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Old 06-28-2022, 09:12 AM   #1
WildMouse
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Default DIY Cage Ideas

Hello, I will finally be able to get my first hamster in September when I move into my new flat! So I am planning out the cage. Ideally I'm looking for a cage under £200. I have an area of roughly 2mx2m for a cage but I can shuffle furniture around. Originally I was planning to build a cage from scratch using acrylic and plywood however I think an IKEA DIY would turn out cheaper.

Here are some ideas I've had so far...
1. Billy bookcase
Buy 2 of the 202x80x28cm Billy bookcases (£40 each). Lay them down on their backs and stack them to create a cage that is 202cm long, 80cm wide and 56cm tall. I might leave a shelf in each book case to create a divider down the cage so that one half has deep bedding and the other half has things like a wheel and sand bath.

2. Pax
Buy 201x100x58cm Pax (£55). Lay it down on its back to create a cage that is 201cm long, 100cm wide and 58cm tall. Again I might leave a shelf in to create a divider. One bonus of the Pax is that you can buy glass shelves for £20. I was wondering if it might be possible to swap one of these for say, the top of the Pax so that I could see into the cage?

3. Plasta
Buy 2 of the 120x80x55cm Plastas (£50 each). Lay them down on their backs and put them end-to-end to create a cage 240cm long, 80cm wide and 55cm tall. I would remove one of the ends of one of them and leave the other as a divider

The hamster will be the only animal so I would like a cage without a lid but this does mean that the cage needs to be quite deep, especially with lots of bedding.

I had intended to paint all the inside surfaces with a few layers of plastikote, however since the tubs are quite small and I would need a few layers I don't think this will be very cost-effective. If anyone can recommend an alternative to Plastikote that would be great

I would like a divider in the cage so that the hamster has a good area of very deep bedding (at least 30cm) but also an area with shallow bedding for wheels, sand bath, water etc so that I don't have to put them all on stilts. Also I think that this way I will be able to give the hamster very deep bedding without having to spend so much on bedding.
In the past when I have built gerbil cages I have connected areas using tubes but I've heard that these aren't good for syrian hamsters. I don't have many tools and am not very DIY savvy so I'd rather not go cutting holes in the divider. I had thought about steps/bridges but there will probably be quite a drop and I wouldn't want the hamster to fall and hurt themself. Does anyone have any ideas on how to let the hamster access both sides? I would also like the hamster to come and go as it pleases for free-range time so I'll need to come up with another removable bridge or something for that.

Also, for anyone that has tried these cages, is the back of the shelves/wardrobe okay as a cage base once painted? Watching assembly videos has made me wonder if they are a bit too floppy and insubstantial.

Finally, one of the big downsides for me with an IKEA cage is only being able to view the hamster from above. If anyone has any ideas on adding a cheap and easy viewing panel that would be superb

To summarize:
1. Any thoughts on the DIYs listed would be appreciated
2. Alternatives to Plastikote?
3. How to provide access for the hamster to both sides of a divider
4. Suitable flooring for the cage
5. DIY window/viewing panel

Thanks so much! I am so excited for my first hamster
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Old 06-28-2022, 11:16 AM   #2
sushi_78
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Default Re: DIY Cage Ideas

The Pax seems like the easiest option for a very large space but the Komplement is another option. With the Komplement you can buy ready made glass panels. Alternatively you can get acrylic cut to size online. For flooring, a thick piece of plywood, sealed against moisture, should work well.

You could use a ramp - not too steep - to provide access to each half of the cage.

Separate areas connected by tubes are fine for Syrians provided the tubes are large and secure enough, and each individual area provides a meaningful amount of space.

In terms of Plastikote alternatives, I recently used Little Knights paint for a cage. It's non-toxic and pet safe. You can buy both large tins and 100ml sample tins (which work out cheaper than Plastikote).
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Old 06-28-2022, 01:55 PM   #3
WildMouse
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Default Re: DIY Cage Ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushi_78 View Post
The Pax seems like the easiest option for a very large space but the Komplement is another option. With the Komplement you can buy ready made glass panels. Alternatively you can get acrylic cut to size online. For flooring, a thick piece of plywood, sealed against moisture, should work well.

You could use a ramp - not too steep - to provide access to each half of the cage.

Separate areas connected by tubes are fine for Syrians provided the tubes are large and secure enough, and each individual area provides a meaningful amount of space.

