You can see in the picture to the right the basic book shelf and on the top shelf a glass panel which is hinged in place so that in can be lifted upwards to get inside the cage. Ideally you need to find a panel that fits well with the width of your bookshelf so when the panel is down, there is no chance that your hamster can escape. As this bookshelf is from Ikea, we shopped around in the discount section of our local Ikea store and were able to pick up this wood framed glass panel for less than £5. As you can seethe width and height of the panel matches the bookshelf perfectly.
It's important that when attaching your panel, you ensure you use enough hinges, depending on how heavy your panel is. The panel in the picture to the right needed four hinges but it will depend upon the materials you are using.
Another consideration is ventilation. Realistically there will probably be enough air circulating around the cage without air-vents but we chose to play on the safe side and build some in. As can be seen from the picture on the right, plastic ventilation covers can be used; these are relatively cheap and can be used to provide a good air flow to your hamster. You need to measure across the side of your cage and decide upon the size of the hole you wish to cut out for ventilation. Once you have done this and cut out the hole, place the ventilation covers on the outside and inside and secure in place. We used none-toxic sealant, which did the job perfectly.
For the bottom half of the cage, we used a sheet of acrylic cut to size and sealed it in securely, so the bottom of the cage was entirely secure. This provides a perfect environment to place a very deep layer of wood shavings so you can watch your hamster dig to it's hearts content.
In the top shelf you need to cut a square shaped hole so that the ladder can be passed from the top and then rest in the base of the cage. This way your hamster can run up and down between levels.
Now that you are at this point you are ready to start filling your cage with hamster accessories! Place a nice deep layer of wood shavings in the bottom unit and then place items around the cage accordingly. Arnie the hamster has his food bowl, water bottle and toys upstairs. Downstairs he has his exercise wheel, some tubes to run through, a reed nest and lots of bedding and shavings to dig and sleep in.
Depending on whether you wish to or not, lighting can also be added. Hamsters are red blind so having a red LED light fitted will enable you to watch your hamster in the dark whilst it is completely unaware of you! There are lots of good lighting sets available. The main thing however when fitting your lights it to be sure that your hamster cannot reach any wires or cables! Otherwise your hamster cage is ready to be used!
How to make your own two storey hamster apartment...
This two storey hamster apartment with panoramic views across your room is fairly straight forward to make and can be finished in less than a day if you have all the equipment and tools you need prepared.
The hamster cage in the picture to the left is made out of a 'Billy bookshelf' and was bought for around £20. As you can see from the picture, the basic idea is that the top two shelves make up the hamsters living space whilst the bottom shelf and the top of the shelving unit can be used to store your hamsters bits and pieces, or anything else you fancy!
© S.Robinson 2012