10 Awesome DIY Reptile Terrarium Enclosures To Make At Home

Are you thinking of getting a bit creative with your pet reptile’s new habitat? 

If you’re the crafty type of pet owner, check out this list of DIY reptile tanks to give you some ideas about converting furniture into reptile enclosures!

These enclosures are unique, fun to build, and your pet will love them, too! 

how to build a reptile terrarium

Why should you go for DIY Reptile enclosures?

Creating a DIY reptile terrarium enclosure at home can offer several advantages for both the reptile owner and the reptile itself. Here are some reasons why you might consider making your own reptile terrarium:


Creating a terrarium for your reptile friend is a fun way to give them a cozy and personalized space that caters to their specific needs. By making it yourself, you can even customize the size, shape, and features to mimic their natural habitat. Your pet will love it!


Building your own enclosure can often be more cost-effective than purchasing a pre-made one. You can choose the best materials that fit your budget while still providing a safe and comfortable space for your reptile.


Designing and building your own terrarium is a great way to express your creativity and experiment with different layouts, decorations, and landscaping. Plus, it’s super fun to create a visually stunning and engaging environment for your little friend.

Quality Control

When you build your own enclosure, you have control over the quality of materials used. This ensures that the structure is non-toxic, sturdy, safe, and built to last, providing a secure environment for your reptile.

Size and Space Optimization

When it comes to DIY enclosures for your reptile, you have the freedom to design an enclosure that fits perfectly in the available space. That way, your little friend will have plenty of room to move around and explore while you make the most efficient use of your home’s area.

If you’re thinking of creating a reptile terrarium on your own, it’s important to keep in mind that every reptile species has unique requirements for their well-being. Therefore, it’s important to research and understand these needs to make sure your enclosure provides everything your little buddy needs to stay happy and healthy!

Now that you know the benefits of creating a DIY enclosure for your scaly buddy, let’s dive into some lizard terrarium ideas!

Repurposed Dresser Enclosure 

repurposed dresser enclosure

Have any old furniture lying around? If yes, we have some amazing lizard enclosure ideas for it!

If so, take a look at this great bearded dragon enclosure made out of a repurposed wardrobe!

We love this one, as it recycles old materials in a clever, unique way to create a new and fantastic reptile habitat. 

It’s large enough to house reptiles of varying sizes and has two easy-to-open doors fitted onto the front to easily access it for enclosure cleanings and mealtimes.

This reptile cage is versatile for almost any type of reptile. 

It has plenty of vertical space for arboreal lizards like crested geckos and lots of horizontal space for ground-dwelling animals like bearded dragons. 

While it doesn’t have a mesh screen on top, it has tons of room to mount basking or UVB bulbs of any size or shape.

Plus, the drawers on the bottom are still functional! 

This means you’ll be able to store any reptile essentials like extra basking bulbs, cricket keepers, and more all in one super convenient place.

(Another) Repurposed Dressed Enclosure

another repurposed dresser enclosure

Although this reptile cage is similar to the previous reptile enclosure listed here, we just had to list it because we have tons of lizard terrarium ideas by repurposing old furniture.

This excellent enclosure has less vertical space, so it isn’t recommended for arboreal reptiles who need lots of climbing room. 

However, it does have a ton of horizontal space for reptiles who tend to stay low to the ground, and it still has functional drawers for conveniently storing all kinds of things your pet needs!

The bearded dragon in this particular habitat looks pretty happy with it, and we imagine their owner loves how it looks, too. 

This reptile enclosure has a lovely rustic sort of aesthetic to complement the decor in your home.

Stacked Bookshelf Enclosure

stacked bookshelf enclosure

This great enclosure is perfect for reptile owners with multiple-scale babies like who want to house them all in one convenient spot.

While it looks like a bunch of regular glass tanks simply stacked on top of each other, it’s a repurposed bookshelf!

If you’ve got a reptile room with tanks scattered everywhere, consider building an enclosure like this one to save a whole lot of space. 

