Find an unwanted dollhouse.,
Clean the dollhouse.,
Check out the floor areas, both base and upstairs.,
Measure the dimensions of the dollhouse.,
Check the suitability of the house for moving around in.,
Plan how you’ll block all of the exit holes.,
Build up the base slightly.,
Start attaching the barrier items to the dollhouse.,
Attach the water bottle to one side of the house.,
Put in some comfortable bedding, like straw, or tissue paper.,
Put the hamster’s favorite toys and climbing apparatus into the house.,
Improve the outside of the hamster home.
Check that nobody wants it for play, heirloom keeping or for fetching a fortune on eBay because once you’ve changed it, it’s no longer going to be that old dollhouse.
, Unless it’s particularly grotty, a warm, soapy wash should be sufficient for cleaning the doll house walls, floors and other surfaces. Use a little detergent for something stronger. This is best done on a warm, sunny day to allow for good drying, or if you’re able to leave it in a room which is very, very warm.
Remove all wallpaper surfaces, carpets and anything else stuck to the dollhouse. You will need to ensure that the dollhouse is clean and non-toxic.
Remove any fabric (for carpet) off the floor or curtains, etc., because it won’t be clean for long, and if a bulge or seam exists, it will be chewed and stripped out.
Remove any removable pieces to help with deeper cleaning.
, If these are made of wood or paper, they will need to be waterproofed or you will end up with one stinking mess after a short time. You could use a non-toxic paint to protect these surfaces. One source suggests using G4 pond sealant to protect the wood.Another idea is to use cookie sheets/baking trays or similar to line the base of the house and any other layers, to create a barrier between the wood and the house resident. If you’re into craft, tile the floor areas using a non-toxic grout.
Alternatively, use thick layers of paper such as toilet paper, changed frequently, to soak up hamster wee, moisture and mess.
, Before proceeding, you’ll need all measurements for the additions you’re going to make. Hopefully you’ll be able to find most items around the house but you may also need to buy some, and having the measurements worked out in advance will save you money.
, You might need to widen some of the holes leading upstairs and exchange staircases for ladders, etc. Give the dollhouse a good look over with a hamster’s perspective in mind. How will the hamster get up and down? Where will the hamster prefer to eat, sleep and play in this house? Choose the solutions to these questions according to the design of the dollhouse you’re using.
, Dollhouses come with a lot of possible exit places, such as windows, doors and an open back or front that allows access to the house. You’ll need to block these up with suitable items, such as hardwood, galvanized wire (hardware cloth), wire mesh, plastic garden “wire” or heavy cardstock. Choose the materials for blocking up the holes according to the sizes of the holes and the need for viewing through the house. It is advisable that the part of the house which is most open to viewing (usually the front or the back of the dollhouse), is covered in wire or wire mesh, so that you and the hamster can see through and so that plenty of air circulates through the hamster house.
You might like to consider adding a small sliding-door in a suitable location so that you can put food/water/bedding into the house as needed. You’ll also need to be able to open the house to remove the hamster for play and cuddling, as well as for cleaning.
Another door alternative is to cut through the wire front and hold the door in place with paperclips or spring clips.
Take note of small exit routes. A crack or any very small opening (seam or corner) will be a tempting place to chew. If such a place is in an outer wall, or floor it will, if possible, soon be enlarged to form an escape route. Be sure to cover it well.
, Whether it’s the back or the front of the dollhouse that opens out or is wall-less, you’ll need to stop the hamster bedding from tipping out onto the floor or bench. Use a piece of wood across the base to create a small barrier; nail into place with a good edge overhang to prevent spillage of bedding. Do this prior to adding the wire covering.
, For the windows, nail/screw in, staple in place or glue on the wood/heavy cardstock/wire barriers. Leave the front/back part until last because you’ll still need work on the inside of the hamster house.
Consider allowing your hamster to be able to see out of some of the windows by using plastic wire netting or wire rather than wood. It is not only more interesting for the hamster but it will probably look prettier too.
, Drill a hole through the wall of the dollhouse to let the watering tube go through into the inside. Check to see that it’s easily accessible for the hamster. An alternative method would be cutting a hole in a cardboard tube and putting the water bottle in that.
, Untreated wood shavings work best (not pine or cedar). If you want to turn a dollhouse bed into your pet’s bed, do that too; in fact, old dollhouse furniture can be upcycled into all sorts of fun hamster things.
, Arrange toys at different levels to increase the desire to run around the hamster house.
Hang some toys and chewing items. Be sure to include ladders and balancing areas to help the hamster move around and stay entertained.
, This is an optional step but you can certainly prettify the hamster home if you’d like. Use non-toxic decorating items, just in case of fumes off-gassing through the walls or in case your hamster chews through anything. Designs such as flowers, hamsters, your hamster’s name, etc. are all suitable additions.