Sewing Guinea Pig Cage Liners - Free Pattern


fleece and flannel cage liner

Sew your own guinea pig cage liners for a much more Earth friendly liner rather than buying disposable materials to line the cage. These pads have been "pig" tested on Spot and Pepper, my daughter's guinea pigs.

Instruction for assembling these cage liners with a sewing machine or with a serger are provided.

What you need:
  • The guinea pig cage or at the least the length and width measurements of the bottom of your guinea pig cage. You will want to know if the corners are rounded or square to have a good fit even if you are going by the measurements. View the wide assortment of Guinea Pig Cages available on Amazon.com to understand the need to measure your cage.
  • Fabric - Fleece fabric that is enough to cover the bottom of the cage twice if you want your padding to be reversible. Note - I have used a sports knit and other types of fabric that I have on hand for the bottom of the cage liner. The liner shown in the sewing machine method is using an old king size flannel pillow case for the backing. This is a great way to use up fabric in your stash that you bought and wonder why you bought it. Old sheets, towels and other frugal fabric sources are great for backing the pads if you don't want to make them reversible. I prefer to change them frequently rather than trying to turn them over so I use what is available for the backing. Be sure to note end of winter sales for shopping for fleece fabric and watch end of season sales on fleece blankets for an economical fleece fabric source. Buy Fleece Fabric on Amazon.com
  • Liner for the padding. We have discovered that the Blanket or Padding sold by U-Haul is an economical and absorbent choice for making these cage liners. Before writing this article, I did test the liners and although I had never preshrunk the padding it has not shrunk in the finished padding after numerous times through the washer and dryer. In New York a package of padding is under eight dollars and measures 68" x 85" This padding can also be ordered online at U-Haul. Amazon.com lists a professional Movers Package of similar blankets if you are making large quantities or mass producing these cage liners. Depending upon how often you will be changing the cage liner, you will want one to two layers of the padding to absorb the fluid in the bottom of the cage. You may also use an old blanket or cotton batting for an absorbent layer. The idea is for the fleece to wick moisture away from the pigs and the center layer to hold the moisture between laundering. Using a polyester or non-absorbent layer as padding will defeat the purpose of the padding layer and is not recommended. Old towels, summer cotton blankets or beach towels are absorbent but you will need to sew the edges as soon as you cut them out in order to not have them fray as you are working on the project.
  • Thread - Using a serger you want 3 or 4 spools of serger thread and a spool for your sewing machine. Using a sewing machine you will need a thread that coordinates but if you don't have one, the guinea pigs rarely complain about color coordinating efforts. Buy Thread on Amazon.com
  • Pattern Material - Paper or materials to make a pattern - Gift wrap, newspaper or newsprint paper works well for this. For large cages you may need to tape together numerous pieces of printed newspaper to make it large enough to cover the entire cage bottom.
  • Basic Sewing Tools
Make a Paper Pattern for a Guinea Pig Cage Liner
Folding the paper to make a paper pattern
  • Clean and empty the cage. The cage used in these photos has a removable bottom tray which is easy to access. Because it is important to draw an accurate pattern, if you can not gain access to the bottom any other way, it may be necessary to remove the wire sides so you can make an accurate pattern.
Adding a Seam Allowance
  • Lay the paper so that it is centered in the bottom of the cage. Press the paper into the very edges of the bottom and create a fold in the paper at the very edges of the bottom of the cage. Continue folding so the paper is a perfect fit for the bottom of the cage. Boldly mark the fold lines and test that the lines go to the exact edge of the bottom of the cage.
Using Paper Scissors to cut out the paper cage liner pattern
  • If you will be using a serger to assemble the liner, proceed to make a grain line on the pattern. You will not have extra to trim off when serging with this method. If you prefer to trim as you serger make the sewing machine pattern.
  • If you are using a sewing machine to make your cage liner, add a 1/2" to the outside edge of the fold lines. The outside line where you added the 1/2" is the edge of the pattern piece. If you are using a serger, the fold line is the edge of your pattern.
Make a Grain Line on the Pattern
  • Once the pattern is cut out, fold it in half lengthwise or crosswise matching the edges. Mark the fold lines as grain lines. Although it may not seem needed, following a straight or crosswise grain when you lay out the pattern, will help the pads hold their shape through many times in the laundry.
Cutting Out the Fleece Fabric Cutting The Fabric
  • Lay the paper pattern piece on the fabric so that the entire pattern is on the fabric but near edges so you are not wasting fabric. Fleece scraps can be used for many Guinea Pig Toys and Huts!
  • Measure the distance from the grain line to the selvedge of the fabric. Pin one end of the grain line in place at this measurement.
  • Move across the grain line marking, keeping the same distance from the selvedge edge of the fabric an pinning the grain line in place as you measure.
  • Keep the paper flat and smooth while you pin the edges of the pattern piece to the fabric. Keep the pins away from the very edge of the pattern so you do not accidentally cut straight pins when you are cutting out the fabric
  • Cut the fabric cutting at the edge of the pattern piece so that the fabric will be the exact same size as the pattern piece.
  • Repeat this process to cut the backing and liner padding. Note: If the padding is non- woven fabric, the grain line can be ignored and the pattern can be fit to the fabric in what ever way possible to make the most of the amount of fabric you have on hand.
Fleece Fabric Wicking moisture Right Side VS Wrong Side of Fleece

It can be difficult to tell the right side from the wrong side of fleece fabric. You are using fleece for it's "wicking " capabilities, meaning that it will wick moisture away. To find the side of the fleece that will wick the Guinea Pig moisture to the padding and away from the pigs:

  • Place two scraps next to each other, with opposite sides up.
  • Place droplets of water on both scraps at the same time.
  • Watch carefully to see which side of the fleece absorbs the water or wicks the water away from the surface.
  • The side that absorbs the water the fastest is the side you will want to consider the right side so anything the pigs supply, will be wicked to the padding.
Construction if Using a Serger

If you own a serger you can cut your time by using the serger or overlock machine for the edges of your liner. We have not had the guinea pigs chew the stitching which we originally thought would happen. Simply stack your fabrics starting at the bottom with the correct side of the bottom facing downward. Than stack the padding and then the top fabric with the right side up. Align all of the edges and serge the edges together using a 3 or 4 thread overlock stitch.

Construction Using a Sewing Machine

Sewing a Guinea Pig cage liner with a sewing machine will take a little more time but you will have a very strong durable cage liner that will last for years when you are done. Refer to the Assembly Instructions Using a Sewing Machine for the remaining steps.


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