Tag Archives: Tutorial

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack – A Tutorial

I love making grand plans for big, fun projects for when my parents come to visit. This is a perfect example of one I planned where almost every single thing went a little differently than planned. Ha! I did get the help from my mom putting this project all together, though – she has the know-how with things like saws and wall anchors to teach me something new every time I would with her. We weren’t using this corner space for anything other than putting backpacks, coats and purses on a pile in the floor, so I decided it was time to make this space useful and give our cat more vertical space to run around.

This project hardly went according to plan, but I still love the results… almost as much as Leia does.

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack Tutorial by Britta Swiderski - 10-09-14


  • shelves – used Ekby Östen 31″ length (4 shelves total) but Ekby Tryggve or Ekby Hemnes  have the same dimentions – it depends on your budget and color preferences + what’s available in-store
  • brackets  – Ekby Bjärnum 7.5″ brackets (5 sets) + connecting bracket for double-long shelf
  • wall anchorsTriple Grip 171K ( for holding up to 51 lb)
  • extra screws – for the bottoms of the brackets (four 51 lb anchors for a little shelf might be a little overkill)
  • carpet – we used carpet samples from Home Depot (which are free – I picked up a few every time I was in the area and needed to buy something), but you could use any spare carpet you have from an old project
  • glue for adhering the carpet – Hot Glue or E6000 – I couldn’t find my hot glue gun, so I went with E6000 and some books to hold the squares down. I did go back in with a glue gun to attach any corners or edges that sprang up in the drying process.
  • hefty scissors for cutting carpet – 9.5″ Tim Holtz Scissors were AMAZING for this
  • drill & bits – I have a Ryobi D42K + these drill bits + these screwdriving bits
  • circular saw – my parents swear by Black & Decker for power tools
  • sharpie and pencil for marking shelves and wall
  • T-Square for marking shelves to be cut – this is my all-purpose one
  • Level – we used an iPhone because I can never remember to just buy a real level

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack Tutorial by Britta Swiderski - 10-09-14

Five Steps to Cat Paradise:

1. Measure and Mark – measure and mark your shelves to the desired length. Use a sharpie and t-square to draw a line that will act as your guide with the circular saw. Measure and mark the walls where you want the shelves to go – this will help you decide where exactly to attach the shelves and adjust the heigh between shelves to make sure your kitty can jump between them (ours are about 24″ apart vertically and Leia doesn’t have any trouble, but I would recommend 18″ or less of a jump for larger or older cats).

2. Cut Boards to Size – use a circular saw to cut down the shelves to size. Be sure to read the saw’s instructions and safety warnings! You could also use a hand saw, but you’ll get the most precise results with power tools.

3. Attach Brackets – use a pencil to mark the boards where you’ll put the screw to attach the brackets, drill using a 1/8″ drill bit into the wood about 1/4″ deep and then attach the shelves with the provided screws.

4. Affix Carpet – adhere your carpet to the shelves with hot glue or E6000, cutting down the carpet with strong scissors to fit across the back and side edges. Be sure to slip the carpet under the extra space between the shelf and the bracket – this will hide raw edges.

5. Level and Drill – with the aid of a level (ehem… or an iphone) and your handy pencil, mark out where the holes for the brackets need to go. Be sure to use relatively heavy-duty wall anchors on the top of the brackets to give the shelf additional support if you’re drilling into drywall. Drill a hole to the size designated by the anchor (check the package), insert the anchor (use a hammer to help with the last little bit if necessary) and attach the shelf with the matching screw. I went with 50 lb anchors so they would not only support the shelf + my cat and also her jumps up and down. Drill 1/8″ holes and use a screw to secure the bottoms of the brackets.

 The Story

First of all, why a cat tree on the wall? I wanted to build this not only to give Leia a place to play and explore, but also a safe haven away from guests where she feels in charge. She runs away to hide as soon as she hears a person other than me or Jake come to the door. Even close friends that are here about once a week only see flashes of her – it took Leia 6 months of Dan coming over every week to watch TV and Star Wars for her to let him pet her.

