A Russian Blue cat sitting on a scratcher

If there are two things that every cat loves, it’s a good cardboard box and somewhere nice to scratch. What if we told you that you could combine both to create an awesome DIY scratcher using materials you probably already have in your home? Who wouldn’t want to breathe new life into old recyclable materials while simultaneously making their cats happy?

Keep reading to find DIY plans for eight easy DIY cardboard cat scratchers.

The 8 DIY Cat Scratchers

1. Crafting a Green World DIY Cat Scratcher


Materials: Corrugated cardboard, cutting mat, meter stick, glue, tape
Tools: Utility knife
Difficulty Level: Easy

Crafting a Green World brings us two easy-to-make DIY cardboard cat scratcher plans. These scratchers are made with materials you likely already have in your home, so not only are they easy to make, but they’re cheap, too.

Both of their plans require you to first cut your cardboard into strips that are around two inches wide. The first plan has a round design which requires some hot gluing and rolling of the cardboard. This is a great scratcher because you can decide how big or small you want it as you’re putting it together. If you’re a multi-cat household, you might want your scratcher to be a bit bigger to accommodate more than one kitty.

The second plan calls for a box. You’ll cut the box down to the desired height of your scratcher and then fill the interior by standing the cardboard strips up against one another.

2. Dream a Little Bigger DIY Scratcher


Materials: Cardboard boxes, quilting ruler, hot glue sticks
Tools: Utility knife, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Easy

This DIY scratcher from Dream a Little Bigger is very easy to make and is not unlike the previous scratcher in our list. You’ll start by cutting your cardboard boxes down into two-inch strips. The quilting ruler comes in handy here as you can use it to make sure your strips are all the same size.

Once you have a pile of two-inch strips, you’ll want to use your utility knife to score them. This will help you when it comes time to make the strips into round shapes. You’ll want to score some of the strips with slits closer together to make rolling it around itself easier for you in the beginning.

After the scoring is complete, you can start rolling. Use the strips with the closer slits first. Roll up a strip, then unroll it and apply a trace of hot glue along the middle of it to keep it all together and roll it back up. Add another dollop of glue at the end of the strip to help reinforce the entire thing.

Continue adding your strips to the first spiral using the same process with the hot glue. You can make this scratcher as big around as you need it to be.

If you finish this project and then find that it’s not quite big enough for your cat to use comfortably, you can keep adding more strips to it until it’s a perfect size.

3. More Than Thursdays DIY Upcycled Scratcher


Materials: Cardboard boxes, straight edge, non-toxic glue, foam brush, shelf liner paper, catnip
Tools: Utility knife
Difficulty Level: Easy

More Than Thursdays’ upcycled DIY cat scratcher is a simple-to-make and nice-to-look-at addition to any cat owner’s home. There’s no need to sacrifice the aesthetics of your home for your cats as this DIY plan requires adhesive shelf liner paper in a pattern of your choosing to spiffy up the sides of the scratcher to make it look nicer in your space.

All you need to do is cut a cardboard box down to a few inches in height. This will act as the base of your scratcher. Next, you’ll need to cut enough strips of cardboard to fill the base. Once you know how many strips you’ll need to fit snugly in the base of your box, remove them, and cover the exterior of the base with your decorative adhesive paper.

Sprinkle some catnip into the base of the box, and then use your non-toxic glue to glue the strips one-by-one to the base.

This scratcher can be placed flat on the floor for horizontal scratching or prop it up against your wall to encourage angled scratching.

4. Threaded Alchemy Cardboard Cat Scratcher


Materials: Cardboard box, ruler, glue sticks, pencil
Tools: Utility knife, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Easy

While this scratcher looks similar to some of the others in our blog, the creator at Threaded Alchemy used a slightly different process so we had to include it in our list.

First, you will need to find a nice big box that you can cut down. The creator of this plan suggests using a rectangular-shaped one if possible. He broke down the box so it lay flat and then lined the ruler up with the bottom edge of the longer side and made a cut the length of the box. Do not cut all the way through. The goal here is to make your box into an accordion-like shape.

After your first cut, flip the cardboard over, fold up the slice you just made, and, using your ruler, line up against your previous fold and make another slice.

Continue flipping and slicing your box until you’re at the end. The next step is to glue the accordions together end to end. You might also want to put an extra dot of glue between every fold for a little extra strength.

Next, you’ll use the shorter sides of your original box to create a base for your accordions. You may need to make some cuts to ensure your accordion fits. Once you have the shorter side the right size, use your hot glue to glue the tabs to the accordion to complete your scratcher.

