Introduction: Turn a China Cabinet Into a Deluxe Bird Cage

Picked up a used china cabinet from facebook market place for $40. I didn’t tell the lady what I was using the china cabinet for.

This was made to house my 4 budgies (parakeets) and a cockatiel (sadly my cockatiel has passed away).

Making this house for them gives them so much more room than any commercially made bird cage.



1 used china cabinet

2-3 rolls of ½” spacing chicken wire / 19 gauge steel mesh / screen / hardware clothe

8-12 feet door trim lumber

3-4 feet ¼”x2” lumber.

10-16 feet scrap ½” x 1” lumber (the cheaper the better)

Assorted screws, nails, wood glue, paint

Heavy duty staples


Router and router bit.

Drill and drill bits

Heavy duty staple/nail gun

Heat gun

Wire cutters (heavy duty)



Thick leather gloves (for the glass and the chicken wire is sharp)

Dust mask, safety glasses, ear plugs.

Step 1: Prep the Cabinet


the glass and the shelves. The glass will may be the hard part to remove. Wear gloves and safe glasses when removing the glass. Sometimes glue is used to hold the glass in place. The heat gun will help melt the glue. Thermal shock may cause the glass to crack or break. This is why gloves and safe glasses is important.

Prior to cutting out the large holes on the side of the cabinet, look inside for metal hardware that could possible snag the router bit. Remove them or if it part of the structure, plan your design to avoid them.

Take the scrap lumber and nail them to the outside wall of the cabinet where you plan on making the hole. The scrap lumber will be your router guide. If you have the skill to make curves and intricate patterns for the router to follow, then do so. I don’t so I just cut out rectangular holes.

Step 2: Make Huge Holes in the Cabinet.


on your safety glasses, dust mask and ear plugs.

Get out the wood router and install an appropriate bit. I used a half inch straight flute router bit. I set my initial depth to ¼” and used the scrap wood nailed to the cabinet as my guide.

Once I went all the way around I increased my cutter depth another ¼” and went around again. I repeated this until I got all the way through. I did the same to the other side.

Step 3: Cut Chicken Wire to Size and Attach to Cabinet.

I’m sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this step.

Use the wire cutters to cut the chicken wire to the correct size to cover the hole you just made. Also cut chicken wire to replace the glass you removed.

For my project I found that adding 1 inch to the width and 1 inch to the height of the holes I am trying to cover is just right. Since the chicken wire size is ½ inch, that means that I have 1 full square past the hole on all sides. Use the staple gun to secure the chicken wire to the cabinet.

The chicken wire edges could be sharp and could hurt your birds. To prevent this, use the door frame trim lumber to cover the edges of the chicken wire. Attach the trim using interior trim nails. If your staple gun is quality, you should be able to buy nails for it and you can use that to secure the trim.

Step 4: Added a Retaining Wall.

Most china cabinets have a flat floor. The floor would need to hold some sort of bedding for the bird poop. I use aspen shavings since it does not give off toxic organic fumes like pine and cedar shavings. You could also use recycled paper bedding.

But the flat floor will allow the bedding to fall out when you open the cabinet door.

This is why you need the long piece of ¼” by 2” lumber. Cut a length to span the interior of the cabinet. Cut two 1” sections. Glue/nail the 1: sections on each side of the interior wall at the same depth. Now glue the long piece onto the 1” section you just attached to the cabinet. Make sure your placement does not interfere with the cabinet door.

Step 5: Paint and Finish

Painting is optional but I think the birds will appreciate bright colors. After the paint dries, add hooks and hardware for the birds’ perches, nest, food, toys, etc.

Pictured are the Budgies hanging out by the window. They are free to fly about the room most of the day. The cabinet converted to a deluxe bird cage is where they sleep at night.


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