Are you looking to save some money with your bearded dragon cage?
Do you want to stretch your DIY muscles and make some of your beardy’s gear yourself?
Then you may want to learn how to make a custom bearded dragon cage.
These don’t have to be tricky with the right instructions, but you will need to get the right parts and follow the instructions carefully.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need
The first and most obvious thing you need is the container, which will make up the bulk of your custom cage.
Some DIYers use particle board cut into 4′ x 2′ sections to piece together the sides.
This is an excellent way to go, but also makes your job easier by finding a box from something you no longer need.
An old wooden dresser or wooden trunk would work well.
But you need to make sure space inside whatever you use ends up at least 4′ long by 2′ wide by 2′ tall.
This will give the 40 gallons you need at minimum for an adult bearded dragon.
You’ll use the insulation board to shape your tank how you want it for your pet.
Remember, bearded dragons love to climb, so using these to help make a fun area will keep your pet happy.
The insulation will also help to keep the cage warm, which is a common problem with DIY cages.
You’ll need the box cutter to help cut the foam insulation boards.
A good, fresh blade will make the shaping process much more manageable.
Spray Foam (optional)
Spray foam, specifically ones to fill gaps and cracks, are great for creating fake but convincing rock-like formations.
This isn’t necessary, but it will turn out nice.
Tile grout is used to cover the insulation and hardened spray foam.
It helps smooth out the texture and seal those items further.
A non-toxic paint will be needed to unify the look of your custom cage.
Going for a rock or earth color makes the most sense, but if you want a hot pink background, nothing is stopping you!
You also will want to get paint for the outside of your cage.
While this paint doesn’t need to be non-toxic, any paint you use on the inside must be.
Acrylic sheets provide your glass look to see into the cage.
We recommend at least two large ones to complete the front looking in your tank.
You may also want to use one on the top of your tank as a lid.
The hinges will be needed to make the top move and open up.
You also use the hinges to make the acrylic front sheets a door, but then make sure you use some kind of latch to prevent the beardy from opening the doors.
Step By Step Instructions
In this section, we’ll offer the step by step instructions you’ll need to build a bearded dragon terrarium.
Be sure to read the directions carefully.
#1 Clear Out Or Set Up Space
First, you need to get the space set up.
The easiest way to do this would be to use an old dresser or other wooden containers of at least 4′ x 2′ x 2′.
Then, remove the interior pieces using your hammer, screwdriver, and other tools.
Your goal is to create an empty box space.
You won’t need to do anything for it at this point, but you do need to decide what way the cage will be oriented.
Use the opening for the top or use the opening for the front.
#2 Shape The Insulation Boards
Picture the shape of the cage interior in your head or sketch it out.
The board is cut and used to create different levels like floors or just different places to climb on.
Use your box cutter to cut and shave the boards into how you want it.
If you need to attach the boards firmly, use a strong glue.
Also use cut boards stacked upon one another to create stairs.
You should also include a layer of insulation on the sides of the cage as well.
This isn’t for looks, but it will help to keep the cage warm.
This is also where you may want to use spray foam to create a rugged look in the space.
Just remember, a little spray goes a long way.
#3 Grout And Paint
Do 3-4 layers of grout over the interior foam and bottom of the cage.
The grout is applied according to the specific brand’s instructions.
Make sure you give plenty of time between each layer to allow for it to set.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
The grout helps change the texture of the insulation to look more natural.
It also helps seal the insulation in and prevent the bearded dragon from accidentally eating it.
Choose the color of the grout to match the rugged look you may be going for.
Use non-toxic paint to help it look even more natural.
Do two layers of paint, and it should begin to look pretty cool.
#4 Cut Out And Install Top
Use the box cutter or a small jigsaw to cut out a rectangle in the top.
The size of the hole depends on what you’re using the top for, but a larger top will make it easier to get in and get the bearded dragon.
If you’re cutting out a top for access rather than using the front as access, you need to make sure there is some kind of latch.
Bearded dragons are excellent escape artists.
Attach the hinges with glue on the acrylic side and screwing in the other into the top.
Then over the sheet or remove it temporarily while you finish the outside.
#5 Finish Outside
Using paint and primer of your preference, finish painting the outside of the cage.
Be sure not to get any toxic paints on the inside of the enclosure.
If there rough edges, you may also want to sand them down before you paint.
#6 Install Doors
Install the acrylic sheets on the top (if you haven’t yet) and on the front.
Use the hinges with glue on the sheet and screws on the wood as needed.
If you’re using the front sheets as access, consider adding latches or hook to prevent the beardy escaping.
You may also want to attach a door handle to make them easier to move.
You know how to make a bearded dragon cage.
For more ideas on this, check out the following video.
How To Set Up A Bearded Dragon Habitat
On top of this cage, you’ll need the following items:
- Shallow water dish
- Heating lamp
- UVB light
- Furniture for hiding and climbing
- Substrate (optional)
These things are needed to set up a beardy’s habitat.
Click on the relevant links for more information.
How To Keep A Bearded Dragon Warm
In a custom cage, you may need to worry about keeping a bearded dragon warm.
Here are a couple of quick tips to help with this:
- Use insulation on the inside while building the cage
- Choose a good heater
- Use a thermometer to check the temperature regularly
- Keep the cage away from windows
Remember, bearded dragons come from the Australian deserts, so they need higher temperatures.
Keep the heat up!
Examples To Base Your Cage On
It may be hard to imagine what you want in a custom cage.
So it’s OK to look to examples for inspiration.
Or, if it seems too difficult, you could always just buy one.
REPTI ZOO Reptile Glass Terrarium, Double Hinge Door with Screen Ventilation Reptile Terrarium (See On Amazon)
This one is great for looking at a three wall see-through design.
The double hinged top is of note, as well.
Exo Terra Glass Reptile Terrarium (See On Amazon)
This cage uses a raised bottom for the option of installing a floor heater.
Hagen Exo Terra Short All Glass Terrarium (See On Amazon)
This one features front opening doors.
REPTI ZOO 67Gallon Reptile Large Terrarium Upgrade Glass Front Opening Tank Sliding Door with Screen Ventilation Reptile Terrarium (See On Amazon)
From this cage, look into screen tops and a sliding door.
Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit (See On Amazon)
Although this is a turtle kit, it works with beardies as well.
This tank can use heaters on top of the tank through the top.
Any of these would make a great enclosure with no effort.
But if you want to make a habitat DIY, learn from their designs in your style.
Now you know how to make a custom bearded dragon cage.
It may seem tricky, but with a little patience, you will make something nice for your oddly cute pet.
The Bearded Dragon Handbook
You’ll save time and money right away with this easy-to-follow digital handbook. This is the guide you’ve been looking for everywhere.