(Bin Cage With Wire Mesh)
~ Supplies ~
- Large bin with a minimum of 600 square inches of floor space such as the Sterilite 50 Gallon Stacker Tote or a Christmas tree bin
- Implement to cut the plastic bin (listed in order of my most favorite to my least favorite): Oscillating tool, jigsaw, Dremel with cutting disk, soldering iron, box cutter (can be heated to cut more easily), hot knife
- Galvanized steel hardware cloth in ¼ – ½ inch grid spacing
- Implement to cut hardware mesh such as wire cutters (flush cutters strongly recommended to avoid sharp edges) or if using wire panels pliers to pry sections apart
- Package of cable ties (sometimes called zip ties)
- Carpenter’s square (preferred), measuring tape or ruler
- Permanent marker
- Sanding block to smooth cut edges
- If using a heated implement to cut the bin use a safety mask
- Drill with bit slightly larger than the width of the cable ties, but smaller than the head of the cable ties
- Sturdy scissors (or flush cutters) to cut cable tie ends
- OPTIONAL: Decorative duct tape to cover rough looking cut edges. Options are seemingly endless and often to be found at Dollar Tree.
~ Instructions using wire mesh ~
- Using a measuring tool (carpenter’s square) and permanent marker, mark the area of the bin you wish to cut. Ensure that at least ½ inch of plastic is left around all four sides of the opening (to drill holes in and attach the hardware cloth.)
- Using personal protective gear and the chosen implement, cut a hole in the bin. If using a heated cutting tool, be sure to do so in a well ventilated area and to wear a safety mask. Eye protection and work gloves are also recommended. If using an unheated box cutter, score the plastic multiple times before attempting to cut all the way through.
- When the hole has been cut use a sanding block to clean up the edges
- If you’d like to add decorative duct tape around the edges, ensure the area is clean and dry with no debris and attach the duct tape applying pressure until completely adhered
- Lay the hardware cloth over the opening and cut it so it is at least ½ inch larger than the cut opening on all four sides. Use eye protection, long pants and sleeves and protective gloves to avoid injury. For best results use a flush cutter and angle the cut to prevent sharp edges
- Place the cut section of hardware cloth over the opening and use a marker to mark the places to drill
- Drill holes around the edges.
- Attach the bars with cable ties or nuts/washers/bolts. If there are sharp edges on the hardware cloth be sure to attach it from the outside of the bin. If the edges are not sharp the wire mesh can be attached from inside the bin to help prevent chewing. If there are gaps or ripples in the mesh, add more cable ties or nuts/washers/bolts until the gaps are too small for a hamster to escape
- Trim cable ties using a flush cutter or scissor