5. Buzzfeed DIY Cat Scratch Post


Materials: Cardboard, wood glue, bun foot, 2 x 12-inch plywood squares, 2 x 4-inch plywood squares, 1¼ inch wooden dowel
Tools: Drill, 1¼ inch wood hole saw bit, paper cutter or utility knife
Difficulty Level: Hard

If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge with your DIY scratcher and have the know-how to use power tools, this plan from Buzzfeed should be added to your to-do list. While this scratcher calls for more materials than just cardboard, we had to include it in our guide because we know we have handymen and women who read our articles who love a good challenge.

This cascading scratcher will require extra time and effort, but we think you and your kitty will love it once it’s complete.

First, you’ll need to find the center of one of your larger plywood boards. Take your saw bit and drill a hole into the center. Repeat this same process through the center of both of the smaller squares. Use your wood glue to attach the two smaller squares together. Glue the two larger plywood pieces together, ensuring that the cut piece is on top.

Glue the smaller boards to the larger ones, taking care to align the center holes. Put wood glue into the hole and insert your wooden dowel. Let it sit to dry overnight.

In the morning, use a paper cutter to cut cardboard squares that are 6 x 6 inches in size. Stack the squares together in 5 or 6 piles. Find the center of the squares and use your saw bit to cut a hole in them.

Stack the cardboard pieces onto the dowel until you’ve reached the end of the dowel. Cap it with the bun foot. Arrange the cardboard pieces in a way that works best for your cat.

6. Make: Simple Roll-up Scratcher


Materials: Cardboard, wood screws, pencil
Tools: Tape measure
Difficulty Level: Easy

Make: brings us another round scratcher, but this one utilizes yet another different technique.

First, lay your cardboard flat. Using your tape measure, make marks every three inches following the lines in the cardboard. Draw a line to connect the marks you drew until the entire piece of cardboard is lined.

Roll up the cardboard and then step on it. This will make it easier to cut. After bending it enough, unroll it and cut down the lines you marked in pencil to create strips of cardboard.

Take one strip and roll it into a spiral. Press in one of your wood screws to hold it all together. Continuing where you left off, wrap another strip of cardboard around your original spiral. Add a screw at the end of the strip.

Keep adding your spirals and screws until the scratcher has reached the desired size.

7. Instructables Cat Igloo House Scratcher


Materials: Cardboard, pencil, compass, non-toxic glue
Tools: Utility knife, measuring tool
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This unique DIY scratcher from Instructables doubles as a cat house. It does require a bit more time and effort, but the result will be more than worth it.

This project comes with PDF measurements so you can ensure you’re getting every cut just right. The PDF clearly explains the size of each layer and the order they should be laid out, making this DIY quite simple, despite how long it takes to put it together.

8. DIY Cat Village


Materials: Cardboard, pencil, glue
Tools: Compass, utility knife
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This beautiful tree-stump-shaped scratcher from DIY Cat Village is an aesthetic and functional DIY project you can create in one afternoon.

First, lay your cardboard flat and, using your compass, draw a perfect circle in the middle of your first cardboard piece with your pencil. Next, draw your tree stump shape around the circle. Using your utility knife, cut out around the stump shape.

Lay another piece of cardboard down and, using your first cut-out shape as a stencil, trace around it.

Continue doing this over and over, progressively making some of the layers a bit larger to make it look like a real tree stump. The original creator made 90 layers.

Using your compass again, make a circle in the middle of 20 of your tree stump layers and cut them out using your utility knife.

Next, using your ruler, measure the inside depth of your 20 layers. Cut out several strips of cardboard that roughly are the same width as the depth of those 20 layers. Roll these strips into spirals, taping the ends as you go. You should be left with a big round spiral by the time you’ve taped all those strips together.

Using glue, glue the 20 tree stump pieces together one by one. After you’ve glued five or so layers, add the cardboard spiral and continue adding the stump pieces and gluing.

Take your remaining tree stump pieces (the ones you didn’t cut holes in the middle of) and glue them together. Once you’ve put those 70 layers together, add the 20 layers with the spiral between.

Wrapping Up

Cat scratchers are a must-have in any home with cats, especially if you want to save your furniture and carpet from destructive little kitty paws. These DIY scratchers are simple to throw together in just a few minutes and will give your cat endless hours of entertainment.

Featured Image Credit: Khairil Azhar Junos, Shutterstock