Cat Wall – DIY project

I started working on the cat wall last year, approximately 9 months ago. Thanks to self isolation and social distancing, I found myself with more time than I know what to do with. Last week, I also had two days of holiday with my destination as the shed(topia), so no excuse not to finish this lingering project.

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I originally had much bigger plans than what it turned out to be, however, the two other walls I was going to use aren’t suitable to have anything of any substance put into them, so it was scaled back to a one wall feature.

So heres what I bought to make this wall possible

  • 2 Bubble Domes for the bubble seats from Amazon
  • 2 Wall mounted cat beds from Zooplus
  • 8 Wall brackets from Ikea – I used Ekby Valter but is no longer available
  • 4 Shelves from Ikea
  • Wood  and screws – I had some left over from the pond enclosure I made last year
  • Primer, paint, paint brushes and clear acrylic spray paint
  • Wallpaper and glue – I used spray glue but if I had to do it again Id use Mod Podge
  • Wall plugs – extra heavy because I have Maine Coons
  • The small scratching post as a step up to the cat wall for the cats

I actually made 4 shelves but I only needed to use 3

Now the step by step tutorial on making a super awesome cat wall, which to date my cats are still not very impressed with.

 

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Wall mounted cat beds:

  1. These automatically come with velcro stapled onto it for the cat bed to attach to it, get your pliers out and remove ALL of the staples, this is tedious and I was hoping my circle would be big enough that they would be cut out but sadly no.
  2. Using the Bubble Dome fence attachment bit (technical term and refer to above picture, top left) mark out the size of the circle, inside circumference of the circle and then saw it out. It was a tight squeeze with the saw at the bits where it mounts to the wall. I did drill a few holes first around the circle to fit the saw blade into.
  3. Sand down your rough edges and they will be rough.
  4. Make sure the bubble fits (top middle pic), I did need to make a few adjustments.
  5. Drill the holes as per the fence attachment, which is how you will attach the doom at a later stage. I made the mistake of doing this after I painted it and had further chipping from the wood, which meant more painting.
  6. I then primed the wood and then painted them the different colours. I knew the cat wall shelves were going against a very white wall and wanted them to visually pop, hence my choice in colours. I also fell in love with the wall paper and then found the paint to match it. I did 2 coats of primer and then 3 coats of the colours.

2Brackets:

  1. Prime them, I did 2 coats
  2. Paint them, I did 3 coats.

 

3Shelves

  1. Because my cats are big, they like to be enclosed, ie not fall out when they roll over.  I realised that I needed to create an enclosed shelf, to stop any injuries. I had wood left over from making a pond enclosure from scratch last year and measured it all out, cut it all down to size – 1 front rail and then 2 side pieces per shelf, sanding down all the wood edges.
  2. I then covered the side shelf rails in wall paper. I used spray glue for ease and convenience.
  3. I screwed the front rail into the shelves, so that you wont see the screw when its covered in wall paper and on the wall.
  4. I then covered the shelves with wall paper. I decided to cover the bottom of the shelf, wrapping the paper over the front and having it finish on the inside of the front shelf. People cant see into the shelves, so no need to cover them and I thought the cats might damage the paper with their claws, so just leave it as is.
  5. I glued the bottom of the self first, attached the paper and then glued the front, edge and back of rail, wrapping the paper over the rail, in 2 steps.
  6. I then screwed the side rails to the main shelf.
  7. I then spray painted them with a clear acrylic for extra shine but also to cover any stickiness left over from the glue. I really dont want the cats to stick to the shelves!

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Creating the cat wall

  1. I measured out my wall to understand what my mid way point was and then measured out the space I wanted between the shelves or vaguely where I wanted the shelves to be – I used a foot between the shelves but given the size of my cats, I could easily gone for 18 inches instead.  To be fair I also did this on paper to see if a visual would help and it did in terms of measurements and knowing the midway point and where I would put all the shelves.
  2. I had a few ideas but I wasn’t really sure how I wanted it on the wall, so rather than making LOTS of holes in the wall, I put it all the floor and measured it out to what it would look like on the wall. I tried a few ideas and sent a few messages to friends for their opinions.
  3. At this point because I was about to drill next to an electrical socket, I did turn off the electric to ensure no accidents!
  4. I then marked on the walls with the shelves where the wall plugs should go (with a level!!) and drilled the holes and inserted the wall plugs. Four hands at this stage would have been incredibly helpful and saved me time but being a single cat lady means I could only use the two that I have and proves that one person can do this project.
  5. Get your level ready and start putting up the shelves. For the domes you will need to remove the dome to get the screws in.

