Building your own homemade hamster cage is easy to do and can save you the relatively large expense of buying one online or from a pet store. It can also allow you to provide a bigger habitat for your hamster.
It is easiest to make a plastic cage as a suitably shaped plastic storage box can be readily found or bought cheaply, while such a cage will be easy to clean, draft proof, and the solid sides will prevent bedding being pushed outside the cage and provide security and protection from drafts.
If you prefer, you can make a wood, perspex and wire cage. This type of cage also has the same advantages that come from having solid sides. But in addition, the clear perspex will allow you to easily view the hamster, whereas it may be difficult to find a fully transparent box for making a plastic cage. As well as being more difficult to make, the disadvantages are that this type of homemade cage will need to be cleaned regularly as urine will soak into the wood and cause it to smell, while the cage will also need to be regularly checked for splinters and repaired occasionally since your hamster is likely to gnaw the wood.
Firstly, you will need a large plastic storage box or tote. If you do not have one already they are inexpensive to buy. A clear box is preferable so that you can easily see inside to view your hamster, but they can be hard to find so you may have to settle for a semi-transparent box. The sides of the box should be tall and smooth so that the cage will be secure. Any protruding plastic could be chewed by the hamster and could result in it escaping the box, so be careful to check the inside walls of the box. A box with handles will make it easier to carry when necessary.
The box will need to be sanitised before using it as a cage to ensure that it does not cause your hamster to become ill. You can do this by washing it with soapy water and a small amount of bleach. Once you have cleaned all round the box you should rinse it and dry it thoroughly.
To make this cage you will need some wood, a piece of perspex, and some wire mesh. The wood needs to be shaped and joined together to form the base and the two sides of the cage, while a wooden frame should also be made to form the front of the cage, with the perspex positioned within the frame to form a window. The wire mesh then needs to be fixed onto the back of the cage with hinges, and a securing hook should be used to fasten the lid closed. This mesh lid will prevent your hamster escaping, stop anything being accidentally dropped on your hamster and will provide adequate ventilation.