How to Make a C&C Guinea Pig Cage From Scratch

Guinea pig cage setup

C&C cages are popular in the guinea pig world, and there’s no wonder why! They’re easily the cheapest cage you’ll find, they can be expanded easily if your piggies need more space or you add to your herd, and they’re extremely customizable.

A C&C guinea pig cage is cheap and easy to set up following a few simple steps. Simply cut the Coroplast to size, score it so that you can fold up the slides of the cage, and duct tape it together. Then, zip tie the cubes together and tie them to the Coroplast for added security.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to build a C&C guinea pig cage from start to finish, and how much it will cost.

What is a C&C Guinea Pig Cage?

C&C stands for cubes and Coroplast, where the cubes were originally sold as storage organizer shelves and Coroplast is a sheet of corrugated plastic.

The plastic sheet is cut, scored, and folded to make the base of the cage. The cubes are then lined up around the edges, zip tied together, and secured to the base to make the cage walls.

How to set up a C&C cage

How to Make a C&C Guinea Pig Cage

1. Purchase Cubes

Cubes for a C&C cage should be 14 inches on each side and at least nine squares across. Less than nine squares, and your piggies might be able to get their heads stuck in the grids or even escape!

If you have baby guinea pigs, getting cubes with even smaller grids or layering them so that the gaps are half as large may be required until they’re older.

C&C cubes were initially sold as shelving, and you might be able to get a better deal if you search for shelving units rather than C&C grids–there’s often a mark-up on the ones sold as pet products.

You can find them at many big box stores, and also online.

* for male pairs or groups, go up one cage size
* guinea pigs are highly social and should be adopted in non-breeding groups or pairs

2. Purchase Coroplast

Most people purchase large sheets of coroplast from a hardware store. Of the ones common in my area, I’ve found that only Home Depot seems to sell the large 4’x8’ sheets–but you might have better luck shopping around than I did!

Otherwise, you can also duct tape the Coroplast together–but using big sheets tends to be easier.

If you’d rather avoid the hassle of assembling the coroplast yourself, Tater Pets offers the convenient option of purchasing a pre-made cage base. However, this option comes with a higher price tag.

3. Measure and Cut Your Coroplast

This is likely going to be the most difficult step in the process. First, figure out how large you want your cage to be and how tall you want each side to be.

Having tall walls on the back and sides prevents hay and poop from falling behind the cage, where it can be difficult to clean regularly. This will also prevent your guinea pigs from spraying urine outside of the cage and onto your walls and other items.

Many people prefer to have a shorter wall in the front, though, so that they can see their piggies!

I suggest sketching out a diagram on a piece of paper first so that you know exactly what you want, then using a pencil to sketch it onto the Coroplast itself.

Once you have this done, you can cut it down to size–remember to keep the walls attached to the base, as this will make assembling the cage much easier.

4. Score the Coroplast

Next, use a knife or box cutter to score the places where your cage base meets the walls. You don’t want to cut all the way through–just enough so that you can fold the walls upward.

You’ll also need to cut the corners of each side so that they can join together properly.

5. Duct Tape the Cage Base Together

We’re almost finished making the Coroplast base! All that’s left is to fold up the sides and tape them together.

If you’ve had to use multiple pieces of Coroplast to make a big enough base, or to get the shape you’re looking for, you’ll also want to tape these together so that nothing slips underneath the flap where they connect.

6. Connect the Cubes

Now, take your cubes and use them to line the outside of your Coroplast base. Add zip ties as you go or after the cubes are all together–it’s up to you, but zip tying all of them together at the top and bottom is essential.

This will hold the cage together and is much sturdier than the connectors that come with the cubes–though you can use these as well if you’d like.

I also recommend punching a few holes in the Coroplast and using zip ties to connect it to the cubes.

7. Add Bedding

In my opinion, the best bedding options for guinea pigs are fleece and chenille bath mats. Remember that the bedding should consist of three layers:

  • a top layer that wicks away moisture,
  • an absorbent layer,
  • and a waterproof bottom layer.

The Coroplast in the cage can count as your waterproof layer.

Fleece liners often come with wicking and absorbent layers already stitched together, though you might have to wick the fabric before use.

Otherwise, you can layer wicked fleece on top and an absorbent layer such as u-haul liners or reusable puppy pee pads on the bottom. The same goes for bath mats.

Of course, disposable bedding is also an option. Make sure to choose one that’s guinea-pig safe, dust-free, and fragrance-free.

Pack the bedding down with your hands and make sure it measures at least 2-3 inches when compact. This ensures it will wick moisture to the bottom, which will act as your absorbent layer.

8. Add Your Piggies’ Items!

Lastly, it’s time for the fun part: setting up the cage with all of your piggies’ stuff! Make sure to include at least one water bottle and hide per guinea pig.

Place down either a hay pile or hay bag with holes large enough for your guinea pig to climb through completely. Piggies have gotten stuck in smaller holes, and the ones too small for them to get their heads into make accessing the hay difficult.

Other items to consider are a litter box, toys, pee pads, and pellet bowls. (Pellet bowls being optional because you can always scatter feed for added enrichment!)

How Much Does a C&C Cage for Guinea Pigs Cost?

C&C guinea pig cage cost
C&C Cage – Image by: Phil Whitehouse

C&C cages will almost always be your cheapest option for a guinea pig cage. Homemade cages are the cheapest as you’ll only need to buy the cubes and Coroplast.

You can find the cubes you’ll need for around $30 for a small set. This should be enough for a cage that meets minimum requirements, but some people choose to buy more to provide a bigger space.

A large (4’x8’) sheet of coroplast also costs around $30, so you can expect to pay at least $60-$70 for your C&C cage–perhaps more if you want it to be larger than the minimum.

If you don’t want to spend time learning how to build a C&C cage and making it yourself, you can also buy pre-cut Coroplast cage bases, or purchase an entire cage set from places like the Guinea Pig Cages Store or Kavee Cages.

Keep in mind that these will still require assembly; the Coroplast is just cut and scored for you to save you some time.

You’ll also need to purchase zip ties separately and use them to connect the cubes for security. Without this step, the cage may not be safe for your piggies to live in.

For instance, multi-story cages have been known to collapse and kill guinea pigs. Your pigs might also be able to escape multi or single-level cages and get into mischief.

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