How to Build a C&C Guinea Pig Cage
Cubes and Coroplast?
When choosing a new home for your guinea pig, most people will turn towards a pet store. Pet store cages are nice, but it will be very hard if not impossible to find a cage that is large enough for your piggy. Though pet stores do sell large-sized cages, these will usually be the absolute minimum size for your guinea pig, if not too small. One thing that is always true, they will be expensive.
There is a different way to ensure that your guinea pig will be comfortable and safe, as well as save a few bucks. The solution: cubes and coroplast, otherwise known as a C&C cage. This article includes step-by-step instructions on how to build a C&C cage, as well as other information about these types of cages.
Benefits to C&C cages
There are many benefits to making a C&C cage as opposed to buying a cage from a pet store. For starters, you will save money. Spending more money at a pet store will get you a cage that is about half of the size of your smallest C&C cage. If you use fleece bedding in your C&C cage, you will save even more money.
Using a C&C cage will also help to ensure that your pigs are healthy and happy. They will not be confined to a small living area. If you have a cage mate for your guinea, which you should have if you don't, there is more room for your piggies to have alone time when they need it.
Another benefit to a C&C cage is all of the possibilities you have to create unique and exciting cages! You can create multilevel cages, L-shaped cages, cages with tops, cages with cube stands. The possibilities are endless.
Also, you will not be left with a bunch of leftover unusable pieces. There are many things you can use your leftover coroplast and cubes for. In my cage, I made a kitchen area, a hay rack, and a hidey house out of coroplast. I used leftover grids to hold bunk beds by bending them in half and attaching them to the sides of the cage with zip ties. There are many uses, so your money will not go to waste.
C&C cages are also very easy to clean. Being wide and open like my cage is, it is very easy to empty it out and switch the fleece bedding. There is no crouching to reach into the doorway of the cage or disassembling.
Now that you know some benefits to a C&C cage, lets start to learn how you can build one for yourself.
The following materials will be needed in order to build a C&C cage:
- A sheet of coroplast. This is a corrugated sheet of plastic that is commonly used to make signs. It is similar to cardboard, but will be waterproof. Coroplast is great for guinea pig cages because once scored it can be bent at a 90 degree angle, which is perfect for the corners of a cage. It also comes in many different colors. You can find coroplast by calling your local sign shop, and they will sell you a large sheet for a range of prices.
- At least one box of grid cube squares. These can be found at stores such as Walmart or Target. You can also buy them online. The squares are connected with black plastic connectors to form cube-shaped storage containers, but they work great for the perimeter of a guinea pig cage. Each box comes with black plastic connectors, which some people use, but I chose not to. (NOTE: when purchasing grid cube squares, check to make sure that each square has at least 9 holes! Some squares have larger holes, which guineas cage get stuck in.)
- A pack of medium to large zip ties. Buy a lot, you'll use them more often than you think.
- A box cutter
- Duct tape
- A large ruler or measuring tape
- A pencil
Now that you have everything, lets get started.
You can never have enough zip ties, and you can't beat this price!
Measure it out
First, you need to figure out how big your C&C cage will be. 2 x 3 cubes is the smallest size most people go for one guinea pig. I have a 2 x4 cage for my two boars, and that is the size shown in the demonstration. The size of the cubes is slightly larger than a foot, so when I say I have a 2x4 cage, I'm referring to the number of cubes, not the actual size in feet and inches.
Next, you will need to decide how tall you want your sides to be. My cage has sides that are about 6 inches tall.
Next, measure out a rectangle that will be the bottom of the cage. I did this by laying 8 cubes side by side (2 rows of 4) and measuring the length and width. The size of the base will vary according to how large you want your cage to be, so this is a very important step.
After you have the base of your cage measured and drawn, measure out the distance from each side (in my case, it was 6 inches).
The Crucial Cut!
This next step is where the perforation of the coroplast is most important. Coroplast, like cardboard, has two layers and pockets of air in between the layers. If you cut only through the top layer, the coroplast is able to bend at almost a 90 degree angle. This is perfect for having sealed corners.
The diagram on the right shows where to cut halfway through and where to cut all the way through the coroplast. Click to zoom in on the picture for a closer look.
Time to go 3-dimensional
Once you have your coroplast cut and ready to bend, you can start to assemble the base.
Fold the edges up to create sides, one at a time. The coroplast will bend comfortably in one direction. Once you are at the corner, bend your longer side around to form a 90 degree angle, and overlap the end to lay against the adjacent side. Tape the two pieces together.
Having one side bendable and the other cut allows you to form a closed corner, which comes in handy when people use bedding rather than fleece. It also helps create a stronger corner that will last longer.
When you are finished you should have a shallow, rectangular shaped box with no top. You are now halfway done with your piggy's new paradise!
Connecting the Grids
Now that your coroplast base is finished, you can start to assemble the sides that will go around the perimeter of your cage.
Using the zip ties, connect your grids on the top, bottom, and center. For my 2x4 cage, I connected each side separate to lay flat. I had two sides that were 4 grids connected across, and two that were 2 grids connected across. The image on the right shows 3 of my grid squares connected to create part of a side.
Clip the long ends of the zip ties off with a pair of scissors.
Assemble your sides separately. You can assemble them all at once to create a rectangle when stood up on end, but if your measurements were a bit off on the coroplast, you might have to separate the sides to widen the perimeter.
Combining the cube squares with the coroplast
You are almost done! All that is left is attaching the sides of the grid squares to one another to form a rectangular shape that will fit right outside of the coroplast.
One at a time, loosely combine the edges of two sides of cube grids together using zip ties at each corner. Put a zip tie in on the top, in the center, and on the bottom. Be careful not to make one corner too tight, as you might end up not being able to connect the sides on the opposite end of the cage.
Voila! You're done!
Once you assemble the outer perimeter of the cage with your cube grid square sides, you can step back and look at your masterpiece. Your piggy will be so thrilled to have so much room to run around, and you will be so thrilled to see how much money you save!