How to Build Cat Bunk Beds
You have NEVER seen a pet bed as adorable as these amazing kitty bunk beds! So perfect if you have 2 cats and crazy cute! Build one with the free plans!
I have wanted to make cat bunk beds for my kitties for probably 10 years, now. Back when I first came up with the idea I had 2 cats. There was the ginormous Gracie a Russian Blue somebody dumped on my sister’s front porch. Then there was Marla, the itty bitty scrawny kitten with burnt up whiskers and soot inside of her ears that was eating french fries out of a trash can off of the highway. She was also rescued by my sister.
I had been terrified of cats for ages but after unexpectedly living with a feline so amazingly sweet, I found myself loving kitties of all kinds. And when Gracie and Marla became a little cat family, I had a pair of cats that just LOVED each other.
Would you just look at those two? :) Gracie passed away a few years ago long before I got around to making these cat bunk beds. But I still have Marla and while she has a sister, they aren’t exactly on the best of terms. They’re more like kitty frenemies :)
But my parents have a brother and sister cat pair that spend all of their time in close proximity. And so they now have a set of cat bunk beds I always dreamed of making. And guess what? It’s really not all that hard! What’s harder, to be honest, is waiting your cats out for getting used to something new :) At first it was all up and down and yes I want to be on it then NO! with wide eyes and tearing away like it was going to eat them :) But after a time, they’ll get used to it and there’s not much cuter than 2 cats sleeping on their bunk beds :) P.S. Liddy gets the top bunk and Max gets the bottom :)
To build these cat bunk beds you will need:
- 1″ x 4″ x 8′ select pine board
- 1″ x 3″ x 8′ select pine board
- 1″ x 2″ x 8′ select pine board
- 1″ x 2″ x 6′ select pine board
- 1.5″ 0.25″ x 8′ pine lath
- 2″ mending plates QTY 16
- zinc corner brackets QTY 8
- #6 – 5/8″ wood screws QTY 96
- #6 – 1.5″ wood screws QTY 14
- 1″ 16-gauge #6 nails QTY 16
- travel pillows QTY 2
- Power drill & a very small drill bit
- wood stain (we used antique teal)
- free printable PDF building plan file (Join Our Newsletter to Download Now)
First up, get busy and cut that wood down to size!
- (a) 1″ x 4″ x 13″ QTY 4
- (b) 1″ x 3″ x 23″ QTY 4
- (c) 1″ x 2″ x 23″ QTY 4
- (d) 1″ x 4″ x 7″ QTY 4
- (e) 1″ x 2″ x 4″ QTY 5
- (f) 1″ x 2″ x 20″ QTY 2
- 1.5″ x 0.25″ x 11.5″ QTY 8
Next, let’s take a look at how to use mending plates…
To make this project easier, I used mending plates and corner brackets to build the bed.
They’re super easy to use… Since we’re using wood that is about 3/4″ thick you’ll want small screws to attach your plates to connect your wood pieces so they don’t accidentally poke through to the “pretty” side. For this project, we are using 5/8″ #6 wood screws, but you can also substitute 1/2″ #6 wood screws (I actually used both).
Place your wood pieces together as directed and to attach using your mending plates, place the plate over the seam with the two pieces snugly placed together. Mark the spots for the screw holes with a pen or pencil and then, very shallowly, drill just enough into the wood to help your screw easily take hold. We also pre-drill just a bit to keep our wood from splitting, plus it helps us secure the 2 pieces snugly together.
The corner braces are used in the same manner. Mark the screw holes and screw the pieces together as needed.
Got it? It’s really not that hard. Grab your materials and let’s get it!
How to build some DIY cat beds!
To make this a little bit easier, I decided to letter each of the pieces. I guess I was tuning in to my inner IKEA furniture directions creator :) With that in mind, let’s get started building these cat bunk beds, step by step… and don’t forget you can also get these directions in the free printable PDF building plan file here which you can print out and use offline.
First, you’ll want to create your four corners. To do that take pieces (b) and (c) placing the smaller piece of wood onto the larger to form a corner like in the image above. Measure 3.5″ up from the bottom and top of the corner and attach your corner brackets and 5/8″ wood screws (you’ll only be able to screw in the 2 inner screws as the 2 outer screws will connect with other pieces.
Next, you’ll begin attaching the sides of the beds to the corners using your mending plates and the 2 outer holes of your corner brackets already in place both with 5/8″ screws like in the image above. You’ll make 2 sides just like above…
… that will fit together just like so, again with the corner braces, mending plates and 5/8″ screws.
