Friday, July 26, 2013

Zoo or Ball pit very pinteresting

So my friend Kelly really wanted to make a stuffed animal zoo. They are all over pinterest, at least sort of all over pinterest. There are hundreds of different ways to do it. Thats the beauty of this project you make it to fit your space and needs. All the instructions on the web were different. So we kind of made our own using other peoples advice. We looked at the pictures here and then went on our merry way. I wanted to make this on a budget so I went to Home depot and sat in the wood section with a piece of paper and calculator and figured it all out, then I went and told Kelly how much it would cost  (about $20) and then I made the mistake of going to Lowes to buy the wood, there were different sizes, so I then sat there with a paper and calculator and figured it out again

I bought for 2 zoo's. We wanted them 5 feet tall and a two foot box all around. Warning this is huge!  We didn't realize how huge it was! Its ok though there is room for growth.

I would recommend but you don't need:
 gloves when painting
music in your ears
a fan if its hot 
a level

You will need:
a drill
a drill bit for your screws
some kind of finish (paint or stain I guess you could go all natural)  
We primed ours with zinnser oil based because we only wanted to use one coat of white latex instead of 6 to cover all the wood.
a saw for straight lines (if you don't get the guy at the store to cut it for you)
sand paper
100 feet of rope (if your making it huge like we did) We chose pretty colors.

 I bought 2 1x2x8 and cut them down to:
(8) 2 foot pieces of  1x2x8 
I bought 4 1x3x8  and had them cut down to:
(4) 2 foot pieces 
(4) 5 foot pieces

 Then these:

There were terrific!! You will need a square drill bit with these, they didn't split the wood and went in easily.
We used 12 1 1/2 inch
We used 24 2 inch size when attaching the squares we made to the 5 foot pieces just for more support

The screw eyes were for attaching the ropes we used 60 of these .99 for 14 at walmart

We started by cutting the pieces to size (you can ask the guy at the store to do this)
and then sanding all the rough parts with a 150 grit. Then we zinnser primered them:

Then we let them cure for 24 hours

Next we predrilled 5 small holes (we wanted the gaps in the rope 4 inches apart) in each of the 2 foot pieces (the ugly side) and hand screwed in the eye screws which wasn't hard at all

 Then we started piecing them together the 2 foot pieces were made into boxes:

We just used one screw on each edge and it worked well.
we put the 1x3 box on the bottom because it was heavy and we wanted it sturdy. 

Then we attached the first 5 foot peice and screwed it in with 2 screws and then put the other 3 in.

Then we shimmied the next box down to the half way mark (2 and a half feet) and used the level and screwed it to the other 5 foot pieces. A level might seem tedious but we did out first one without it and it looked crooked to us so we had to fix it. 

Then we put the top on. We made sure to use the level and screwed each corner in (if you cant tell the boxes go on the outside of the 5 foot pieces). 

Then you are ready for your rope! 

We chose colored rope because we were keeping them white. For this size we needed 100ft of rope! We bought two of the 50 foot kind and it was about $7 for both. Then you thread your rope. You are going to want to just continuiously weave it through so you only have to tie 2 knots at the end.

 Then you have your zoo! Here are our zoos together, you can see the beginning of the stuffed animals, we through a fat little panda in there.

 Here is is on its own again.

Now when my husband came home from work that day he was like "That thing is huge, we should use it for our giant bouncy balls. I thought that was a fantastic idea because they really dont fit anywhere so here they are!

 So instead of a zoo we have a ball pit and I love it. Kelly's is a zoo though and I will hopefully grab a picture of it at her house!!

The end!



  1. so awesome!! i know that fat panda!!

  2. Wow. So cool! You could keep it outside if you wanted to. Love this!

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  4. wow, thanks for this awesome tutorial. I have been looking for bungee cord and it's so expensive for a stuffed animal storage! Has the rope held up well, any problems getting the animals out?

    1. The rope has held up pretty well. You can find some better priced bungee on amazon by the foot but I think it would be hard to tie it off and make it tight on the eyelet screws, just my opinion though. Glad you liked it