Create a DIY Cat Tree With Upcycled Items

by Theartge
8 Materials
20 Minutes

My cat Bean loves her cat tree, but they don’t last very long. I wanted to try my hand at making one for her rather than shelling out for a brand new one. Using upcycled items and the base from the old cat tree, I was able to make a brand new cat tree for a fraction of the price. Cat trees are super important for cats, as they're a great way for them to get out some energy and are useful in preventing them from destroying your furniture. So what are you waiting for? Follow my step-by-step tutorial below to create your own!

Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials:

  • Vase
  • Hemp cord
  • Tape
  • Glue gun
  • Craft knife
  • Base (I used the base from an old scratching post, but you can make your own with some particle board and carpet)
  • Ping pong ball
  • Sticks
Wrap the Vase
Wrap the Vase

When working with hemp cord, it’s easiest to pull the end from the middle to work with it. This prevents the hemp from rolling all over the place as you use it.I taped the end of the cord to the vase and started wrapping.

Glue the Hemp Cord Down

As I wrapped the vase in the hemp cord, I glued it down with my hot glue gun.

Glue Tightly

I continued wrapping and gluing until I had covered the entire case. Make sure to glue the cord tightly to the vase and the surrounding cords. You don’t want your cat pulling one of them up and making you start from square one!


You can also make this project with sisal, however sisal can come apart and get stuck under your cat’s claws, causing serious pain, so I like to work with hemp cord instead. It’s softer and cats love the smell of hemp.

Follow the Shape of the Vase

Make sure to follow the shape of your vase to help the strands of hemp sit as closely as possible to each other. 


When you have completely wrapped the vase, cut off the end and glue it down. Once I had completely covered my vase in hemp cord, I went back and removed any fuzzy bits of glue that were hanging off the vase. This is totally normal and always happens when working with hot glue.

Make the Base
Make the Base

I happened to have the base from an old scratching post that my cat had destroyed. I placed my vase in the center of the base and pressed down. Because the base is covered in carpet, the vase left a nice little impression for me to use as a guide when cutting the carpet to make room to attach the vase.

Cut the Carpet

I cut out along the imprint of the bottom of the vase. Make sure to always cut away from yourself when using a craft knife. 

Glue the Carpet Down

I glued down the edges of the carpet to make sure that they wouldn’t come up as my cat scratched.

Glue the Vase Down

Then I glued the vase in place. Be generous with the hot glue here. Once it was attached I checked to make sure that the base and vase were glued securely to each other. 

Fill the Vase with Rocks
Fill the Vase

I added a good amount of rocks to weigh the cat tree down.

Add Sticks

Then I added sticks. Make sure to check that the sticks that you use aren’t toxic to cats, as quite a few plants are. I shoved the sticks as far as I could into the rocks to make sure that they wouldn’t get ripped out by my cat. 

Glue Hemp to a Ping Pong Ball
Wrap a Ping Pong Ball with Hemp

Next I glued the end of some hemp cord to a ping pong ball and started wrapping, gluing the hemp cord down with hot glue as I went.

Wrap the Ball

When I got to the bottom I added a large glob of glue and continued twisting in a circle. I left a good length of hemp cord at the end before I cut it off. 

Attach to the Sticks

Then I glued the end of the hemp cord to the inner edge of the vase, wrapped it around one of the sticks, and glued it in place at the end, allowing the ping pong ball to hang.

Wrap the Sticks

DIY Cat Tree

Cheap Cat Treee

Now came the real test, would my cat like it? I think it’s safe to say that the answer is yes! She had a great time playing with toys that I hung off of the sticks. What kinds of toys have you made for your furry friends? Let me know in the comments below!

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2 of 26 comments
  • GAS GAS on Jun 27, 2021

    I've also created my own cat scratching post. It is not nearly as attractive but it does the trick. I used a length of a carpet roll tube for the scratching base, a piece of plywood covered with a scrap of carpet for the floor base, and a disassembled brush for the 'self pet' arch. A piece of 2 x4 is inserting through the roll and screwed to the base for stability. Carpet stores will usually just give you an empty roll and scrapes of carpeting.

  • Jan Bahno Jan Bahno on Sep 07, 2021

    Love the idea, the only thing I would advise is use shorter cords to prevent strangulation, which is something I had happen to one of my kittens on a store bought cat tree many years ago. Thank you.