Aquarium LidIf you are missing or have damaged the lid for your fish tank, you may want to learn how to make your own aquarium lid. It is very inexpensive to make your own aquarium lid, and most of the tools and materials are already sitting in your garage or can be found at any hardware store.

As an aquarium enthusiast, you have probably wondered how to make your own aquarium lid.  Whether you need to build your own lid because you have a unique-shaped or rare sized aquarium or you are just looking to save a few bucks, making your own aquarium lid is a relatively easy solution if the lid you have is missing or broken. Most of the materials and tools you will need are readily available in your garage or at the hardware store, so this is a very cost-effective project to undertake.

Gathering the Necessary Materials and Tools

There are a handful of materials and tools that should be gathered before learning how to make your own aquarium lid. Here is a complete materials list to help you get everything together.

Materials: Window Screen, 2 inch by 2 inch Pine Stock (2” x 2” wooden board), Water Sealer or Waterproof Exterior Paint, and a Paint Brush.

Tools: Circular Saw, Hammer, Nails, Paper, Pencil, Sandpaper (Heavy Grit), Safety Glasses, Scissors, Staple Gun, and a Tape Measure.

Designing the Aquarium Lid

The shape and size of your aquarium will determine how to make your own aquarium lid. For instance, if you have a standard rectangle-shaped aquarium, you will only need four pieces of wood to build your lid. However, if you have a more complex-shaped aquarium, such as an octagon, then building your aquarium lid will require more cuts and more time to complete. Basically, the concept is to build a frame the rides the outside walls, and will slide over the entire aquarium fairly easily.

Building Your Aquarium Lid

Now that you have all of the necessary tools, materials, and design work completed, we can discuss the process of how to make your own aquarium lid. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will build an aquarium lid for a standard rectangular-shaped aquarium.

Step 1: Measure the outside length and width of your aquarium with a tape measure. Add 4 inches to the width measurement, and ½ inch to the length measurement, and write down these measurements.

Step 2: Prepare your circular saw and put on your safety glasses. Cut two pieces of 2” x 2” pine stock to the length determined in step 1. Repeat this process for two more pieces cut to the appropriate width, for a total of four pieces of wood. Remember the golden rule; measure twice, cut once.

Step 3: Sand each piece of wood with high grit sandpaper. Next, coat each piece with water sealer or waterproof exterior paint. You should allow 48 hours for the sealant or paint to fully cure before moving on to step 4.

Step 4: Layout the wood pieces in a rectangular box with the width pieces extending over the length pieces to make a rectangle. The inside dimensions of the frame should be slightly larger than the outside dimensions of your aquarium (diagram on right). Fasten all of the wood pieces together at the corners with your hammer and nails. This is how to make your own aquarium lid frame.

Step 5: Roll out your nylon window screen and place your lid frame in the center. Use your scissors to cut the nylon screen into a rectangle that is 2 1/2 inches larger than the frame on all sides. I recommend nylon screen because it is flexible and easy to cut, but you can also use aluminum screen or any other material that won’t rust or corrode.

Step 6: Stretch the screen over the edges of the frame and secure it to the bottom side of the wood frame using your staple gun. For a more decorative look, you can use trim made from vinyl, plastic, or wood that is treated the same way as the frame. Simply cover the outside edge of the aquarium lid frame to hide the excess window screen using your choice of trim. Also, this may be an ideal opportunity to install a custom aquarium lighting system.

Once you have completed assembling your lid, you can place it on top of your aquarium. You may want to use larger or smaller pine stock for the frame depending on the size of your tank. Using this simple method, almost any aquarium enthusiast can learn how to make your own aquarium lid.

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