Step 1: COVER THE BASE: Covering the base is the first step in actually decorating the habitat: adhesive-backed paper and wallpaper borders were used to cover the sides of the bases of the above cages. Either acrylic or utility standards were then attached to the sides or side tops to deter chewing. (Report-cover spines or plastic "U"-channels may also be used to cover the top edges of Coroplast.) The acrylic may be held in place with either binder clips or wire placed through holes that have been drilled in the acrylic.
Step 2: ADD A BACKGROUND
If one prefers, just a background may be added to the habitat. The background may be made of wallpaper, fabric, aquarium/terrarium background paper, or wrapping paper. Stickers, paint, crayons, or photographs may also be used to create a background. Once the background is completed, it will need to be protected with either a clear piece of adhesive-backed paper or acrylic
Step 3: OPTIONAL CLEAR FRONT WINDOW
If a clear front "window" is preferred for the cage base, the acrylic and the base material each needs to be cut to the desired size. The acrylic front for the Sunflower Garden cage was screwed to the wood frame whereas the front for the Under the Sea cage was attached to the Coroplast base with wire. The acrylic window for both the Garden Retreat and African Safari cage was held in place with binder clips
Step 4: ADDING DECORATIVE ITEMS
If one is using switch-plate covers for the front edges, they are attached with wire or a cable tie to the wire grid (and through the base if desired). Any other items that are to be placed on the exterior of the cage may be added at this time. The next step is to put a piece of small acrylic between any of the attached items and the wire grid of the cage and the guinea pigs.
Step 5: SAFETY-PROOF
Objects that are to go inside the cage must be safe for the guinea pigs. Check to make sure that anything placed in the cage is stable and that it won't fall over and hurt a guinea pig. Also, check to see that there are no sharp edges or points that might cause an injury. If there are problems with any items that are in the cage, they need to be covered or enclosed in acrylic (or other safe protective material) or not used at all.
Step 6: ADD GUINEA PIGS!
After everything has been added to the cage to your satisfaction, get your guinea pigs and place them into your new creation. Make sure that everything is safe for them and that there is enough room for them to move around the cage with ease. Observe the cage and the occupants over the next few days. You may find that you need to change a few things after the habitat has been in use for a while.
What's the next step? Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor...a theme cage and fun environment for your pet guinea pigs. Enjoy!
Getting tired of looking at the same, plain looking cage day in and day out? How about doing a bit of "interior decorating" and spark up the cage a bit? This information will give you the basics of how to create a theme cage and give you ideas so that you can create your own.
Theme cages, simply put, are cages that have been visually enhanced; they may be as simple or as intricate as one desires. However, keep in mind that the cage needs to be as large as possible. This will ensure that your pets have plenty of room to move around in and that you have plenty of room to decorate the cage. The only requirement is that the finished cage must be safe for the health and welfare of the resident guinea pigs. Any item used for the cage needs to be safe for guinea pigs to either chew on or be around. One means of making the decorations safe is to put a piece of acrylic between the object and the guinea pigs. That way, the decoration may be used but the guinea pigs will not be able to chew on it. If an item is not safe and cannot be made safe, it cannot be used.
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