Our cats are jerks. I love them to death, don’t get me wrong, but they’re little jerks. We have two cat trees in our house and I have sacrificed and retired many a wall decoration due to their mischief behavior. At one point one of the little brats looked me in the eye as they knocked a glass shadow box to its end.
You can style these in numerous ways and orientations.
I have made it my mission to create cat-friendly wall decorations that the little boogers can destroy to their hearts content.. or just mess with and not give me a heart attack (like the time one cat almost swung Derek’s guitar off the wall). I also wanted to create this DIY because I was tired of having a white cat tree up against a white wall with nothing else around it. It just looked so empty and brought the whole room down. I have two cat decor DIYs to share, the second will be coming out later this week!
This DIY is made out of sisal rope. It is designed so that when my cats do their weird wall yoga activities they can scratch on the sisal and not mess anything up while I get to still have cute decorations in the corner the cat tree lives in. Let’s get to it!
Pet Safe Sisal Rope (I bought 100 feet from here, but didn’t use nearly all of it)
2 wooden embroidery hoops (my small one is 12″, the large is 14″)
Hot glue gun
Several hot glue sticks (I used about 10)
A fabric of choice that will fit 1/2 of your largest hoop with a little extra (any fabric that won’t fray too much after being cut, stretchy fabric works well too)
Strong scissors or another cutting tool to trim the sisal (it’s a strong one)
Catnip Spray (this is optional, but I wanted to make sure the little jerks actually used it)
The following is replicating the large hoop with half sisal rope and half fabric. The same method is used for the small one. You can also just coil sisal rope in the hoop to create an all sisal design using the same techniques below to mix it up.
First remove the inner part of the embroidery hoop. We will only need the inner embroidery hoop for this project (although you could make a second one if you don’t mind the rectangle piece of the outside hoop).
Hot glue the sisal rope to any section of the embroidery hoop. Make the sisal flush to one side of the hoop (see picture below). Hold in place until the hot glue has cooled.
Pull the rope across from the glued end to make one straight line. I just eyeballed what looked centered here, but you can measure with a fabric ruler. Cut the rope carefully so it will perfectly stretch across to the inside of the hoop (see pictures). Glue this end down straight across from the previously glued piece and hold it in place until the hot glue cools. This is a guide for now, but we will remove and use it again later. This is referred to as the guideline rope from now on.
Make sure your sisal rope has a nice straight edge by giving it a ‘haircut’ before gluing it down each time.
Start gluing the sisal rope around the hoop starting right below the guideline rope we just placed in steps 3 & 4. Glue the rope toward the front of the hoop by running a strip of hot glue in sections in the inside of the hoop toward the front (see picture). Working in sections, make your way all the way around to the other side of the guideline rope, stop gluing 1/2″ before the guideline rope.
Carefully cut the sisal rope to end right at the guideline rope and finish gluing it to the hoop.
Take the sisal rope and start by gluing it to the last piece of sisal glued down in step 6. Place the hot glue in a 2″ strip at the start of the last sisal laid and line up the new sisal to the guideline rope and hold in place until cooled. Continue gluing the new sisal rope piece to the side of the previous sisal piece until you get a 1/2″ away from the guideline rope. Cut the new sisal piece to the guideline rope and finish gluing to the previous sisal piece. Don’t glue to the guideline rope at any point.
Repeat step 7 until you have filled half of the circular hoop with sisal rope.
Remove the guideline rope by carefully pulling at it and using the tip of the hot glue gun to reheat the glue that it is stuck to the hoop with. Be careful and don’t pull too hard or you will break the embroidery hoop.
Trim your sisal end pieces making up the half circle as necessary to create a straight line (doesn’t need to be perfect, don’t take too much off though).
Flip the project over to where the sisal will lay flat onto the surface you are working on (see left photo below). Tape the back of the sisal with duct tape to give it support and prevent dipping in the center (see right photo below).
Place your fabric underneath half your embroidery hoop with about a 2″ overlay on all sides (don’t forget to overlap the sisal a bit too). Trace a large circle with pencil (or whatever) onto the fabric about 1″ away from the embroidery hoop.
Cut along the lines traced onto the fabric.
Place the fabric underneath the embroidery hoop again, lining it up evenly to have some overlay on all sides (including the side that meets up with the sisal). Cut small slits into the fabric along all the curved edges being careful to not cut too close to the embroidery hoop.
Take the fabric and working carefully, start hot gluing it to the front edge of the embroidery hoop. I find that flipping the hoop onto it’s front is the easiest. I will place the fabric into the hoop with the extra fabric coming out and glue a small 1″ strip down. Slowly work your way around the hoop until all the fabric is glued down. You can carefully peel off misplaced fabric if needed. Try to keep the fabric taut as you move along. Do not glue the bottom straight piece yet.
Once you are happy with the curved portion of the fabric, glue the guideline rope over top the ends of the sisal rope half circle and to the embroidery hoop.
Hot glue the final piece of loose fabric to the back side of the guideline rope to make an even and tight front piece. Trim excess fabric pieces if needed.
And you’re done! You can clean up any stray hot glue using the tip of the hot glue gun to sort of remelt the glue and easily peel it away or by using a hair dryer on concentrated spots (be careful not to melt hot glue that is holding the project together though)! You can also spray the final piece with some catnip spray to help entice the cats.
I hung my piece on some thumb tacks positioned on the top and sides to prevent it from moving too much or swaying.
Bonus Image: Cal was being crazy during this whole photo shoot, and this one made me crack up. Just casually doing some yoga poses.
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