In terms of Plastikote alternatives, I recently used Little Knights paint for a cage. It's non-toxic and pet safe. You can buy both large tins and 100ml sample tins (which work out cheaper than Plastikote).
Thanks so much!

I had a look at the Komplement but it doesn't look easy to build one bigger than 1mx1m. I think the glass shelves might work with the pax though for viewing.

I think the divider will probably be about 35-40cm tall to allow for plenty of bedding. Maybe the bottom of the ramp could rest on a shelf or box to reduce the steepness?

Are there any wide enough tubes you would recommend? In the past I have used Ferplast tubes for gerbils.

Thanks again
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Old 06-28-2022, 02:04 PM   #4
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: DIY Cage Ideas

I've just built the komplement and in the future when I have room I am either going to attach another komplement to it, to make it 2m x 61 cm or add the marakesh cage to it, not decided yet. If you are going to use a tube to go through the divider you could do the same with 2 komplement cages together. I will say 1 thing, the komplement is a heavy cage, but then again i guess any cage you build at 2m will be quite heavy. I have got round this by using 1 other shelf underneath the cage and put wheels on it and I can now move it anywhere if i have to.

Also, I would highly recommend a lid even if you have no other animals, the reason being 1.) the hamster can always find ways to escape, and at least then you know it is safe and secure and 2.) you never know what can happen, I once had next doors cat come in through my bedroom window and walk into my living room where I keep my hamsters. Luckily I had just put my hamster away, otherwise it could have been disastrous. Also, you never know if your home gets 'unwanted' rodents moving in and you wouldn;t want them being able to get to your hamster (i know this is only a slim chance of happening, but then I never thought a neighbours cat would jump in through a small window!)
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Old 06-28-2022, 03:13 PM   #5
sushi_78
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Default Re: DIY Cage Ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildMouse View Post
Thanks so much!

I had a look at the Komplement but it doesn't look easy to build one bigger than 1mx1m. I think the glass shelves might work with the pax though for viewing.

I think the divider will probably be about 35-40cm tall to allow for plenty of bedding. Maybe the bottom of the ramp could rest on a shelf or box to reduce the steepness?

Are there any wide enough tubes you would recommend? In the past I have used Ferplast tubes for gerbils.

Thanks again
Rereading your post, I realise you meant tubes to connect areas inside the cage (rather than different cages), in which case the Savic rat tubes, pringles tubes, cork tunnels or willow tunnels would all work. The Ferplast tubes are too narrow for Syrians to use comfortably.
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Last edited by sushi_78; 06-28-2022 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 06-29-2022, 02:52 AM   #6
otto
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Default Re: DIY Cage Ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildMouse View Post
Hello, I will finally be able to get my first hamster in September when I move into my new flat! So I am planning out the cage. Ideally I'm looking for a cage under £200. I have an area of roughly 2mx2m for a cage but I can shuffle furniture around. Originally I was planning to build a cage from scratch using acrylic and plywood however I think an IKEA DIY would turn out cheaper.

Here are some ideas I've had so far...
1. Billy bookcase
Buy 2 of the 202x80x28cm Billy bookcases (£40 each). Lay them down on their backs and stack them to create a cage that is 202cm long, 80cm wide and 56cm tall. I might leave a shelf in each book case to create a divider down the cage so that one half has deep bedding and the other half has things like a wheel and sand bath.

2. Pax
Buy 201x100x58cm Pax (£55). Lay it down on its back to create a cage that is 201cm long, 100cm wide and 58cm tall. Again I might leave a shelf in to create a divider. One bonus of the Pax is that you can buy glass shelves for £20. I was wondering if it might be possible to swap one of these for say, the top of the Pax so that I could see into the cage?

3. Plasta
Buy 2 of the 120x80x55cm Plastas (£50 each). Lay them down on their backs and put them end-to-end to create a cage 240cm long, 80cm wide and 55cm tall. I would remove one of the ends of one of them and leave the other as a divider

The hamster will be the only animal so I would like a cage without a lid but this does mean that the cage needs to be quite deep, especially with lots of bedding.

I had intended to paint all the inside surfaces with a few layers of plastikote, however since the tubs are quite small and I would need a few layers I don't think this will be very cost-effective. If anyone can recommend an alternative to Plastikote that would be great

I would like a divider in the cage so that the hamster has a good area of very deep bedding (at least 30cm) but also an area with shallow bedding for wheels, sand bath, water etc so that I don't have to put them all on stilts. Also I think that this way I will be able to give the hamster very deep bedding without having to spend so much on bedding.
In the past when I have built gerbil cages I have connected areas using tubes but I've heard that these aren't good for syrian hamsters. I don't have many tools and am not very DIY savvy so I'd rather not go cutting holes in the divider. I had thought about steps/bridges but there will probably be quite a drop and I wouldn't want the hamster to fall and hurt themself. Does anyone have any ideas on how to let the hamster access both sides? I would also like the hamster to come and go as it pleases for free-range time so I'll need to come up with another removable bridge or something for that.

