March 11, 2012

You are my inspiration... Pinterest.....*

*taken from the song Rock Hudson sings in Pillow talk

Pinterest is great. It is seriously the best place to find DIY projects. Before, I would have to endlessly search google, youtube, or ask a Lowe's or Home Depot employee, only to get little/no results or blank stares.

The last week I was feeling pretty good, my hips weren't hurting as much, and I had a little bit more mobility. So I decided to tackle a few projects. I figured, I either get them done now, or have to wait several months to be in the mood to do anything major again.

So my #1 project was to re-arrange the kid's room because it is ALWAYS a disaster and it drives me crazy.  The biggest problems, besides for my children's fascination to dump all their toys out of their buckets and play 'train' and 'fort' with the empty buckets, (why do they even have toys?!) was their books and stuffed animals.

At the time we had two hand-me-down doll house looking things, one that would  hold all their books (barely) and one, if you tried really hard, and if you're good at tetris, you could get all their stuffed animals to fit. However, with Reese and Everett's need to try and fit themselves into small places (I'll get back to THAT), they always dumped all their books and animals out just to sit in the doll houses.

SOOoooo.. I searched Pinterest for 'stuffed animal storage', and I came across a few options, however, I found a problem with each one.
Problem: $45 average.
My kids would dump out animals and wear this as a hat, or a tiny fort.

Problem: $58 baskets, $250 bookcase.
 too easy to dump out, and cute wire buckets are a fortune.

Problem: So it's pretty awesome.. but not $450 awesome. 

Problem: tooo small, awesome price $4.99 or something, but with my kid's animals, I could maybe fit one in each cubby. I would have to buy 10. so... $49.90

Problem:  $5-$25.
If you have active toddlers you know perfectly why this is a very very very BAD IDEA. I can just picture me walking in on Reese and Everett, and having Everett in the high hammock and Reese trying to swing from the dangling chain...... then everyone falling down and breaking bones. 
THEN I came across this one:
Problem: $157 w/o shipping...
but.....the design....
Now that's what I'm talking about!!
This is just PERFECT. The kid's can't climb in, they can put their toys back easily, they can all fit, it's perfect.

Then I tried to get a DIY on this thing... and it wasn't happening. Some husband put a DIY explanation, and I thought he was too 'thorough' (not really, he listed parts and said nonsense). SO.. it was up to me to try and figure this baby out.

I was looking online for some bookcases (cheap and non-fancy) for the kid's room, and I came across one from Walmart for $15, and it had some decent reviews. So I was all set and ready to go to pick it up, when the thought occurred to me.

Instead of building the 'zoo' (aka animal prison) out of 2x3's and dowels and having it NOT match, why not just buy another bookshelf, and turn it into a zoo? It will match, not be too tall (R&E's room has vaulted ceilings, like a barn shape), and it will be able to fit all their animals.

So that's what I did.

Here are my materials:

Drill: $0 (husband's)

Bookshelf: $15 Walmart (Click to go to Walmart website)

Bungee Cords: $2.50/2pack- I bought four... ($10 LOWES)
1/2 inch Spade Drill Bit: $3.00 (or if husband already has one $0 LOWES)

So here it goes (sorry for the lack of pictures... I just wanted to get it done):

1. I first measured out my holes for the bungee chords. The shelf measured a tiny bit over 28 inches, so I measured out 7 holes, 4 inches apart, 2 inches from either end, and 2 inches in.

**Make sure you are drilling 2" from the 'pretty finished' side of the board, it will be the side with the finished trim**

2. I attached the drill bit to the drill .. and made 1/2 inch circles at each 4" marking, on the top and bottom shelves. (I saved the two shelves that came with the bookshelf, I didn't need them for this project...)

3. Then I put together the bookshelf according to the instructions

4. So now I had a bookshelf with 14 holes in it... Now it was time for the BARS.

At first, I debated back and forth on how to do this part. Do I attach hooks and hook the bungee cords? Do I drill holes and try to fit them through the holes? Do I do the hooks on the bottom and knots at the top? Do they just make bungee string without the hooks so I could weave it in & out of the holes? Or do I just go with regular camping string and make it super tight? Or do I go with the wooden dowels? 

