Friday, September 23, 2016

Cat Rope Bed DIY

Let me tell you a little story about a DIY that took me 2 days (see below!) and on completion was deemed unacceptable by our cats :( A rope bed that I dreamed up months and months prior and in these thoughts always pictured a happy little cat curled up sleeping inside - sigh. I probably should have heard warning bells after this failed attempt now sadly gone to the bin gods after sitting for months and months unused :( :( 

I'm a slow learner I guess :P 

Adding more fuel to my already burnt out heart, a piece of discarded wrapping paper (left over from Ben's birthday) was thoroughly enjoyed (played with + even slept on) for days and days getting a whole lot more action than my now failed DIY :P :P Give it a few more days, I kept repeating to myself over and over.  Try moving the bed into different locations, let's trick them, pretend it wasn't intended for them.  Yeah yeah, we all know where this is headed :P

Despite this now being a failed project I did actually learn quite a lot about building rope baskets and turning them into something that sort of looks like a bed.  Although I really can't say whether any cat would actually approve of the design, two definitely hated it so, yeah, heads up :P

What you'll need
I bought 100 meters of 3 strand twisted rope (diameter 6mm).  I didn't use the whole amount, although with hindsight maybe if I would have and made the bed super big the cats would of wanted to go inside it more ?!?! I dunno, I was under the impression cats loved small spaces?!?

Cotton thread I think I went through 2 rolls which is kind of unheard of for me with sewing projects

Sewing Machine - don't even think about hand sewing this!

INSTRUCTIONS (very loose!)
Create a base as flat as possible (photos above) and as wide as you want your bed.  I created a little side table using books which became super important/helpful in keeping my base flat. It's actually really easy for your base to go cone shaped, and I'll admit it's what happened on my first go and thus that "basket" became the top of the bed with its (unintentional!) pointy look! Unless you like the pointy top :P

To sew the rope, I found the stitch recommendations from Juliette Lanvers spot on (zigzag 5.5mm wide, length 3mm) and actually her whole tutorial was really really helpful!!

Very very important - put the center of the sewing machine foot in between the 2 lines of rope (see photos above and below) so it catches the base and the new rope as you go round in a circle. Don't pull the rope too tight but just guide it along - after a while the process becomes quite natural and slightly meditative and may also make you go slightly cross-eyed

Make sure, if you're not a super confident sewer you check ever now and again that the zigzag stitch has been catching both sides.  Holes take a lot more time to fix then going slow and checking! I speak from experience on this one.  Oh and the bobbin thread will run out more than once, so keep an eye on that!

When you have your base big enough start curving your basket up. I measured Gremlin our biggest cat and made it to his size but again, I probably could have made it a lot bigger! Another very important point is to sew the basket with the bulk of the base on the left hand side of your needle, it's going to get bigger and bigger and you'll find you'll run out of room if you attempt it over on the right

keep sewing and sewing and going cross eyed

ARGHHH holes! I think this is the first "basket" I made, the one with the very pointy top To fix the holes, I hand sewed them together - this took a very long time, so just check as you're machine sewing that everything is staying together - you may even need to widen your stitch if it isn't catching both sides.

Oncee I had my two "baskets" made I went about joining them.  Pretty straight forward from the photo above - I hope :)

Once joined, I needed an entrance, so I simply cut a huge hole - kind of crazy.  I did use a strip of rope which I machine sewed around the hole's edges to make it pretty and stop everything unraveling.  It actually looked pretty decent by the end - surprise shock

Peachy was very enthusiastic throughout the whole process never making me doubt for a second she wouldn't love it in the end :)

I did notice the entry was very droopy, so I came up with the idea to reinforce it with a wire coat hanger, which I snipped and wrapped with white electrically tape and then sewed in behind the entrance.

By this stage Ben had wondered why I hadn't come out of my bedroom in a while and found me looking cross eyed, wrapping wire and photographing my steps.  He kindly took this photo - thanks Ben!

Oh Peachy if only you could talk and tell me why you hated the finish product so much! If you scroll back to the top you can see I stuffed the bed with a pillow.  Actually it's the same pillow I made for the other failed cat bed *double cries* I couldn't bear to throw that pillow out because it's so damn cute

I will happily accept condolences from anyone, over the two days wasted on this DIY


  1. It looks reaaaallly cozy though. :(

    1. I would sleep in it if I could :P :P he he he


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