NIC grids (Neat Idea Cubes) are great for making cages. They are sturdy, they stand up to bunny teeth, they are readily available in most of the US and are fairly cheap. These go by many names, but the key words to look for are "Wire Storage Cubes" They come in indivual grids with connectors. The grids look like this:
The panels come in lots of different colors (pink, purple, black, white, and primary colors are fairly common) You can find them at places like Wal*Mart and Target as well as most office supply stores. They are especially easy to find at back to school time.
For¬*rabbit cages and pens,¬*Zip Ties are recommended over¬*the connectors that come with the panels (unless¬*a more temporay connection is required). ¬*
Zip Ties, also known as Wire Ties (because they are used to tie wires together, not because they are made of wire) they look like this:
They can be found at places like Home Depot or Lowe's in large containers of 500 for $6-7 and also come in a variety of thicknesses and colors. You will also want a good pair of wire cutters, if you don't have access to any you can use a toenail clipper or somthing of likeness, but the wire clippers will make it all a lot easier.
NIC grids are great for making all kinds of things. I personally have a run and a cage made for my bunny, they look like this:
The run, not all the way streched out.
And the cage, which I was altering for this tutorial.
They can also be made into barriers, wall buffers, small carriers etc.
To start out you should have at least a semi-plan of what you want to make. I don't mean a blue print or anything like that, just a general kind of "I want this cage to be 4 panels by 3 panels" or something like that. Once you kind of know what you're trying to do lay two panels next to each other like this:
It makes it easier to zip-tie things together when they are close like this. Next you're going to grab a zip tie and stick it underneath the panels with the zip tie going DIAGANOALLY between 2 of the 1 inch squares like this:
Now you need to stick the unfettered end through the do-hickey on the other end, like such:
Then you pull it tight
I then cut the extra tail off the end with my wirecutters fairly close to the connection, but my experience is that if you cut it too close you end up with zip ties coming undone when there is stress on the seam.
EDITOR'S NOTE: File or burn the cut edges of the zip ties to avoid injury to the rabbits, they can be razor sharp.
Next we are going to do a ziptie going in the opposite diagonal direction to make a cross (x) through the 4, 1inch squares. (similar to what you do in cross stich, but on a larger scale) So put another zip tie underneath the 2 panels just like you did before, but crossing between the other 2 squares
Then pull it tight like you did with the first one and it should look something like this:
I do three of these per panel seam and when I'm done with a seam it looks like this:
You can do less if you feel comfortable with it, I do that many because it makes the whole thing more stable and my bunny is rather harsh on his things so it makes me feel like he is more secure.
That is the basic way to seam two grids together. If your cage is going to be three panels high than you might want to attach another panel on the end of one of those two, which is what I did. I make vertical strips of panels and then attatch them together. If you want to do it that way then when you go to attatch one strip to another then you probably want to go about it like this:
I have some panels already standing up and attatched since I was altering a cage and not building from scratch. But once I have enough stuck together to have¬*a standing structure it's easier for me to do it like the above picture and attatch once panel at a time from bottom to top. You can also just lay them out on the floor like we did to start out. You just want to attatch everything with the zipties in the same way that you did on the first two panels.
The one difference between what we did on the two singular panels and what I have done here is that there is a fourth cross section of zipties where the corners of two panels meet. Once again this is for extra stability so that there is less 'wiggle room' between panels.
Those are the basics, some extra tips:
Make sure that the cage you're working on will fit through the door to the room you want the cage to be in! The first time I made one I had to take a door of its hinges and smash my fingers to bits getting a cage through a door
Remember to leave a door, can't get a bunny in or out without a door (I had to cut a few zipties my first time because I forgot)
If your bunny is a jumper or you have other animals remember to put a roof on your cage.
If you decide to put shelves in your cage make sure (1) you have supports for the shelves and (2) you cover the shelves with something to protect your bunny's feet from the bare wire.
If you have any questions, comments or complaints please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope this helped you figure it out