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19 DIY Cardboard Cat Tree Plans You Can Make Today (With Pictures & Videos)

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

cat and cardboard box

Cats are fickle little things sometimes. They’ll eat the same food for years and then randomly grow an aversion to it and never touch it again. But if there is one thing that every cat loves, it’s a good cardboard box. They can’t resist the call of an empty box!

Everyone has cardboard in their home. Instead of tossing it into the recycling, why not use it to create a fortress for your cats?

Keep reading to find the best (and easiest) DIY cardboard cat tree plans you can whip up today.


Top 19 DIY Cardboard Cat Tree Plans

1. Cat Tree Box Fort by Kitty cat chronicles

DIY cardboard cat tree
Image Credit: Kittycatchronicles
Materials: Cardboard boxes
Tools: Box cutter, scissors, packing tape
Difficulty Level: Easy

This very simple cat tree plan doubles as a box fort for your kitty. If you’re looking for the easiest cardboard hangout for your pet, this is it. It’s likely that you already have all the materials and tools you’ll need at home, so there’s no need to make a trip to the store before you start.

Perhaps the best thing about this plan is how customizable it is. Don’t have a lot of spare cardboard right now? That’s okay. Start with a tunnel or two and add to it as your recycling starts stacking up.

2. Kitten House by Tu Man And Match stick

Materials: Cardboard boxes, pencil, fabric, sisal rope, yarn, ruler
Tools: Glue gun, box cutter
Difficulty Level: Advanced

This adorable kitten house is perfect if you have kittens or smaller cats in your home. Of course, if your kitties are on the bigger side, you can customize the house to fit your needs.

As you can tell by looking at this tree, it’s a lot more intricate than some of the others you’ll be looking at today. We love the unique touches like sisal rope around the portholes that make this DIY cat tree not only safer for your pet but nicer to look at, too. The stairs, albeit likely not functional, are adorable and the cozy sleeping spots make this a purr-fect addition to your cat’s furniture.

3. Cardboard Box Treehouse by Creativity Window

Materials: Cardboard boxes, pencil or chalk, rope
Tools: Box cutter, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Moderate to advanced

This cardboard box cat tree also acts as a house and a pretty awesome hangout. We love that the creator included a cardboard ball on a rope toy. We all know how much cats can’t resist dangly toys. The peek-a-boo windows are another great addition that’ll give your kitties hours of entertainment.

This is another highly customizable DIY cardboard tree. You can make it as tall as you like, provided you have enough sturdy boxes.

4. A Cardboard Castle Fit for Royalty by Cuteness

Materials: Boxes, non-toxic acrylic paint, paintbrush, permanent marker, hot glue gun, wooden dowels, felt, twine, duct tape
Tools: Box cutter, scissors
Difficulty Level: Moderate to advanced

Your cat is likely the king or queen of your home so why not give them a castle to complement their title? This epic DIY castle might take you an afternoon or two to put together but the time and effort will be more than worth it.

If you have children, they’ll love to help you build this tree. Let them do the artistic tasks like painting the cardboard and drawing on the stones.

Feel free to get a little creative while decorating the castle and with what you adorn it with. The original creators use fake plants, real cat-friendly plants, and even a water fountain to make their cat’s fortress a hangout they probably won’t ever want to leave.

5. PetSmart DIY Cat Condo by Pet Smart

Materials: Cardboard boxes, tape, glue, markers,
Tools: Box cutter
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

PetSmart brings us this fun cardboard cat condo that provides personal space and doubles as a high-rise kitty condo and play zone. The easy-to-follow tutorial is a cat’s dream hangout.

Be sure to use a safe, non-toxic glue when assembling your cat condo. Measure all doorways to ensure your kitty can fit through safely. Use your imagination when decorating the exterior of the castle.

6. Cardboard Cat Tower by How2E

Materials: Cardboard boxes, packing tape
Tools: Box cutter
Difficulty Level: Easy

It doesn’t get any easier than this cardboard play tower. All you need are several sturdy cardboard boxes and a box cutter to create a tower that your cat will love to scale again and again.

Packing tape is an absolute must for this DIY. You will need to attach each box to the one below it to create a sturdy tower for your cat to scale.

Don’t forget to add a peephole or two if your boxes don’t have handles so your cat can keep watch while they’re in their tower.

