Best materials for DIYing enclosure decor? Anyone “crafty” have experience to share? 🥽

I have a DIY streak, and was wondering… I’ve seen some videos and such where people make their own enclosures, and even 3D backgrounds, with climbing ledges and realistic textures. I’d love to do something similar, but I worry about which materials are safe for use with live animals. What are some safe options? What should I be careful to avoid? Any experience doing something similar? :slight_smile:


I’ve used spray foam to form the contours and ledges, and to hold the ends of limbs to the glass. Then used silicone as well as gorilla glue tonadhere the substrate to the foam. Just let everything cure and all of the odors abate from the enclosure before allowing animals inside.


This can be used for other reptiles or amphibians also.

On last couple I did it so I hard back ledges etc.


If wooden viv then grout is your best friend! :joy:


If you feel like you have the hands and skill for it, look into Polygem ZooPoxy. A lot of herpers are starting to work with it in the past couple years and it has a lot of potential.

I will also caveat that it can be a bit intimidating if you have no idea what you are doing. But there are a ton of YT videos discussing it so lots of info to mine


Most stuff that’s safe for Aquariums is safe for reptile use, if you check its heat tolerance and try never to put anything resin or plastic under the hot spot- just in case. FIsh can be way more sensitive than reptiles in some cases, and once you make sure something hasn’t got holes a snek can wedge itself into and get stuck, a lot of fishy furnishings make great tank accessories.

I’m not a long time Keeper, but my old job was Making Stuff and knowing the properties of all the materials I worked with- What’s foodsafe, what’s contact safe, what’s fine once it’s dry but not before, and so on. I am confident using a low thermostat-checked heat mat on one enclosure I have because I know the MSD Sheet info for the ABS plastic of this type that constitutes this cage, and I know it won’t off-gas, warp, or do anything at these temps and can be exposed to them for a long time.

Aquarium safe silicone, for example, once cured and done smelling, is what I used on my PVC Enclosures.

Tile Grout can be safe AFAIK if colored with mineral colorants and sealed with a SAFE sealant. Once that’s dry it’s basically a rock.

My main tip is, I try to look at what good, responsible, ‘longtime animal keeper’ builders are using for their own fish and reptile builds. Tanner Serpa of SerpaDesigns on Youtube, for one example, does a LOT of custom builds for fish and amphibians, so anything he vets as safe I am fairly confident in using. He’s very diligent in his methods.


Thank you, everyone! I really appreciate the suggestions. I get super-paranoid about animals gnawing on things they shouldn’t, or materials spontaneously combusting, off-gassing, etc.! XD I’ll definitely check into all of the things suggested! :grin: