Sunday, September 6, 2020

10 Clever Ways To Display Your Plush Toys - That Don't Include Shelves! - For Kids AND Collectors

 I don't care how old you are, I bet you have at least a good arm-load of plush toys lying around, right?
John and I love our squishy collectibles. Catbus, E.T., my Firey from Labyrinth, reader-crocheted Epbots and pony avatars... we've got our share for sure. I like to sprinkle them around my office and John's game room, though, so we don't really have a dedicated display spot. However, the last few weeks I've been doing research to help some friends and readers who have a LOT of plushies -  an amount you can no longer "sprinkle" - and I've found so many clever display ideas and storage tricks that I have to share. Whether you're a parent wrangling your kids' toy haul or a collector looking to show off your main squeezes, I think these will be relevant to your interests.

So here we go, 10 of my favorite NON-SHELF ways to store and/or display plush toys:

1) Re-Purposed Curtain Rods:

I love this because it's clever, functional, and cheap. Why dedicate a whole shelf or bookcase when all you need is a simple bar? You could stack these on a wall in place of a bookcase, or put them end-to-end all around the room.

Plus, these can look REALLY high end:

Especially if you're displaying a collection or grouping by color.

Oh, and you can also use towel bars, not just curtain rods!

2) A Tension-Rod Hammock:

Use two tension-mount curtain rods to make a hammock between the wall and a dresser or bookshelf. Courtney sewed her fabric, but you could use an existing valence for a no-sew option: just slide the 2nd curtain rod through the bottom hem of the valence, and you're good to go.

3) Wire Basket Nightstand: 

(Addicted To Bargains)

You probably won't find a "lid" that works as perfectly as this angled tray, but all you need is a tray that's larger than the top edge of your laundry/trash bin. Just add some cabinet bumpers or grippy foam shelf-liner to the bottom of the tray, so it won't slide off.

4) End Table Bungee Cage
Take an existing side table or plant stand and add bungee cords, like this:

(Our Creations)

This bungee cord trick is all over Pinterest, here come two more of my favorites:

First, a stand-alone column:

(The Owner Builder Network)

And next, a quarter column tucked into a corner:

(Sweet Wise, no longer in service)
These are more for storage than display, but I'm sure you could arrange the toys inside to look more decorative. In fact, this would look awesome if you're displaying extra large plushies, like giant ponies or even a stack of Tsum Tsum pillows.

These next two are storage only, not display, but they're so clever I have to include them:

5) A Foot-Board Hammock:

Tie the corners together of a small sheet or blanket over the foot-board of the bed. Boom. That's it. I love no-cost solutions like this! It's off the floor, takes advantage of unused space, and you can use a cute patterned sheet to make it match the room.

6) A Plush-Filled Bean Bag
Don't have a footboard? Then how about stuffing all the plushies in a bean bag, so they double as... stuffing?

 (Sew Can She

Hit the link for a tutorial, or if you don't like to sew, just use an existing bean bag cover like this unicorn one.

I can't imagine a plush-filled bag being super comfortable to sit on, but then again, kids don't seem to care about ergonomic support the way we do, ha. Just make sure they don't throw any LEGO in there.

7) The Chain Hanger
I'm all about going vertical for storage, so this is great: String up your plush with plastic clips on lightweight plastic chain!

 This can be both functional AND decorative if you space them out a little. Plus it's perfect for awkward corners behind doors.

I found a 6-foot version of the clip chain on Amazon for about $15, but you might be able to DIY it for even less using Halloween chain from the dollar store. Just have to find the right clips for it.
 And finally, a couple more options for us adult collectors:

8) Frame Your Favorites

 (Trucs & Bricolages)

Grab some thrift store frames - no glass or backer board necessary - and use them as a backdrop for your favorite plushies. If the frame is deep enough you can use it like a shelf, or if not, add safety pins to the back of your doll and tie it to the frame with clear fishing line or string.
I've only seen this done with teddy bears, but I would LOVE to see a My Pet Monster or Rainbow Brite in a cute matching frame on a wall somewhere. Somebody out there get on this, pls.

There's also the clothesline approach for smaller specimens:

(Tane Handmade Toys)

Or skip the frame and do a full clothesline across the wall!
That works if you only have a few special friends to display, but if you have a LOT, then nix the frames and...

9) Hang Them Directly On The Wall 

Who needs wallpaper when you have a collection like this, am I right??

Make sure you use Command Hooks, so you don't turn your walls into Swiss cheese. Then pin hanging loops into each doll with a safety pin.

Which brings me to my favorite display, which is really just a variation of the wall-hanging one:

10: Make a rainbow!

These are laid out on the floor, but you could use extra command hooks & large safety pins to hang the plushies at an angle to make rainbows or waves or even full circles across your walls. Remember, grouping similar colors always looks amazing, and helps curb the visual chaos.

So tell me, did any of these spark your imagination? Which one's your favorite? And tell me if you have any more ideas for displaying or storing plush toys! 
I should mention I left out basic wall hammocks because I figure everyone already knows about those, and same for over-the-door-shoe organizers, ha. But tell me what works for you! 

P.S. I'm on such a nostalgia kick after seeing a bunch of 80s toy collections this week, so I have to show you this. Y'all. LOOK HOW CUTE:

Strawberry Shortcake Classic Soft Doll

AND she's scented. EEEEEEEE

I thought this was a new design, but apparently it's a reproduction of one made in the 80s? I only remember the little plastic version with the scented hair. Where was this cutie when I was a kid?? And that packaging! Aww, right in the happy feels. I'm so glad this exists, hope it made you smile, too.


