How to Make Glass Doors for Vivariums

Written by alex burgess Google
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How to Make Glass Doors for Vivariums
Replace damaged vivarium glass doors yourself or build your own vivarium. (broken interior glass door image by ooooo from

Reptile enthusiasts use wooden vivariums to house snakes, as well as lizards such as bearded dragons and geckos. The front of a standard shop-bought wooden vivarium has two glass sliding doors with a plinth above and below. You can make your own glass doors for a self-build vivarium project or replace damaged doors on a prefabricated enclosure, using items from a do-it-yourself store and glass merchant.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • 2 glass sheets, 3/16 inch thick
  • 3/16-inch-gauge door runner
  • Silicone adhesive (optional)
  • 2 transparent finger grips
  • Vivarium lock or wedge (optional)

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  1. 1

    Measure the internal width of the vivarium along the bottom plinth, and multiply by two. This is the combined length of runner that you require for the top and bottom.

  2. 2

    Decide what type of glass you require for your vivarium doors, and buy the same gauge of runner track from a do-it-yourself store. Standard 3/16-inch glass is fine for most reptile enclosures, but you may wish to use tempered safety glass if the vivarium is in a high traffic area or where children are present. Tortoises bang their shells against vivarium glass, so you may decide on toughened glass as a precaution if your tortoise is particularly large and prone to this type of behaviour.

  3. 3

    Cut the runner to size and snap it into place over the bottom plinth. Repeat for the top plinth. Runners grip in place and do not require glue, but you can add a spot of silicone adhesive to keep them secure if you wish.

  4. 4

    Place the tape measure inside the top runner's groove and measure the vertical distance down to the inside of the bottom runner for the door height.

  5. 5

    Measure the internal width of the vivarium, divide the measurement by two and add 1 inch to the total for one door's width. Each door must be slightly wider than half the vivarium's width, allowing an overlap in the middle where the doors slide past each other. The overlap allows you to add an optional wedge or locking mechanism.

  6. 6

    Go to a glass merchant and have two sheets of glass cut to your required size. Ask the glazier to finish the raw edges. If the edges are not smooth and corners rounded, the doors will not slide correctly in the runners.

  7. 7

    Position the doors in the runners and slide shut. Stick a finger grip on each door, about an inch from the outside edge. These are self-adhesive and no additional glue is required.

  8. 8

    Install the optional wedge or lock between the doors, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips and warnings

  • Leopard geckos and reptiles of a similar size are too small to move glass doors, so a lock is not essential for these pets.
  • Snakes are able to open sliding glass doors, so always keep a snake vivarium locked. All reptile enclosures must be securely locked in the presence of children.

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