Converting a Bookcase to Roborovski Cage

The Roborovskis get their bookshelf!


As some may remember I found a bookcase style dollhouse out on someone’s trash curb for bulk pick up. I am big on recycling things so I snatch it up. The bottom portion I found to be unstable. There was a crack in the stilt. So I cut it down to just the two shelves and it proved to be quite sturdy.

My son didn’t care for it. I had hoped to make it into his Ninja Turtle lair/ sewer but he prefers the smaller shelf set up I made him for his Transformers so I decided to make use of this for the Roborovskis.

They are the tiniest of the hamster species and aren’t really great at climbing. DIY cages for Robos have a half partition usually for better visual as they most likely aren’t going to become super hams and fly over. So with that in mind I used the spare vinyl tiling I used to waterproof their floor to also make a portion. Also I used contact paper for the walls.


The measurements are 38 inches in length and 13 inches in width. Pretty much perfect for Roborovskis. I do love my Robos but find they aren’t my type of hamster so after these guys I doubt I’d have more of this species. What I like about this bookcase cage is I can get different materials like acrylic sheets and mesh and vents and convert this to a Chinese hamster set up in the future. Or make the two shelves connect for a two floor cage.

I plan to do more for their set up inside. Not sure how long that will take me. It’s nothing fancy right now. But they seem pleased.

Here is a close up of Snow’s



And close up of Patch’s






6 thoughts on “Converting a Bookcase to Roborovski Cage

  1. Wow… What a cute idea. I’ve heard of people keeping rats in kiddie swimming pools, but rats are all capable of becoming super rats and leaping 30 inches vertically. They just don’t usually do that. So, a kiddie swimming pool isn’t ever really secure.

    I’m just horribly impressed with your book case robo cage. That’s so much nicer than the usual mesh cage.

    • You know – I have seen EPIC rat cages from bookcases!!! OMG. In fact I at one point saved images of them from the web in a folder on my computer I have since deleted – rat cages – especially ones in DIY cages or Critter Nations – tend to have the most beautiful, colorful, unique looks that I find myself just loving to look at them! Even though a lot of what is good for rats isn’t going to work for hamsters (though quite a bit WILL work for hamsters too). Some of the giant bookcase rat cages I have seen blow my socks off. Some are out right elegant. Others are wild and zany. They make holes in the shelves with ladders to connect the shelves. The taller and wider and deeper the better of course.

      Google book case rat cages or DIY rat cages. I am not sure how they chew proof them. Many use vinyl to waterproof the floor. Some use stone tiles. The sides I am not sure what they do. But the front is usually a meshed door that opens out exposing the entire book case. I’d fear a rat might fall out when you open the door like that but rats probably are too smart to just tumble over and if they did they might catch themselves?

      Oh, I probably will have rats one day. I would have so much to learn. I want to name two boys Justin and Splinter. (Secret of Nimh and TMNT).

      Yeah, I see people use kiddie pools for play pens for hamsters – but man – I don’t have one of those for my human children as it takes up SO MUCH SPACE. I have no where to store it! I use the soft pool that you fill up and it then is erect when filled with water. All you do is flatten a side to let the water out and roll it up and takes hardly any storage space. SO, yeah, kiddie pools would be absolutely horrible for me to use!

      I cannot even imagine a pool being used for the actual cage!

      • We actually have a DCN (Double Critter Nation), and we love it. It’s essentially a massive piece of furniture, a rat armoire. DCN’s actually look smaller in photos.

        The doors of a DCN cover the whole front side of the cage. They are great for cleaning because you can easily reach every corner. The rats are pretty good at making sure that they don’t get their head or paws caught when the door closes. However, you might have noticed I didn’t say tail. They ignore their tails. And, believe me, they blame you not themselves if their tail gets caught in the door.

        As for falling out of the cage, that is an extremely rare incident. Sometimes, one of their buddies will push a rat out of the cage. Or, a rat will over balance when leaning out of the cage trying to reach you. But, overall, they all know where the ledge is.

        By the way, we did have a rat leap out of the cage 3 feet landing on my hubby’s shoulder so that she could be taken to see the baby rats that we were doing intros with. It is rare for a rat to leap but they all can.

        After seeing what my rats can do to the plastic pan of a DCN. (the plastic pan is backed up with the wire bottom of the cage), I would be hesitant to put rats in a DIY cage. But, it’s a personal preference because many do make DIY cages. Oh, by the way, my rats have made holes in the plastic pans that could easily fit a rat through without squeezing.

  2. OMG Julia!! How did I miss this post? This is fantastic work! I’ve seen a few of those types of book cases sold at Target and they are almost $50! I’ve loved the idea of turning them into hammy homes:-). I bet the little boys are loving their space!! Like I said before…impressive work & recycling:-)

    • Thank you so much!!! I am so impressed with how it turned out. I just am so thankful it didn’t end up a disaster as I kind of winged the partition in the front. I really had no idea what I was going to do there and was getting nervous as I was SOCLOSE. They seem SO much happier. And that does my heart good!

  3. This looks great! I’ve always wanted a pair of Robos because I think they’re adorable but at the same time I don’t know if they are for me. I like to play with my hammies and I’ve read that they are very hard to handle. Do you play with yours?

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