How to Make a Chic DIY Cat Tree

Getting Started

Final image of the cat tree
The Spruce / Caylin Harris

Cats have discerning taste, so you don't want to skimp on their furniture. Instead of a carpet covered cat tree, why not try a more modern take on the classic? Its simple shape feels pared down and modern, while its rope detailing provides plenty for your cat to scratch on—instead of going for your furniture. Plus, its pint-size stature allows you to easily move it around or tuck it away when you have company over. A nice little spot for your cat to hide and play, it will fit right in to your living room. Customize the color to perfectly fit your living room or keep it a minimal plywood color for a more rustic look.

Gather Your Supplies

Cat tree supplies
The Spruce / Caylin Harris

This project is simpler than you think, even for the power tool averse. Here's what you need to get the look:


  • 18-inch pre-primed boards, mitered at a 30 degree angle
  • 1 5/8-inch trim head screws
  • 1/4-inch wood plugs
  • Rope
  • Paint
  • U-fastener


  • Drill
  • Rubber mallet
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun

Do yourself a favor and get pre-primed wood pieces, it's one less step you have to do yourself! Also, we recommend using interior paint instead of craft paint. It's a little more durable than craft paint. Don't worry about getting a full quart or gallon, you can either use leftovers you have or get a sample size paint—they're usually only eight dollars.

Put Your Boards Together

Screw boards together
The Spruce / Caylin Harris

On the top of the triangle, overlap the boards and using your drill, screw the boards together to create a V shape. Then put the last pieces in place and secure using screws. Once your triangle is completely assembled, to give the whole project a more finished look, you'll want to put your wood plugs in each screw hole. Using a hammer or rubber mallet and tap them into place.

Paint the Cat Tree

Painting the cat tree
The Spruce / Caylin Harris

Using your interior paint, paint the entire triangle completely and be sure to work so your brush strokes are all moving in the same direction. After one coat, let the paint dry completely, then repeat making sure none of the primed surface is showing. Give the paint a few hours to cure before starting the next step.

Add Rope

Add rope to the cat tree
The Spruce / Caylin Harris

To make it easier to add the rope, start the process by using a little bit of hot glue to hold the rope in place. Then using a hammer and U-fastener, tap it into place so the rope doesn't move and is completely secured. Keeping the rope coiled (it makes it so much easier to wrap around the board when the excess is controlled) work your way around the board. Stop every now and then to make sure the rope is pushed tightly together. Be careful while you're winding the rope, some of the natural fibers can jab into your skin. If it bothers you, wear a pair of gloves. If you want a slightly asymmetrical look, keep the rope on one side. Or if you want double the fun for your cats, do both sides.

Happy scratching!