7. Battlement Tower by Thehonestkitchen

DIY cardboard cat tree
Image Credit: Thehonestkitchen
Materials: Cardboard boxes, pen, paint, glue
Tools: Box cutters or scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

If this cat tree looks a bit like a battlement tower, that’s because it’s modeled after one. We recommend finding the heaviest duty boxes you can for this tower. Your cat will probably want to get up to the highest point to look down at their kingdom, so the sturdier the box, the better.

8. Flower Tower by Instructables

DIY cardboard cat tree
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Cardboard boxes, tape, décor, cozy bedding, markers
Tools: Hot glue gun, scissors, or box cutter
Difficulty Level: Easy

One of the things we love about this cardboard flower tower is how customizable the design is. You can use boxes of varying sizes and strengths to create this tower while simultaneously emptying your recycling bin.

Once you have built the base, get creative with the décor. The original creators of this design used fake vines as well as leaves cut out of craft paper to give the tower a jungle look.

9. Tower with Solarium by EverXFun

Materials: Cardboard, pencil
Tools: Ruler, box cutter, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Advanced

If you want to create a cardboard cat tree that challenges your building skills, look no further than this amazing DIY tree from EverXFun. This cat condo is made from sturdy cardboard, so be sure to pick the heaviest duty boxes you can find. The stronger the tower, the more comfortable your kitty will feel scaling it.

We loved the unique look of this DIY, especially the rounded “solarium” with the bed on top. This beautiful kitty hangout will be something you can proudly display in your home.

Related Read: Cat Solarium Review – Pros, Cons & Why Your Cat Needs One

10. Cardboard Tower with Stairs by KmiX

Materials: Cardboard boxes, pencil
Tools: Box cutter, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Advanced

Don’t let the advanced look of this staired tower scare you away. While this tower is a bit more difficult to make than some of the others we’ve looked at so far, it’ll be worth all the effort when it’s complete. The stairs will be the hardest part of crafting this tree, so once those are done, it’ll be smooth sailing.

11. Mini Tower with Stairs by KmiX

Materials: Cardboard boxes, pencil
Tools: Hot glue gun, box cutter
Difficulty Level: Advanced

This cat tower is a great way to provide your cat with a fun playhouse as well as a cozy sleeping spot. The cut-outs on the front are just the perfect size for your kitty to peek through and stick his paws through.

As with the other trees with perches, you’ll need to ensure you’re using the sturdiest boxes you can find. Nothing turns a cat off more from a cat tree than a bit of wobble.

12. Large Cardboard Castle by KmiX

Materials: Cardboard boxes, pencil
Tools: Hot glue gun, box cutter
Difficulty Level: Advanced

We can’t get enough of the royalty-themed cat trees, in case you haven’t noticed yet. This cardboard castle is large enough for more than one cat to play in at the same time, and you best believe there may be a battle for the throne in multi-cat households.

This DIY will prove to be a bit of a challenge, but your cats won’t be able to get enough of the peekaboo cut-outs and hiding spots.

13. Cat Playhouse by Martha stewart

DIY cardboard cat tree
Image Credit: Marthastewart
Materials: Cardboard boxes, printable door and window templates, bone folder, self-healing cutting mat
Tools: Box cutter, ruler, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Easy

Who’d have thought that one day we’d be taking cardboard cat tower advice from none other than Martha Stewart? This DIY is easy to follow though you will need some niche materials you might not already have at home (like a self-healing cutting mat).

The end result is a rather nice-looking playhouse you should be proud to display in your home. Plus, your kitty will adore the multi-level design and how tall this tower makes them.

14. Modular Cardboard Cat Tree by Simple Method

DIY Modular Cardboard Cat Tree
Image Credit: Simple Method, YouTube
Materials: Cardboard, rope, decorations
Tools: Box cutter, ruler, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Moderate

A Modular Cardboard Cat Tree can be a versatile and customizable space for your feline friend. The design revolves around constructing individual cardboard modules in various sizes and shapes. That may include cubes, ramps, and platforms.

These modules connect with the help of a sturdy adhesive to form a unique and interactive cat tree. The design allows you to experiment with different arrangements and configurations. You can adjust the height, shape, and layout by stacking the modules in various ways.

15. Wall-Mounted Cardboard Cat Tree by Practical Engineering

DIY Wall-Mounted Cardboard Cat Tree
Image Credit: Practical Engineering, YouTube
Materials: Rubber bands, Gorilla glue, pen, cardboard
Tools: Tape measure, cut-resistant gloves, razor knife
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This Wall-Mounted Cardboard Cat Tree is a space-saving way to create a climbing and resting area for your cat. It includes sturdy cardboard platforms attached to the wall at varying heights. These platforms provide elevated spaces for your cat to climb, jump, and perch.

