make your own: fabric scrap cat toy.

December 8, 2020
simple cat wand | reading my tea leaves

Fret not, we have not forgotten the feline friends among us. For anyone with a kitten (or an energetic toddler), these dancing teaser wand toys can be made in minutes from simple materials. They’re modeled on the exquisite Japanese Cat Toys that Rose spotted in the beautiful SOHO shop, Makié. This simplified version uses a wooden dowel, washi tape, and fabric scraps. Cotton button-ups, pillowcases, or sheets that are ready for retirement would all be perfect for this project. If you’re feeling festive, the addition of a tiny jingle bell would not be wrong. Rose has the full tutorial below:

simple cat wand | reading my tea leaves


+ 12-inch dowel or stick

+ assorted cotton fabric; 24 inches in length *

+ masking or Washi tape

+ scissors

*Cotton fabric will tear straight on the grain to make a naturally frayed edge.

simple cat wand | reading my tea leaves


+ To tear your fabric into strips, cut a small incision along the edge of your fabric, 1”to 2” wide.

+ Take hold of either side of the cut fabric and pull apart with equal tension. Cotton fibers will naturally rip straight down along the grain. If there is a hem or a seam at the end of the fabric, use a scissor to cut through.

+ Remove any hanging strands or threads from your fabric strip.

+ Repeat twice more using the same material or another cotton fabric.

+ With all three strips together, make a loose knot at one end.

+ Braid the three strips together keeping the braided weave loose.

simple cat wand | reading my tea leaves

+ After 12 inches, tie a simple knot at the end, you will have an additional 12 inches of tail ends remaining.

+ Undo the knot you made at the beginning of the braid and secure ¾” of all three loose ends of fabric to the top of the dowel with tape.

+ Secure with additional tape around the dowels and the fabric.  Cover the dowel’s end and 1 ½” down the sides, wrapping neatly as you go.

+ Cover the bottom end of the dowel the same way you did the top, covering roughly 1 ½” with tape.


Thanks to Rose Pearlman for developing this project, writing the instructions, and capturing the step-by-step instruction imagery. Rose is an artist, teacher, and textile designer. With a background in fine arts and a love of well designed functional objects, her creations blur the lines between art and craft and pushes the boundaries with non-traditional techniques and materials. Rose teaches monthly rug hooking workshops in and around her home in NYC, and also welcomes commissions for one of a kind constructions in decor and home furnishings. Her work has been featured in fiber magazines, galleries, and numerous online design sites. Her book Modern Rug Hooking is available wherever books are sold. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.



If you’re hoping to expand your gift giving this year to help people and kittens, consider making a donation to a local animal shelter, rescue program, or TNR organization likeLuxe Paws:

Luxe Paws is a part-time, volunteer street rescue effort laser-focused on TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) spay/neuter & rescue for the youngest, most at-risk kitties in the LA neighborhoods of Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park. Our ultimate goal is to inspire a neighborhood-based spay/neuter support model which, if replicated across LA, would prevent unwanted animals suffering on the street and being killed at our city shelters. 

For more information about the Luxe Paws program, visit their website. Hat tip to one of my original internet pals, @whatpossessedme, who volunteers her time with this organization

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1 Comment

  • Reply Stephanie December 22, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Immense merci, encore une belle idée que je viens de faire pour le cadeau du chat, et toute bien expliquée..
    Tu es si inspirante…
    Joyeux Noel!

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