DIY Shelves for Hamster Cages

Updated April 17, 2017

Hamsters are popular family pets. Entertaining for both children and adults, they are low maintenance and are inexpensive to keep. As they are inquisitive creatures, adding an extra shelf to your hamster's cage will give it a new challenge and something to explore. As hamsters like to chew, it's important that you don't use soft wood. Although they are excellent climbers, it's also important to make sure the hamster can reach the shelf by adding a small ramp or ladder.

Measure the width and length of your hamster's cage. You will need to allow room for the hamster to reach the shelf, so divide the width measurement in half when drawing out the template.

Draw the measurements onto a piece of hardwood and cut the shelf out using a saw or power tool. Make sure the edges are sanded so that your hamster can't injure itself on any rough wood.

Ensure the shelf is waterproofed, either by lacquering it or by layering plastic sheeting on tape on the top. This will prevent the wood from soaking up any hamster urine. Make sure any sheeting is firmly attached to the underside of the shelf so that your hamster can't chew and swallow any plastic.

Attach the shelf to the cage by drilling two holes in the side and securing the shelf to the bars with strong, plastic tags. Alternatively, you can cut two thinner pieces of wood slightly longer than the length of the shelf. Attach them to the front and back of the shelf's underside using nails. This will allow the shelf to sit on the bars and be removed temporarily if needed. Remember to ensure that the nails are fully embedded in the wood and cannot hurt your hamster.

Insert a ramp, ladder or piece of rope to help the hamster climb up to the shelf. If the shelf sits low in the cage, you can make a ramp using the leftover wood cuts from the shelf. If it is higher in the cage, you will need to either purchase a small ladder from a pet store or drill a small hole in the shelf and tie a piece of rope around it.


Add some toys to the shelf to make it more exciting for your hamster. These can be anything from toilet roll tubes to PVC tunnels.

Things You'll Need

  • Small sheet of hardwood
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Sanding paper
  • Lacquer or plastic sheeting
  • Drill
  • Plastic tags or small nails
  • Piece of rope
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