We think you’ll agree, our furry friends deserve the best. Any pet store can tempt you with its hamster palaces and hamster condos. But there’s no need to break the bank, to get your fuzzy prince or princess into the palace of their dreams. It’s actually much simpler than you think to build a great home for your hamster, that will keep him cozy and happy. If you want to learn how to make a hamster bin cage at home, all you need is a few tools, some common materials, and a bit of time!
What Will You Need To Make A Hamster Bin Cage
The first thing you need to do is gather all your materials. We’ve provided a complete list of materials and tools to build your cage.
Materials You Will Need for Hamster Bin Cage
- One large clear Tupperware or plastic bin with a lid.
- One role of wire mesh, about 19-23 gage
- 16 nuts, bolts, and washers
- Machine screws
- About 1 foot of wire
- Zip ties (optional)
- 1 water bottle
- 1 hamster wheel – Use plastic, since it’s safer for your little buddy
- Toys, dishes, and bedding.
- Bleach, for treating the plastic container
- Duct tape
Tools You Will Need for Hamster Bin Cage
- A wire cutter
- A drill with drill bits
- A utility knife, saw, or heated knife.
- A permanent marker
- Measuring tape or a ruler
Step #1: Measure and Cutt The Lid
- Purchase a clear plastic bin
When you choose your plastic container, you’ll want to choose one at least 15-20 gallons in size, with a corresponding lid.
Set the lid aside and measure two windows on top. There should be about an inch and a half on the sides and 2 or 3 inches between the two windows. That makes it easier when you’re drilling for the mesh.
- Use your knife to cut the windows
Alternatively, you can just cut the entire top from the lid, and cover the whole thing with mesh
Step #2: Add The Mesh
- Place mesh over the windows you’ve cut out of your lid. Center it with enough room on either side that you’re able to drill holes for your mounting screws and washers that won’t cause the window to crack. If the plastic cracks, your hamster can get hurt!
- Mark up where your screws will go in by coloring those mesh squares with your permanent marker. You’ll want 6-8 screws on each window, or about 12-16 if you went with one big window
- Drill holes in those marks
- Attach the mesh with screws, bolts, and washers
- Use duct tape to cover the edges of the mesh, to protect your hamster’s little feet. We know they’re going to try to climb out!
Step #3: Drill ventilation holes
Once you’ve finished with your lid, you’ll want to drill plenty of ventilation holes for your hamster friend. Choose a smaller drill bit if you have one, and use your ruler to measure, and make sure your ventilation holes are not too close together.
You should be drilling holes about 3” above the bottom since that’s where the bedding will end.
- Mark where you’ll put the holes with your permanent marker. Try to keep them about 1.5” apart, to avoid cracking or weakening the plastic. Go slowly!
- From here, you can get super creative, stacking bin cages inside each other to make little “rooms” or connecting them with plastic tubing, to give your hamster the palace of his dreams!
Step #4: Setting up the Cage
Now that you’ve learned how to make a hamster bin cage, your new cage still needs a little love and attention to turn this DIY cage into a home. The very first thing you need to do is sterilize the cage. Plastics, especially cheaper plastics, can be coated with toxins that are bad for your hamster. Keep them safe with a diluted bleach mixture.
No more than a drop or two of bleach to every cup of cool water. Wear gloves when you’re wiping down the cage with bleach. Make sure to dry thoroughly with a paper towel
Attach a water bottle
You can create a standing water bottle stall for your hamster bin cage with some Popsicle sticks and non-toxic wood glue or hot glue. Alternatively, you can create a water bottle holder for your new cage by using a permanent marker to mark the tops and bottoms of the water bottle, as well as space where the spout will rest.
Drill the small holes on the top and bottom. You can use zip ties or a length of wire to fasten your bottle to the hamster cage.
Don’t forget to widen the hole for the spout. This will make it much easier to detach when you want to refill it!
Add your bedding
You’ll want to add at least 2 inches of bedding to the bottom of your hamster bin cage, and up to 8 inches if your little friend likes burrowing. Stay away from cedar and pine chips, which can cut up their small feet, and also contain strong scents that can cause respiratory illness. Instead, choose untreated woods like aspen, or paper bedding.
Get a hamster wheel
Hamsters are nocturnal, but just because they sleep all day, doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate their exercise.
Keep your hamster healthy by choosing a wheel that fits him perfectly. 6.5-8 cm is ideal.
Now you can add his food dish at the bottom of the cage, and add a few toys. If you don’t have toys around, you can create your own with toilet paper rolls, and small cardboard boxes. You can even give your cardboard constructions a little more stability with Popsicle sticks. Just make sure you sanitize them first and stay away from paints and other toxic materials.
Extra Tip: Clean the cage regularly
Now that your hamster has a new home, it’s important to keep it tidy. Clean out and replace your hamster’s bedding at least once a week. Don’t forget to spot-check his “potty” area with the bleach mixture and a paper towel during the weekly clean. Remember to dump and replace the water and food at least once a day, to prevent fungus and bacteria that can make him sick.
The perfect home for your hamster doesn’t have to be expensive. By creating your own DIY hamster bin cage, you can ensure his safety, and comfort, and get everything you want in a habitat for a pretty good price, with just a few tools and odds and ends you can find around the house. With some practice, you can create a proper hamster palace, with as many stories and rooms as you’d like!