View Full Version : Cage RawhideKid Cage Construction - DELUXE! ? !

09-13-16, 06:27 pm
Ok. Here are two photos of "the plan". Bought some wood at Homedepot, and a few other things.

6x2 feet, with a one foot cut out for a "wall post." Two ramps, 30 degrees each. 8 inch first level, then L shaped 10 inch level, and then a small 16 inch "lookout". Curved ramp using sticks between 8 and 10 inch levels. Hay loft, with 1x1 foot "hideout". I'll have a door on the outside into this hut. Hoping this becomes their go-to spot for poop and pee, but we will see. Plywood base, coroplast on top of it. Plexiglass on wall furthest from wall.

Working on concept of two USB fans with charcoal filters pulling air from the side wall under the 8 or 10 inch shelves. Also, two aquarium thermometers to watch the temp - this is important given we are in AZ and we keep house temp at 80 in summer. I'm also looking at low light LEDs for the under side of the 8 and 10 inch shelves. Not sure I'll use them yet though.

Got aquarium caulk to seal the edges. Daughters are studying up on building our own "Fleece flippers."

This will have four legs underneath with wheels so we can move it if needed. The spot we are putting it is where we put our Christmas tree each year, so we will move it to a temp spot during Christmas. We will have a large shelf right above the wheels, about 4 inches from floor, so we can put boxes of supplies and such underneath. Then we will put a simple drape around the edges I think. Plexi walls will be 10 inches from any level they can jump from, so the back left edge will be about 26 inches from the base top, if that makes sense. The back side will be a wood side. Not sure if I'll cover the wood sides with coroplast. Depends if I can get it cheaply or not. Looks like you can paint coroplast? I'm having daughter check on that, and what paint to use.

Lots left to do and research! Hoping we can complete in two weeks tops. Will start cutting plywood and building the base tonight. Marked it last night. Still too dang hot here in Phoenix to do much outside in the evenings....

See two images below - one I did and one my oldest daughter did. Can you tell which is which? Ha!



09-13-16, 06:33 pm
Some serious plans there, I think yours are the ones with the cutesy pics lol.
Can't wait to see it when it's finished.

09-14-16, 11:53 am
Wow! Be sure to post some pictures when you are finished. It seems impressive. :)

09-14-16, 12:34 pm
Hopes and dreams, hopes and dreams. Probably won't look nearly as impressive in reality as the plans are. But we will see. It'll be between our family room and kitchen, where a lot of people will see it. But no pressure...:)

09-14-16, 01:26 pm
Question...can coroplast be painted, and does the paint last if so? I'll have to research what paint is pet safe though...

09-14-16, 01:28 pm
There's usually no need. It comes in a rainbow of colors.

09-14-16, 01:38 pm
Yeah, just read an old forum post here on same topic. Not recommended to be painted. Piggies chew a little on the coroplast and they could ingest it. I thought my girls might enjoy coloring the white coroplast in fun designs - trees, butterflies, etc. I have one daughter that is a great artist, and the other isn't half bad either. Maybe I'll see if they can cut some colorful "flowers" out of fleece and glue them to the walls? Not sure...glue isn't good for them either I'm sure. Maybe it'll be high enough they won't get to it. Basic white or black coroplast is cheapest I think, but I'll look around. Maybe a nice light blue would look like sky? Hmmm.....

09-14-16, 02:04 pm
Why not decorate with some nice wood garlands. You can paint them with non-toxic soy paints. I know that's what my favorite shops use. You can get cute little wood flowers and such. Or maybe you can even cut them yourself since you are clearly handy. Change them out for seasons/holidays. Your kids could have a blast with themes for you cage! :)

09-14-16, 02:18 pm
Hmm....now that is a great idea! Do they glue them together? Hmm...time for more research.

Just finished some mod's on the overall design. Watched video on how to make coroplast ramps. Looks really simple.

My goal is to have the bottom level complete free of any unmovable object. I'll use hanging strips of fleece to allow for private "rooms" but want to easily be able to move everything when I (or my daughters) need to clean.

