Tuesday, April 3, 2018

DIY Cat Camper House


As a self-proclaimed dog person, I do get the occasional inkling to make something for the cats of the house. I mean, at least one of them is nice. (The other one lurks around corners waiting for the best opportunity to commit homicide.)

I started to look at some small gift to give the cats for Christmas, because, yes, we are one of those families. I found an adorable vintage camper house for cats. If the cats are going to have something, why wouldn't it be a cute vintage camper? But the Amazon one was around $30.00. Um. I love my cats...well strongly care for...but that seemed a wee-bit over priced for a bunch of cardboard.

Speaking of Amazon...you know who gets lots of cardboard? This Amazon Prime addict. Also, I've got all this free time from not running into town for TP, so I could use those skills to make one bomb diggity cat camper, no doubt.


X-Acto Knife (New blades really work best)
Cardboard (Keep an old box, or grab a new one or foam board from the store)
Paint & Brush (I used acrylic and house paint..whatever I had around the house)
Packing Tape
Ruler (if you want to make sure your lines are straight and measured accurately)


1. Draw Outline of Front of Camper

You can make your camper whatever shape you want. Of course I had a wonderful example with Myrtle in our front drive.  (Check out Myrtle's Journey here).

2. Cut & Draw Outline of Back of Camper

Using your X-acto knife, follow the line you have drawn. Hint: When using an X-acto knife, it's much easier to pull the knife towards you, not push it away.

Once you have your outline cut out, you will need to make an opposite side. Use the cut out side as a pattern to transfer an outline to another piece of cardboard. Cut out this piece with your X-acto knife.

3. Draw Details

I decided my camper needed windows (the lever ones and jalousie, obviously). I also needed a door  as well. Using a system of scoring (not cutting all the way through the cardboard, but rather just the first layer so the cardboard bends freely), I created a door and windows.

 4. Paint

Before you can tape anything together, you'll need to paint the camper. This is the one step where I thought I might have picked the wrong material. A white foam board would have already been colored. Cardboard also sucks up paint like no other, so you'll have to do multiple coats. I didn't find the paint made the cardboard soggy by any means, just time consuming between coats. I used a Painter's pen for the dots.

5. Create Base

Using the side as a guide, I marked on another piece of cardboard how long the front was. I made the camper about 10 inches wide. Big enough for a cat, but not too big. You will want to add about 2 to 3 inches to the width and length in order to have a side to tape the front and back to. (See the pictures for a better idea of what I'm describing).

Score at the line of the extra "over hang." You are basically creating a box bottom. Tape up the corners to create the box shape.

You may need to trim the bottom box where the door is going to hit if you don't want the base showing. (Doubt the cats mind much)

6. Using the packing tape, tape the front and back to your bottom base. Tape from the inside so it's hidden from view.

7. Add Structure to the top

Cut strips of cardboard as wide as your camper (around 10 inches in my case) and tape them to the top and sides of your camper. This will add some stability and make it easier to attach the top/side piece.

8.  Create Roof and Sides

Using one long piece of cardboard as wide as your camper, you will want to create your roof. This is the longest of all the steps. Each time there is a curve (for example, when you are going from the roof to the side), you will need to score the cardboard to make it curve.

9. Paint the Roof & Attach

This is is pretty self explanatory. You'll need it to be painted before you tape it on. (Paint won't stick to tape well, if at all) Finally, using the packing tape, attach the roof. You probably will need this tape to be on the outside of the camper, so it will show a bit.

10. Enjoy!

Here's the nice kitty enjoying his fancy new camper. The other cat is probably googling "How to Get Away with Murder."

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