Giraffe Bookcase

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Project by Ron Stewart posted 04-03-2021 03:42 PM 614 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Our daughter has always liked giraffes. About three years ago, either I or my wife (neither of us can remember) discovered a commercially available (but apparently now-discontinued) giraffe-shaped bookcase, and I saved some photos of it, thinking that a replica would be a good gift for our daughter when she became a mom. When she called us earlier this year to tell us she was pregnant, I sent her those photos and asked if she and our son-in-law liked the bookcase and had space for it in the room they’ll use for the baby’s nursery. As I had hoped, they loved the idea, and I was committed to my first official act as a grandfather (to be).

After a few days of SketchUp modeling, a lot of planning, and a month’s worth of afternoons, here’s the result. It’s roughly 66” tall (not counting the horns, which add another 4+”), 38” wide (not counting the projecting head, which adds another 8” or so), and 11-5/8” deep. It’s made of poplar and painted with Benjamin Moore Advance water-based alkyd paint (satin Bold Yellow).

The head is removable (for transport), and so are the ears and horns (for reparability). The horns are jumbo Shaker pegs from Lee Valley.

We plan to deliver the bookcase later this summer. Between now and the time the baby becomes a toddler, I’ll have to find anti-tip hardware that will secure the giraffe to a wall.

The main aspects of this project were dowel joinery (four 3/8” dowels for each joint), bevels, tapers, and pattern routing. Cutting the case parts was not difficult, but clamping was a bit of an adventure, and so was cutting the inside tapers on the legs. I’ve included a few random construction images below. For many more details, see my series of blog posts or the SketchUp models on 3D Warehouse.

Thanks for looking!

-- Ron Stewart

14 comments so far

View teetomterrific's profile


120 posts in 1412 days

#1 posted 04-03-2021 03:55 PM

Awesome Job Ron!

Next you need to make an Armadillo toy box. I’m sure the next few commenters will have some more animal furniture Ideas too.


-- Tom, Adams, TN

View BurlyBob's profile


8682 posts in 3316 days

#2 posted 04-03-2021 04:45 PM

That’s impressive. I’m certain that was a very fun project. I always enjoy making things for my grandsons.

View awsum55's profile


942 posts in 1559 days

#3 posted 04-03-2021 05:04 PM

Nice job, very well constructed and cool as can be. I know how you feel about making things for grandchildren.

-- John D, OP, KS

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

294 posts in 3554 days

#4 posted 04-03-2021 05:44 PM

Thanks for the comments, gentlemen. Much appreciated.

Tom: I’ve promised my son I’d build something for him and my daughter-in-law when the time comes. I’m not sure an armadillo would be their first choice, though :-)—maybe something more along the lines of a cat or dog.

-- Ron Stewart

View 987Ron's profile


783 posts in 367 days

#5 posted 04-03-2021 06:15 PM

Very nice project with great results The pictures of the build make the posting even better.

WARNING: Granddaughters as they grow up will have more and more projects for you to make for them. If you are like most of us Grands, you will not be able to say no. Of course you won’t want to say no either. Don’t ask how I know.

-- Ron

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

294 posts in 3554 days

#6 posted 04-03-2021 06:36 PM

Thanks, Ron. Nothing like hearing from the voice of experience. It sounds like you have your priorities in order.

At this point, I don’t know if it’s a granddaughter or grandson yet, but I suspect it doesn’t matter much as far as wanting things. :-)

-- Ron Stewart

View sras's profile


5946 posts in 4179 days

#7 posted 04-03-2021 08:26 PM

Nice project! I enjoyed the blog as well. Seems like a change in paint and trim could turn this into a llama bookcase :)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

294 posts in 3554 days

#8 posted 04-03-2021 08:50 PM

Thanks, Steve. You’re not wrong… Ditch the horns, enlarge the ears, and maybe elongate the body a bit, and it’s a llama. :-)

-- Ron Stewart

View Ross Leidy's profile

Ross Leidy

238 posts in 2992 days

#9 posted 04-03-2021 10:33 PM

Very cool project, Ron! So many angles to keep track of – you are a patient man. Very nice result!

View swirt's profile


6102 posts in 4022 days

#10 posted 04-04-2021 12:39 AM

That is awesome. Way to go future grandpa! Pretty cool that you shared the plans too.

Anti-tip hardware? Put a wood back on one of the sections and screw it to the stud.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

294 posts in 3554 days

#11 posted 04-04-2021 03:43 AM

Thanks, Ross and swirt.

Yes, I’ve never worked on a project like this. Usually, I can set a stop on a sled and bang out several identical parts.

It’s no big deal for me to post plans. I draw them up anyway. I just have to clean them up to prepare them for public consumption.

I wouldn’t want to put a back on a section, because the giraffe can point either right or left. It really has no front or back, and they might want to face it the other way if they rearrange or move. But I guess I could cut a smallish inverted triangular block (or a rail) that could be screwed into a shelf bottom and then into the stud. They could move it to the other side without messing up the look. Thanks for the suggestion.

I was just wondering about something detachable (tool less), so they could temporarily move the bookcase if necessary.

-- Ron Stewart

View mtnwild's profile (online now)


3920 posts in 4577 days

#12 posted 04-04-2021 04:08 AM

Wow, is that special!

Sure makes it fun to build for the family, especially the children. Makes what we’ve learned, really pay off…

Very cool, great build…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View OldCharlie's profile


38 posts in 833 days

#13 posted 04-04-2021 12:25 PM

Congratulations Grandpa! Oh, and great work on the bookcase too… Welcome to the rank of grandparents, likely the finest part of life. And you are absolutely right Ron, but what a way to pass the time! I believe at least half of my shop time involves grand-kids some way or another. I am just beginning to introduce my 7 year old grandson to the wood shop and it is a delight to have him there, even if a bit nerve wracking sometimes!

-- Oldcharlie

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

294 posts in 3554 days

#14 posted 04-04-2021 03:48 PM

Thanks, mtnwilld and OldCharlie! I bet it’s nerve-wracking to have a seven-year old in the shop—so many sharp objects around.

-- Ron Stewart

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