Also, for anyone that has tried these cages, is the back of the shelves/wardrobe okay as a cage base once painted? Watching assembly videos has made me wonder if they are a bit too floppy and insubstantial.

Finally, one of the big downsides for me with an IKEA cage is only being able to view the hamster from above. If anyone has any ideas on adding a cheap and easy viewing panel that would be superb

To summarize:
1. Any thoughts on the DIYs listed would be appreciated
2. Alternatives to Plastikote?
3. How to provide access for the hamster to both sides of a divider
4. Suitable flooring for the cage
5. DIY window/viewing panel

Thanks so much! I am so excited for my first hamster
Hi!
I made the plasta so can offer some advice.
First things first, you must make a lid. 55cm tall seems quite a lot, but with good bedding and with supplies on top of that, you end up with not too much space above. My boy escaped from his though the mesh at the top even though I left it so there was at least 8inches of wall and space between supplies and the lid. (Heís now got a raised lid lol) Give your new guy time and within a few months theyíll be big enough to get out- theyíre very determined little creatures. So if you want to utilise the space your given, and youíre going to want to, build a lid. Even if you only put it on at night. Unless you want to be chasing a hamster around the house at 3am.

If you can get a VARD glass door, use that. The 120 x 60 one has gone out of stock, but if you buy the 120x80 plasta and the 120x80 vard door- youíre good to go! You can buy multiple if you want- make it as big as you can go! But be quick, theyíre stopping the vard production so get your order in fast if you want to go with it. Itís thick glass sandwiched between white wood. You just need to screw it to the rest of the cage with square brackets.

You probably wonít need plasticote as the ikea furniture is coated in an almost plastic-y covering already. Just buy aquarium silicone to run along the edges and corners so urine canít soak between the cracks.

If you can provide deeper bedding throughout the cage thatíll be the best option from a safety standpoint if the hamster was to fall from the divider. Iíve got one in my cage, iíll explain how iíve done it:
Mine makes extensive systems linking up every area in his cage. If he was refined to one area i think heíd lose it. But thatís him. Heís really demanding. Yay! So for that reason I have an area with about 9 inches, a divider (the large niteangel bendy bridge), and then an area with 12 inches. I raised the divider off the ground by using one of those rosewood hay tubes. I cut it in half, flipped it so it stood upright, and cut grooves across each one so the divider could slot in between. I put a half tube on each end so it could support the weight of the divider. I then put it into the cage, and filled bedding all around, so he can still get under the divider and burrow through the whole cage, just with less bedding. He doesnít need to know thereís 3 inches less paper above him! It depends how steep the drop is, and what ratio of bedding you use on each side, but if itís something like 12inches to 6inches, you could add platforms on the side where there is less bedding that come up to about 10 inches from the bottom of the cage. Add many so he canít fall down the sides, so there is a Ďlayerí of platforms next to the divider going from the back to the front of the cage. Then using other supplies gradually lower the level down to the ground. Obviously once the hamster gets on the ground, it can then go under the platforms for added enrichment as well.

Im terms of flooring, I built my plasta in a different way. I didnít use that flimsy base, instead i swapped one of the side panels and used that as a base, and replaced that side panel with the VARD glass door. Itís very sturdy and iíve yet to have any issues doing it that way! If you end up not using glass, as long as you keep the base flat on the floor, you shouldnít have any issues. The minute you stick the cage on legs you might, but if you keep it flat youíll be good to go.

Hope this helps!
Shameless self plug... if you look up Ikea Plasta on this forum thereís a topic where iíve got some pictures when it was first done. It might help you picture the divider
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Old 06-29-2022, 03:15 AM   #7
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: DIY Cage Ideas

The IKEA Platsa thread which Otto mentions - see the 2nd page for thier pics etc.

Ikea platsa

Also, I second what Sushi suggested re Little Knights, and the other one I know people use is cuprinol garden shades. On the Komplement the only part I had to paint was the lid, i used tempera paint (because i had it) and then covered with white plastikote paint. I was too impatient to wait for the Little knights paint to arrive
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