A few weeks ago, Moderncat wrote about this Japanese Cat Bed http://www.moderncat.net/2010/01/04/neko-chigura-traditional-japanese-cat-bed/
I was immediately in love, but they didn't ship to the US and I am a broke student, so I decided to make one myself. I knew I could recreate it, with my own twist.
To make it, I purchased 45 yards of 1/2 inch piping and 4 yards of calico fabric, totaling (with coupons) around $20. I cut the fabric into 1 inch strips. (I forgot to take a before picture, so here's a pic of the leftovers after the final remake--it was a much
bigger pile before!)
I used a coil basket weaving method I learned in art class a lonnnnng time ago. I must have adjusted the diameter of the base 10 times so it would be the right size! When I got to the entrance, instead of continuing the coil, I just flipped it back on itself and coiled the other direction, repeating until it was high enough, then just continuing the coil to finish the top. I ended up with this:
They seemed to like the hole on the top, so I left it unfinished to test it. It was great, except that I have 2 cats and they both liked to enter from the top (or sometimes they just wanted to pounce on the other one). The basket couldn't handle it and would cave in, then they'd just sleep on the mushed top, but that could only hold one. So I filled in the hole on top (sorry, I didn't take any pictures of it!), hoping it would stop the crushing, but they just did it more, as a way to annoy and expel the other cat. So, I tried reinforcing the sides by weaving in fabric to stabilize the entrance so it wouldn't collapse, but that didn't work either.
I finally gave up, dismantled it, and made it into 2 individual cat baskets.
This has worked out well, obviously!
The last thing I did was to trim the loose strings with my thread-snipping scissors. I just finished weaving the second one last night, so I haven't trimmed the threads yet, but on the first, here is a before and after close up.
I think the trimming really makes it look better, plus I don't have to worry about the cats eating the strings off of it.
If anyone is interested in making one, my cats are both ideal-weight 12 pound males (meaning they are large, but skinny), and their baskets are 14 inches in diameter. When they sleep curled up on their sides, there is just a little bit of basket bottom visible. The baskets are 5 inches high, which holds them in when they lay down, but is also just the right height for them to rest their heads on. If your cat is smaller or larger, or has some girth, you can adjust the proportions accordingly. I figured out the size for mine by holding the bottom disk to one of my cats who was curled up sleeping.
Let me know what you think! And if anyone makes one too, I'd love to see it!