Will it Pinterest? Cat project #1

Disclaimer: This is a DIY project I did on my own and any attempt to replicate it is at your own risk. Do research and ask for help if you need it. I am not responsible for any damage or injury from any project you attempt to build.
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I love my cats and I love Pinterest. But just how practical are some of those cool ideas seen on the famous idea sharing site? I’m going to try to recreate one of the ideas I’ve seen Pinterest. Basically its recycling or reusing dresser drawers to use as shelves or cubbies for the cats to climb in and on. I’ve been wanting to try it for a couple of months and I think I finally have the materials to make it happen! Check me out.

Once upon a time I actually bought a set of cat furniture from a company called CatWallz(sp?). They were very high quality, durable upholstered pieces that had a “floating” effect on the wall. There were two shelves and sort of a tube-like thing that the casts could crawl through and peek out of.

 

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Very similar to this, although I can no longer find the company I used online…

 

I loved this furniture. They loved it. It was very cool and very expensive. I believe each piece was close to $100 each. And when I took moved from my apartment, the takedown did damage to both the walls and the units. The next time, I thought, I’ll do something cheaper and less destructive.

Pinterest actually came out about 3-4 years after and the plethora of ideas sprouting from that site put me in DIY heaven. I’ve got a long page of pinned ideas that I’ve yet to get around to trying, so this is the first. Most of those ideas require purchasing specialty materials or being lucky enough to come across them for free (wooden pallets, sisal rope, fallen tree pieces…). The dresser idea seemed practical since I regularly saw odd pieces of furniture being thrown out throughout the neighborhood. How hard could it be to come across a few dresser drawers?

Pretty hard actually. Over the past two months, I’ve collected a few tossed out dressers, but the ones I did bring home were too heavy or bulky to use. Then my neighbors threw out the perfect item. The dresser originally had six drawers but one was missing. These drawers were small enough for an adult cat to lay down inside and not too heavy to lift and maneuver while securing to a wall.

I ended up using only five of the drawers since the remaining one was damaged. I needed the boxes to be in good condition if I was going to rely on them to support the weight of my kitties several feet off the ground.  To keep the boxes on the wall, I’d also need to make sure I secured through the studs behind the drywall. Finally, I’d need some brackets to give some extra hold to the drawers against the wall.

The materials I used were:

  • Wooden/particle board dressers
  • Medium duty shelf brackets
  • 3 inch coarse drywall screws
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Power drill/cordless screwdriver
  • pencil
  • level piece of wood
  • ladder (optional)
  • carpet (optional)

There are several types of screws to choose from, I just chose what I thought was most suitable. The most important thing about the screws is that they are long enough to go an inch or two into the stud to hold the piece in place. Depending on the width of the drawer and the distance between the studs, only one stud line may be hit, but one is a minimum! Unless the drawers will be stacked on top each other in a way that will have extra support, the weight of a cat will not be supported by putting the drawers through drywall only!

First I used my stud finder to locate the studs and a pencil to mark their location. Next, I used a scrap piece of wood and level to mark a long line across to represent the top of where the drawer would go. When I go to attach the brackets to the wall, I make sure each bracket is flush with this line. This way, I know my drawer will be even when I hang it.

Holding the brackets in place, I take a pencil and mark both an outline and the screw holes of the bracket. Then I use my power drill to make holes on those hole marks. The holes I make should line up with the holes in the brackets. I’m not sure of the drill bit size, I have several sizes and I just pick the one closest to the diameter of the screw I’m using. The drill bit width should be equal to or less than the screw width being used. Once I have all my holes pre-drilled, it’s easy for the screws to be secured into place later.

With my brackets firmly on the wall, I carefully place a drawer on one set.  I want to secure the drawer to the wall, not just on the brackets, so I pre-drill holes in the back of the drawer as well and then screw them into place. These screws are also through a stud. Now, even though only one side of my drawer is secured through studs, there are at least four studs holding it. For the other side that is drywall only, anchors can be used in conjunction with the screws.

A small screw can be used to attach the bottom of the drawer to the top of the bracket to prevent any wiggle room, but for the most part, the dresser should be good and tight against the wall.

I used an extendable aluminum ladder for this project. I got it for $45 at a flea market. I thought it was a good price, but for the length of time I had to spend up on the ladder, my feet were uncomfortable. The risers were only about two inches wide. So the majority of my weight was focused on two inches of my foot creating a very painful pressure point. This made me need to shift around a lot while I was on the ladder, which is not something I want to be doing while balancing that high up.

One other difficulty I had was in finding a consistent distance of studs. The area I used was the wall behind my front door in the foyer. I think this small space may have used irregular spacing both horizontally and vertically. I also hit something that wasn’t a wooden stud as some points and had to go back in with a masonry bit to make sure my screws would go down flush to the wall.

Start to finish, I think this took me two hours and maybe fifteen minutes. That includes the times I had to climb down for a foot break, get the masonry bit when my regular one wasn’t enough, measuring and re-measuring for studs, and readjusting my ladder for the drawers I put higher up on the wall.

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Will it Pinterest? Yes! Was it worth it? The jury is still out on that one. The dresser drawers were free, but I spent more than $80 in supplies and two uncomfortable hours on a poorly designed ladder.

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Does it look cool? Darn tootin! I am very satisfied with the results and I think the cats appreciate my effort. I have one finishing touch, that is also optional. I have some scrap carpet that I am going to line the drawers with for some extra kitty comfort. I suppose if these drawers were visible from the ground I might put in attractive looking pillows that would complement the decor of my sitting room. Initially, I also wanted to spray paint the drawers to give them that extra “oomph”, but I will leave well enough alone and be content with a job well done.

 

A video of this is available in two parts on  my

YouTube channel catsdogsharmony “Will it Pinterest

This DIY was incorporated with the kitty condos I already had on hand, and I think they look quite good together. What do you think? Have you tried this Pinterest? How did it turn out? Was it as easy as you thought? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time, Keep the Harmony.

 

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