Introduction: Handmade Rabbit Hutch
Third Prize in the
Animal Innovations Contest
This is definitely the most elaborate thing I've ever made. A friend of mine has an awesome little rabbit that they keep in a small little cage. Each time I go over there I feel so bad for the little guy and I know he's not happy in such a small space. And larger hutches are pretty pricey so I decided I'd make one for them as a gift. This actually cost me quite a bit of money to make and a good chunk of that was me messing up on cuts or measurements. And I improvised a lot along the way.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
I used a billion things so I'm gonna do my best to remember them all. Here goes
Circular saw (table saw would be best but I don't have one)
Finish nail gun
Impact driver /drill
Grinder with grinding stone
Materials: (get comfy)
1/2 inch plywood, (2 8x4 sheets)
Decorative trim (a whole lot)
A bit of scrap wood pieces
1x1 galvanized rabbit fencing
Aluminum corner pieces
Work space mats (the kind you put on a work bench) (I used 2 kinds)
2 1/2 pvc pipe
Pvc pipe hanger strap
Cabinet door Latches
Felt furniture glides
Step 2: Gotta Start Somewhere
After this first step I was pretty unsure if it would turn out as a usable piece. I mean it looked pretty pathetic. But after a few more steps it started to come together and I could see the potential.
First cut the plywood to the size you want.
Then, take 4 2x2 pieces and trace the ends of them on the four corners of the plywood, then cut those out with the jigsaw and then screw the 2x2 pieces into the slots. This is the bottom level so I put it about 15 inches off the ground.
This will be incredibly unstable so use some extra 2x2 to attach on the underside of the plywood on all edges, then screw the plywood down to it. This will make it relatively stable.
Step 3: Second Level
Do the same thing with the top level. Make sure you attach the top level high enough so that when the rabbit is chillin on the sub level he's got enough room to stand up and move around. I made them 18 inches apart.
This second level will stabilize the structure.
Step 4: The Ramp
Before you screw the top piece of plywood down, figure out where you want your ramp access point to be, make sure it's far enough on one side so that the ramp can attach to it and not be too steep of an incline. Then draw the area you want to cut out and cut it out with a jig saw. Then attach the plywood to the frame.
Cut the ramp from some scrap plywood the width of the hole you cut out. Don't attach the ramp yet.
Step 5: Floor Mats
Rabbits don't like to be on slick surfaces, like plastic or linoleum because they don't have any traction and can slip around on it. So I got some work bench mats from lowes and wrapped the bottom and top with it. I sprayed the wood and the mat back with some heavy duty spray adhesive and out some books on it for a bit till the glue set up. I screwed it down on the underside to make sure it stayed nice and tight. The bottom is a pretty simple rubber like material that's easy to clean for his litter box to be on. The top I wanted to be a little softer for him to relax on so I used a thicker more squishy rubber mat.
I also wrapped the ramp with the black material.
Step 6: Finish the Ramp
Even though the ramp is at a reasonable incline and has the mat on it I wanted to put some steps on it to help out in case the rabbit didn't feel steady enough on it. So I got some scrap wood and cut strips out of it and glued them on every few inches and also put some finish nails in it for security.
Then I finally attached the ramp with some finish nails
I didnt want the rabbit to chew on any corners of the hutch so I used some aluminum corner pieces and glued them on to all the corners. Where the ramp opening is I screwed on the aluminum corners which helped keep the thicker rubber mat down as well. And I continued these corners on the rest of the thick mat so he wouldn't chew on those edges.
After I cut these metal pieces to length it left extremely sharp and jagged edges so I used a grinder to grind down the edges and smooth them.
Step 7: Doors and Windows
So I wanted this hutch to be visible at all angles, yet still give the carrot eater some privacy and make him feel cozy. It also needed to be accessible for cleaning. So I wanted the bottom front to completely open. I wanted the second level top to open as well, and I wanted the side of the top level to open too.
So. First I made the bottom front door. I measured the opening, cut out the rectangular shape from the 1/2 inch plywood, then I used the jig saw to cut out the opening. I made the bottom half extend a few inches off the sub level so any food or litter he kicks around won't fly out of the hutch. (basically a bumper) Then I got some galvanized (very important) rabbit cage fencing and screwed it over the opening I'd cut out. I then attached two hinges on the bottom so that it would open downward.