SUCCESS!!! You’ve completed your cat wall, be very very proud of yourself.

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I really enjoyed this project, I wont lie. It absolutely built my confidence around my DIY skills and ultimately whilst my cats aren’t very impressed with the wall, I most certainly am!

Moving house and adulting

This year,  has been crazy busy… thats my excuse for not blogging. I have had a few messages of disappointment at my distinct lack of blogging. I can always trust my friends to harass me and put me back on the right path!  Having said that, so much has happened in the last 5 months that my head is still spinning. I cant say it enough, I knew it was going to be a crazy year but it seems to be the year that just keeps giving.

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I was dating a nice Dutch guy but unfortunately neither of us was prepared to compromise on what we both considered a deal breaker and it truly turned out to be the deal breaker (it was, of course, more complicated than this, as these things are but thats the shortest version of the break up). However, I discovered the best way to get over a break up is to buy a house. It meant that I simply didn’t have time to wallow or self indulge and my priority really hasn’t been to date. As with most things in life, I think if something is meant to be, it will and never say never.

I found a house that I fell in love with in the suburbs Amsterdam (I’m an Amsterdamer now!), that ticked the boxes for my cats and everything fell into place and I’m now a home-owner. It felt bitter sweet, as I thought it would be a home I would create with my partner but that was just not meant to be. However, I still truly love the house (for the most part). However, I wont lie, it has been incredibly stressful and reiterated that the only way I’m leaving this house will be in a coffin. I really dont do moving well at all, Im too autistic, routine oriented and dont deal with chaos at all. The house has been series of unfortunate events and literally everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. I bought the house thinking that it needed nothing at all and planned to redecorate one room. Every room has now been painted from floor to ceiling, along a new fridge and a variety of other things. I’ve had a number of sense of humour failures with it and even suggested that burning it down and starting from scratch might be an easier. I’m still surrounded by boxes in every room (over a month in), have a list of things to do that is a long as I am but it’s slowly getting there. The best part for me is that I’m now actually closer to work. My previous commute to work at 35 minutes door to door and now if everything goes smoothly its like 15, it tends to be more like 20 but at least my alarm clock is no longer set for 04:50 each morning!

neighbour

I’m incredibly lucky in as much as I managed to get truly fantastically amazing neighbours. The sellers did tell me that I would be getting great neighbours but I wasn’t sure if this was sarcasm or honesty. Turned out it was true honesty.  They have two very large dogs, which my cats take great pleasure in antagonising and the neighbours were beyond kind enough to cat-proof both sides of the fence to stop my cats going into their garden, without me asking! My first meeting with them did make me laugh as it was like they had google searched me or something similiar. ‘We’ve heard about you, you’re a brit but not a brit, on your own with two maine coons, which we’ve already googled to understand what they are and you’ve lived in the NLs for 2 years, welcome to the street!’. It was quite sweet. My neighbour thinks its great that I do everything myself and occasionally ask to borrow his power tools, something about women normally preferring the men to do ‘such jobs’. I always just laugh and say if I dont do it, then no one will. They are also new members of my weekly cake club and we’ve swapped grape recipes.

Just a brief overview of several very crazy months. I do look forward to going back to the quiet boring life and having time and the energy to blog again!

 

DIY Lantern Light

I have a slight obsession with lights and lamps but not your traditional kind. I’m quirky in every sense of the word and every aspect of my life. In the last 8 months I’ve taken to making my own lamps, where possible. It helps that Im quite creative and can envision what I want to make. In reality, it’s rarely as straightforward or easy (Pinterest fail) as I thought it would be but this adds to the ‘fun’ of making each item (and to my vocabulary of swear words).

I love fairy lights (or as the American in me says ‘Christmas lights’ because Christmas is awesome any time of year!), so combining the two makes me very happy.  What I don’t like is sad looking lamps/lanterns with about 10 fairy lights, that have no functionality or give off any actual light. Google image search ‘fairy light lanterns’ and you get matches to what I’m referring to. I’ve envision this light for about a year, which means that my expectations were wildly more exciting and fantastic than the lantern could ever turn out to be but it was also awesome to think through the aspects and to see items and how I could use them.

