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Tip: Choosing Fabrics for Homemade Hammocks and Toys

How To Choose a Fabric, and Find Inexpensive Sources of Fabrics

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Homemade Hammock with Pouch

Homemade hammock made out of sweatshirt fleece

Photo © Lianne McLeod
Many exotic pets enjoy hammocks, cozy beds, and other items like tunnels made from fabrics. However, if you have pets that do a lot of chewing, continually replacing these items if they get chewed up can become much too expensive. Finding inexpensive ways to provide cozy and fun fabric beds and toys lets your pet enjoy these items without breaking your budget.

Safety First
Any fabric items, either store-bought or homemade, must be monitored for chewing and wear and tear. Loose threads can get tangled on your pet (especially around their toes) and cause injury. I also worry about loose threads being ingested, as well as bits of fabric being ingested from chewed items. A loose thread here and there can be trimmed away, but anytime a fabric item is being chewed to bits or showing wear and tear it should be discarded.

Inexpensive Sources of Fabric for Homemade Items
Recycling older or worn out clothes is a great source of inexpensive fabric, either your own or clothes from a thrift store or garage sales.
Blankets and old sheets can also be a good source of fabric (inexpensive sheets or blankets that are bought new can be a great deal because of the amount of fabric you get). In particular, Vellux blankets are super soft and cozy and also do not fray.
The remnant table or bin at fabric stores can also be a great source of small quantities of fabric, since you don't need much to make most items.

Some Common Fabrics for Homemade Hammocks, Beds and Toys

  • Fleece (sweatshirt fleece, polar fleece, etc) is my favorite fabric for homemade items for small exotic pets. It is easy to work with, and because it doesn't fray I don't worry as much about threads coming loose and getting tangled up in little toes (or being ingested). However, it is not the strongest fabric and won't last long with heavy chewers, such as rats and mice.
  • Denim is tough enough to last a bit longer with heavy chewers, but you do need to monitor for loose threads (trim the occasional loose thread but discard the item once serious chewing has begun).
  • Lighter fabrics such as cotton and flannel can be a nice change (and cotton is good for making beds for warmer weather, where flannel is cozy for cooler weather). However, you should monitor and fabrics that fray for loose threads.
Some Homemade Fabric Hammocks and Toys:
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