You can also use the printable building plans to sort of put together your own course of action for piercing the wood together. I found the method I have shared to be the easiest, but taking it apart and putting it together a few times, I found that there’s more than one way to bake a cake, so piece together as you see fit, even if it’s different than what I have shared here…
At this point, we stained the built bed, pine lath pieces (the bed’s slats) and the ladder pieces before continuing.
How to make a (purely decorative) ladder for your cat bunk beds.
To build your ladder (and DEFINITELY, the thing that makes these bunk beds SO DARN CUTE!) attach the rung pieces (f) to the sides (e) using your longer 1.5″ wood screws through the ladder sides.
Attach your ladder to the built bed:
We placed our top and bottom rung 3.75″ from the top and bottom edges so that they would match up with sides of the bed well and then eyeballed centering the 3 last pieces.
To attach your ladder to the built bed, mark the placement on the side where you want it to go and then drill a hole, at an angle through the front of the bed to the inside where you’ll want to attach it.
Using clamps, steady the ladder where you want it placed, perfectly in place, and then attach your 1.5″ wood screws from the inside of the bed through you pre-drilled holes and into the ladder held on to the sides.
To finish the build on our itty bitty kitty bunk beds (adorable, right?), flip over the bed and nail your pine lath pieces onto the frame spaced out somewhat evenly like above.
Add your travel pillows as your mattresses and this kitty bed is pretty much done. Look at Maybe! She’s kind of feeling it!
Want a convenient, free printable building plan for this DIY cat bed?
I know that looking at a screen while you’re building something isn’t ideal. So I’m super pleased to have put together this free PDF building plan that will make actually building your own DIY cat bunk beds so much easier. This bundled zip file is available to our newsletter subscribers.
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Want to fancy your DIY cat bunk beds a bit?
This bed is cute enough as is, but it’s not all that difficult to make it even cuter (and more enticing) to your kitty…
- loose catnip
- white thread and a needle
- 1 yard of 44″ wide calico or quilting fabric (mine came from the bargain bin at Walmart for $2/yard)
- household iron
- white thread
- Water Soluble disappearing fabric pen
- sewing machine (optional)
First let’s introduce a little extra razzle dazzle to the store-bought pillows…
Catnip inside of your travel sized pillows is a fantastic way to encourage your cats to start using their cat bunk beds. Simply slice open the end of your pillow at the seam. Grab a handful of catnip and sort of spread it through the inside of the stuffing.
Using white thread and a needle, stitch the pillow back up. No worries if you aren’t the best sewist… this can be the ugliest stitch job in the world and it won’t matter :)
Custom pillow cases will add so much cuteness with not a lot of trouble.
Plus, removable covers mean you can easily wash the bedding if your cat eventually coughs up a hairball in bed. And by if I actually mean when :)
If using the same travel pillows I did, or at least the same size, you should be able to use the same dimensions I did (14 x 20″) getting 2 pillow cases for both beds out of 1 yard of fabric.
Prepare your fabric to sew…
Fold the fabric in half the long way (the 44″ side so that you have a folded piece that measures 22″) with the pretty sides together. Using a hot iron press the fold down flat and remove any creases or wrinkles at the same time.
Next trim the folded fabric into 2 pieces that are each 16″ tall. You will now have to pieces that are open on 3 sides and folded on 1. Across from the folded end, fold both sides of the fabric toward the wrong (not pretty) side of the fabric approximately 1″ or however needed to not see the printed business at the end (see above). FYI, if you have pinking shears, make your cuts with them as this will prevent the fabric from fraying.
Using your hot iron press the seam flat. Using a straight edge and a water soluble fabric marker, draw a line 0.25″ away from the folded edge. Use straight pins to hold the fold in place. Repeat for the other side.
Turning the fabric into pillowcases…
Firstly sew down the lines on your folded edges that will be the opening of your pillow. You’ll sew each side SEPARATELY so you can unfold the fabric for one super wide piece.
Return the fabric to being a folded piece. To turn this fabric into a pillowcase, we’re simply going to sew down the long sides (the only unfinished sides left). Simply use your straight edge and fabric marker to make straight lines and then follow them along your sewing machine.
If you don’t have a machine, you can always hand sew your covers. Or you could go even easier and purchase pre-made travel pillow case covers!
All put together, now we just wait for the cat’s to perch!
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