I'll just start out by clarifying, NO. This is NOT a cake. I say that because cakes are usually my thing. Making cakes, teaching cake classes, selling cake supplies, making videos about making cakes, etc. So for those of you who read me looking for cake tips, I just wanted to clarify. For those of you looking at my stuffed animal thingy, come take a look at our cake stuff! I'm not a particularly crafty person. I used to sew, but somehow over the years, I have lost all knowledge of how to sew. Scrapbooking.....nope, shoeboxes. If my daughter wants her hair braided, she has to go down the street. Crafty doesn't live here, unless it's on a cake. Necessity screamed at me, though. My daughter has built up a collection of stuffed animals of epic proportions. We've tackled it and whittled it away a number of times, but some neither one of us can bear to part with. Her Build a Bear collection is quite respectable and my thought was that this collection is one she might want to pass down to her children. The only problem is they TAKE UP SO MUCH FREAKING SPACE! And dust. I saw a picture of some bungees in a garage holding up some balls vertically, and I thought “animal jail!” I summoned my inner crafter and introduced her to my inner handyman, and they had a baby. I got 2 large (18” I think, and about an inch thick) corner shelves from the hardware store (HD) and painted them black. I figured the black and white in the room was a great palette for zebra stripes or pops of color while she's young, then would be a great background for art deco or parisian elegance when she's 16. I made a pattern out of a large piece of tissue paper by tracing the smallest part of the shelf (it's beveled) and cutting it out. I folded it in half to find the center, and marked a pencil hole about 3/4 inch in from the edge. I marked holes about 2 1/2” apart from there (make sure you measure so they're even), ending up with 7 holes.


I placed the pattern on the shelf and made hard firm marks through the tissue with a pencil. Flipped it over and did the same thing on the underside so the holes would match up. MAKE SURE the holes line up. I drilled through them with a 3/8” drill bit. I couldn't find a roll of bungee cord anywhere locally, so I ordered a spool of it , 100' long and 1/4” thick, in black. I mounted the shelves according to the directions, leaving enough room underneath to vacuum and enough on top to match the distance that was left on the bottom. Mounting the shelves would have been easy for anyone, I think, except for me. Not only am I not very crafty, I'm also not very handy. The handyman I summoned had already knocked off early for a beer, the crafter was sneering at me because I obviously didn't know what I was doing, and I was on my own. Children may be reading over your shoulder, so I won't repeat the things that were said as I tried to mount the shelves. Again, an EASY job for anyone else, so don't let that throw you. I refused to ask for help. I really wanted to accomplish this on my own. My husband did advise me to make sure to add corner braces (on top of and on bottom of shelves) for support since the bungees would be pulling, which I did (he also made sure to tell me to mount those braces on studs for extra support). I even painted them half black and half white to match the shelf and wall. Thinking I was so smart, I weaved the bungee through, leaving it a tad loose so as not to pull too hard on the shelves.


Here is how that worked out:

Every time I added just one more animal, the bulge at the bottom grew bigger and bigger. and dropped and dropped. So obviously I needed to tighten the bungee, which I did, then just tied a new knot and cut off the excess. You could go to the trouble of doing individual pieces of bungee, but weaving it through seems to work just as well and was less time consuming. I also added kind of an internal shelf (just 12”, but still a wooden corner shelf) in 2 spots, to help support the animals and help her find the ones she wanted to play with a little easier (you can see a bit of one just above the little seal's head). Here's the end result:

She was upset at the thought of her animals being in jail, so we're calling it a zoo unless they misbehave. Except for her older brother; he makes sure to tell her they are bad and are in jail every day. Now all her animals take up like 18 square inches of space in her room as opposed to 20 square feet. I'm going to pat myself on the back for this one, but I'm putting away my drill and my screwdriver and going to get my spatula. My inner crafter and my inner handyman have filed for divorce, and although I'm proud I did this without help (outside of great advice from a husband concerned about flying sharp objects), I don't know that future projects involving drills will find their way into my agenda.