The tanks are tall enough to mount lamps inside them and wide enough to give most small and medium-sized reptiles, plenty of space to roam and feel at home.

Another thing we love about this DIY enclosure setup is the glass sliding doors on the front. 

This makes every individual enclosure easy to access in a pinch, so you’ll be able to feed everyone or clean all of the enclosures without much hassle.

So, whether you have a ball python or a boa, this snake cage is perfect to house them!

Double Stacked Enclosure With Side Shelving

double stacked enclosure

You’ll notice a common theme with many of these enclosures is repurposing old furniture around the home. 

Thanks to its attractive and convenient shelves along the sides and drawers on the bottom, this one is unique! 

With this one, you’ll be able to store anything your pets need for easy access.

This beautiful dual enclosure is also large enough to house larger reptiles who need a bit more space to thrive. 

There’s also plenty of room to mount any lamps you’ll need without having to messily plop them on top of the lid.

While this particular enclosure is painted white to match the owner’s home’s aesthetic, you’re free to paint and design it however you’d like to fit in with the rest of your home’s furniture. 

We love how this one is so versatile in this regard!

Tall Wardrobe Chameleon Enclosure

tall wardrobe chameleon enclosure

If you have a lizard, like a chameleon, who needs lots of vertical space to thrive, and have some old cabinets lying around, look no further than this excellent DIY habitat!

This one is specifically designed for the owner’s chameleon, though it would be ideal for plenty of other species of reptiles too. 

While the others on this list have relatively small drawers and shelves for extra space, this one has massive cabinets underneath to provide even more storage!

We also love how the doors on this enclosure are super easy to open and access for meal times and cleanings. 

This is ideal for a finicky lizard like a chameleon who needs precise temperature and humidity settings in their habitat.

Supersize Screened Enclosure

supersized screened enclosure

Many reptiles like to climb; therefore, here’s another excellent reptile enclosure perfect for chameleons or leopard geckos

Since it’s screened, it’ll be easy to maintain and adjust the delicate humidity settings needed for such a picky reptile. 

Plus, it has tons and tons of vertical climbing space and ample of air flow.

This is perfect for setting up elaborate plant cover for particularly shy reptiles!

We also like how the screen door on this one is conveniently placed to allow you to get inside and clean it or rearrange decor, lamps, and more as needed. 

While this one is painted with a lovely dark brown stain, you also have the option of painting the outside however you’d like to make it match your home’s unique aesthetic and design.

In addition, if you want to get adventurous with the types of plants you use for your reptile’s enclosure, this DIY habitat is ideal. 

Feel free to experiment with all kinds of plants of differing sizes to make your pet feel like they’re back in their native habitat again.

Stacked Gecko Room Enclosure

stacked gecko room enclosure

Got a lot of little reptiles like geckos? 

If so, check out this awesome DIY enclosure made from repurposed shelving. 

This one has four equally-sized glass tanks with ultra-convenient latch-style doors on the front to make them easy to access for cleanings and meal times.

Another fun thing about this particular habitat is the shelf on top where you’ll be able to place reptile essentials or even just additional decorations to fit your style and aesthetic. 

The owner of this enclosure has placed lots of fun decorations on top, such as their Funko pops and a crocodile and dinosaur skull.

Although manufacturers build these types of enclosures to sell commercially, it would be super simple to build one on your own out of an old bookshelf or any old shelves you have lying around. 

This one is painted with sleek, glossy white paint, but why stop there? 

Get creative and paint fun designs on it to make it truly yours.

Super Tall Custom Enclosure

super tall custom enclosure

Here’s yet another DIY enclosure perfect for arboreal reptiles who love to climb. 

This one is unique mostly due to its extreme height and high visibility thanks to the large transparent glass pane on the front. 

You’ll be able to watch your reptile (or reptiles!) curiously explore this massive enclosure for hours on end, and neither of you will get bored.

We enjoy these extra-tall terrariums because they can house a variety of extra-large plants, vines, and decorations.

With more than 4′ feet of space for your reptile pet to explore, they’ll never feel cramped.

