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How to Build Your Own Bearded Dragon Cages (9 Steps to Follow)

Trying to look for an all-around and complete DIY bearded dragon cages guide?

Are you looking for ways to save money without compromising the quality of your bearded dragon tank?

You’re lucky because you just landed on the best one online!

In this guide, I’ll not only teach you how to build your own bearded dragon enclosure but I’ll also give you a few tips to make your baby bearded dragon’s natural habitat worthwhile!

READ MORE: Bearded Dragon Terrarium Ideas

What You Need to Build Your Own Bearded Dragon Enclosure

The things you’ll need will depend on the type of bearded dragon habitat you’re aiming for.

Here’s a quick clip that details what a baby or an adult dragon needs in their enclosure: 

In my experience, I used a combination of acrylic sheets, wood chips, wood shavings, cartons, and even calcium sand to give my baby bearded dragon the natural habitat feels!

For a new bearded dragon owner, though, I would recommend the following materials to start with:

  • An old container/enclosure (dresser or bedside cabinet)
  • Insulation boards
  • Poultry fabric
  • Plexiglass or acrylic sheet
  • Non-Toxic Paint
  • Screws (lots of them)
  • Box cutter and table saw
  • Drill
  • Calcium Sand
  • Miscellaneous Items

READ MORE: Can I Take My Bearded Dragon Outside?

DIY Bearded Dragon Cages Tutorial: How to Build a Bearded Dragon Cage Out of Wood?

bearded dragon sitting on a stone

Now that you’re aware of what you need, let’s now build your own bearded dragon cage setup!

While there are many enclosure plans out there, this will be made from a combination of components, with wood as the primary material!  

Step #1: Prepare and Clean the Container Up

The first step is to grab and clean your old container or enclosure. Get rid of rough edges that could wound or harm your reptile friend.

Use sandpaper if you’re going to use wood as the container. Ultimately, your goal is to empty out the space of the box.

As most experts suggest [1], a 4-foot-long, 2-feet wide enclosure or container will be enough to house up to two (2) beardies.

An old aquarium, an unused dresser, or a small old cabinet would do.

QUICK TIP: Using a small enclosure to house an adult bearded dragon can have long-term adverse effects on its health [2].

READ MORE: BEST Bearded Dragon Terrarium Kit

Step #2: Cut Out and Install the Insulation Boards

Then, cut out your insulation boards using a box cutter or a table saw. Measure all the sides of the container so you know how big or small each piece should be.

After that, using hard glue or solvent-based adhesives, paste and install the insulation boards on the sides and at the base of your enclosure.

QUICK TIP: Leave about one (1) or two (2) centimeters of space so you can glue the insulation board to the sides easily.

Step #3: Set Up the Mesh/Poultry Fabric at the Top

This part would purposely be made for the temperature regulation of the bearded dragon vivarium.

To achieve this type of enclosure, you simply have to install the mesh or poultry fabric at the opening up top. 

However, a handful of bearded dragon owners choose to cut out an insulation board that would fit the source of the UVB light.

You can choose any of the two (2) since they’ll both work the same way. Just ensure that the opening is closed whenever your reptile friend isn’t basking.

Step #4: Measure and Cut the Acrylic Sheet

When you’re done with the insulation, it’s time to cut the acrylic sheets.

The acrylic sheets will serve as the “doors” or the view of the enclosure. It’s where you’ll be able to keep an eye on your reptile friend.

Ensure that the measurement of the acrylic sheet fits perfectly with the entirety of the enclosure, while also considering the grooves you’ll be making.

QUICK NOTE: If you notice a few centimeters or inches of space, you can use spray foam to fill the gaps. This can improve the longevity of your tank since it’ll be more compact and compressed.  

Step #5: Paint the Interior and Exterior

Then, what you want to do is to paint the inside and the outside of your cage. Using non-toxic paint, unleash your creativity and make the tank look presentable.

I painted mine with a mixture of green and brown so that I could help my pet reptile feel like he was never out from the wild!

QUICK NOTE: It’s always advisable to do the painting outside your home to avoid accidental painting on furniture.

