GADGETS & ACCESSORIES

DIY Cardboard Cat House: How to Make a Cozy Cat Nest from Boxes

diy cardboard house for a cat
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

At some point, everyone has an empty box or two just lying around the house. But before you manage to place it in the recycle bin, your cat has claimed it as her new favorite place. Almost every cat is crazy about cardboard boxes. Cats love to hide and sleep in them. However, as much as you are glad for your cat, the bare box simply isn’t as aesthetically appealing as the rest of your cat’s furniture. Fortunately, there are so many DIY cardboard cat house projects that will transform a simple box into a house that both you and your cat will love.

Already-built cardboard cat houses are often very expensive. Why spend money on something that you can easily make yourself? Treat your cat by transforming a simple box into a luxurious cat house. You can even add custom features such as your cat’s favorite toys dangling from the roof or a special design.

Already-built cardboard cat house

All projects in this article are cheap and easy to make. With your cat’s love for plain boxes, you can be sure that she will absolutely adore her new decorated cardboard home.

In this article, you will find several different ideas on how to use an empty box and turn it into a cat home. Here you will find step by step instructions for a few DIY cardboard cat houses. Whether you are less experienced or you already have a few DIY projects under your belt, you will find what you need here.

How to Make 4 Types of Cat House from Cardboard Boxes

cardboard boxes

It is in a cat’s nature to find secluded small places and hide in them. That’s why most cats love to spend time hiding and sleeping in empty boxes.

There are many ways to transform a plain-looking box into a nice-looking cat house that will become your cat’s favorite place to lounge in. And if you are feeling more adventurous and think that your cat deserves a house fit for a king or a queen, we will also show you how to make a cardboard cat castle.

Project #1: Easy DIY Cardboard Cat House

We will start our list of DIY cardboard cat houses with this easy project suitable for people who have little to no prior experience with DIY projects. For this DIY project, you will need:

  • A cardboard box

  • A cardboard sheet for the roof

  • A utility knife

  • A ruler

  • A hot glue gun

  • Decorations of your choosing—paint, colored paper, ribbons, etc.

You will notice that we didn’t put down the measurements of the cardboard box. That’s because the size of your cat will determine the size of the box you need.

  • The first step in the process of making this cardboard house is to pick a box that will nicely fit your cat.

  • When you have your box and other supplies ready, use a utility knife to cut two flaps from the longer side of the box.

  • Use a marker and a ruler to draw two lines that will make a triangle that will serve as a support for the roof. The easiest way to do this is to mark the middle of the cardboard flap and then draw two lines that will connect the corners of the flaps’ base with the mark in the middle.

  • Repeat this process with the remaining flap, and cut the excess cardboard. The end result should be two triangles of the same size.

  • Now it is time to make a roof for your house. Cut the sheet of cardboard and fold it in half to create a center ridge. While cutting a cardboard sheet for the roof, the only thing you need to pay attention to is that the roof needs to be at least couple of inches extended from all sides of the house.

  • Before you assemble the house together, use a ruler to draw windows and doors on your house. The beauty of DIY projects is that you can customize this part and make windows and doors of any shape and size for your cat house. When you are done with marking, use a utility knife to cut the holes that will serve as the entrance and the windows.

  • When you are finished with that, it is time for your cat cardboard house to get its shape. Use a hot glue gun to attach the roof to the house. When everything is secure and dry, you can start with the decorations.

  • This is the fun part. You can paint or decorate the outside of your cat cardboard house however you like. Use paint to cover that plain-looking color of the cardboard. Paint or glue some flowers, your cat’s name, a mailbox, or anything else that will make your cat’s house more appealing. Also, remember that cats see certain colors better than others, so making it look colorful to them will certainly help in luring them in.

  • For final touches, you can place a blanket or a pillow inside the house to make your cat feel comfortable. Place some of your cat’s favorite toys inside the house, or attach a feather or a small mouse to dangle over the front door. To make your cat even more interested in investigating her new home, place a bowl of cat food in front of it and wait for her to get inside.