I eventually decided to do holes on the bottom AND top shelf with bungee cords.. and here is why:

First, I found out they don't make bungee string. According to Home Depot and Lowes, I am a crazy person for asking for Bungee String. I just wanted a stretchy string DANG IT! 

So I decided to go with Bungee cords. I wanted to have the 'bars' be tight, but stretchable, since the kids have some larger animals. The wooden dowels will break and the camping string will become loose. 

5. Attaching the bungee cords. Here is what I decided to do:
Take your bungee cord. 

Take one end, slide the hook to the other end, and cut off this tip. 
Once you cut this end off, slide the tags and the two hooks OFF the rope.

The other end will look like this. 
Thread the cord under your bookcase (it will be hidden by the small panel on the bottom). The 1/2 inch hole will not allow the pre-manufactured knot to pass, it will serve as an anchor.

* you may want to add a washer to hide the hole, so it looks a little prettier, I decided not to, just so the kids wouldn't have something else to try and grab or pull off....

Continue to thread through the matching top hole.

pull through, pull tight, tie off, and burn the ends (so the string doesn't start to unravel)

Continue this, 7 more times and voila! You have yourself a cool Animal Zoo ... all for $25!!!!

So here it is.. Not über impressive, but it gets the job done. If you are feeling adventurous you can always paint the bookshelf and add moulding to make it all fancy shmancy. The possibilities are endless!

 And my kids LOVE IT. *sigh* so easy to please.

....and I hear even Kurt likes it... but I have yet for him to tell me... I heard it from Reese...


Anonymous said...

I love it!! That's a great idea..I'll have to keep it in mind for when the day comes that I have children. Pinterest seriously is the best website ever!

ezeldabeth said...

I pinned that animal zoo a while ago...also fo inspiration (my daughter's ceilings are vaulted too). I love your version. Did you just leave the middle shelf out? Have you found it to be sturdy enough without it?

Alex Griffiths said...

Ezeldabeth, yes I left the middle shelf off. With the bungee cords at the right tension, tight but loose enough to where the top doesn't warp, it has been very sturdy.

If you want extra sturdiness, you can always buy a better backing, or get the corner metal brackets and attach them in your top corners. But for stuffed animals, I have found it unnecessary.

Hope this helps !

Kindra said...

Thanks for this tutorial. I bought all the supplies and made it in about 1 hr, even with a 3-yr-old watching me. I have an in-home daycare in my house and it's hard to control the clutter and toys sometimes. This helps so much. Very easy instructions to follow and very inexpensive. Thanks again.

Jessica said...

You can buy bungee string from sgt knots. Paracord :-)

gwendaleila30 said...

What size bungee cord did you use. Is 10mm ok.

Anonymous said...

I just made this! I love it! It's awesome! We have so much more space now :) THANK YOU! ~Carrie

Anonymous said...

Very nice idea!
I'll make one of these for my grand daughter!
Thank you for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

You Rock! Thanks for taking the time to share this great modified idea, step by step with all us other moms! I certainly appreciate it and I can't wait to give this a shot!


Breenah A said...


Anonymous said...

I LOVE this! I have one concern, however - I have a very ambitious 10mo old crawler, could he potentially get his head stuck in there?

Alex Griffiths said...

Anonymous.. There is no way for your 10 mo. old to get his head suck. The bars are bungee cords and are very flexible.

Amy E said...

You were looking for stretchy cord. Camping places sell it to replace the cord that holds folding camper tents in place. It is quite cheap. It is a bit larger than the cord you used, but it would work

Sam said...

This is really neat! I worry that it may be a strangulation hazard. My mind always goes to the worst possible scenario.

Anonymous said...

This rocks!!!

Anonymous said...

Joann's had bungee cord; 2.50 for 15 feet near the register. They also sell it by the foot in the normal sewing sections.
My son is almost 4, the son of an engineer, and been taking things apart since he was 1.5. Superglue the knots. Not to the shelf, but so they can't untie them--tied down, they don't seem to pose a risk more than the rusty park swing.

Anonymous said...

If you use 3M clips to hook the bungee cords to you can remove them and still use the bookshelf at a later date.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is clever but not appropriate for young children. A child could climb in, rumpus around a bit, and position his or her head in such a way as to stretch out the cords and become tangled in them even though they are glued or secure. Just not worth the risk.