  1. Hey, my big sister used to have that doll! I wasn't allowed to touch it because she thought it might turn into a collectable.
    I should get one for my niece. She won't let me sister touch any of her stuff that might be deemed valuable because she doesn't 'play with it right'.
    Ah, the joys of being an aunt. You get to make your niece happy *and* reap sweet, sweet vengeance all at the same time.

  2. These triangular hammocks for stuffed toys were around when my kids were little. The great part was that you could lob the stuffies in that general direction (upper corner of the kids' room) and they would usually land in the net!

  3. When I was a kid, Dad screwed a bunch of L-shaped hooks into a narrow board and Mom sewed plastic loops to everybody's head or ears. We hung it vertically so the plushes hung in a line. It worked well and I still have several plushes with the loops.

    I currently have the big ones on the back of my office / guest room couch-bed and the little ones on a shelf above it.

  4. My plushies are displayed in a toy crib that one of my grandfather's made and also on a chair as well as on my bookshelves. But I love some of these ideas

  5. As the mother of a 7yr old, I would not recommend putting toys in anything that doubles as a table. To access the toys the lid will have to come of. And then what happens to all the stuff on top if the lid? It comes off as well. All over the place. And is not put back, because the kid cannot see the point of the "table" - it is only an annoyance, blocking easy access to the toys you need RIGHT NOW. Ha. First order retrievability is key when storing kids stuff :)

    1. Good point, that one should probably only be used for toys they don't play with as much, or ones you just want to display! You could also add velcro to the top for things like small lamps or alarm clocks, so they're less likely to slide around or fall off when you remove the lid.

  6. My kids have a floor to ceiling shoe organizer for their stuffed animals. It uses a tension rod from floor to ceiling, and we have it in a corner where it is out of the way. It has one basket and six shoe carousels, all of which rotate. When you fill them with stuffed animals, the shoe carousels are essentially baskets, too. You can fit a ridiculous number of stuffed animals in there, and all are accessible because the carousels and basket all turn. Plus, because it is a tension rod, it is easy to install and causes no damage to the walls. Best of all, it makes an adorable display when full of stuffed friends.

  7. You could DIY the chain hanger very cheaply with some "garden" plastic chain from a DIY store and the clip bits taken from one of those underwear hanger things from a £/$ store (they come off pretty easily and would reattach well to the chain).

  8. I had the strawberry shortcake doll like that and it smelled so good!! So much fun!

  9. When I was teaching and had a ton of puppets or hats (I used them for narrators when we did class plays) I would suspend laundry cord from the ceiling tiles across one side of the classroom and use clothes pins to attach my soft items. I could see everything and it made the beige room much more colorful. Ceiling space is dead space in a classroom.

  10. We’ve already got the beanbag cover in my daughter’s room, full of her Squishmallows collection. That sucker is VERY comfy to plop down on. She’s even fallen asleep on it.

  11. Most of ours live around the couch. I tend to use the bigger ones as arm or head rests 😉

  12. I’ve done the clip and the hammock toy method. Hammock we worked better for us, putting on a clip with lil hands was more than either of mine could do.

  13. We just moved, and I think the curtain rod display will go great in our son's new space!

    At our last house I was desperate to find a way to display his stuffed animals in a way that was cute and organized (and cheap and easy - that's always important for me). I couldn't find anything online that exactly met all the criteria, so I combined ideas and figured out that a hanging sweater shelf (the kind that wrap around the closet rod) is a pretty cute way to get the animals off the ground and out of the way. There's even mesh pockets on the side for little stuffies.

  14. My parents got two enormous cardboard rolls from a carpeting place, cut them ceiling height, and covered them with contact paper and screw-in cup hooks. My stuffies got a rubberband around the neck (so undignified; I would recommend the sewn loops), and they all hung on these "trees." (Dad not being the most accomplished of home repair dudes, these did occasionally fall over with the MOST impressive thumps.)

  15. I was thinking maybe making some kind of bungee frame? Similar to the bungee rope. You can string bungees or maybe string either just horizontally or weave it vertically and horizontally. Then hang it on the wall. That way when the stuffies are out it's sort of like framed art on the wall. I'm not handy so I'm not sure what materials should be used and where to find them.

  16. I've got one of those traditional wall hammocks for my plush toys. I've been debating downsizing the plush collection but every time I begin I start second guessing which ones to get rid of, which then usually turns into "Well I guess I'll just keep all of them for now and figure this out later".

    (P.S., One of these days we're gonna have to add to your Labyrinth plush collection! Your Firey could use a friend or two!)

  17. American Science and Surplus has 10 foot long plastic chain for $6.75 each right now. White or black. Just saw it in the sales email and remembered this post. :)

  18. Great ideas! We tend to use the tops of bookshelves for plushy storage - the advantage is that that space is not very useful for much else; disadvantage is that things can get quite dusty up there. My current blended pandemic household comprises a pair of 30-somethings and a pair of 60-somethings (plus 4 felines). We have determined that plushy whimsy can help maintain sanity in these trying times. We had put a dozen classic Beanie cats on top of our TV (the biological felines mostly leave them alone up there), so we had renamed our ChromeCast ID to "Underneath a pile of cats". A few weeks ago, the other pair swapped the cats out for fish plushies, so of course the ID got renamed to "Underneath a school of fish". #geek_decorating

  19. These are amazing ideas! Thank you. P.s. I still have that Strawberry Shortcake doll from the 80’s! My kids play with it now!


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