How to Make a Cat Tower
If you want to apply your maker skills to benefit your cat or if you’re in need of a pet gift, this is the project for you! Using Dremel tools and some materials you can create this awesome Cat Tower that will keep your cat busy all year round, as well as look great in your home!
Oscillating tool knife and Sanding attachment
12.7 mm Hole Saw
4' x 8', 3/4" thick, sanded Plywood
2 x 1/2" Wood Screws
10 x 1" Wood Screws
1 x Adhesive backed carpet square
1 x Stain or paint & sealer of your choice
Plan and Trace
Begin by tracing your tower design onto 3/4" thick, sanded plywood. You can get creative on this one however, be sure that you trace 2 identical pieces that will serve as your sides. We cut our base 6" wider and 12" longer than the rest of our tower pieces for added stability when weight is applied.
Cut out the sections
Next, cut out each individual piece from the plywood. We used a Dremel DSM20 Circular Saw with the Multipurpose carbide cutting wheel (DSM500), to achieve our straight cuts along each of the marked lines. It is easy to make internal plunge cuts into material with the DSM20.
Simply, Rest the Foot of the tool on the work piece and Align the tool's wheel with the cut line. While holding the tool firmly, Press the paddle switch and allow the tool's wheel to come up to full speed. Slowly plunge/lower the tool and wheel into the work piece. Guide the tool forward and complete the cut then release the paddle switch and allow the tool to come to a complete stop before removing it from the workpiece.
Cutting out each shape
To create the curved interior edge effect as we did on some of our pieces, we first used a Cordless Drill equipped with a 1/2" hole saw and made plunge cut-outs into each of the 4 corners. We then used our circular saw equipped with the same DSM500 wheel to connect each cut-out. At this step we also made quick angled cuts to each corner of our cut-out shapes.
Sand the edges
Next, use your oscillating tool set to a medium/ high speed equipped with Sand paper to smooth out your inside and outside edges. If you're looking to add a more rounded effect to your curves or smooth out any imperfections, shape the wood by setting your tool to high speed and using a coarser grit (60) sandpaper.
Organise your pieces
Layout the finished pieces for assembly and align to join the pieces in order to mark accurate locations for your pilot holes in the next step.
Drilling pilot holes
You can use your drill or our Dremel Multi-Tool equipped with a Drill Bit (150) to make your pilot holes. Doing so before joining each piece together makes for easier assembly & reduces your chance of splitting your wood. To create pilot holes with your Dremel Multi-Tool, set it to high speed and make a quick plunge perpendicular to your workpiece. Finally, using your drill and 2.5" or 1" wood screws, sink a screw through the pilot holes you created. We'll indicate which length screw is best for each step below.
Assembling the base and first step
First, you'll attach the base to the backing & base sides using 2, 1/2" wood screws. Then proceed to attach 1st "landing" with 1" screws.
Adding more height
To build up to the next step, align identical opposite side pieces to each side. Ensure they are level and secure with a clamp. Secure the side pieces to the structure with the 1" wood screws. Then add the alternate "landing" and side pieces again using a drill and 1" screws.
Paint & Cut Carpet Squares
At this step, stain/paint/seal the tower to your desired finish & allow it to dry completely. While waiting for the tower to dry, we cut adhesive-backed carpet squares down to size to adhere onto the steps, making it easier for your pet to grab and hold when landing. First, we marked our necessary lines of cut (the surface area of each landing on our tower) onto the backs of our squares. Using an oscillating tool at high speed, we cut the carpet to size using a pulling motion.
Once your cat tower is completely dry, peel off the adhesive cover on the back of carpet square & stick the squares to their respective landings. Well done, you have created a cat tower! Now let your fury friend get to know their new pet gift and allow them to enjoy it for hours!
To reduce the risk of injury user must read instruction manuals for all tools used in this project. Wear eye and respiratory protection. Use clamps to support work piece whenever practical.