After watching many episodes of My Cat from Hell (a.k.a. the cat version of Dog Whisperer), I knew that giving her a place up high where no one is allowed to touch her might really help her shyness around guests and reduce her feelings of anxiety about having other people around. This all came together into this awesome cat tree corner that, in total, cost me about $75 dollars to make a reality.

Here’s where the changes come in. The shelves were originally supposed to be Ekby Tryggve ($3.99 each) in a black-brown color to match the rest of our furniture, but Ikea didn’t have a single one when we went to pick up supplies. The Tryggve actually only comes in natural wood color now, so I bet that had something to do with it. I pulled a last-minute decision to go with the white Ekby Östen shelves ($6.99 each) in the interest of time. The extra $12 and color change was well worth it when we were able to get  the entire project done the next day while my parents were still in town. I was dead-set on the Ekby Bjärnum brackets ($5 per set of two and $5 for connector) because they covered up the ends of the shelf and had a coordinating connector bracket, allowing me to stick with the same shelf for the whole project. I should also note that I went with the 7.5″ deep shelves because Leia is little and so is the area I was working in. If you want to step up to the 11″ deep shelves, that would definitely provide more lounging room for your feline friends.

The second little bobble came from trusting Ikea’s measurements. Thankfully, the shelves didn’t need to be precisely the same length, just well-mounted and pretty close to level. When we measured out to cut the boards in half, we just used the Ikea dimensions and divided them in half… It was a rookie mistake that left us with two shelves of the desired length and two over an inch longer that the first set. Whoops! We just made sure to put both of the “long” shelves on the same side so nothing seemed off.

The third thing were the dang brackets. Since the shelves are thinner than the brackets, this allows for space to cover up the unfinished edges of carpet (awesome!) but makes them really tricky for installation. They hate being straight vertically. We just went with it, and it honestly doesn’t bother me. If you are using these brackets for your project, though, keep that in mind.

When all was said and done, though, the wall turned out amazingly well (if not a completely different color than I pictured it in my plans), and Leia is having a blast up in her new castle. We even moved over our 2 x 4 Expedit to the right side of the closet so she can jump down to the top of it and nap comfortably. I guess now we truly do live in Leia’s Castle.

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack by Britta Swiderski

One of Leia’s favorite new hobbies – sitting on the third shelf and leaning past the corner to surprise anyone coming down the hallway. This cat is a special one, for sure. <3

Thanks so much for stopping by today! And if you’re wondering, yes, I am a crazy cat lady and yes, I love it. A huge thanks goes out to my wonderful mom for helping me with this project. It’s a fairly easy but definitely two-person project. And thanks to my dad for sitting on the couch (he was sick the whole weekend – boo) and putting up with me yelling at the Gopher football game on TV.

If you liked this post, you might like my Refinishing 101: Modern Table Makeover that my mom helped me with last year. :) See you again soon with another card video!



Filed under DIY Home, Tutorials

Distress Marker Fall Background – Simon Says Stamptember®

Hola! I wanted to make sure and stop in this week to share some fun technique love with you in a video tutorial featuring a brand new Simon Says Stamp Stamptember® background stamp! For those of you who don’t know yet, Stamptember® is Simon’s month-long stamping celebration that has taken place for the last 5 years in September. And boy, did they out do themselves this year! There are so many great new products and awesome inspiring projects to go along with them. Be sure to check out Simon’s Stamptember® release here and their blog for even more inspiration.

Distress Marker Fall Leaf Background (Stamptember) Video Tutorial by Britta Swiderski

Here’s a peek at the cards we’ll be making in today’s tutorial. I’m using one of my favorite mediums with background stamps: Distress Markers! Believe it or not, you can get at least two backgrounds out of each inking of the stamp. Enjoy the video!

watch here | watch on youtube | subscribe to my channel

The best part about this card is that you can make it as simple or as complex as you want. For example, you could color the background with more random swatches of color or even using Distress Ink pads to get a similar but more random look. You could also go more simple with the sentiment and simply stamp one onto a piece of vellum or a label to go in the middle of the card. With a little tweaking, this would be a great design to reproduce for holiday cards!

