I Built This Dalek For My Cats Out Of Cardboard Boxes, And Topsy And Turvy Are Thrilled
When you have more cardboard boxes in your living room than floor space, you have to do something about it. I first tried a cat-tank, inspired by the popular memes floating around on social media and Fashion Life as well. Surprisingly easy, but it only used up two boxes (see my efforts and in-depth interview in another Fashion Life article).
I decided I needed a challenge, and something higher off of the ground to please my cats: Topsy and Turvy. Cat-Dalek it was; a blue one at my Dad’s request. I figured this would be something that would fill several evenings over the next week and hopefully use up several more of the boxes covering my floor. My Mum and brother are the true Doctor Who enthusiasts in the family, definitely fans before the series reboot. I consider myself a fan, knowing which Doctor to ask for a jelly baby and which to borrow an umbrella from. Daleks, though villains are a charming part of the universe. My husband and I even had a mini bride and groom Dalek pair for our wedding cake toppers when we got married, complete with a mini bouquet and top hat!
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Topsy on the left and Turvy on the right
They’re a brother and sister that we’ve adopted in October 2016. They’re extremely cute both when they’re together and separately. They’re about five years old now.
The first step to assemble a Dalek – gather supplies. Cardboard boxes, packing tape to hold the cardboard together securely, masking tape to hold the outside together and allow for painting. Paint (a LOT of paint), paint brushes, scissors, box cutter, reference picture of Dalek, painters tape (I needed a lot of tape), glue, black marker pen, paper towel roll (two), toilet paper roll (three), lots of imagination and patience.
Paint job complete
Then try to remember school geometry and realize that Dalek isn’t very square or angular; they’re round and somehow have more parts than you think they do. After two nights, I had the base successfully put together and confirmed it was sturdy and would hold the weight of a cat. Very important to verify since this is a “cat-Dalek.” Next, I built the removable head, another name for this project might be “Dalek with optional cat feature – remove the head and settle in the cat.” Painting, several coats of blue and silver.
Then the last part, all the individual features, lasers, and attachments. No kitchen whisk sacrifice for me, I figured out if you sit patiently with a box cutter you can slice parallel slits down the side of toilet paper roll and create something resembling a laser. Gluing the lasers and an antenna to the Dalek did take some thought and was where the painter’s tape came in. Coat one end of the laser in glue, press against the main body of the Dalek and cover in painters tape until the glue dries. Voila!
YOU (WOULD) MAKE A GOOD DALEK!!
Reverse cat attachment feature
I had initially estimated this project taking maybe eight or so hours a week at most. It ended up taking two weeks, and I finished on US Mother’s Day. I think my Mum appreciated the pictures of my cardboard creation just as much as the greeting card and flowers I sent her. Topsy and Turvy are undoubtedly thrilled with their new perch. It’s about four and a half feet tall and gives them a good viewpoint of the living room and out the windows. Though Topsy hasn’t quite got the hang of which is the front and back.
Here’s a cat tank I made previously
Topsy in her cardboard tank, aiming intently at the laser on the wall
This is Turvy taking a turn in the tank
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