– 1X DETOLF glass-door cabinet, white or black
– 1x piece of plastic in matching colour, solid but not too hard to cut with scissors. Minimum 6×6 cm. Plastic from the lid of a box of ice cream works well.
– Pencil or pen
– Glass or cup to draw a circle around
– Super glue/instant glue
– Black or white spray paint to paint the plastic to match the cage if you can’t find plastic in the color you want.
– KALLAX shelf to place under the cage- almost a perfect fit
– Shoebox for adding deeper bedding to some parts of the cage
Is your dwarf hamster stuck in a tiny cage? Can you hardly see it behind the cage bars? Do you want to give your dwarf hamster room to enjoy life and get a better view of it? This is the hack for you.
WARNING! This cage is NOT SUITABLE IF YOU HAVE OTHER PETS, i.e. cats that can reach the cage, as it has no lid. Bigger pets than dwarf hamsters can also climb out. Do not use the glass door as a lid, it will not provide good enough air flow to the cage.
I was not the first to have this IKEA-hack idea, these DIY-cages seems to be quite popular among german dwarf hamster owners. I got the idea from this blog. Here you can also find instructions on how to make a lid and ideas for decoration. I made this simplified version for my two roborovski dwarf hamsters, and are so happy with it that I want to share.
This is what you do:
1) Buy a DETOLF glass door cabinet
2) Follow instructions steps 1-7 provided by IKEA (they can also be found online here)
3) Draw a circle on the plastic, approx. 1 cm bigger than the light hole in the DETOLF cabinet. You can use a cup, glass or another round item as a guide when you draw the circle. Just put in on the plastic and draw around the edge.
4) Cut around the circle.
5) Optional – spray one side of the plastic circle and wait for it to dry. Do not spray on the side that the hamster can reach, in case the paint is toxic to it.
6) Glue the plastic over the hole on the outside of the cabinet (with the painted side facing out.) You glue it on the outside to keep hamsters from biting on the edge of the plastic. Wait for the glue to dry completely before you let a hamster use the cage.
7) Place the cabinet on its backside on a sturdy surface i.e. on top of a KALLAX shelf – it fits almost perfectly, but not quite…the cage is a bit too big. However, it is very useful to have a shelf right under it where you can store stuff for your hamster.
8) Let the glass rest on a pencil or small piece of wood under the middle of the cage for extra support.
9) Go ahead and make your cage a home for your hamster. Avoid placing tall items so close to the walls that your hamster can climb out.
You can hang a drinking bottle from the inner metal frame by wrapping rubber band around it and make a hook out of a paper clip.
Empty toilet paper rolls make nice tunnels.
Hamsters love to dig, and you can add deeper bedding in parts of the cage by adding barriers. The simple solution: add a shoe box and fill it with bedding. Replace now and then.