How to Make Washable Guinea Pig Cage Liners: DIY Sewing Tutorial

Updated on July 30, 2019
CarteDuJourFarms profile image

I love DIY projects, and I made fleece liners for my guinea pigs' cage. I'm happy to share this fun and easy project with others.

Fleece-lined guinea pig cage.
Fleece-lined guinea pig cage.

Whether you're looking for a way to save some money or to make your cage-cleaning chores easier, you'll love these liners. They have an absorbent layer in the middle to keep your pets dry, and everything is machine-washable. Even if you aren't a sewing expert, these liners are easy to make and will pay for themselves.

Gather Materials

So first things first, you need to get your supplies. You'll probably want enough fleece to make two liners so you can use one while the other is being washed. Each liner has a top and bottom piece, so consider buying two different colors (or patterns) to be able to tell which way is up. I bought enough fleece to be able to make smaller pads to put in the corners and along the sides where they tend to make more mess. This way, you can just swap out a couple of small pads when needed.

Aside from the fleece, I purchased some absorbent pads that are typically used to keep mattresses dry. Although I don't think you absolutely need to include this layer, I would strongly recommend it. I found the pads in the bedding section of a department store.

Lastly, you need a sewing machine and some miscellaneous supplies—check out the table below for a full list.

Other Supplies

 
 
 
scissors
pins
thread
tape measure
seam ripper
(quilters pen)
(rotary cutter)
(cutting mat)
 
Supplies in parentheses are optional but useful.

Prepare the Fleece

Before you get started, it is best to pre-wash your fleece. New fleece has a water-repellent quality, so you need to break that down to allow water to pass through.

I washed the fleece a few times in warm water, and it seemed to work fine. I've read that you can add vinegar to the wash to speed up the process. Either way you choose, let the fleece dry in between washes and drop a bit of water on it to see if water is absorbed.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Measure the length and width of your cage and add 1 inch to each measurement. This will be the size to cut your fleece. The extra inch gives you a half-inch seam allowance when you'll be sewing the pieces together.

Be careful when cutting the fleece as it is very stretchy and becomes distorted easily. I used a rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut my pieces. If you are using scissors, you can mark your lines with a quilters pen to assure you cut straight lines.

Sizing

My cage measured 23.5 by 46 inches, so I cut my fleece and absorbent pads to 24.5" x 47". I used 9" x 9" squares for the changeable pads (for a final dimension of 8" x 8"). As you can see from the picture below, the absorbent pad wasn't quite long enough, so I had to sew two pieces together. I've included pictures below to explain how I pieced them together.

Guinea pig cage liner almost ready to be sewn.
Guinea pig cage liner almost ready to be sewn.

Assemble the Pieces

So now you will assemble the pieces. Decide which fabric will be on top and which will be on the bottom. I chose to use my blue fabric for the bottom—I thought it would be easier to remember that way.

  1. Start your fabric sandwich by laying your top fabric (my green) right side up.
  2. Lay your bottom fabric next, right side down.
  3. Your absorbent layer goes on last with the absorbent side facing up.
  4. Pin your layers together and sew with a half-inch seam allowance. Leave an opening so you can flip the fabric inside out.

Pieces sewn together. Leave an opening to turn the piece inside out.
Pieces sewn together. Leave an opening to turn the piece inside out.

Finish the Pieces

Once you've flipped your liner inside out, hand-sew the hole closed. Now you're going to sew through all the layers to keep everything from moving around. I chose to sew around, leaving about 2 1/2 inches between each round. It doesn't have to be extremely precise; I just marked my corners with a couple pins and free-handed the rest.

Quilted guinea pig pee pads.
Quilted guinea pig pee pads.
Absorbent pad pieced together.
Absorbent pad pieced together.

Modify the Absorbent Pad (If Needed)

Because the absorbent pad wasn't as long as my cage, I had to cut two pieces. I cut them about an inch and a half longer than needed to allow for some overlap. I adjusted the pieces to measurement, pinned the layers together, and sewed up both sides of the seam.

Pinning two layers together
Pinning two layers together

Enjoy!

And that's it! Place the liners in your cage and watch how your pets love the soft and comfortable bedding.

I hope you have found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Kyle 

      3 weeks ago

      I purchased some “polar fleece” from amazon for this and I have washed it several times in hot water as suggested but water still won’t go through, any idea why?

    • profile image

      Brooklyn 

      3 months ago

      What kind of fleece do you need to make fleece liners. Is it better for the fleece to be a bit thicker or a bit thinner?

    • profile image

      Karla 

      4 months ago

      I was going to make my own but I was wondering what exact (or any other good ones) absorbant pads were used.