I get the fans and charcoal filters tomorrow. Looks like they will "stick out" about 2 inches from the back of the cage when done. More than I'd hoped so may move them to different spots. Not sure yet...

The fans and a couple lights I got will be about the last things I put in the cage. Still debating about them. Hoping the lights can be set to be very low light - I got ones with remotes that seem to show great adjustability - made for aquariums.

Fun stuff!!! Can't wait to show some images of the progress.

09-14-16, 02:26 pm
Usually they are strung together on raffia or twine (? Check on twine because that might be wrong) Really you can decorate with all kinds of fun wood items as long as it's untreated and any paints used are the non-toxic soy variety.

09-14-16, 02:27 pm
What about Sharpies and let them draw instead of paint?

09-14-16, 02:29 pm
Sharpies do bleed a bit on the wood, just so you know. They dry up pretty fast as well. We did a couple beds that way. As long as your girls won't get irritated about having less precision in their drawing it should work fine.

09-14-16, 02:36 pm
Hmmm...sharpies would be great. Are they non-toxic for pets?

09-14-16, 03:08 pm
I don't know, you could ask the company. But they really don't eat a lot of coroplast, so they couldn't get much.

09-14-16, 09:21 pm
Well, too hot last night, but pushed through it tonight for an hour and 45 minutes to get started. Great help from oldest daughter. It's part of a school project for her, so she needed to anyway. See below for few images. Bottom shelf and back wall and "box" on left side are next hope to do that tomorrow night. Only 95 for a high tomorrow I think...!

Why do my arms ache a bit? Too much cuttin and drilling. I should sleep good tonight.


09-14-16, 10:35 pm
Looking good. Can't wait to see the finished project.

09-15-16, 08:04 am
Awe, what a good Daddy you are :)

09-16-16, 11:52 pm
Well, made good progress last night and tonight. I think all the wood walls are done. Tomorrow is plexiglass and exterior painting with a dark brown leftover paint. I have to leave for a business trip Sunday. Had hoped to finish it but I don't think we will make it. Still have to do coroplast cutting, build the bridges, and put spots for water, etc. We did cut our dead mandarin orange tree today and cut them to length for bridge making. Still need to wash them in vinegar/water mix and bake. No idea why I can't get the photos right side up?!!!! Tried and tried...so sorry.


09-16-16, 11:56 pm
Ok, maybe because it's upside down or maybe just because I'm not good with this kind of thing but...what's the boxy thing on the end with what looks like two holes?

09-17-16, 12:14 am
It's a box, open end towards interior of cage, with a hinged door to the outside.

09-17-16, 01:39 am
Oh! 3rd pic is outside door open! Excellent :)

09-17-16, 09:52 am
When I raised rabbits as a kid, this is where the babies would be born - a little enclosed "square" off the edge of the main cage. For G Pigs, I'm planning on putting a plastic tray to the bottom of this, hoping that they use this area as their primary bathroom. That way we can easily pull the tray out, clean the bedding or fleece flipper, and put it back.

We'll see. Probably a pipe dream. Either way, it's a cool little hideout for them. Did you notice the cool archway my girls designed? I kinda like it, but it's hidden by the shelf above it. Oh well. Coming along.

Don't hurt as much as I thought I would today. Hoping to get a lot done, but it's been a long time since I've worked with plexiglass.


09-17-16, 10:57 am
The archway is very cool! Good luck with your plexiglass. :)

09-17-16, 12:59 pm
Oh my god! I'm in love with this cage!!!!! I hope someday I can give my furry babies a cage like this one!!! :D Good job!!!!

09-17-16, 02:11 pm
It's coming along great, the archway is really neat. Great job on designing, girls!! :)

09-17-16, 02:59 pm
Tired today. Arms hurt. Went shopping at Joann's, home depot, and Uhaul store. Found only the "major uhaul stores" have the pads for sale. Got two for now. Found great coupon for Joann's so went there and got some fleece, hole punch/eyelette thingey, and some other stuff to make the fleece pads. Home depot - got some minor things for finer touches. Hope to do some today but arms hurt enough it may not get done. Started soaking some of the cut branches in vinegar/water today. May just go to Oktoberfest celebration and medicate my arms a bit tonight! Wife wants to go so that may be the plan. Headed out of town tomorrow so may have to wait until later in the week to get this done. Thanks all for the compliments. More to come.

