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DIY Stuffed Animal Zoo

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for a DIY stuffed animal zoo.  You can now corral and contain all of your kids stuffed toys in the most adorable way!

Are your kids stuffed animals taking over the house? This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to create an adorable DIY stuffed animal zoo.

If you have kids, it’s probably a pretty sure bet that you are overrun with stuffed animals.  I know that we are.  Kids love them, and they are easy gifts.  So, it’s not hard to quickly feel like you’re drowning in cuddly plush.  Fortunately, I’ve got a super cute storage solution for you.  I saw this picture on Pinterest a while back, and knew that I had to have one – a stuffed animal zoo.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

My parents came down to visit last May, and my dad helped us renovate our stairs.  Before they came, I sent my dad that Pinterest picture and asked him if we could put something like it together while he was here.  He went one step further, though, and showed up with all of the pieces cut and ready to go.  So, all my husband and I had to do was put it together!

My dad followed the plans that the pin laid out, and cut the boards according to those measurements.  Truthfully, I hadn’t even looked at the plans that in depth.  I just saw the picture and asked if we could recreate something similar.  When my husband and I went to put it together, I realized that if we built it according to instructions, it was going to be quite large.  So large, in fact, that it wouldn’t fit through our doorways once assembled.  

So, we took an entire foot off of the dimensions – height, width, and depth.  I’m so glad we did this, as it’s a much more manageable size, yet we are still able to fit tons of stuffed animals in it.

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DIY Stuffed Animal Zoo

Supplies Needed:

      1. Nine 2-ft. long 1 x 4s
      2. Four 3 ft. long 1 x 2s
      3. Drill
      4. 1 5/8″ coarse screws
      5. White paint
      6. Paint Brush
      7. Screw Eyes
      8. Allen Wrench
      9. 1/4″ Nylon Rope
      10. Wooden letters

Step 1 – Create Two Squares

The first thing we did was put four of the 1 x 4 pieces together to form a square.  Luckily for us, my dad had already drilled pilot holes for the screws.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Since we cut the boards down a bit, though, we had to drill pilot holes in the other end ourselves. We drilled them half an inch in from the edge of the board.
Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Then, using 1 5/8″ coarse screws, we drilled the four boards together to create a square.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained! Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

This ended up being the base of the zoo.  Then, we did the same thing with four more of the 1 x 4s to create the top of the zoo.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Step 2 – Add the Vertical Supports

Next, drill a 1 x 2 piece into each corner of the square base using two screws.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

My husband propped the whole piece up on spare pieces to make it more level and easier to reach.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained! Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Then, we turned the whole thing over, and set the tall posts inside of the second square (the top).  This made it easy to screw the 1 x 2s into the top part of the zoo.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Step 3 – Add Piece on Top for Figurines (Optional)

Once that was done, we added the final 1 x 4 laying flat across the top front of the zoo.  In the original pin, this piece was added to hold ceramic animals on the top.  I never could find any animal figurines that I liked to add to mine, but we went ahead and put the top piece on anyway.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!
(This was taken after I had already started painting.)

Step 4 – Paint

When the entire structure was built, I began painting.  We used Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic oil-based paint in extra white.  

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

I put three coats on it, and let it dry completely.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Step 5 – Add “Bars”

Once dry, it was time to add the rope “bars.”  My dad had also graciously created pilot holes for the screw eyes, as well.  They were each 5 inches apart.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!
You can see in this photo where he measured and added pilot holes for the eye screws.

We got each screw eye started by hand…

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

But found that it was easiest to use an allen wrench to screw them in completely.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Then, we cut 12 pieces of nylon rope.  We cut them quite a few inches longer than necessary, in order to ensure that we had enough to tie each end off.  We threaded the rope through one end and tied a knot.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Then, we threaded the rope through the other end.  Pulling the rope as taut as possible, we put a knot in the other end.  Then, we cut off the excess rope and hot glued the ends to prevent fraying.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

Step 6 – Add Letters

Finally, I had picked up some wooden letters at Michael’s and spray painted them teal to match the nursery.  I simply used a small nail to attach each letter to the face of the zoo.  

I think it turned out absolutely adorable, and it’s been a great way to help contain all the stuffed animals.  The one thing I may change is the ropes.  They get stretched out very quickly, so I plan to switch them out for some type of bungee cord that won’t lose it’s shape.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

My daughter is loving it so far, and so am I!

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!To see the whole nursery, click here.

Update: 

Here’s a more recent photo of the DIY stuffed animal zoo.  Ha!

Are your kids stuffed animals taking over the house? This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to create an adorable DIY stuffed animal zoo.

It’s been nearly two years since we built this.  We’ve moved into a new house, lived through 2020, done countless DIYs and home projects, and this stuffed animal zoo is still going strong!  It holds so many stuffed animals – as well as live ones 😆 – and has been great for organization.

*I would definitely recommend going with bungee cord for the ropes, though, over what I originally used, as they stretch really badly over time.

Other than that small tweak, though, this has been a super useful, and fun!, DIY for going on two years now.

 

Don’t forget to pin this for later, and follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Check out this step-by-step tutorial for how to build a stuffed animal zoo. What a cute way to keep all of the stuffed animals contained!

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11 Comments

    1. Thank you! I’d love to see the ones you made with shelving units. I’m always looking for new storage ideas! And I’m glad you like the giraffe! I thought he was perfect, as well. 🙂

  1. Oh how cute Amy and what fun way to store fluffy toys. Love the way your dad kinda prepped everything for you guys before the time, that’s so special. I bet he’s super proud of how you finished it off

    1. Thank you! I’m not sure any project would ever get done around my house, if not for my dad. 🙂 I’m lucky that he is always so willing to help! He took care of the hardest part – we just put everything together.

  2. Your dad is officially awesome. My family isn’t all that handy (though my brother does fairly well). And the decor you added around it is too adorable! Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. He is awesome! My dad can do pretty much anything handy, which is super helpful when you are not so handy yourself. 😉 Thanks so much for looking! And for hosting!

  3. This is sooo cute, and would be so easy to make. My grand kids sure could use one of these. At least the younger ones. That was really sweet that your dad got everything cut and ready to go. It must of been really large to cut off a foot and it still looks big.

    1. Thanks, Linda! It was pretty simple, and it’s a nice little collection point for all the stuffed animals. And yes, the original dimensions were huge! I’m so glad that we caught that before we started putting it together. We wouldn’t have been able to get it through the door!

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