We fell in love with the idea of getting a holland lop the moment we laid eyes on one. we didn’t, however, fall in love with the cages that were available at the local shops. so, we made a decision then and there – before we could get the cuteness, we had to make him a suitable home. it had to be something we could proudly display in our future home – something that would look good sitting next to all the furniture we plan on purchasing when we get married. so we decided that instead of starting from scratch, it would be easier to modify a piece of furniture. we headed to ikea (of course!) for an inexpensive solution. it was a labor of love; looking at our little eames sleeping in his hutch makes it worth all the trouble.


– besta shelf unit
– besta vara door in walnut
– besta legs
– balsa wood, can be found at hobby lobby
– non-toxic wood filler
– non-toxic, environmentally friendly paint in white & gray
– two wire grids – small, white
– four 5/8″ dowel rods
– non-toxic wood glue
– tile
– liquid nail
– spacers
– charcoal colored grout
– sealant


– circular saw
– jigsaw
– hand saw
– sand paper with a variety of grit size
– clamps
– heavy duty wire cutters
– grout float
– drill
– screwdrivers, flat and philips


Part one, putting together the shell

1. before you start to put together the besta shelf, some work needs to be done on the center piece.
2. decide how large you want the hole in the middle to be – not too large, make sure it doesn’t interfere with the stability of the bookcase.
3. mark the hole with a pencil (we used a 10 inch plate), and use a circular saw to cut an initial hole in the middle of the piece.
4. using a jigsaw and a steady hand, complete cutting the hole.
5. smooth the edges with sandpaper.

6. because the inside of this piece is made of cardboard filler, it will need to be sealed off. start by filling the hole up to the edges with wood filler, and let dry according to the instructions on the packaging. once dry, remove excess filler and sand as needed.
7. cut the balsa wood to the proper width (width of center piece), and soak in warm water until flexible.
8. bend into a circle and tie with string to hold it in place. let the piece dry completely.
9. cut the balsa wood to the appropriate length and glue into place.
10. fill in any other holes left by gaps in balsa wood (may not be perfect initially), and sand as needed.
11. paint white, to match the hutch.
12. put together the shell of the bookcase (instructions in booklet), but stop prior to putting the final piece on.
13. cut wire grid to the length/width of one of the sides (I believe it is about 22″ wide, but measure to be certain), and use the groove that is already there for the back wood panel to slide the grid in. it isn’t going to be easy, it took some finagling – patience is key! you might need to sand the groove a little to make it wider.

14. finish assembling the hutch.
15. you wont need the horizontal shelves you get with the bookcase, so recycle them (or better yet use them to create something else!).

Part two, tiling the hutch

1. we decided to use 2″ glass tiles, they actually fit perfectly with an 1/8th of an inch between them (154 tiles total).
2. place tiles in hutch with spacers (starting from the back) and without glue/grout.
3. with all the tiles in place, pick up each one individually and use the liquid nail on the bottom. put back into place with spacers in between.
4. give the liquid nail a day or two to dry. read instructions and check the tiles – they should not wiggle.
5. mix grout according to the instructions – you’ll only need a small bag.

6. remove all the spacers and grout – clean as you go, it is a messy process.
7. let the grout dry, and then seal grout lines accordingly.

Part three, the doors

1. we purchased the door on the right from ikea, it was simple to install. the grate on the left, however, was made from scratch with the help of my boyfriend’s grandfather, who is a metal/wood worker.
2. we used dowel rods as a frame, so measure and cut according to the length and width of the opening (corners are 45 degrees).
3. cut grid to the proper size.
4. I stripped the rubber coating off of this piece of grid because we wanted to paint it. it was a huge pain to do, but it had a better end result.
5. line up the wire grid how you want it to fit within the dowel rod frame and mark where each prong will hit.
6. drill holes, not too deep – and try to do it at the same depth each time.
7. glue the frame together (with the grate in place), and hammer a nail into each corner for stability.
8. paint gray, and let it dry completely.
9. now for the internal hinges – place the framed gate in the hutch. secure with clamps and about 3 inches down from the top, drill a hole through the bunny hutch itself and the gate.
10. we used a piece of copper tubing for the internal hinges (these will stay in place forever), just cut to the proper length and slide in place. make sure whatever you use, it’s a tight fit.
11. drill another two holes 2 inches from the bottom, for pins. my boyfriend’s grandfather created the pins for us. these are used to secure the door (so he/she can’t push it open), and can be removed when you want to get to open that side of the cage.

Part four, finishing touches

1. put legs on the hutch according to instructions.
2. eventually, we are going to have to come up with a locking mechanism for the right door (when he gets bigger he’ll probably be able to push it open), but we’ll worry about it when we get there.
3. it is important to let the hutch air out for a while, even though you are using all bun safe materials – it is always good to be cautious – the longer you can wait the better.
4. purchase a water bottle, food dish, a couple of blankets for him/her to lay on (tile is hard on a bun’s bum sometimes!), and a potty with a grate so he/she doesn’t sit in his/her urine/poop (you can find a great potty with a grate at petsmart).
5. don’t leave him in the hutch all day! buns need a lot of love, attention and exercise! use the hutch more as a potty/night-time place. let him hop around your bun proof home (make sure wires and tempting chewable items are not laying around).

via  designsponge