Hanging Barrel Shelf

Quite often, when trying to make enrichment items, you have to make do with what you have laying around behind barns and in sheds. This project was no exception, I had quite a few old barrels laying around that had been crushed by polar bears and I was trying to figure out what I could do with them, so I decided to build this hanging barrel shelf out of the barrel ends and fire hose. This turned out better then expected and proved useful as some neat squirrel monkey enrichment.

Building materials

  • Old plastic barrels
  • Fire hose
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Screwdriver
  • Circular saw or hand saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker

Building steps

  1. The first step is going to to be to cut the tops and bottoms off of the barrels. This step could be very dangerous for someone not familiar with a circular saw, so use the hand saw if you aren’t comfortable. Draw a straight line around the barrel at the depth you want and carefully cut around the entire barrel by rolling it as you cut, or doing one section at a time.
  2. Take all the rough edges from the cut and sand them down, making sure there is nothing sharp left on the rim.
  3. You can now decide on the spacing and total size of the shelf and cut your fire hose lengths to the total length that you want your shelf. For the one I made I used 3 strands all equally spaced out around the barrels.
  4. To secure the hose to the barrels, start with the bottom “shelf” and pre drill holes through the barrel and the hose. Insert the bolt through both and tighten until snug, you can then cut the excess bolt off and sand down until smooth. Repeat this process for all of the strands and all of the shelves.
  5. If you want an easy way to hang the shelf, consider putting an eye bolt on the top shelf, or putting an extra strand of fire hose across the top that you can loop through branches or other exhibit features.
  6. You are now ready to hang the shelf!

Tips/ Comments

This is a fun one and when done well, doesn’t look too bad at all. This hanging barrel shelf is quite versatile and can be loaded with food items, substrates to dig through or it can be used just as a fun addition to a primate exhibit. This is a great project to try after your hanging barrel toy is destroyed!

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