These ropes are made of old bedsheets because I was clearing out my linen cupboard and wanted to put them to good use. You could use old curtains or any other handy material. A bed sheet makes a rope that spans a cage nicely from side to side.
Old sheets or material
Clips to fix D rings to the cage.
|1. Cut or tear the sheets into around 10 to 14 inch (25cm to 35cm) wide strips, keeping the whole length of the sheet. Single sheets will make about 6 strips (2 ropes), double sheets will make around 9 strips (3 ropes). Fold the first strip along its length so that the two raw edges are together.|
|2. Fold the raw edge over and over, making about three folds so that the raw edges are now in the middle of the roll.|
|3. Concertina the strip as you go, and put an elastic band over it to hold it all in place.|
|4. Make two more strips in the same way.|
|5. Fasten the three strips together at one end, using an elastic band.|
|6. Plait the three strips together as tightly as you can, twisting each one in the same direction as you go along to compact and strengthen the strips. Pull the strips out of the concertinas as you go, keeping your working length fairly short.|
|7. Fasten at the end with an elastic band. The three strips will probably be different lengths at this end, but that just gives the ratties something to destroy before they start on the body of the rope.|
|8. Tie a knot in the end you started at, pulling it as tight as you can.|
|9. Take some 25mm D rings and thread several onto the rope. These have a 25mm hole in them and are about 30mm total width. They seem to be much cheaper online than in high street shops.|
|10. Now put a knot in the second end of the rope.|
|11. Spread the D rings out along the rope and add some more knots to make the rope the right length for your cage.|
|12. Hang the rope across the cage using your preferred clip type, or you can hang it vertically from the top if you have a tall cage. You can use the D rings to anchor the corner of hammocks or to hang toys from.|
Addenda: The ropes sometimes come unknotted in the wash. You can sew backwards and forwards across the ends before knotting to stop it all unplaiting.
If you're making thicker ropes, slide the D rings over two strands of the plait at intervals as you make the rope. It means it's easier to get the rings on, and you don't need to make knots along the length.
Annette, August 2011
Find this idea and more in The Happy Rat Handbook.