DIYdiy projectsTop 20 of All Time

Top 20 DIY Projects of All Time: #20 Recycled Cardboard Cat Scratcher

by Grace Bonney

Starting this week we’re revisiting our nearly 20,000 post archive to share our community’s most beloved (and most popular) posts by category. Yesterday we shared the beginning of our Top 20 Home Tour list and today we’re starting with do-it-yourself, or DIY (I still get asked what that means!), projects.

This category was one of the very first sections we added (with our first DIY editors, Derek and Lauren from The Curiosity Shoppe!) and for that reason it will always make me happy. It was the first time I learned how to ask people to join our team, how to set up and pay people for their hard work, and how to share our love of DIY culture with the broader world. From inexpensive IKEA hacks and easy dorm room upgrades, our DIY posts celebrate the everyday materials we all love and have around the house and turn them into glorious home decor (sometimes practical, sometimes purely decorative). And what makes me so happy about this Top 20 is that even after all these years of online content becoming more polished, these projects (which are decidedly more humble and low-budgetstill won out as the most read and shared. Here’s to really keeping it DIY! Let’s get started with the countdown… xo, Grace

#20: DIY Recycled Cardboard Cat Scratcher

  • Who Made It: Kate Pruitt (our DIY editor from 2009-2012)
  • Where: Oakland, California
  • DS debut: January 2009

I cannot express how happy this project makes me. It is one of the simplest projects we’ve ever run, but it was one of the most popular of all time. It also makes use of a material we all seem to have around the house: cardboard. Cats love these sorts of toys and they can easily be dressed up with some decoration around the outside if you want to get fancy. If there’s one thing I know from going through all of our most popular posts from the past 15 years, it’s that our readers LOVE pets.



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  • Wow !! This looks really fun and doable ! I rescue and foster cats and having something similar will be a great idea for my kitties.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Hi dear D*S team!,
    I think this is one of the first DIYs published on the blog I had done, so thanks for sharing this again! I have always been keen on making things myself, so D*S is for me a great source of inspiration :)

  • This is the first post I remember from D*S! I definitely made this for my kittens 10 years ago!

  • It is irritating; the cost of the materials v the price charged for these (almost anywhere). I did try to make a rectangular one a few years ago, but struggled. I discovered the hard way: as far as the cat is concerned, the surface needs to be even!
    I’m not any less klutzy now, but I am reinspired – timely, too, as I see she has created round holes right down to – and through – one of her pads . Anyway, flipping them over will only get you so far. :P
    She enjoys them so much, I just can’t not have them for her…

    PS I LOVE this site!

  • I’m looking forward to seeing all 20. Two of my big wedding DIY projects were from Design Sponge. Working on those projects was definitely one of the best parts of wedding planning. Design Sponge projects will always have a special place in my heart.

    • That’s wonderful to hear Rebecca! Thanks so much for sharing that. Caitlin