meet up in the corners with minimal seams that you can take care of with wood filler when everything is attached to the base.
Attach the sides to your base
I used Gorilla Glue construction adhesive to attach my poplar boards to the base. This makes my cat scratcher cat-proof! My cats can be as rough as they want on it and I am not worried about it falling apart.
But listen up about the Gorilla Glue adhesive! It doesn’t dry clear, so if you accidentally get some on the sides or if you use too much and it oozes out from between the boards where you glued them, it will be visible when you are finished your project. Just don’t use too much, and wipe off any excess or oozing that you see as you go along, and you’ll be fine!
If I were to do this project again I would use Loctite Power Grab Ultimate Crystal Clear Construction Adhesive. It dries clear so you don’t need to worry, and it has amazing hold!
Fill in the corners
Fill in the corners where the mitered cuts of your boards meet with wood filler to get rid of the seams.
Stain or Paint the Box
If you decide to paint your wood, DON’T use wood conditioner first. The purpose of wood conditioner is to help stain soak evenly into a piece of wood, so it would be wasted on paint, which just sits on top of the wood. I would recommend applying a primer before you paint though, as it will help your paint stick better and will hide some of the imperfections of the wood better than a coat of paint would on its own.
If you decide to stain it like I did, DO use wood conditioner! It will help the stain soak into the wood evenly and help you achieve a smooth finish with no blotchy patches.
That’s it! Put your cardboard insert inside your newly created frame and you’re all done. Make sure you let it dry completely and air out a bit before giving it to your cat to use. They probably wouldn’t enjoy the smell of fresh wood stain or paint and Gorilla Glue!
Tag me @designingparkside and let me know how your cat likes their new scratcher!