What you’ll need for your light house lamps

  • Wooden lantern with extended centre roof
  • Fairy lights
  • Pipe – the height of the lamp
  • 6 screws
  • Power Drill
  • Drill bit

I found my lamps at Lidls (however, they are widely available at lots of stores), they had 2 versions available and I went for the white version, as my living room is white and the windowsill the lamp is going in is white. Naturally I bought two, because why have one of anything when you can have two and they are going in a massive window. The extended roof is also really important when making this project, as the pipe will sit within it, giving it stability to ensure that it doesn’t fall over.IMG-20171003-WA0000

The first step is taking your pipe and putting your screws in. Use your power drill and drill bit to put holes into the pipe, I made 6 holes on 3 levels, alternating each side. This makes it easier when you are wrapping your fairy lights around the pipe. Measure out the top of the roof and then put the screw below this (naturally I didn’t do this bit and then wondered why my pipe wouldn’t fit in). I think I bought plumbing pipe. I’m a total girl when it comes to DIY shops, I walk around and think of ways of using things without any knowledge or idea of what it’s actually for or how it should properly be used. 20171006_173746

This was take two, after I realised that I hadn’t measured for the metal roof and had to redo the highest screws. It does show the importance of having the raised roof in the middle and how it acts to stabilise the pipe to stop it from falling over. 20171006_174035

Next step is to wrap your fairy lights around the pipe. I believe I used 125 lights on each pipe. The screws at the top help to hold the lights at the top of the pipe and make it easier to fit on the overall length of the pipe. 20171006_174412

Once the pipe is entirely wrapped, place it within your lantern and you’re almost done! Shut the door, plug it in and see the end result. 20171006_174511

This is what it looks like finished, admittedly the left picture was in the day light literally after I had finished it and doesn’t look very exciting at all. Right hand picture was in the evening in the dark and what a difference!

This is both of my lamps in the evening in the window that they were always destined for. I also put light switches on them to make them easier to turn on and off but not necessary to have. I’m pleased that they came out as an actual lantern giving off actual light, it’s the small things in life.20171017_205403

I think overall the project took me less than an hour and that was even with a few mistakes along the way with the overall cost being around €40ish, €20 for the lanterns, €15 for the LED fairy lights and around €5 for the pipe and light switches.

The ultimate girly fairy light wall

I’m a slight Pinterest addict, it’s truly amazing the hours that I waste looking at stuff that I have no lots of interest in! A few months ago before the move I was looking for interior inspiration, as I was hoping that I was going to be allowed to make a few feature walls with paint, turns out that was a mega no-no but I did come across this instead.DIY-sparkle-mirror-garland1

I saw this and thought to myself, ‘I MUST HAVE THIS’. Then I naturally came to the conclusion that this would be EASY (note, whenever I ever think anything is easy it is almost certainly the furthest thing from easy) and I wont lie, it turns out kind of expensive too but the majority of the cost went on the lights so if you could get them out of season cheap at a yard sale for a dollar or on clearance at the Wal-Marts for $5, then do it! So I bought a curtain pole and then went to eBay and found everything else I needed under (mostly considered as wedding supplies).

2017-09-04 18.04.09Heres what you’ll need to make your own fairy lights wall light or Christmas lights wall light or super girly never going to scare off every man wall light.

Required supplies:

