The kids decided they wanted to get hermit crabs this summer, but when I saw the price of new cages at the boardwalk sea shell shops, I knew I could make them a larger cage much cheaper.
Kiteman and RedThreadsOfFate added some words of advice on keeping hermit crabs and I think it should be pointed out as well. Hermit crabs require an environment with high humidity (70-80%). Although this mesh cage will not provide that environment, it will serve as temporary housing until a more suitable, permanent home can be found.
If you're interested in learning more about caring for your hermit crabs, take a look at one of the following sites:
Step 1: Ingredients
First and foremost, you need a plan. The old adage of "fail to plan, plan to fail" will bite you otherwise. Sketch out your cage from a couple of angles, labeling the pieces that you'll need to build. Be sure to use sizes that are mass produced and easily available at your local lumber yard, otherwise you'll be back at the drawing board.
The measurements below are based on standard size wood stock (but real measurements). For instance, the board that makes up the floor and back was sold as 1" x 12" even though it really measures 3/4" x 11 1/4". I don't know why that is...maybe it's a vast wood industry conspiracy to confuse us or something.
Here's the list of materials (and the dimensions) for the cage I made:
3/8" x 1 1/2" x 18" (4) -- wood trim (2 front, 2 top)
3/8" x 1 1/2" x 12" (2) -- wood trim (2 top sides)
3/8" x 1 1/2" x 10 3/4 (4) -- wood trim (sides)
3/4" x 1 1/2" x 10" (4) -- wood vertical supports
3/4" x 11 1/4" x 18" (2) -- wood floor, back
10" x 18" (2) - wire mesh - top, front
10" x 8 3/4 (2) - wire mesh - sides
2" Hinges (2) (comes w/ screws)
Hook and Eye (1 each)
6" length of chain (need a 3/4" screw)
*the wire mesh was sold in a roll 72" long and 24" wide. This worked out perfectly as I was able to get the four pieces I needed cut with a minimum of waste (see the right part of the plan for a sketch of the four pieces of mesh I would need).
jig saw (a table saw could be used instead)
staple gun (loaded with 1/4" staples)
sandpaper (fine grit)
corner frame clamp (optional, but comes in handy when gluing the top frame)