Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX


Here’s how to DIY an extra large Gerbilarium

I wanted a really big cage for my sweet gerbils.

Now they look so much happier with so much more space.

  • KALLAX 5×5
  • VARIERA shelf inserts (for air circulation)
  • Glass panes
  • Aluminium profiles (as rails) to slide the glass panes
  • Wood board to cover the back
  • PVC sheet to cover the floor so it doesn’t get smelly and wet
  • Acrylic glass for 2 sand bath drawers
  • Terrarium background picture
  • Specially cut glass panes

DIY Gerbilarium IKEA KALLAX hack

First of all, get a KALLAX 5×5 and try your best to carry it home … it’s so heavy! Then, take a nap.


When you’re ready, build it up.

The wooden back

You will need a wood piece to cover the back of the unit. To make this, lay the board on the floor and then, the KALLAX facedown on top of it.

Mark every single KALLAX cube with a pen, so afterwards you can see where to place your nails and screws.

wood board for back

Related: Cheap and huge Gerbil Cage from IKEA glass cabinet

Adding air vents

It’s important to make holes for the air circulation vents.

I bought the IKEA VARIERA shelf inserts to use as vents because it looks so much better than other covers.  The small one for the upper row and 5 larger ones for the bottom.

air vents
air vents placement

After you have marked the spots to install the circulation vent on the wood board, you’ll need to cut them out.

Access holes from level to level

Next, you’ll need to figure out the access holes for the gerbils to go up and down the different levels of the KALLAX.

access holes

Cut these holes out too.

cut the kallax
Custom sand baths

Gerbils originate from the Mongolian desert and need sand baths to get their fur clean. So I got them 2 drawers made of wood and acrylic.

sand bath drawers

One side of the boxes are a bit lower, so they can jump into it.

sand bath drawers

The desert picture I added is usually for terrariums. 🙂 It’s just for decoration.

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

Related: Another KALLAX Gerbilarium. Smaller 2-storey version

Covering the holes

The holes must be covered because the little sweeties will gnaw on them. I used Aluminum-Profiles (U-Form) to cover the exposed parts.

I used two different type of rails. One for gnaw protection (C form) and one for the sliding glass doors (E form)


Cut the C form rails and use silicone glue to adhere them onto the exposed edges.

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

Insert your VARIERA shelf inserts in every designated placement. Use silicone adhesive to stick them onto the board.

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

I covered the floors with PVC sheet from Amazon.

gnaw protection

Just cut out the holes on the PVC sheet.

The sliding door rails

The best glue for the sliding glass rails is silicone as well.

sliding glass doors

After setting up everything, the back wall can now be screwed into the KALLAX. I used screws and nails.

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

Because some things still have sharp edges, I covered them with little wood pieces. Looks so much better than before 🙂 

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

The VARIERA inserts got plastic covers too because I didn’t want to see the ugly silicone.

Small glass panes prevents the bedding from falling out:

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

My glass panes were specially cut and fitted and was the most expensive part of the hack, but it’s possible to use acrylic glass. That’s cheaper but I didn’t want any scratches, which may happen with acrylic.

How to put the glass panes in:
glass panes

Light feature: LED Strips – well hidden, of course (covered with a LED cover from Amazon)

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

It took me 3 weeks to complete because the glass panes were specially cut and fitted. I paid 300€+60€ for LED strips.

The hardest part of the hack is measuring the glass panes for the sliding glass windows.

Fantastic 4-storey gerbilarium from IKEA KALLAX

But it’s all worth it. I (and my sweeties) have been very happy with our DIY IKEA KALLAX Gerbilarium since we made this 2 years ago.

~ by Finnya-Kathrina Hagemeister

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