This tutorial will show you how to make a fabric cage liner for a hedgehog cage. Really, you can use it for any small animal cage but I've been working specifically on liners for my hedgehog Cas.
We've tried fabric/fleece bedding before with hedgehogs and when we got Cas (about a month ago) my husband wanted to try shavings. He thought it would be easier. It was at first, but then there were problems arising from water bottle leakage and I decided to go back to fabric liners, only this time I decided to try and make them more effective.
Step 1: Materials
-Absorbent core batting
-Thread and embroidery thread
Step 2: Measure Your Cage
Measure the floor length and width of your cage. Cas has the largest clear Sterilite bin I could find and measures about 17x27.
Step 3: Measure & Cut Fabrics
The skulls fabric is just regular quilting fabric I found at Joann's, the fleece is anti-pill fleece that I also bought at Joann's on sale. I pre-washed and ironed everything before I started. The nice thing about fleece is it is self-healing and doesn't have the fraying edges issues that quilting fabric has.
After I measured and cut the skulls (which would be the top) and the fleece (bottom) I then measured and cut the batting. The purpose of absorbent core batting is that any water leakage/urine won't puddle at the bottom of the cage.
Cas's cage is about 17"x27" so I measured out about 19"x29" to allow for a little extra room.
Step 4: Pin and Sew Edges
Next I folded the right side of the skull fabric edges about 1/4" onto the wrong side and pinned and ironed as I worked my way around the entire piece of fabric. Pinning and ironing (is it still hemming if it's not a garment?) keep the raw edges from showing.
Note: I used a straight stitch for the entire project.
Step 5: Sew Edges
I sewed along all of the edges of my skull fabric using a straight stitch.
Step 6: Lining
Next I put the batting I pre-measured and pre-cut onto the piece of fleece I'm using for the bottom side of the cage liner.
I used a basting stitch (and temporary stitch) to keep the batting in place. I put a stitch in each corner, two in the middle of the fabric and four more on the middle edges. I used embroidery thread for this and actually made the stitches much bigger than they should have been (it's been a while since I've sewed) but it still got the job done.
Step 7: Putting It All Together
Next I flipped my skull fabric onto the wrong side and placed it on top of the side of the fleece that didn't have the batting. I pinned each side together, matching the seams, and then sewed along all the corners.
I left a small opening, approximately 5" long so that I could turn my fabrics right side out.
Step 8: Flip It
After I had all but 5" of the fabric sewed together I turned it all inside out so that the batting was in the middle of the fleece and the right side of the skull fabric was showing.
Step 9: Hand Stitching
This part is a little tedious and it's been so long since I've tried to do an invisible stitch that I had to look at some Pinterest how-to's to jog my memory. I'm not going to try and explain how to do an invisible stitch, that's a whole other Instructable. But Pinterest and YouTube have plenty of great tutorials.
I threaded a needle with 8" of thread and began working on closing the seam. Remember when doing an invisible stitch to keep the thread tight otherwise you'll see the stitches, which isn't what you want.
With little hedgehog feet you want to be very careful of any loose threads or stitches. Not only do you not want your hedgie ingesting any loose materials, you also don't want their toes getting caught and causing a trip to the Vet.
Step 10: Hand Stitching Complete
It's been so long since I've needed to close a seam, let alone do it with such precision, that I do think this one came out pretty good.
Just to be safe, I'm still going to make sure this edge is placed on the side of Cas's cage that his wheel is on so he won't be able to root under it.
I also removed the basting stitches during this step.
Step 11: Place in Cage
The blue starry liner is one I threw together last night, there's no batting in the middle but I followed pretty much all of the same steps.
These liners are machine washable and dryer-safe (as long as the batting you use says it's dryer-safe).
I'll update as I make more liners. Cas is going to need quite a few.