Monday, October 14, 2013

make it: traffic cone cat scratching posts

We're huge cat lovers over here at So Fancy. Cat claw lovers? Not so much. However, scratching is a very necessary habit for kitties with claws. Instead of discouraging this behavior or buying some ugly cardboard or carpet-covered scratching post at the pet store, I decided to make my own out of an unlikely object: the rubber traffic cone. Instructions after the jump!


traffic cone (I used this one)
rope or cord (I used two packages of this rope)
hot glue gun and glue sticks
pom-poms (instructions at the end of the post)
spray paint (optional)

First, I spray-painted my cones with Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Paint+Primer in white. This step is optional, but I chose to paint them so that none of the neon orange could peak through the rope. Spray with a couple of light coats and let it dry over night.

Starting at the bottom edge of the square base, apply a thin line of hot glue and press rope into glue. Continue to alternate between glue and rope as you work your way around, following the square shape of the base. As you get to the base of the cone, start working your way from wrapping in a square shape into a circular shape. If you miss a few spaces at the bottom, you can cut small pieces of rope and glue them in later. You can switch to dabs of glue every few inches as you work your way up the cone. Wrap tightly and push down the rope as you go to avoid gaps.

Once you get near the top, get your pom-poms and poke the strings down through the hole in the top of the cone. Apply a dab of glue at the top and press the pom-pom strings into it. Apply more glue and wrap your rope over the pom-pom strings, encasing them within the rope. Switch back to full lines of glue near the top of the cone, glueing the rope to itself as you cover the hole in the top. Cut off excess rope.

Levi approves! Tip: if your kitty is having trouble warming up to his new toy, rub some cat nip into the rope.


traffic cone (spray paint if desired as explained in Style 1)
rope or cord (I used three 6-yard packages of 12/32" cotton filler cord from Jo-Ann Fabrics)
1/2 yard of fabric (I found this pretty burlap with gold glitter at Jo-Ann Fabrics)
spray adhesive
hot glue gun and glue sticks
pom poms

1. To make the fabric cover, measure the diameter of the opening on the underside of the cone. Mine was 7.5 inches.
2. In the center of your fabric, draw intersecting lines the same length as the diameter of the circle into an asterisk shape.
3. Draw a circle around the lines. Draw a smaller circle an inch within your first circle.
4. Make a starting cut in the middle.
5. Cut out the smaller interior circle.
6. Make cuts every half of an inch from the edge of the smaller circle to the line of the larger circle.

7. Lay down some paper to protect your work surface and spray one side of your fabric and the square base of your cone with a light coat of spray adhesive.
8. Slide the fabric over the top of the cone and onto the square base. Stretch it over the base as you press it down and smooth out any wrinkles or puckers.
9. Trim excess fabric, leaving a couple of inches around the edge of the base.
10. Use your hot glue to glue the fabric to the bottom inside edge of the base.
11. Trim excess fabric.
12. Apply a thin line of glue to the base of the cone and apply rope or cord. Continue to wrap the cord up the base, applying dabs of glue every few inches. Apply pom-poms and finish wrapping cord as described in the last step of Style 1.


1. Cut two donuts out of cardboard. Mine were about 3-4 inches across with a 1 inch hole in the center.
2. Cut about 25-30 3 foot strands of yard. Sandwich the two pieces of cardboard together. Taking your strands 2-3 at a time, begin wrapping them tightly around the donut. You want the strands to always start and end on the outside edge of the donut. Continue wrapping on groups of strands until you get all the way around the donut. The fuller you wrap your yarn, the fuller your pom-pom will be. To create the multicolored pom-pom on the first cone, I alternated between pink and white yarn, creating stripes around the donut. 
3. Trim excess yarn down to the edge of the the donut. 
4. Slide scissors under the yarn between the two pieces of cardboard and cut all the way around.
5. Slide another 3 foot strand between the two pieces of cardboard. You want it to be longer on one side than the other. Tie your strand twice to create a knot, pulling it very tightly around the mass of yarn.
6. Slide or cut off the pieces of cardboard and trim any extra long strands of yarn.


  1. Hi Tamsen & Kathleen,

    I recently purchased at Target a cone shaped cat scratcher which is just too short for my kitties, and as I recently inherited a traffic cone, I figured I could make one. My only concern is whether the hot glue will stick to the cone so I googled making one and found your adorable blog! How have the scratcher's been holding up? Is your cone made out of the softer / flexible plastic, or are they hard? I believe that the cones are manufactured out of various materials…. If you can contact me at I would be super grateful!


    1. Hi Aiisa, our scratchers have been holding up very well, even after daily use from the kitties. The brown rope seems to be their favorite for scratching! The cone I used was more flexible and rubbery and I linked to it in the supply list. Since the rope is wrapped tightly around the cone, it holds itself in place very well and doesn't even need much glue except on the square base. I chose hot glue so that it would be easy to pull off the rope when it needed to be replaced. If you are really concerned about the rope coming off, you could use a plastic-safe super glue instead. Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have any more question.

  2. After years of whining to my husband, we are finally getting a kitten next month! I found this pinned yesterday and already have the cone spray painted and ready to roll tomorrow. Thanks for the idea!!

  3. I was wondering if there should be a weight in the center of the cone, to keep it steady. Does that not matter? I have three cats, two boys and a girl, and the boys tend to throw themselves all over the toys they play with.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I'm about to go to Home Depot and buy mine, 18" tall. Online it says it has a 3lb base. There is a taller on, 28" that has a 5lb base. So given the base weight, then the rope weight, I'm not adding anything extra! We'll see how it goes. Good luck with yours!

    3. Hi Shivalry! We didn't weight ours, and my cat doesn't seem to need it. If your kitties are pretty rough, it wouldn't be a bad idea! If you find that they are toppling it over, you could try attaching the base of the cone to a piece of wood for extra stability. Good luck!

    4. Hi Shivalry! We didn't weight ours, and my cat doesn't seem to need it. If your kitties are pretty rough, it wouldn't be a bad idea! If you find that they are toppling it over, you could try attaching the base of the cone to a piece of wood for extra stability. Good luck!

  4. I made mine yesterday, a bit time consuming, but well worth it! I don't think you could get a sturdier, more solid-built one in any store! My only complaint is the smell of the cone. The orange part STINKS!! Any suggestions for removing the smell from the rubber?

  5. Before I proceed..I checked the price of the rope...Did you actually pay $60.00,,$30.00 a piece for the rope?

  6. Wow! So cute! I really like this diy project. I'll try for my little dog.

  7. Cats have a natural hunting instinct and this type of game is so much fun for them. You'll have a million laughs watching the techniques that your kitty applies to try and get that toy!go


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