Glass aquarium tanks are a popular choice for housing scorpions and most pet stores sell wire screen tops for
various sized tanks. These tops, however, tend to be flimsy and bulky and not very well constructed. Plus,
they have sharp edges and imho are just plain ugly. Since most tanks have a plastic rim with a built in ledge,
an alternative to a store bought top is a simple aluminum window screen of the appropriate size. They look nicer
So, here's a tutorial on how to make a window screen. Everything you need is available from your local hardware
The aluminum frame stock comes in 7 foot lengths ($4.50) and can be cut with a hacksaw. I use a fine tooth back
saw and miter box. If you have a bandsaw, you're golden. Use a file or sanding block to clean up the cut end if
necessary. Cut the frame rails 1.5 inches shorter than the overall length and width of your top. The plastic corners
will make up the extra length. The plastic corners come in a pack of four ($2.00).
Assemble your frame and test fit it on your tank. Don't skip this step! I had to test fit and trim this one three
times before getting the lengths correct.
Place rings of masking tape, sticky side out, on the bottom of the frame to hold the screen in place when you cut it to size. A 3'x7' roll of aluminum screen costs around $7.50. Some places (OSH) also sell it by the foot.
Stick the frame to the screen and cut around the perimeter of the frame with scissors or a utility knife (scissors
Cut off each corner of the screen. This allows it to bend when depressed into the spline channel. Be careful not to
cut past the spline channel or you'll end up with a hole in the corner.
In addition the the basic materials (frame rails, corners, screen, spline), you'll need a tool called a spline roller.
These cost about $5.00.
One end has a roller with a convex (rounded) edge. This is used to depress the screen into the spline channel of
the frame before installing the spline.
The other end has a roller with a concave (grooved) edge. This is used to install the spline into the depression
made with the other end of the tool.
Using the spline roller, carefully press the screen into the spline channel along one side of the frame. Be sure to
use the roller with the rounded edge. Make several passes, pressing the screen in a little further each pass. As
the screen is depressed into the channel, the outside edge will bend upward until it's vertical. Pull the tape off the
screen as it bends (or even before). It's no longer needed at this point.
Now comes the tricky (hard) part--installing the spline. Spline is just vinyl cord; 25 feet costs about $4.00. Lay
the spline in the depression you just made. Using the roller with the grooved edge, gently press the spline into
the channel using several passes. It's a tight fit and the rollers tend to be wobbly, so go slowly. It's very easy to
roll off the spline and cut or tear the screen.
This is what happens when you screw up. In this case, you have two options: 1) live with it, 2) cut a new piece
of screen and start over.
After installing spline on one side, proceed with installing spline on the opposite side, then the two adjacent sides.
This order seems to work best.
Trim off the excess screen by running a sharp utility knife around the inside of the frame.
Here's the top view of the finished window screen, err, scorpion enclosure top.