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!
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!
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)
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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!
Hang it on a doorknob and let your kitties enjoy!
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.
Much better now, right?
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?
Want to see the rest of the Caturday posts? Here they are!
these awesome parties!
Paul Schliesser says
If you simply leave off the rope handle, this would make a great horizontal scratcher. Simply lay it on the floor and I guarantee you, your cats will use it. This allows them to sharpen their rear claws.
Jessi Wohlwend says
Great idea! One of our cats is a horizontal scratcher, so we actually do put it on the floor sometimes and just hook the rope handle under a table leg or something so the cat doesn’t drag it all over the place as he scratches. 🙂
Theresa @DearCreatives says
I need to make one or two for my cats. Thanks for the tutorial. Pinned & Shared.
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!!
Jessi Wohlwend 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!
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!
Jessi Wohlwend says
Good luck with it Patrice! Let me know if you have any questions!
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!
Jessi Wohlwend says
Haha, good luck and I hope it works!
Trish @ Uncommon says
What a pretty and functional craft! Your kitties are adorable, too! Thanks for sharing with us this week!
Betsy @ Romance on a Dime says
You did a great job in recreating the scratching post!! Nice job. Thanks for linking up at Romance on a dime.
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!
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. 🙂
[email protected] to the Basics! 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!
Lori @ EclecticMamma says
Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I featured your post on Sugar Bee Crafts! 🙂
Awesome, thanks so much for the feature!
This is BRILLIANT! I will be making 2 or 3 of these as soon as I can get the materials! Thanks!
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. ^_^
LOL, a fake trash can for rummaging around in would be awesome!