Introduction: DIY Stuffed Animal Zoo Cage - Organizer
Hi, everyone. Today I'm going to show you how to make this stuffed animal organizer, also known as a stuffed animal cage or stuffed animal zoo. This is a great project that can be done over the weekend, or if you're really ambitious, it can probably be done in one day. By the way, I've seen these cost upwards of $200, but if you stick around, you can watch me DIY it from less than a sheet of plywood and for a fraction of what you would pay online!
Remember: PPE prevents harm, but awareness prevents accidents. Be careful when you use tools.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- 1 sheet of 1/2" plywood (actually about 2/3 of a sheet)
- Bungee cord
- Staples (optional), but you can use eye hooks
- Paint and Brush/Roller
- Table saw or purchase 1"x3" boards
- Circular saw
- Miter saw
- Squares (speed and combination)
- Staple gun (optional)
Step 2: Vertical Supports
I started off by cutting the plywood into more manageable pieces. I used plywood because this is what I had left over from a previous project, but you can use different types of wood, such as dimensional lumber. This long piece you see me cut in half is approximately 16" wide, which is 1/3 of a full sheet of plywood. After that, I took the halves I just cut to the table saw and ripped them down to 3-inch wide strips.
I knew that my height was going to be around 47 or 48 inches tall (about half the length of a sheet of plywood), so I set aside 8 of those pieces, which are going to make up the vertical corner supports.
Step 3: Horizontal Pieces
As for the width and depth, I figured a final dimension close to 20 inches by 16 inches would look good, so I cut two 14"+ pieces and two 10"+ pieces from this other board. I also ripped them down to 3-inch wide strips on the table saw, and then I used the miter saw to square off the ends before I cut them to length.
Squaring the ends allowed me to properly used a temporary stop block. I cut six pieces to exactly 10 inches and another six to 14" long strips.
Step 4: What Do We Have So Far?
Here's what I had after cutting all the boards down to length.
Six 10-inch strips
Six 14-inch strips
Eight 48-inch strips
All 3-inch wide
Step 5: Prepping Vertical Supports and Horizontal Pieces
For each of the vertical corner supports, I used two boards. I added glue along the edge and then nailed a second piece using the nail gun. I first used a square to make sure the boards were perpendicular to each other, but then I realized I didn't really need it.
Now that I had the four vertical supports assembled, I use the pocket hole jig to drill two pocket holes on each end of the 12 horizontal pieces.
Step 6: Cage Assembly
I placed the four vertical supports on their sides and clamped them together so I can mark where I would place the middle horizontal pieces. I wanted them in to middle so, what I did was measure the center point, then subtracted 1 1/2" inches. The horizontal pieces are 3" wide, so this is where I'll align the ends of those pieces so they are equally spaced between the bottom and top.
To assemble the cage, I connected two corner supports by screwing the 14" horizontal pieces at both ends and the middle. I did the same with the other two vertical supports and then connected those two with the 10" pieces. I then added a base to the cage for two reasons. First, to keep the stuffed animals from touching the floor or falling out if we picked up the cage to move it, and second, it adds rigidity to the cage. As you can see, I didn't have a piece big enough, so I brad nailed two pieces of plywood to the base while I kept the cage squared and then flipped it upside down to cut off the excess with a circular saw.
Step 7: Painting and Adding Bungee Cord
After this, I sanded it and smoothed out the edges. Then I added a couple of coats of paint. I have to admit, foam rollers are really growing on me, especially for small projects like this one.
When the paint had dried, it was time to add the bungee cords. I used a total of 10 cords. Two per short side and three per long side with about 3" between them. To attach the bungee, I measured the length from the bottom of the cage to the top, tied knots on each end and then stapled it at the ends and the middle. Then I did the same to the other 9 bungees. (By the way, if you don't have a staple gun, you can also use eye hooks or drill holes and thread the bungee cord to the frame.)
Step 8: Finished Product
Thanks for sticking around. Now we have a better way to organize and keep our daughters's stuffed animals from spreading everywhere. Another great benefit to having this cage is that they don't have to dig around too much to find their favorite stuffed animal. I might consider adding trim to the cage, such as baseboard and crown moulding just to spiff it up a little. We'll see.
I hope you enjoyed this project, and if you did, please give it a like, comment, or share. And if you haven't already done so, don't forget to follow me here on Instructables or subscribe to my YouTube channel, that way you don't miss out on watching me DIY new projects. Thanks. See ya next time.
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