If you’re looking to indulge your cats with a fun cat tree, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve compiled a list of the best DIY cat trees below. All of the cat furniture plans are free- just click the ‘View Plans’ button to check out the step-by-step instructions.
While there are a lot of cat trees that you can buy online, these custom-built options are often more attractive and can be custom-constructed to complement your home’s aesthetic and your cats’ particular needs.
There are lots of cool styles to choose from: #4 is a rustic, outdoor option; #12 is a Star Trek inspired design; #14 is a hollow cat column; and #7 is an ultra-comfy, padded option.
Whatever your preference, there’s a lot of designs you can pick from!
These are a great way to provide your feline friend with exercise, a place to relax, and a place to scratch.
Using plywood, carpet remnants, sisal rope, a 2×4, and power drill, you can easily make this castle yourself.
Depending on your preference, you can follow this builder’s measurements or scale them up or down — just remember that the bottom always needs to be a little wider than the top for stability.
Once all your materials are cut to size, mark the middle, drill the carpet into the wood, wrap the rope around the base, and add on any finishing touches. The finished product should be sturdy and last a long time.VIEW PLANS
Intricate and good quality cat playhouses can cost you hundreds of dollars, though this DIY project accomplished the same for a quarter of the price.
You probably already have a lot of the materials needed, like styrofoam, black paint, cardboard tubes, upholstery foam screws, thin nails, velcro, twine, and a staple gun.
Once the wood is cut, cut the rods, upholster everything, cover the tubes with twine, and construct the ladder.
Then you can begin assembly and decoration.
You can really get creative with this, using stencils, stickers, and paint to display your cat’s name or paw prints.
Your cat will surely have hours of fun exploring and jumping around this.VIEW PLANS
This DIY kitten tree house project is fairly easy to follow and doesn’t require a whole lot of materials.
Using plywood or medium density fiberboard, square edge timber, screws, wall plugs, angle brackets, a power drill, and carpet underlay, you can make a ladder tree with steps against the wall.
To secure the carpet to the wood, this builder used double-sided tape and stapled the carpet to the underside.
This tree is on the taller side and requires a long post and good amount of sisal rope to be wrapped around it.
This is a great solution for those lacking space – your cat can play and have its own space without taking up half of your living room.VIEW PLANS
If your cat loves the outdoors, try making this tree.
This designer was lucky enough to find a small dead tree to use as a base.
If you don’t want to cut down a whole tree and only use branches, that is also fine.
You’ll need some bamboo, rope, wood, and power tools.
You will need to build a base for the lumber — this could be a large planter, wooden box, or something you build out of 2x4s.
At the top of your structure, weave netting in a triangle shape for your cat to sit on.
Then add pillows or fabric to make it more comfortable and you’re finished!VIEW PLANS
This DIYer made a simple cat tree out of industrial felt and plywood.
He laminated three pieces of plywood together and glued some paper on them to conserve the wood.
You can use other types of wood and other materials, though it doesn’t matter too much — they will end up getting covered in carpet or felt, anyway.
It can be a little tricky figuring out the right cuts for the platform layout, though a lot of measuring and patience should do the trick.
Then attach the platforms to the pillar, add the felt, and wrap rope around the pillar.
If you move this around often, you might also want to add some cushioned feet to the bottom.VIEW PLANS
If you’re on a budget and still want to make something substantial for your cats, try following this DIY plan.
The base was made from an old kitchen counter, though you can make something similar out of plywood for less than $20.
For the branches of the tree, use a tenon saw and jigsaw to cut up carpet tubes.
If you don’t have these, PVC pipe or any very thick cardboard will work.
To join them together, you can use screws, a hot glue gun, or cable ties.
After you cover everything with carpet, however, it’s going to be pretty hard to achieve a seamless look along where the branches meet.VIEW PLANS
This DIY plan is a great solution for cats who like to be lazy on a high level.
This basic tree provides them an elevated view without having to jump around too much.
Materials required include plywood or particle board, screws, sisal rope, PVC pipe end caps, a jigsaw, and heat gun.
Once your base is cut and ready, make the post, attach the end caps, coil the rope, attach the pipes, wrap the posts and platforms, then attach everything to one another.
Two of your feline friends can comfortably fit here and the base is strong enough to hold more than two platforms.VIEW PLANS
This project will take you a while to complete, though your cat will love it.
You’ll need pinewood, screws, a metal shelf bracket, rope, mason jar, light bulb, power drill, and a wooden crate.
A strong Europal base is needed for this, as well as a strong square piece of wood for the top and center.
The one this builder made has two floors, though you can make more or less; the photos and blueprints provided make it easy to make customizations to this DIY project.
You can also add a wide variety of decorations like stencil artwork, fake flowers, pillows, and photos of you and your cat.VIEW PLANS
This cat tree costs around $800 to buy from specialty pet shops — but you can make this yourself for next to nothing.
You will need furring strips, plywood, drywall screws, wood glue, carpeting, hot glue, wood filler, fake leaves, and a few other things.
The main support is actually made from discarded tree trunks and limbs, so each one you make will be completely unique.
First make a base platform, attach the limbs to the base, craft the upper platforms, and get to decorating.
