- 01 of 09
Use File Folders to Make Play Tubes for Your Pet Hamster
Hamsters (and many other small pets) love cardboard tubes. You can give them the inner rolls from toilet paper, paper towels, wrapping paper, and other rolls, but some have concerns over the glues and adhesives on these items. You can also buy sturdy cardboard rolls marketed just for pets (Totaly Chewbular Play Tubes, Chubes, Critter Caves, etc.). These are wonderful products, but if you want to save money or need a toy for a bored hamster quickly, why not try this idea?
We originally spotted the tip on the Twin Squeaks Gerbils site and were inspired to try it out, and it works wonderfully! This project will take just a few minutes and provides easy entertainment for your pets!
All you need to get started is a file folder and a pair of scissors. To be safe, use file folders that are plain brown—not colored.
- 02 of 09
Cut the File Folder to Size
First, cut the file folder along its natural fold line. You can also trim off the tab portion if desired. Depending on the sizes of play tubes you wish to make, you can cut each half folder into smaller sizes.
- 03 of 09
Make Small and Large Homemade Play Tubes
In this example, one half of the folder was kept whole to make one larger tube and one half was cut again to make two smaller tubes. You can experiment with different cuts to make different sizes. As you can see, a single folder gives you lots of material for multiple homemade play tubes for your hamster.
- 04 of 09
Roll a Piece of File Folder to Make a Tube Shape
Now all you need to do is roll up your pieces of the file folder to make play tubes. Here, we are making a tightly rolled tube by rolling a smaller piece of file folder around a pencil. Once you have rolled the folder, simply hold the roll in place for a few seconds; when you let it go it will uncoil slightly but retain the shape of a tube.
- 05 of 09
Small Homemade Play Tube for Your Hamster
Once the tube uncoils a bit, you can adjust the final diameter by loosening the rolls a bit if desired. This is what the roll looked like after rolling it on the pencil. We then just unrolled it a bit to loosen it a bit, to get the diameter we wanted for a small homemade play tube (the end result can be viewed at the end of this tutorial).
- 06 of 09
Experiment With Your Rolling Technique
This was the result of our second small roll—as we loosened up this one after rolling it on a pencil we ended up with a tiny tube inside another tube. As you experiment with different methods of rolling and adjusting you can come with your own variations!
- 07 of 09
A Looser Roll Makes a Larger Diameter Play Tube
Here we have rolled the larger piece of file folder (the half folder size) in a looser roll. After holding for a few seconds, it will hold its shape as a larger homemade play tube quite well.
- 08 of 09
A Larger Diameter File Folder Play Tube
This is the larger homemade play tube we made with a half file folder and a looser roll. One of the smaller rolls is visible in the upper right for comparison. These tubes hold their shape remarkably well—probably longer than it will take your hamster to destroy them! If not, a little squeeze can restore their shape as a play tube.
- 09 of 09
Here are the three homemade play tubes we made from a single file folder. As we mentioned before, they hold their shape well. You can have fun experimenting with different sizes, shapes, and rolling styles to provide your hamster with a wonderful variety of play tubes. Your hamster can play in them if they are larger, or just chew on them if they are smaller.
There is little doubt your hamster will be able to destroy these play tubes pretty fast. However, if you consider the cost of file folders and the fact that you can make multiple tubes from each folder, the cost of each play tube is very small indeed. So these homemade play tubes are very inexpensive, safe (remember, stick with plain—not colored - folders), and best of all, lots of fun!
Have fun making homemade play tubes for your hamster, and let your imagination go wild!