Saturday, November 27, 2010
Here's the first of several cozies, tunnels, hideys, and mats to come. I recently redid my guinea pig cage with fleece mats backed with Uhaul's recycled denim furniture pads. I also added a bent grid hay rack and a kitchen area to help contain some of the mess. I'm loving the new setup, but I didn't take any pictures so there's not much to share there. I may take some next time I do a cage cleaning; I just did one today and didn't really think about it, and the whole setup a little bit more attractive before the guinea pigs mess it all up.
What I do have pictures of is my first tunnel. It measures 8.5" wide by 14" long and features a cute green kids' animal print and a brown contrast, with green stitching along the brown outside for contrast. This one will be the first of a series I'll be making to sell on Etsy after my fruitful Black Friday shopping adventure, where between epic holiday sales and a forgotten gift card, I got about six yards of fabric for almost as many dollars.
A tutorial follows for making your own, but this one (and many more to come!) are available on my Etsy page, which is linked to the right. This one's at a discounted rate; it comes to about $10 including shipping, just because it was a "first" and includes all the minor flaws that accompany my ruthless diving into projects I should be planning better.
Here's a quick tutorial to which I will add pictures as soon as I make another:
The Almost-No-Sew 30-Minute Tunnel
1/2 yd. main fabric (fleece)
1/2 yd. contrast fabric (fleece)
1. Pre-wash all of your fabric. It's not 100% necessary because fleece does not shrink noticeably, but you want your fleece to wick, since there will be small animals doing their business inside of it, instead of letting everything pool on the surface.
2. Cut off the selvages and straighten any crooked edges. For shame, fabric store employees, for you do not always cut in straight lines!
3. Cut a 21-inch long piece of each fabric. It's already 18 inches wide, which is what we want. *note: If you have an exceptionally large guinea pig, such as an older boar, you may wish to purchase a bit of additional fabric to widen your tunnel. My somewhat larger than average boar is able to use his, which I only made 17 inches wide, but I would worry for a boar any larger than him.
4. Fold each piece in half (hot dog style), right sides together. If you can't tell, it doesn't matter which is the right side, but if you pull on the cut edge, the fabric will roll to the wrong side.
5. Sew each piece up the length. Turn the outside piece right side out and insert the inside piece, wrong sides together.
6. Now you see your tunnel taking shape! Fold the open edges back and fold them back again so that you form a cuff on each side. Sew close to where the cuff meets the outside fabric (I recommend 1/4" away). Be sure that you're sewing through that middle layer so that the raw edges can't poke out later and be ugly. If you like (and I do), sew another line 1/4" out from the first line. This one's for extra security and decoration, if you're sewing in a contrasting thread color.
You're done! Let the guinea pigs or other such small animals enjoy. This can be scaled up or down, made longer, shorter, wider, skinnier, and anything else you want to do to it. Best of all, you'll probably have enough fleece left over to make one for a friend, or make a spare for your own piggers.