Distress Marker Fall Leaf Background (Stamptember) Video Tutorial by Britta Swiderski

Here’s a close-up look at the first stamping of the leaf background stamp. I love the interplay of all of the colors in such random way that yet makes so much sense. Here, you can also get a closer look at the little bit of touch-up I did in the video with just a bit of water and a tiny paint brush. With just the stamped color on the paper, I was able to smooth out any of the leaves that didn’t transfer as perfectly as I would’ve liked.

Distress Marker Fall Leaf Background (Stamptember) Video Tutorial by Britta Swiderski

Here’s the second card of the duo. I always tend to like the second stamping even better than the first – its subtle but bright color tones are right up my alley! All you have to do is lightly mist over the stamp once more and then press a new piece of watercolor paper onto the stamp’s surface. Bam! Two backgrounds for the effort of one.

Distress Marker Fall Leaf Background (Stamptember) Video Tutorial by Britta Swiderski

You can really see how awesome the stacked die cuts in soft navy + glossy accents make a sentiment that is strong enough to stand up to the bold pattern in the background without overpowering the rest of the card. (Jennifer McGuire uses this techniques on her cards often, and I love it!)

Distress Marker Fall Leaf Background (Stamptember) Video Tutorial by Britta Swiderski

Oh! And the Distress Marker colors I used on the background were Mustard Seed (as the base and unifying color), Forest Moss, Peeled Paint, Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, Ripe Persimmon and Barn Door. They all so well into the fall color scheme. I could also see this working very well with a set of lighter or darker greens as well. That would be a great way to bring around this design to spring and summer!

Supplies used on this project: Click below to see where you can buy the products used on this project. Click on “SS” for the product at Simon Says Stamp and “EH” for the product at Ellen Hutson. I only link to products and shops that I know and love. Thank you for your support!

I also promised I would share some of my favorites from the Stamptember® release. Of course I love the Leaf Background stamp, but my other top three would have to be the Many Thanks Stamp Set, the Paw Dies Set (can you imagine all of the cute things I could make about Leia?!?!) and, of course, the new colors of inks. I’m planning a video with a comparison of all the inks that have come out lately – there are so many options out there, but Simon’s inks are some of the best because they’re formulated just like my beloved Hero Arts ones. Yummmm!

Thank you so much for stopping by today. Now it’s back to rest for me; I got hit with this terrible sinus-infection-virus-y-thing that everyone seems to have around here from being at the State Fair. I guess that’s what you get when you put a total of 1,824,830 people in one place over the span of 12 days. At least the doctor gave me a prescription for some kick-butt cough medicine. Ha! See you again soon on Friday with some more much-requested Filofax inserts!



Filed under Cardmaking, Links and Shopping, Tutorials

New Filofax Planner Printables + a Video Tutorial

Hey there! Today’s post is going to be short and sweet, because I’ve been up all night tweaking, writing and preparing for today. Today is finally here! I have 6 new sets of Filofax inserts for you in the shop. :) Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new, but if you really want to see it all check it out the video (and a quick tutorial about printing and using the inserts) below. New today are:

  • Simple Graph Paper – free when you download with a tweet!
  • 2015 Week on Two Pages (mid-August 2014- December 2015)
  • 2015 Month on Two Pages (August 2014-December 2015)
  • Day on One Page Set – Hourly and Freeform
  • ListMaker Set  – Wishlist, Shopping List and To Do List
  • Planning Grids Set – 2 through 7 Compartments

***I now have even more awesome inserts available in the Filofax sizes and American sizes! Check out a size comparison between Filofax and American sizes hereVisit the store here. ***

New Filofax Planner Printables by Britta Swiderski

Here’s the video. Enjoy!

watch here | watch on YouTube | subscribe to my channel

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Check out the shop if you’re interested in the printables, and please do please comments with ones you’d like to see in the future! Several of the ones released today were because you asked for them. Coming up next are A5 versions of the 2015 Weekly and Monthly inserts as well as US sizes (8.5″ x 11″, 5.5″ x 8.5″ and maybe an additional one) in the basics: simple graph, week on one page and month on one page. I’m hoping to release these supplementary iterations on Friday, September 5th. Let me know what else you’d like to see!

Also, now that I’m going to sleep and when I wake up, I want to make something pretty, tell me: what would you like to see next? A product review? Mixed media tutorial? Let’s get crafty!


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Filed under Links and Shopping, Miscellaneous, Tutorials