Project #2: Shingled Cardboard Cat House

shingled cardboard cat house

Our second choice for DIY cardboard cat house is similar to the first pick and also easy to make. However, this option will take more time to finish because you will have to draw and cut shingles for the roof. For this project, you will need:

  • 2 cardboard boxes

  • A utility knife

  • Painters tape (optional)

  • Cardstock

  • Hot glue

  • Scissors

  • Paper straw, paint, and other decorations (optional)

Here’s how you make a cardboard cat house decorated with beautiful roof shingles:

  • Pick up one cardboard box that will have enough space to fit your cat snugly. If the box is in bad shape, you can use painters tape to secure the bottom flaps tightly together. If your box is in good shape and steady, you can skip this step.

  • The next thing to do is to use a utility knife to cut two flaps on the longer side of the box.

  • Use a ruler to find the center on one of the remaining flaps and draw a line that will connect the center with each corner of the flap.

  • Repeat the previous step for the other remaining flap and use your utility knife to cut along the lines to get two triangles that will support the roof.

  • Now you are ready to make a door on your cat’s new house. Draw a rectangle and use a utility knife to cut along the top, bottom, and down the center of the rectangle. This way you will get two flaps that can serve as double doors.

  • If you want the cat house to have round windows, you can use a glass to outline the circle and then divide it into four quadrants. Use your utility knife to cut out four pie shapes to create your window. This is an option for a smaller window that needs to be placed on the triangle support above the doors, but you can make it any shape you want or don’t make it at all.

  • Now it is time to draw the main windows on the sides of the house. Draw a square and divide it into fourths and use a utility knife to cut four equal quadrants—leaving the cross shape in the center of the window.

  • To place a roof over your cat’s cardboard house, you need to cut two sides off the second box and tape them together. The place where they are taped is your center ridge. Place the roof, and with painters tape, attach it to the house.

  • When the cat’s house is assembled completely, use a paint roller or a brush to paint the house in any desired color. Paint the house in several layers if necessary and let it dry completely.

  • While the paint is drying up, draw a rounded roof shingle template from the leftover cardboard and cut it. Use this template to draw shingles on the cardstock. When you’re done, cut them. This is probably the most time-consuming part in the making of this house, but it’s worth it.

  • When you are done creating shingles and the paint is dry, use hot glue to attach the rows of shingles to the roof. Start from the bottom and overlap each row over another just a little.

  • When the whole roof is covered in shingles, it is time for some extra decorations. You can paint or glue something on the side of the house, and paint a welcome sign above the front door. Use a paper straw and glue it on both doors to serve as a door handle. Use your imagination and accessories to leave your personal stamp on your cat’s new home.

  • Place a blanket or a pillow inside the house to make your cat feel more comfortable and warm. Let your cat investigate and get familiar with her soon-to-be new favorite place for her afternoon nap. You can encourage her even more by placing a bowl of cat food by the front door or placing a few cat treats inside.

Project #3: Two Story Cat Cardboard House

Two story cat cardboard house

For those of you who are up for a challenge, we’ve included a DIY cardboard two story cat house. This is the perfect project for those of you who have more time to spare and more empty boxes. For this two-story cat heaven, you will need:

  • 3 same-size boxes

  • A pencil

  • A ruler

  • A utility knife

  • A hot glue gun

This house is a bit more complicated to make than the two previous ones, but it’s worth it. Here’s how you assemble everything together:

  • Before you start to assemble this type of cardboard cat house, you need to make a door and windows on two of your three boxes. Draw the outlines for the windows on the sides of the boxes and cut them with the utility knife. Depending on your vision of the end result, you can go with square or circular windows.

  • When you are done with that, cut the two longer-sided flaps that are at the top side of the box, and then cut half of the flap from one short side. After that, use hot glue to attach the half of the flap to the remaining whole flap. This way you will create a hole that your cat will use to climb to the second floor of her house.

  • Now it is time to work on your second box and to make a roof. Cut one long side flap, and draw triangles on both of the short side flaps.