This one has a giant tree trunk-like plant winding through the enclosure vertically, and it looks amazingly realistic. 

Complement a large centerpiece plant with lots of other smaller tropical plants, and you’ve got an authentic forest-like habitat fit for any reptile, especially one with a need to climb.

Repurposed Coffee Table Enclosure

repurposed coffee table enclosure

Do you have an old coffee table or some extra wood lying around you just don’t know what to do with? 

Why not turn it into a reptile tank like this one? 

This way, you won’t have to sell it or spend time hauling it off somewhere where it’ll sit and rot away.

This beautiful wooden enclosure is an awesome option for a medium-to-large-sized reptile that needs lots of horizontal space to feel comfortable. 

If you’re worried your pet will feel nervous about the transparent glass pane on top, just cover it with wood or even a simple tablecloth to ease their anxiety. 

Use whatever style of wood you prefer, from pine wood to cedar or oak.

The bearded dragon in this particular enclosure seems pretty happy with its unique desert environment. However, if you have a pet ball python or corn snake, this large enclosure would also make an excellent snake cage.

Add either glass sliding doors or latch-style doors on the front to make mealtimes and tank cleanings easier than ever!

Gecko Bookshelves

gecko bookshelves

Do you have a LOT of geckos? 

Is your reptile room a bit chaotic due to the enclosures scattered everywhere? 

If so, consider a setup like this one made from old bookshelves. 

This is a fairly basic reptile enclosure, yet it looks very elaborate and sleek.

Perfect for the die-hard reptile enthusiast, this enclosure setup provides 12 individual habitats in total to house a variety of captive reptiles. 

You’ll be able to fill each cage with items your leopard geckos, snakes, or other lizards will love.

The easy-to-open glass doors on the front will make accessing the enclosures super convenient in a pinch, and you’ll love having all of your reptiles’ homes organized neatly in one place. 

Even if you’re not a particularly skilled carpenter, these shelves only need basic tools and are easy even for a total beginner to convert into plenty of gecko habitats

Just clean them out, attach glass doors on the front, and drill holes to mount any lamps, heat mats or tank heaters inside.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What materials should I use for building a DIY reptile terrarium?

The choice of materials depends on the type of reptile you have. Common materials include plywood, glass, or acrylic for the walls and various substrates for the flooring. Make sure that all materials used are non-toxic and safe for your reptile.

Q. How do I determine the appropriate size for the terrarium?

The size of the enclosure should be based on the specific needs of your reptile species. As a general rule of thumb, it should generally be at least 2-3 times the adult size of the animal in both length and width, and at least half the length in height. This allows them to stretch out fully, climb, and explore.

Q. Is ventilation important, and how do I ensure proper airflow?

Yes, ventilation is quite important for a reptile enclosure. Adequate ventilation helps prevent the buildup of humidity and maintain air quality. We suggest using vents or mesh panels on the terrarium to allow for proper airflow.

Q. Can I use live plants in the terrarium, and how do I care for them?

Yes, you can absolutely use live plants in your reptile terrarium! In fact, live plants offer many benefits for both your reptile and the terrarium environment:

  • They improve air quality.
  • They increase the humidity.
  • They serve as hiding places for your pet.
  • They create a stimulating environment for your reptile.

However, make sure to select plants that are non-toxic to reptiles. There are many common houseplants that are poisonous, so be sure to do your research before purchasing any plants.

Creating a Home for Your Cold-Blooded Companion

Building a home for your reptile buddy can be super fun!

In this guide, we have put together 10 cool DIY ideas for reptile enclosures by repurposing old cabinets, bookshelves, and tables. They are not only creative but also easy to make., plus they make a comfy and good-looking space for your scaly friend.

Whether you’re into fancy heating and lighting or adding live plants and exciting climbing spots, these projects suit the needs of different reptiles. Trying out these DIY projects isn’t just about saving money; it’s also a great way to learn more about what your pet needs.

Whether you’re a DIY pro or just starting, these enclosure ideas promise to make a safe, fun, and personalized home for your scaly friend.

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