Alex Griffiths said...

The bungee chords should be tight enough to where you cannot make a loop around your wrist. Also, bungee chords (not stretchy string) is very durable. To have your child wear down the bungee so much so that it becomes loose would take a great deal of strength, more than a young child has. There would be no possible way for a child to get entangled in the chords, if you use the spacing I have provided.

Also if you secure your bookshelf to the walls (as you should) there would be no fall risk either.

This is a very safe storage option if you take the necessary precautions, and not cheapen the string.

Alex Griffiths said...

That is a great idea! However, I would still use a large enough knot as a backup just so the kids wouldn't be able to undo the chords. But, you can always cut the bungee and use the bookshelf!

Alex Griffiths said...

Ezeldabeth, yes I left the middle shelf off. With the bungee cords at the right tension, tight but loose enough to where the top doesn't warp, it has been very sturdy.

If you want extra sturdiness, you can always buy a better backing, or get the corner metal brackets and attach them in your top corners. But for stuffed animals, I have found it unnecessary.

Hope this helps !

Alex Griffiths said...

The bungee chords should be tight enough to where it would be difficult to make a loop, but still have a little give to push your animals in their Zoo.

Anonymous said...

This is such an awesome idea! My almost 7 year old has an obsession with stuffed animals and I think this would look cool in her room! Thanks for the tutorial.

Anonymous said...

Great idea - thanks for sharing.

What length go bungee cords did you use from Lowe's? If the bookcase is 30" tall I am trying to figure out the best length without making it difficult to tie the knots off at the top...

Anonymous said...

*of - not go :0)

Unknown said...

I love this! And already have the bookshelf just waiting for a makeover. Can toy tell me the diameter of the bungee cord that you used? I've found some awesome colors from, but I'm unsure of the thickness I need.

Alex Griffiths said...

It was 1/2" diameter cord. I wanted a tight fit between the cord and the hole. :)

Joan said...

This is a great idea! And not just for children. We have the same issues with our "kids": our three mini schnauzers. They have never learned to put their hundreds of toys away but love to pull them out!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!! All of your comments about the other products were right on....I had to laugh :). This is one project I will do next payday. Awesome!!!!

Le K ! said...

Très ingénieux ! Je vous vole cette superbe idée pour la grande chambre de mes garçons .

Anonymous said...

Thats just to much stuffed animals :-) Secretly donate the least favorite and finaly the most loved ones will fit on a shelve.....but its a nice piece of furniture :-)

caitie said...

Are you kidding me....bungee cords are EXTREMELY dangerous.... A child can easily get twisted in them...if one goes around their neck and they could easily die. If one cord would cross another a child could easily get their head stuck....the bungee is heavy duty elastic, they snap back and are so strong. This is one of the the stupidest and most dangerous DIY ideas ever.
I actually know a guy who lost an eye to a bungee cord.
Seriously...if this was an actual product the F.D.A. Would pull it........ This is not cute...this is dangerous.

Alex Griffiths said...

The bungee cords should NEVER be loose enough for anything to be wrapped up in it or cross . They should be firm and tight. They also should be spread apart enough to where a head could not get stuck. I don't see how one could ever get one wrapped around a neck, and I have had three small children (6 months to 7 years) test it out. If you read the tutorial, they should be very tight. If your cords do cross, they are not far enough apart, or tight enough.

If you do it correctly, and take the necessary precautions, it is actually not stupid nor dangerous. But, I can see how someone who is "stupid" could make it "dangerous".

I would keep it away from the man who lost a bungee cord, sounds like they have a vendetta.

Anonymous said...

That's brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Have you people never seen a bungie chair? Those look more likely to strangle a child than this shelf and I haven't seen any stories to suggest they have. I think this project was very creative and SAFE if done properly.

Unknown said...

How about we just don't leave our young children unattended for extended periods of time? Bc technically, given the right setting, anything could be a potential hazard!
I personally love this idea!

Celticgal said...

Actually, there is a DIY for that ( But, your idea is quicker and easier.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Agree 100%!!!!

Roberta said...

Great ideas! I am sharing this on Pinterest.

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