09-21-16, 10:24 pm
Back from my trip. did 1.5 hours of work tonight to correct some issues. Still plenty to do..

Here is a better photo of the little door into their hidey-hole.


Here is a shot of the interior left side. I enlarged the "top shelf" a bit as I realized it was too small for an adult Pig. I'll install plexi walls, and then a ramp going down to the middle shelf. That shelf will also have plexi, I think about 6 inches tall.

Here is a shot from the left side/end. I plan to mount a fan with charcoal filter on the lower left box to pull air out of the box.

Here is a shot of the "hay loft" as I think we'll call it. Just got the feedbox today. Not sure how I'll mount that on the outside left side, with feeder on inside of box. It is big!! And I need to research how high to mount it too. The front side will have plexi. Back side will have a mesh vent I think. Not sure yet.
Here is a shot from the front. I'll mount a water on the outside, just to the right of the little box door. And then another water on the far right side of the cage. Plexi across the front and left side. 10 inches tall I think. the back right corner has a low wood edge because I'll put plexi on it to raise the edge higher. We have a window right there, so I though this would be a good place for them to look outside a little.
Slow but sure, getting there.
I also swapped out the wheels on the bottom. I had used black ones, and they left marks on the cement outside - hate to have that happen on the inside of the house on our tile. So put Grey ones on.


09-22-16, 12:52 pm
Looks nice. Not sure if you know, they're not supposed to have unlimited pellets once they're older than 6 months old. You'll have to swap the feeder with bowls (preferably one for each pig).

Will they have enough ventilation once you put the fan in?

09-22-16, 01:18 pm
Dang! Really? Hadn't read that...although I'm happy to hear that. Hate the idea of mounting that big feeder on my cage. Thanks for telling me!

Should have plenty of ventilation. I'm putting some mesh type vents on back side too.

09-22-16, 07:19 pm
Okay... Do you know they need unlimited grass hay?

09-22-16, 08:25 pm
Love it. Thanks for sharing

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

09-22-16, 09:16 pm
Yup. Knew about the hay. Thanks! The top left part of the cage will be the hay "loft". We will put a food dish and water bottle in there as well.

Spent about an hour building and installing the "fan/charcoal filter" box on the left side. Also installed the water bottle bracket and hole for the water spicket. (1 of at least 2, maybe 3 that will be put in) It looks good. I'm not sure how high to install the water spicket. I'll have to research that. Here are a few photos of the fan box. We will paint it all soon. After that I'll put the fan and filter in. Filter side towards interior, and fan pulling air out of the cage/box.

The fan box has a very small lid on the top. Doesn't work well now - i'll have to add a rubber flap to it. That's so I can replace the charcoal filter occasionally.
Here is the charcoal filter and USB fan i'll put in. It's has 3 levels and is very quiet. Doesn't pull a ton of air but I think that's ok.

09-24-16, 03:22 pm
Got 2nd coat of paint on the cage last night. Today added some blue paint on the top of the inside of the wood to represent sky. Added some vent grates on the back side which was pretty easy because they're made out of tin and to be cut easily with tinsnips.
Below you can see the vents as well as the small ope strips with plexiglass over one. We will mount a lightbar strip over the top of the plexiglass shining inward.

Went to cut some plexiglass and was struggling with it as it was splitting where we wanted a straight line. Didn't have the correct tool to hold the metal straight edge and the box cutter slipped. I think I'll go to Home Depot and see if I can find a better straight edge as well as a scroll saw blade for plexiglass.


Could've been a lot worse. Just got the very tip of my finger to make it bleed and hurt a little bit. Still hope to finish up the Plexiglas today and hopefully start on the coroplast. Found a specific drill bit to drill holes in the coroplast and it is working very well.

All for now. RHK

09-24-16, 03:35 pm
FYI, I cut plexiglass with a jigsaw.

09-24-16, 03:48 pm
Do you use a special blade or technique?