    • profile image

      el 

      4 months ago

      thanks so much for this! it was very helpful. i'm getting two rats in a few months, and don't really want to buy liners when i have the things to make my own. thank you!

    • profile image

      Katherine 

      16 months ago

      In my experience with fleece, it has rarely shrunk if at all. It is is made of polyester which leans on the non shrinking side. Flannel on the other hand is cotton or cotton blend and that will shrink.

    • profile image

      Kim 

      2 years ago

      I'm so excited to do this thank you for the idea.

    • CarteDuJourFarms profile imageAUTHOR

      CarteDuJourFarms 

      2 years ago from New Brunswick, Canada

      It can shrink in the wash depending on the fleece. It shouldn't shrink very much after you've gone through the pre treatment washes though.

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      Will the fleece shrink when you wash it?

    • profile image

      Piggielover2017 

      2 years ago

      Do I have to use fleece for both the top and bottom layers? I was going to use an old bed sheet for the bottom.

    • profile image

      Carol 

      2 years ago

      Rylee yes you can hand sew the whole thing.

    • profile image

      Rylee 

      3 years ago

      Can I hand sew the whole thing? I don't have a sewing machine and can definitely not afford one:/

    • profile image

      Ivery 

      3 years ago

      Update: I liked my four piece finished product of fleece+waterproof fabric+utility fabric and the guineas love it. Totally waterproof, absorbent, cleans so nice. ONE problem with my alternative is that in the washing machine it is incredibly heavy. It washes like a large, dense comforter or rug. I re-made one with fleece and sandwiched just the utility fabric in the center. It absorbs great and washes much more like a fleece blanket. If you have trouble finding the utility fabric (sometimes referenced as jersey) or waterproof fabric I mention, ask your store for the fabrics used to make diapers.

    • profile image

      Ivery 

      3 years ago

      My fabric store didn't have the bedding inserts, and I didn't want to buy the expensive inserts just to cut them to size. So instead, I bought the waterproof fabric and absorbent fabric used in cloth diapers to line the middle of my fleece sandwich. I took a coupon, and it turned out cheaper than the pre-made liners from a bedding store. Plus, it's the perfect fit the first time without extra cutting.

    • profile image

      ainsley620 

      3 years ago

      I'll be trying this. I just got a guinea pig yesterday and I would like to convert his cage bedding to fleece.

    • profile image

      Virshone 

      3 years ago

      You can also use large foam puzzle piece flooring for the bottom...works well over my wire bottom!

    • profile image

      Sandy 

      3 years ago

      Hi Amy I would suggest you use correx on the bottom of your cage piggy's don't do well on wire bottom. Correx is great easy to clean and will protect your floors. hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Bambii 

      3 years ago

      I cant wait to try this! I've been wanting to get back into sewing and what better way than by spoiling my piggies and making life a bit easier for me! I hope you post again soon!

    • profile image

      peanut 

      4 years ago

      this is a great article, i used it to make my liners for my midwest home. I have to warn everybody though, the fleece will shrink in the wash when you are pre washing it. I had the correct measurements and i pre washed it about three times and it had shrunk three inches!!!!! I was very disappointed and angry that the article did not say anything about this. please take this into consideration before using this article, and before buying fleece. i didn't know beforehand that fleece shrunk. otherwise this pattern worked wonderfully and was easy to follow. I highly recommend this article apart from the fleece shrinking dilemma.

      - a customer

    • profile image

      Brenda 

      4 years ago

      I live in a college town, in aug when the students have moved in, I go to the local Uhaul shop. They throw the moving pads AWAY!!! Ive gotten over 20 pads for free and use them in the middle, doubled. I have 3x6 C&C cages, so to make it easier, I dont even sew!! I lay down a doubled pad (with it being 3 wide, I have to use a pad and a half) lay fleece on top, my cage sits inside the fleece a few inches on each side and bam, no sewing. Sweep daily, complete cage clean once a week. Wash and reuse. I have several fleece and a couple sets of pads.

    • profile image

      no 

      4 years ago

      Does this stink after about 2 days? Do you have to clean it? Do you put it in the washer to clean it?

    • profile image

      Amey 

      4 years ago

      When you sew through the liner does that not allow possible leaks through? I am looking into making a few liners for my C&C cage, that will sit on top of the wired bottom which will be on the floor. I do not want to mess up my hardwood floor with moister leaks. Please let me know if you had any issues with leaks after sewing through the liners.

    • profile image

      Kate 

      4 years ago

      Do the pets burrow under the bedding and leave a mess under it ?

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