Cover the cardboard with fabric, carpet squares, or cushions for comfort. These coverings can be attached to the platforms with adhesive, staples, or Velcro strips.

16. Cardboard Scratcher Tree by DIY CAT VILLAGE

DIY Cardboard Scratcher Tree
Image Credit: DIY CAT VILLAGE, YouTube
Materials: Cardboard, sisal rope, adhesive
Tools: Box cutter, scissors, measuring tape
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This Cardboard Scratcher Tree is the perfect spot for your feline friend to unwind. This plan creates a scratching surface and doubles as a box fort for endless entertainment. The best part? It’s incredibly easy to create! You can find most of the materials and tools you need right at home.

With this plan, customization is key. If you find yourself short on spare cardboard, no worries! You can start with a few essential elements, like a tunnel or two, and expand it as your recycling stash grows.

17. Cat-Shaped Cardboard Cat Tree by Box Yourself

DIY Cat-Shaped Cardboard Cat Tree
Image Credit: Box Yourself, YouTube
Materials: Cardboard, paint, markers
Tools: Box cutter, hot glue gun, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Hard

The Cat-Shaped Cardboard Cat Tree is an adorable yet functional space for your cat. But it’s also a delightful artwork that adds a touch of whimsy to your home. Your furry friend will appreciate the unique design and cozy perches, giving them a special place to rest and play.

For an extra touch of feline fun, you can add cut-out ears, a tail, or even painted features to resemble your cat. Let your imagination run wild while you personalize the cat-shaped cardboard cat tree. You can match it to your cat’s personality or your home decor.

18. Cardboard Cat Pyramid Tree by Westchester Public Library

DIY Cardboard Cat Pyramid Tree
Image Credit: Westchester Public Library, YouTube
Materials: Cardboard, glue, duct tape, marker
Tools: Box cutter, metal yardstick
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Since many Egyptian deities had uncanny feline appearances, building your cat a Cardboard Cat Pyramid Tree is only fitting. This pyramid serves as a multi-level cat tree. That means your feline friend with various platforms to climb, perch, and relax on.

The best part of this plan is that you can customize this cat pyramid any way you want. Using a hot glue gun, you can cover it in rope to serve as a scratching post. This way, your very own feline deity will feel right at home in her pyramid.

19. Cardboard Cat Tree With Ladder by EverXFun

DIY Cardboard Cat Tree With Ladder
Image Credit: EverXFun, YouTube
Materials: Thumbtacks, pencils, decorations
Tools: Hot glue gun, box cutter, measuring tape
Difficulty Level: Hard

Cats are natural climbers, so your pet will love this Cardboard Cat Tree With Ladder.

First, cut the cardboard into the required shapes and sizes for the panels and platforms. Assemble the vertical sections by connecting the cardboard panels with glue. Place the platforms at various heights to create comfortable perches for your cat.

Next, construct the ladder using extra cardboard. Add scratching surfaces, like sisal rope or carpet, to the ladder rungs. This will encourage your cat to engage in natural scratching behavior.


How Can I Make My Cat Tree Less Wobbly?

No cat is going to touch a cat tree that wobbles when they try to scale it. If you’re noticing your cardboard tree sways with the weight of your cat, you need to take some steps to stabilize it.

Most cat trees, even the ones you buy at the store, are inherently flawed. They are tall structures with very small bases, which is really what’s to blame for the wobbliness.

Try widening the base of your DIY tree if you’re noticing some wobble. You can do this by attaching a piece of plywood to the bottom of the tree. You can also try weighing down the base with things like magazines or dumbbells.

Where Is the Best Place to Put a Cat Tree?

The best place to put your cat tree is in a room where your cat can both play and nap. Chances are your creation is going to be your cat’s new favorite piece of furniture, so be sure you put it somewhere where they’ll still be a part of the family. Your kitty will want to watch what’s going on in the home from the highest perch, so putting it in a living or family room is a great choice.

You might also consider putting the tree near a window. Cats love to watch birds and people, so a spot by a big window will allow them to do both.



Taking on a DIY cardboard cat tree project is a great way to spend an afternoon. You’ll get to flex your creativity muscles and can even enlist the help of your children (though we recommend leaving the box cutting to the adults). When it’s all said and done, you can be proud of your creation and spend countless hours watching your cat explore and play on their new favorite toy.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: tranmautritam, Pixabay

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