DIY Sisal Scratching Post

It’s time for another Caturday post here at Practically Functional, and today I’m going to share a quick tutorial for a DIY sisal scratching post you can hang over a doorknob!

Make your own hanging sisal scratching post with sisal rope, a wooden board, and wood glue!

UPDATE: It’s now been about nine months since I made this hanging sisal scratching post, and it is still good as new! The cats still use it every day and the rope is still firmly attached to the board; it hasn’t started drooping or sliding off at all!

One of our cats is a little picky about his scratching post and refuses to use the free-standing scratching posts we have. So we bought a sisal board that hangs on a doorknob, and he seems to like it. But after about six months it totally fell apart from him scratching on it every day!

Original sisal scratching board

He still loved to scratch on it, but it was pretty ugly looking at this point, so I decided to recreate it!

DIY Hanging Sisal Scratching Post

Here’s what you need:

  • a piece of wood
  • sisal rope
  • wood glue
  • gardening gloves (optional)

Sisal scratching board supplies

Note: Sisal rope comes in many different thicknesses, so I suggest just doing some quick math based on the thickness of your rope and the size (length and circumference) of your piece of wood. I bought two rolls of 50-foot 1/4″ sisal rope to cover my board, but I only ended up using one. Never hurts to have extra though!

Sisal is pretty rough stuff, so if you have work gloves or gardening gloves, you may want to use them! I did this whole project using my bare hands and it wasn’t painful, but by the end I had tons of tiny scratches and scrapes all over my hands and they were rough like sandpaper.

I still had some extra pieces of pallet leftover from making the bath shelf, so I just used one of those boards for this project.

Start at one end of your board and spiral the sisal around the bottom of the board, gluing it in place as you go. Wood glue is EXTREMELY strong once it is dry, but it takes a bit of time to dry. So go slow, at least at the beginning.

DIY Hanging Sisal Scratching Post

I started with just one turn, glued it, and waited for the glue to dry. Rubber bands are super helpful for holding stuff in place while it dries! Once that first curve was dry I did one more full coil, glued it, and waited for that to dry. And so on…

Once the entire bottom was covered and I got to wrapping the main part of the board, it went much faster. If the glue on the bottom few coils is dried and holding well, you can wrap and glue the rest of the board all in one go without having to wait for glue to dry on each individual coil.

Place a thin strip of glue in the crevice between the board and the previous coil of rope, then wrap the sisal rope over and press up (or down depending which way you hold your board; just make sure you press towards the previous coil). Make sure to keep tension on the rope and press the new coils down into the old ones to keep them compacted as you glue. This way your scratching board can stand up to a bunch of abuse from a cat when you’re finished. :-)

DIY Hanging Sisal Scratching Post

Keep wrapping and gluing until you get about two inches from the other end.

Cut about a foot of sisal rope off the other end of the sisal piece you are working with to make the loop for hanging the board (you don’t want to cut it where you are currently wrapping or you’ll interrupt the continuity of the wrapping). Glue one end of the short piece of sisal down onto the long, skinny side edge of the board.

Finishing the sisal board

Glue the other end of the loop onto the other skinny edge of your board. Continue wrapping your main piece of sisal rope as before, making sure to wrap around the ends of the loop piece as well.

Finishing the sisal board

Wrap all the way to the top and finish off with a spiral on the end of the board, the same way you started it. Wrap a few rubber bands around the whole thing to hold it in place while the glue on the final spiral dries. Once the glue is dry, you’re done!

Finishing the sisal board

Hang it on a doorknob and let your kitties enjoy!

Finished Sisal Board

Finnegan got so excited he jumped all the way up onto it! I guess the fact that it didn’t break and drop him is a testament to how strong that wood glue is! And this was only about twenty minutes after I finished the whole thing. Once the glue is dry it’s totally ready to go; it doesn’t need any time to cure or harden or anything.

Finished Sisal Board

Finished Sisal Board

Much better now, right?

Before and After Sisal Board

The cats are very happy with it, and I like having a scratching post that isn’t so beat-up looking. :-)

Have you ever made a scratching post or something similar (toys, climbing trees, etc.) for your pets?

Caturday @ Practically Functional:

Want to see the rest of the Caturday posts? Here they are!


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Hi, I'm Jessi! Welcome to Practically Functional, a blog about real projects that real people can actually do! You don't have to be a pro in order to craft or do DIY projects; Practically Functional is full of projects for everyday life that anyone can do, regardless of skill or experience! Whether you're looking for fun crafts, DIY projects both big and small, gardening advice, cleaning tips, or quick and easy recipes, you'll find them here! Follow the step by step instructions in every tutorial, and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions! Make sure you subscribe to free weekly emails so you don't miss a single tutorial!

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  1. Katie says

    I <3 that picture of Finnegan clinging to the post. So cute!

    Too bad the dogs don't need a scratching post. They need a fake trash can they can knock over and rummage around in, or something. ^_^

  2. says

    I love it! Before we adopted another baby (lucy) we bought a ginormous tower for everyone to enjoy. I think we need to make a few of these for our house.
    Btw…I have a female black cat (the Princess) and her name is Rita. She’s pretty picky also!

  3. says

    Your kitties are so lucky! I love the photo of your cat attached to the new scratching post :) My cat has a great big tower scratching post but really only uses the center beam so she might be interested in something like this. We’re very lucky to have a cat who has never scratched the furniture (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!). The worst damage she does it picking at the rug when she’s happy.

    Have a great weekend!

    • says

      Haha, thanks Claire! And not to jinx ourselves either, but neither of our cats scratch the furniture. Puck does pick at the sisal rug in the kitchen when he gets really excited, but it’s just an outdoor entryway rug anyways, so that doesn’t matter too much. :-)

  4. says

    LOVE IT!

    We’ve got a little girl who just loves to scratch at the pantry door (she knows that’s where we keep her toys!). I think one of these would do wonders for redirecting her behavior–and giving all the “kids” a new place to scratch& stretch!

    I’m on this tonight!

  5. Patrice says

    I am so glad I found this! I just wasted hours driving around looking for a replacement for the hanging sisal scratching board my grandson broke. I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow!
    Best regards.

  6. Noel says

    Jessi, How cool. Simple, inexpensive, and durable = elegant design. I found you because I was looking at ways to attach rope to two vertical wooden posts that my kitties have taken to without leaving a strong residue of glue for whenever I move out. Still working on that one but you’ve given me new ideas. Thanks!!

    • says

      Maybe hot glue would work? You can always pull hot glue off of things later, once it’s dried. It won’t be super strong and the rope might move around a little if your kitties scratch ferociously, but if the rope is wrapped around the post pretty tightly it should hold well enough! Or, you could wrap a piece of thick fabric around the post first, like canvas or duckcloth or a tarp even, then glue the rope to that. The glue shouldn’t go through the fabric to the wooden post underneath, but if you wrap a single piece of rope around the post and fabric a bunch of time, the fabric should stay held on the post pretty well just from the tension of it! I hope you get something figured out, and I’d love to see photos of it if you do!

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