09-24-16, 04:33 pm
Nope, just a fine-toothed blade.

09-25-16, 12:20 am
Well, not sure what Im Doing wrong with the jigsaw. I got a blade specific to plexi, tried multiple different speeds and settings. I kept breaking the plexi. It might be because I bought very thin plexi. Not sure. Just too much vibration.

But i did find a solution. My Drexel with a cutting disk. It melts a nice line with a steady hand! I can even do curves and designs if needed. I sand the edge after, peel off the covers, and I'm good to go. Slow though.

I made a mistake that I'll correct tomorrow though. S'mores seems to like the high level.


I had planned only 4 inch wide ramps but in researching tonight, seems like 5-5.25 inch wide is more normal. And I need to buy some "binder edges" to cover the raw plexi edges. I have a nice piece of "angle wood" to cover the 90 degree plexi turns. Thought I might just glue them but gluing plexi is not easy.

Getting there. Hope to get a lot done tomorrow but we will see. My finger still hurts dang it.


09-25-16, 11:03 pm
Coming along, slow but sure. These projects always take a lot longer than I expect, but it's ok. Sure fun doing it.

I figured out that it was better to put in the coroplast before all the plexi went up, so i stopped the plexi work and started the coroplast. Made a big mistake not doing the largest piece of coroplast base first, so I'll have to go buy another piece, or do the main bottom in two pieces, which would be ok.

I also enlarged the top level and put a support board between top and middle level. My wife felt the top level, which was only 8x6 inches, was too small for them to do much, so I expanded it quite a bit.

Working with coroplast is pretty easy once you get the hang of it! I bought some double sided tape to tape it to the walls. My girls cut the "cloud edges" at the top.

Looked everywhere for "stair tread" to put on the ramps, and couldn't find any. Homedepot, office max, target, michael's - nothing. I've decided to use "shelf liner - vinyl top" as I can remove and wash or replace it if needed. I'm going to try to build my ramps out of plexi - heat it and bend it into a "LI" or "U" shape with flat bottom. We'll see. I've never tried to bend plexi before. Got a heat gun at Homedepot.




10-02-16, 11:28 pm
Piggies are in the cage! Not done, but i'm headed out of town for a week, so had to finish up as much as I could to get them in before I left. Still some finishing touches for sure, including a much needed "hay rack", but for now, it's done. Lots of things I'd do differently of course.

I haven't added up the cost, but so far it's been 33 hours of work for myself, and maybe 10 more from my kids. Tired. Glad it's gotten to this point but wish it was completely done. Hope in another couple of weeks it'll be "fully finished" and pizzaz for photos. S'mores and Pumpkin are slowly exploring.

Let me know if you experts see any concerns here. Did what I could but happy to have feedback on if you were to have done it differently somehow. Who knows, perhaps I'll make another version to replace this one!!!

Here are some shots:





Enjoy!!! Happy days.


10-02-16, 11:30 pm
Oh, and the fleece is not finished. I just cut some uhaul to fit under the fleece strips. Nothing fancy, but for now, hopefully works. Also, installed 3 temp gauges to watch the temp in 3 places in the cage! And lastly, two fans that are USB based. I also put in some low light LEDs but they stopped working after I got them installed, so I'll have to fix them later.

10-03-16, 12:42 am
I'm not here to comment on the cage as far as safety etc, those with keener eyes and more expertise can take care of those types of things. I do however want to take a minute to comment on you! As impressive as the cage may be it pales in comparison to how awesome it is that you did all this. And how excited you are! This is the kind of thing your kids will remember. How cool it was that Dad built the guinea pigs a mansion. How excited he was and how great he tried to make it. Good job man! Great cage and great memories. :)

10-03-16, 01:10 am
Thanks! I was proud of the girls for helping, although their excitement in word working soon faded. I didn't push them. What I WAS really proud of was my two boys coming out on their own today to help me finish it up. One is 16 and other is 11, and it was really wonderful to not only have their help, but to have it voluntarily!! And I profusely thanked them, believe me.

And yes, these kinds of things are what builds positive memories when they look back 30 years from now when perhaps i'm gone.

Thanks again.