Here’s how to DIY an extra large Gerbilarium
I wanted a really big cage for my sweet gerbils.
Now they look so much happier with so much more space.
- KALLAX 5×5
- VARIERA shelf inserts (for air circulation)
- Glass panes
- Aluminium profiles (as rails) to slide the glass panes
- Wood board to cover the back
- PVC sheet to cover the floor so it doesn’t get smelly and wet
- Acrylic glass for 2 sand bath drawers
- Terrarium background picture
- Specially cut glass panes
DIY Gerbilarium IKEA KALLAX hack
First of all, get a KALLAX 5×5 and try your best to carry it home … it’s so heavy! Then, take a nap.
When you’re ready, build it up.
The wooden back
You will need a wood piece to cover the back of the unit. To make this, lay the board on the floor and then, the KALLAX facedown on top of it.
Mark every single KALLAX cube with a pen, so afterwards you can see where to place your nails and screws.
Adding air vents
It’s important to make holes for the air circulation vents.
I bought the IKEA VARIERA shelf inserts to use as vents because it looks so much better than other covers. The small one for the upper row and 5 larger ones for the bottom.
After you have marked the spots to install the circulation vent on the wood board, you’ll need to cut them out.
Access holes from level to level
Next, you’ll need to figure out the access holes for the gerbils to go up and down the different levels of the KALLAX.
Cut these holes out too.
Custom sand baths
Gerbils originate from the Mongolian desert and need sand baths to get their fur clean. So I got them 2 drawers made of wood and acrylic.
One side of the boxes are a bit lower, so they can jump into it.
The desert picture I added is usually for terrariums. 🙂 It’s just for decoration.
Related: Another KALLAX Gerbilarium. Smaller 2-storey version
Covering the holes
The holes must be covered because the little sweeties will gnaw on them. I used Aluminum-Profiles (U-Form) to cover the exposed parts.
I used two different type of rails. One for gnaw protection (C form) and one for the sliding glass doors (E form)
Cut the C form rails and use silicone glue to adhere them onto the exposed edges.
Insert your VARIERA shelf inserts in every designated placement. Use silicone adhesive to stick them onto the board.
I covered the floors with PVC sheet from Amazon.
Just cut out the holes on the PVC sheet.
The sliding door rails
The best glue for the sliding glass rails is silicone as well.
After setting up everything, the back wall can now be screwed into the KALLAX. I used screws and nails.
Because some things still have sharp edges, I covered them with little wood pieces. Looks so much better than before 🙂
The VARIERA inserts got plastic covers too because I didn’t want to see the ugly silicone.
Small glass panes prevents the bedding from falling out:
My glass panes were specially cut and fitted and was the most expensive part of the hack, but it’s possible to use acrylic glass. That’s cheaper but I didn’t want any scratches, which may happen with acrylic.
How to put the glass panes in:
It took me 3 weeks to complete because the glass panes were specially cut and fitted. I paid 300€+60€ for LED strips.
The hardest part of the hack is measuring the glass panes for the sliding glass windows.
But it’s all worth it. I (and my sweeties) have been very happy with our DIY IKEA KALLAX Gerbilarium since we made this 2 years ago.
~ by Finnya-Kathrina Hagemeister