  • Use a ruler to measure the center of the short-sided flap and then draw lines that will connect it with the bottom corners. Repeat this process on the other short side flap.

  • When you take a closer look at your flap, you will see that it now contains three triangles. You will need to cut just one of the triangles, and that one should be closer to the long side of the box where you’ve already removed one flap.

  • Do the same thing with the other short side flap and then fold the same triangle that is on the other side, but don’t cut it.

  • With the utility knife, cut one long side flap from the bottom of your second box, and also cut one short side flap. This will create a hole so your cat will have access to the second floor.

  • Glue the bottom of the second box. Place some glue on the top of the first box and attach it to the bottom of the second one. When doing this, make sure that when the boxes are glued to one another, both holes line up. If your cat is on the heavier side and you aren’t sure that the second floor can sustain her weight, use the leftover cardboard and glue it to the floor for extra support.

  • To finish your roof, use a hot glue gun to attach the smaller triangle that you didn’t cut to the short side of the long-sided flap. Repeat the same process with another side.

  • Now cut the sheet of cardboard from the third box and fold it in the middle to create the center ridge of your roof. Place a generous amount of glue to the folded triangle pieces of the cardboard on the second level of your house and glue the roof to them. Don’t glue the other side of the roof closed; your cat will love peeking underneath it.

  • If you want, you can paint and decorate this two-story mansion, or leave it just the way it is. Place your cat’s new house in a corner or by the window and watch while she excitedly explores the second floor.

Project #4: Cardboard Cat Castle

Cardboard сat сastle

If a simple house isn’t enough for your cat, you can easily make a cardboard cat castle that is fit for kings and queens. For this project, you will need:

  • 3 cardboard boxes

  • A utility knife

  • A pencil

  • Glue

  • Paint (optional)

Making a castle for your cat is simpler than it seems. Here’s how you do it:

  • Lay your cardboard boxes flat on the ground next to each other. They don’t have to be assembled just yet.

  • Use a pencil to draw windows and a door. We recommend that you go with an arched shape, since it’s more castle-like, but you can also go with any shape you want. If you want, you can draw two doors, so your cat can have exits on both floors. When all the windows and doors are ready, use the utility knife to cut them.

  • Now you can assemble the boxes in their normal shape and glue the bottom and the top flaps of both boxes, so you have both boxes sealed but still separate from each other.

  • Use a utility knife to cut a small opening on the top of your first box. Now take your second box and cut a same-sized hole in the bottom of it. These holes will make a path for your cat to get from the first floor to the second, so make sure that they are large enough for her to get through.

  • Now it is time to make a roof for your castle. You probably know how castles look, so replicate the look of castle walls onto your third box, and then cut it accordingly.

  • When everything is ready, you can now assemble your cat castle. Place a generous amount of glue on the top of your first box and then glue it to the bottom of the second one and make sure that the holes inside line up. Glue the roof to the top of the second box and your castle is finished.

  • You can paint the castle in one color, or make stone-like patterns for a more authentic appearance. Or you can leave it just the way it is. You can also design a special flag for your cat and place it on the castle walls.

  • Put a pillow or a blanket inside to make your cat feel more comfortable and warm inside her brand new fortress.

Wrap Up

cat sitting in cardboard house

We hope that you liked our four picks for DIY cardboard cat house and that you will try to make one for your cat. We chose these projects because they are all easy to make. Also, they cost nothing compared to already-assembled cardboard cat houses that you can buy online or in pet stores.

If you’re willing to just spare a little time for one of these simple DIY projects, you will soon rid your house and garage from unused boxes and create something special and unique for your cat.

Have you ever made a cardboard house for your cat? If so, please share your ideas in the comments section below. If, instead of a house, your cat prefers to live in a cave because of how down-to-earth she is, check out this article on how to make a cat cave DIY.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.

1 Comment

  • wao, Its just amazing. Very creative! This one is an out of this world concept of cardboard. Very realistic it is. Thaks for sharing such amazing ideas.

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