In honor of Apple’s big announcements today, I’m sharing an Apple DIY project: an iMac cat bed. OS X Pretty Little Kitteh sold separately.
I found this old iMac at a garage sale at my elementary school a few years ago. They had them in the kindergarten rooms and it was time for an upgrade. For $7.50, it was all mine.
I was able to turn it on, play music, and even access the internet, but let’s be real; there was no reason for me to actually use it. Plus it made a really annoying buzzing sound while it was on.
Sean and I started looking for different things to do with it, and fell in love with the idea of making it into a cat bed.
The only problem: neither of us had a cat.
Once we adopted Val back in January, we knew it was time to make the cat bed. Fast forward to September when we moved in together. A few hours pulling the computer apart, and it’s done!
I will note that we took way more time than we needed to on this. We were hoping to leave the screen intact, making the entrance the circular handle at the back. Once we got the electronics pulled apart, we realized this wouldn’t be easy. After Googling some images of other iMac cat beds, we realized we had already removed all the pieces we needed.
(In fact, we had all the pieces about an hour earlier. Whoops.)
How to Build an iMac Cat Bed
So here’s how we did it:
Step 1: Unscrew.
Step 1 is to remove the six screws that hold the white base to the machine. You won’t need any of the screws for reassembly, so you can put them in a pile to throw away / keep.
Step 2. Pry.
Next you’ll want to remove the white base. A majority of it will come off easily, but it is attached near the screen with tabs. Be careful not to break these while prying the plastic from the machine, because you’ll need them for reassembly.
Step 3. Unscrew again.
Once the base has been removed, there are only two more pieces to go: the white faceplate, and the colored back (which is, in my case, teal).
These last two pieces were moved at basically the same time.
You’ll want to remove the screws holding the colored piece of plastic to the machine and to the faceplate.
Step 4. Pry again.
Seeing a pattern? These tabs will be your enemies throughout this entire process.
Pry apart the teal back and the white faceplate. Again, these tabs are vital for reassembly, so be very careful not to break them. (The off-white plastic underneath is fair game, though.)
Once you’ve got all of the tabs separated, you’ll need to remove two more screws before you can remove the white faceplate around the screen. They’re located at the bottom of the monitor, and they’re covered my small pieces of plastic. Remove those (we used a flat-head screwdriver) and the screws, pry apart the last two (very large) tabs, and you should be able to remove the faceplate. One piece left!
Step 5. Pry again, then unscrew again.
Once the frame is removed, you’ll see two plastic covers by the colored backing. Remove those (we used a small flat-head screwdriver) and remove the screws underneath each.
Once those two screws are removed, the backing should come off the monitor easily. If not, find out where it is stuck and see if there are move tabs and / or screws that need to be removed.
Be careful as you’re removing the monitor, as you could get shocked. Wear rubber gloves for this part.
Step 6. Reassemble.
Once you’ve got the three pig pieces of plastic removed, simply put them back together!
The faceplate and the colored back should snap together easily, but you might need to tape and / or glue those two pieces to the white base.
Don’t forget to put the cover back on the base! This is what you removed during the first step to remove four of the six original screws.
Step 7. Add a cat.
And that’s it! You don’t even have to deal with the electronics on the inside. And hopefully leaving the keyboard and mouse intact means the cat won’t sleep on your keyboard while you work. (Let’s be honest. That will never happen.)
What do you think? Is it worth seeking out an old G3 for a cat bed?
Meghan Hayes says
this is quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Thanks so much for following my blog! Now I want to find an old iMac and make a cat bed. Oh how I wish I still had my purple one!
Thank you! I’m excited to take a look around, your blog looks super fun! And I’ve definitely contemplated getting some more on eBay. There are more color options for less than $50. It’s probably too tempting, especially since my apartment is tiny. 🙂
susan o says
I just bought an imac on ebay $50 shipped. the guy was nice enough to remove all the inside parts for me, but he is sending along the speakers. however, I did not know all the electronics came out as one big piece. Is there no plastic parts of the housing needed for the shell/cat bed contained in there? He sent me pictures and it seems like there are more parts still inside of mine, can you tell me if this looks like everything was removed? How do you attach the speakers to the back for stability? would anything else work? is yours mostly smooth inside with no protrusions? do you have a hole on the side where the usb ports etc were? thank you! (qwho @ msn.com)
Hey Susan! That looks the same as mine. 🙂 Yes, there’s a whole on the side where the ports were. I put a blanket on the inside to cover up some of those things and she doesn’t even notice. As for the speakers, I’d just lay the cords in the back. I don’t think there’s really a way to connect them, so they’d just be for show. I hope this helps!
Jean Roth says
How did you safely dispose of what was left of the G3?
Hey Jean! It’s funny you ask, I actually did a follow-up post about how to dispose of them 🙂 https://www.andpossiblydinosaurs.com/recycle-electronics/ Basically, you can find an electronics recycling center in your area and they’ll recycle them for you!
Jean Roth says
Thank you! (Boy, you’re fast!) Here in LA there are several of these and you’ve given me a good idea — to check with them first to see who will take the Mac without the outsides. I was thinking more in terms of not getting electrocuted, but if I haven’t yet, I’m probably ok! Stuff’s not snapping (plastic dried out a lot since ’98) but I’ll get some gorilla glue. My G3 is a different model, so the base has 2 parts and lots of bumpy things inside. Of course after all this work. I’m sure Winnie the cat will turn up his little red nose! Thanks again — I never did this because no DIY post makes it this easy.
When I delivered the electronics to the recycling place, they had no problem taking random innards of electronics. 🙂 And we didn’t really even deal with wires, so you shouldn’t have any issues with getting shocked! Everything is pretty much encased in plastic / metal, even within the plastic shell you’ll use for the cat bed! 🙂 Glad I could help, Jean!
Jean Roth says
Oh, oops, your base DOES have 2 parts too. But it is a bit different — I’ll have to attach the cover to the tray-loading cd port somehow for cosmetic purposes. 🙂
Alex Rod says
Nice. I got an iMac from a friend for recovering the files from the hard drive since it wouldn’t turn on anymore, and built the cat house a couple of hours ago. The annoying buzzing sound you talk about may actually come from the hard drive. Old drives were very noisy,
I want to mention that there is risk of electric shock when messing around with a CRT monitor. I followed this procedure on the video to safely discharge a CTR. It is also recomended to wear rubber gloves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jbnFuVWTdk.
Awesome, thanks so much for sharing, Alex! I’ll definitely add this note in the post. 🙂
Alex Rod says
You’re welcome 🙂