Step 8: Sides
Again visibility was important, so I measured each side and cut the pieces out again. The left side was one solid piece that I only cut the top window out of. Then screwed it into the frame. The right side I cut the two pieces separately. The bottom (which I put a window in and screwed into the frame) and the top which is a solid piece, that I attached hinges to so that it opens up to the second level.
Step 9: Roof and Front of Second Level
Did we talk about visibility? Cause that was important.
Because the back of the hutch was gonna be completely solid, I cut a hole in the top of the hutch and put the fencing in to give some light to the top level. I didn't center the hole so that the top could also be used to put stuff on top of. (of for their cat to chill on which I learned is it's function now)
Lastly the front of the top level. I didn't make the whole thing open because I wanted a spot for him to go and be semi hidden. So I made a shallow wall that extended about a foot down the top level. The rest of the way I made a door with a window in it. I attached two hinges to the side of it and then attached the hardware to the doors. Each door latches shut and is nice and tight. The top door latches to the wall I made, and the bottom door tatches to the bottom of the wall and the bottom of the top door.
Step 10: So Much Trim. Like Dang
Because I don't have a table saw, my cuts are done by hand with a circular saw, so they're crooked, ugly, and embarrassing. So I spent a fortune on decorative wood trim and framed out every edge. The edges of the doors, the inside AND outside of the window edges and the top edges. It hid my flaws and also added character to the hutch. Even if my cuts were perfect I'd still attach the trim because it looks way better.
For the edge pieces where the doors close I attached some iron on veneer trim to cover the saw marks because I couldn't attach wood trim or the doors wouldn't close
Important side note (if you make this)
You have to stain the trim that is on the inside of the window edges before you attach them, or you'd get stain all over the fence when staining it later.
I attached the trim with wood glue and finish nails, then filled in the holes with wood filler.
Wood filler never matches the wood it's filling so keep the finish nails to a minimum, rely mainly on the wood glue.
Step 11: Chain Support
I didn't want the bottom door to be resting on the hinges. Especially if it accidentally dropped. So I attached some chain to each side of the door to the underside of the second level frame. I got some stainless steel chain and used some lock cutters to cut it to the correct length. So the weight is on the chain instead of the hinges when opened. I also put down some of that thick mat on both sides of the door to create a seal when the door is closed.
Step 12: Stain That Puppy
I stained all of the OUTSIDE. I didn't want the rabbit to lick any stain or somehow chew on it (even though I put the corner guards on everything) and ingest stain. So I opted to only stain the outside and leave the inside bare.
I finished it with 2 coats of polyacrylic
Step 13: Food Shoot
When it's time to feed the rabbit, the little punk gets so excited and usually knocks your hand with the food in it before you can set it down so food pellets go everywhere. So I made a food shoot for them to use so they don't even have to open the door. I cut a hole in the side of the hutch, then cut some pvc pipe at an angle with the miter saw and attached it with a pvc hanger strap. (I spray painted the pvc silver to match the hardware first) Then I made a little piece for the food dish to nestle into. I cut a square out of some half inch wood and cut out a hole in the center. I put some of the black mat down and covered the corners with the aluminum pieces. Then I nailed it down to the base so that it was stationary and won't move around the cage. The bowl is removable so it can be cleaned
The wire nuts are just to symbolize the food pellets.
Step 14: Top Right Door Magnet
I added some magnets to the top right door to help it stay shut. I bored out a hole on each side just deep enough for the magnet to sink into and then glued them into place.
I put two up top and one down on the bottom.
Tip : Make sure you have your magnets facing the right way or you'll find yourself with a door that refuses to close and you'll have to cut out the magnets and start over (Imagine my excitement when I realised this)
Step 15: Put That Real-estate on the Market!
After all was done I attached some felt furniture gliders on the bottom of each leg since this will be in their dining room with linoleum flooring.
This was an elaborate process and took some time but I'm pleased with the overall look and function of it. More profesional tools would make the process way more simple. Thanks for checking it out.
I entered this into the Animal Innovations contest, any votes would be so awesome and appreciated.
Let me know what yall think of it.
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.