DIY Stuffed Animal Zoo in Bookshelf

If you have children, (and even if you don’t) I am sure you have seen Stuffed Animal Zoos everywhere.  If you haven’t, here is one of the popular DIY ones:

Image 3

Don’t get me wrong, I think that is totally adorable, (and also makes me a little sad that a child has that many stuffed animals in their lifetime), but in our tiny apartment that large of a contraption is just not feasible.  Plus, my daughter already has a beautiful very large bookshelf that I painted to match her dresser.  Then it hit me, I’m sure I could create a “zoo” that is IN the bookshelf.  And so it was created.


  • Bookshelf
  • Bins
  • Stretchy material for “bars.”


  1. Gather materials.  I got the bins from Target.  The bins could be made of plastic, metal, or wood depending on the look you are going for.  They should fit in your bookshelf laying on their side with the opening facing front.  Make sure your bins have holes on the sides so it is easy to attach your “bars.”  If not, you can drill holes in the bins or glue them on.  I bought silicone cord from Michael’s.  I think it is best to use anything stretchy, however I have seen people use non stretchy material like rope before too.WP_20160409_001WP_20160409_002
  2. Decide where you want your bars.  I wanted my bars pretty close together because we have a lot of small stuffed animals.  If your bars are stretchy, you can move them to get bigger stuffed animals through so it is OK if they are close together.
  3. Weave/tie your bar material onto the bin.  I started on one side of the bin and weaved the cord through until I got to the other side.  I decided to double up the cord because it was thin and I was worried it would snap, so I twisted them together to make it look more bar-like.  Then I pulled the cord tight and tied many knots on each end until it would no longer fit through the hole.  Once the bin is in place you shouldn’t be able to see the knots so it is OK if it isn’t pretty.  WP_20160409_003
  4. Place your bins in place and stuff with as many stuffed animals as you can!  It makes me sad my 9 month old has this many stuffed animals already.  Obviously I need to make more!
  5. Optional:   You can make a “Zoo” sign and place it wherever you feel like it!  I may do this one day, and if I do I will add a picture.

The whole project took me maybe half an hour, and that includes chasing after a crawling 9 month old who kept getting into trouble.  It is also cheaper than the original large zoo, and it takes up way less space!  Mine is definitely not as fancy as the example I gave, but it gets the job done.  Plus, if I decide to make a big one some day I can reuse the bins for another organization project!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s