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Children’s stuffed animal play center

Designed and created by Chris Siler, DIY with Chris

Difficulty- Easy Time- Approximately 3-4 days

Parts- See list at end Tools- See list at end

We came about this project when we saw a beat up shelving unit in a thrift store for about $20. We recognized that it was wood and decided to see what we could transform it into.


First, gather the tools and parts you will need for this projects and decide where you want to do each part.

Step 1 (Back to the basics):

Sand down each piece to remove any paint or laminate which may be present (we were able to scrape off most of the paint as the previous owner didn’t use primer and applied paint over the laminate). We recommend starting off with 60 grit sand paper and working your way down to 220 grit to finish it off.

Step 2 (Replace):

Replace any pieces which lack integrity. The backing to our shelving unit was worn down and barely secured so we measured and cut another piece to help stabilize our play center.

Step 3 (Reinforce):

We took some time to reinforce joints, backing, and trim by gluing and nailing the pieces in place. We wanted this to last a while and be able to withstand the trials of rough boys!

Step 4 (Prime and sand):

Once your framing is secure, apply a primer base to help protect your wood and ensure your paint will stay. Once the primer is applied and dry, sand it with 220 grit to prepare for the paint.

Step 5 (Paint):

Apply your base paint and determine your pattern. We had originally thought of a zoo pattern but decided a circus theme would be more fun.

Step 6 (Chalkboard Paint):

Chalkboard paint can be tinted and is fun for kids. We designated a panel on each side that we could use for a chalkboard surface.

Step 7 (Containment System):

Apply your containment system (we used canopy bungee cords see here).

Step 8 (Enjoy!):

Step back and enjoy your work by watching the little ones play!




Paint kit


Chalkboard Paint (Spray)

*Circular Saw

*Detail Sander



Canopy Bungees

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