Step #6: Lay Out the Calcium Sand

After letting the paint dry, you’re now ready to set the interior up. Add a few pounds of calcium sand to the bottom of the pit. This will serve as the base for your beardie.

If you can’t get your hands on calcium sand, animal experts suggest [3] using play sand and silica pool sand as alternatives.

QUICK NOTE: According to experts, add one (1) to two (2) pounds of sand per one (1) gallon of space in the tank [4].

Step #7: Add the Acrylic Sheet

The next step would be the step that would close out your bearded dragon cage setup. Yes, this will be where you’ll add the acrylic sheet or plexiglass for the sliding door.

Start off by making the frame for the acrylic glass. You can do this by cutting about two (2) sticks of 2×2 wood with about a ¼”-groove. Then, hold the rails in position and drill a hole on each of the sticks’ ends.

After that, measure the size of the opening and slide the acrylic glass on the grooves.

Step #8: Lay Out the Interior

Once this is all done, lay the interior out of the tank. This would include the water bowl for drinking, a couple of wood shavings, wood barks, or logs for a more natural environment feel.  

Want to see an extremely creative interior? Here’s a clip of an excellent bearded dragon tank decor. 

QUICK NOTE: Beardies tend to rest and dwell more on the ground. However, they also climb rocks, logs, and even low branches for fun [5].

Step #9: Finish and Polish

For the last step, you want to polish everything – yes everything. Here is a quick list of things you want to take a look at:

  1. Possible breakage points in the cage or tank
  2. Unnecessary spaces or gaps
  3. Check for proper temperatures
  4. Positioning of water bowl, food dishes, etc. 

Once you’re done checking all angles, try your new all-in-one DIY plan out!

FAQs About DIY Beardie Cages

Want to learn more? Here are a few of the most asked questions about DIY tanks for bearded dragons.

What Can You Use to Clean Your Reptile Terrariums? 

You can use a solution of hot water and mild soap to take care of bearded dragon poop. Using the same soapy water solution, clean out the sides to keep the tank clean, as well! 

Can I Use Wood For My Bearded Dragon Tank? 

bearded dragon in a yellow lighting cage

Yes, you can use wood to build your bearded dragon vivarium. In fact, you can use anything that’s non-toxic as a part or component of your bearded dragon cage setup. Also, consider the fact that you’ll use soapy water for cleaning so make sure that the solution will be able to cleanse your bearded dragon DIY vivarium.  

Can You Put Your Bearded Dragon Vivarium Outside? 

Yes, you can put and place your bearded dragon vivarium outside, so long as the weather/climate is just right. A bearded dragon cage setup is perfect when you place them indoors because of the stable temperature.   

Conclusion

Making DIY bearded dragon cages isn’t hard, after all! Even if you’re just a new bearded dragon owner, you won’t need further assistance!

Armed with this tutorial on how to build your own beardie mansion, you won’t need to purchase a lavish one from pet stores any longer!

References:

  • 1. What is the Correct Bearded Dragon Tank Size? [Internet]. Vet Explains Pets. 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 9]. Available from: https://vetexplainspets.com/bearded-dragon-tank-size/
  • 2. Stacey. Bearded Dragon Tank Size: Here’s What Size Tank You Should Be Using… [Internet]. Reptile.Guide. 2019 [cited 2021 Dec 9]. Available from: https://reptile.guide/bearded-dragon-tank-size/
  • 3. Zach. Sand in Aquariums: Benefits of Using Sand in Your Fish Tank [Internet]. PetHelpful. PetHelpful; 2011 [cited 2021 Dec 9]. Available from: https://pethelpful.com/fish-aquariums/Sand-in-Aquariums
  • 4. Caring for Your Pet Bearded Dragon [Internet]. Available from: https://cvm.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Caring-for-your-Bearded-Dragon.pdf#:~:text=Basking%20spot%20keep%20at%2088
adult beardie inside his diy bearded dragon cages

Have you tried making DIY bearded dragon cages? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

Barry Stingmore
Barry Stingmore

Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.

Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts.

Find him on FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND Linkedin
Read his latest ARTICLES.
Find more about him HERE.

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