You can paint or stain the wood, attach faux grass and scratching pads, or leave this unfinished for a more rustic style.VIEW PLANS
If you have any old furniture lying around or know anyone throwing away some wood, you can reuse it to make an awesome hangout for your cat. You can also ask your local fabric store if they have any cardboard tubes about to go in the trash. Once you have your materials, drill and screw your base and tubes together. For a nice design, considering dying your sisal rope different colors. When wrapped around the legs, it will bring a nice pop of color and entice your cats to scratch it and not your furniture. For extra comfort, you can cover the finished product in fabric before or after assembly.VIEW PLANS
If you and your kitty are fans of the popular sci-fi show, consider following this DIY project. You’ll need quite a few materials, like PVC pipe, plywood, power drill, round caps, elbow connectors, carpet, pipe adhesive, a staple gun, and ratchet wrench. Depending on the tools you already have, this should only cost around $150 to build. This entire structure is bolted to the wall for stability, though you could strengthen the base and have it be freestanding. This DIY tutorial doesn’t have in depth blueprints or step by step photos, but the basic idea is easy enough to understand and an experienced builder can easily craft this.VIEW PLANS
Using only five supplies (sisal rope, carpet, screws, plywood, and 2x4s), you can make a cool hang out for your feline friends. Cut, pre-drill, and sand all your wood before assembly. Then, add the rope and carpeting. This builder suggests buying chemical-free carpet, as some are treated with harsh chemicals that you don’t want your cats to be around. This structure is tall and narrow, allowing you to keep your floor space and open concept while your cats have plenty of room to play and exercise. You’ll also need a few tools, like a power drill, circular saw, stapler, utility knife, and pocket-hole jig.VIEW PLANS
This DIY project requires carpet, plywood, and some power tools. Wrapping the rug around each piece as you’re cutting it allows for a cleaner look and easier assembly. This builder decided to leave some wood exposed, though you could also stain it, polish it, or cover it up. This structure also doesn’t use any sisal rope, which can be expensive. The opening on the inside allows your cat to explore inside, outside, jump, and have more space to climb around. This tree is also very tall and you might want to make yours shorter, depending on the age and agility of your cat.VIEW PLANS
As you might imagine, these do-it-yourself cat towers are enormously popular on Reddit. One option we saw included a summer project for a house cat built by a couple with a cat named Chloe.
She says that it cost under $130 to build this from a pdf using some fresh-cut birch scrapwood. It has a scratch pole, a carpeted perch as well as a sleeping sling-and the cat seems to enjoy it immensely. Another Reddit user posted a 72-inch tower that he built for $73.
It has four different levels with the wooden support poles hand wrapped in twine. Pictures show the entire pdf build sitting in the corner of a windowed room so that the cats have the opportunity to peer out into the outdoor world. The rope twine that encircles the wood condo is stapled. One of the best photos is at the end of the image gallery showing the Bengal cat lazily perched.
A third DIY Reddit user posted another amazing and gorgeous cat tree idea-it has six levels and is built from an actual tree.
Reddit users were impressed saying that oftentimes these custom constructed condo tower perches are incredibly ugly, but in this case, they complement the aesthetic of the home.
In this case, he obtained the tree from his own front yard- he removed it because he was looking to plant a new citrus tree and decided to upcycle the old tree into this marvelous pet palace. One picture shows two sister cats enjoying separate platforms on this vertical territory.
He used twisted Manilla rope instead of sisal rope because he preferred the lower stress factor and darker color, saying that in his opinion it would stay tighter for longer as the cats scratch and climb.
Reddit users were duly impressed by this condo scratcher castle creation- many users said that the feline playhouses they have purchased have gone unused due to the fickle temperament of their pets. One user suggested that in order to encourage the cat to use one of these perches to situate it near an area they already like to hang out. The discussion also turned into the best type of wood that should be used if you’re looking to build one of these.
One user said that each type of wood has its pros and cons, but in his opinion he suggests Ashwood because it has a decent weight, it’s tough, and doesn’t shrink as much as other types of wood do.
One of the top criteria is availability- so if you live near a forest or a place that scraps a lot of wood and lumber, you might want to start your search there. Though he does caution you’ll want to rule out high movement woods that are prone to splitting like Lilac and Balsa. Another Reddit user wondered whether the entire scratch tower unit is prone to tipping over.
The original poster said that the build is only attached to the base and because of how the tree is balanced it’s able to stand on its own, even with the cats throwing their weight around as they scamper up and down this exercise tree column. Another user was somewhat confused about the steam bags that were mentioned. The original poster clarified that in order to bend some of the wood on the base he had to steam thin strips of wood in a manner that they wouldn’t break or split.
Another build we took a look at is the 9 foot DIY cat tower that was assembled for a pair of rescue kittens. This gorgeous structure has a triangular base that easily tucks into the interior recess of a flight of stairs with a variety of perches and interior hideaways.
The ambition, the builder says, was that they wanted a space for the cats to be able to climb, so they wouldn’t destroy existing furniture. They decided to build an obscenely tall cat tower. A used PVC pipe columns that are screwed into the base. In all, it cost about $150 but did take a lot of man-hours to get completed. One poster did say that you should replace the fishing line that was used to suspend some dangling toys with a stiffer line because fishing line apparently is a feline strangulation hazard.