This is a step-by-step guide on how to make a bin / box cage out of a plastic storage box in the most simplest way possible. If you're as bad at D-I-Y as me, power tools are usually not an option, and so I have written this guide to use simple techniques.
Plastic storage box (the bigger the better)
Low Watt soldering iron
Wire Mesh (Be sure the gaps aren't too wide, mine was half-inch x half-inch)
Wire cutters (or small pliers)
Hobby knife (mine is a very thin knife I got from games workshop but you can use a stanley knife and a drill to drill holes in the wood)
Hardwood (Optional if you wish to make extra levels, similar can be used, even your recycled plastic that's been cut from the sides)
Wooden Dowels (optional)
Wood glue (optional: Non-toxic)
Finish (optional: I used "Mod Podge" non-toxic)
Cage front (optional: literally searched "cage front" on Google and bought one that was suitable. Recycling from old cages is fine too. Bar size half-inch apart. Of course you can skip this part and just open your cage from the top, but if you want to stack them like me then you'll need a door at the front)
A note about wood
As I created this guide with hamsters in mind, you may have to look up information for your specific species of pet.
There are certain sources that say do not use cedar or pine or any sort of wood that contains glue such as MDF or plywood. It is said that these can sometimes contain things that could irritate your hamsters lungs and cause reactions.
In my opinion, it is really about seeing how your hamster reacts to these woods. I have used pine wood shavings for many years without incident. The wood used in this guide is hardwood which is suggested to be safe for hamsters.
Choose your wood carefully and keep an eye on your animal for a while :)
Step 1: Step 1 - Planning
Planning at this stage is essential. If you do anything wrong it will be very hard to fix so let's get it right first time! :)
Get some paper and note down how your cage is going to look. It will also help to mark out on the box with a marker where you're going to cut. A lot of boxes are already slightly shaped / indented on the front and sides so it may be easier to follow this.
If you're adding levels, plan those out as well including the shape and where in the box they will go, how high up etc. Some things to think about are what is going to go underneath? Make them high up enough that the hamster and maybe a house can go underneath. Also pay attention to how high up the levels are, do you want your hamster to be able to easily reach the lid? Do you have a stand up wheel to put on one of the levels? You may need to take measurements to make sure everything will fit!
Once you have thoroughly planned then you're ready to start!