  • Curtain pole – I choose silver but any color to match your scheme will do (£15)
  • Christmas lights/fairy lights – BUY more than you think you’ll need.  Ultimately I went for outdoor lights (no specific reason and I figured if the project went to crap I could wrap a tree instead in lights), I choose a line of 120 lights over 6 meters and a line of 100 Icicle lights  over 2 meters, both with white cord, as I didn’t want it to be overly obvious when you look at the wall, ie being distracted by black cord.  (€21.95 + €26.95 + 7.98 postage = €56.88!!!)
  • Fishing line (clear) – this is to attach everything to your curtain pole, make sure its a thicker line to hold the weight (£5)
  • 3000 Silver Self-Adhesive Mirror Tiles which were 150 x 100mm per sheet or 5 X 5mm each tile(£5.49)
  • 150 Silver Self-Adhesive Mirror Mosaic Tiles which were 150 x 100mm per sheet or 10 X 10mm each tile(£2.68)
  • 99FT CLEAR Diamond Strand Acrylic Garland (£7.99)
  • 60m WHITE Hanging String Acrylic Pearl Beads (£9.40)
  • Overall total cost for this project: around £97 give or take with the exchange rate, which means it is quite pricey but in reality I probably would have spent a similar amount on paint or wall paper and accessories etc to creat it.
  • The overall time for the project is about a day, I did it over several days, as it turned out I didn’t have all the required supplies etc but I think it did really take me around 10 hours to do it all.

Now the ‘how to’ on creating this light feature:

1. Attach your curtain pole to the wall. I wanted mine to be directly above my bed, which was between my two bedside cabinets. (tip: make sure its level)1

2. I ran first (single) line of lights along the pole.  I thought I could do it more like \ / \ / along the pole with the lights but rather quickly realised that I didn’t have enough lights to make this work and look right, so realised that I needed icicle lights or something similar to give it the drapey light effect. 2

3. The next step was taking the 99FT CLEAR Diamond Strand Acrylic Garland cutting it in half and then half again – 4 pieces (this makes it much easier to loop around the pole, as strand wouldn’t go around the pole as it was) and then looping it around the pole.  Wont lie, looks rather unimpressive now. I did also take a tiny piece of double-sided tape and attach the two ends in the middle of the pole together. This was with 2 of the pieces on the pole.3

4. Now to make it all SPARKLY, take the 60m WHITE Hanging String Acrylic Pearl Beads , cut it into 3 foot/1 meter lengths (which gave me 60 lengths) and start attaching the self adhesive mosaic tiles to the line, take 2 and push the sticky backs together, I used a combination of large tiles (2-4 tiles per strand length) and about 12 small tiles per strand, randomly putting them on as I went, I didn’t want to have the mirrors at the same point on every strand. They weren’t as sticky as I was hoping for and did have them not sticking together as well as I wanted but I carried on, you’ll need to do the same. This did take me a good few hours (maybe 4?). DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP, it gives it the reflection and shine that you need! Oh and I didnt use all the small tiles at all, I have probably more than half left, so I could have gone a bit more wild than I did.4.jpg

As you can see,  I was making my lengths and laid them on the floor and then moved them around, when I did a LOAD of the mosaic tiles fell off… be prepared for this, unless you want to hot glue them on or use something stronger than the adhesive tape that is on them.5.jpg

5. Now to attach your lengths that you’ve created. Take the fishing line and attach it to the top of your strand, below one of your little pearls, so that it has something to anchor it on the line. Now tie it onto the pole, make sure that you tie the fishing line under the lights and acrylic strand, so that it is purely tied onto pole and nothing else.  My overall rod length was 66 inches long, so I started in at 3 inches on one side and put them every inch, finishing 3 inches in on the other side.  This was how it looks at the half way point.6

This is after I attached all 60 strands, FINALLY! I thought I was done… thought being the key word. When the sun hits the mirrors, the reflection is fantastic (which you can see on some of the tiles)! I won’t lie, I’ve upgraded in bed and now have a super king which is mega (six and a half feet wide), so I’m sure you could make this on a much smaller scale!7

I turned on the lights and thought ‘<insert several expletives> I need more lights’ and realised that I wasn’t done at all. 8

Finally my icicle lights arrived and I attached them on with more fishing wire, making sure they were attached to the pole and not everything else on the pole. The icicle lines were tied up to make sure they didn’t tangle, so I had to hold the top of the icicle and then pull on the bottle to make them more straight, be careful if you have to also do this.9

This is when I turned on all the lights, I was much more pleased with what I saw. It gives more of a fairy light feel, as you can see the cats helped me and vaguely gave a sign of approval. As you can see on the bottom right, I have a LOT of cords as a result of the lights, bedside lights, etc, so several extension leads are required for this.11

This is how it glows at night in the dark, which I’m really pleased with, whilst it’s not totally comparable with the original Pinterest post that I found, I have to say that Im really pleased with the way it came out and consider it a Pinterest WIN!12