Make Your Own Zhu Zhu The Fad Robot Hamster Toy

If you have kids, you’re probably biting your nails down to the quick worrying how you’re going to find–much less pay for–this year’s super hot fad toy, Zhu Zhu the Robot Hamster. But don’t be so stupid! The thing about fad toys like Zhu Zhu is that they’re about 30% fun, 30% marketing, and 40% media hype. You can bypass all that nonsense and make your own in less than 20 minutes, and for a fraction of the cost.

What You Will Need

  • a cheap remote control car
  • some craft fur
  • googly eyes
  • hot glue
  • probably a beer

Here’s a handy video tutorial:

I named this one Shut Up. He is just as good as what the store could offer your kids, and only costs $10. Well, to be fair he doesn’t beep or come with a cartoon avatar, but those Zhu Zhus don’t have blinking red and blue lights, so I’m calling it a draw.


Edit Your Comment

  1. tbax929 says:

    Screw the madness; I make all my Zhu Zhus at home!

  2. Ben Popken says:

    I make my own Zhu Zhus at home, using this guide.

  3. kcvaliant says:

    LOL awesome..

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Anyone else see the photo and immediately equate Zhu Zhu hamsters with motorized tribbles?

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      not until you said that, but then i just thought to myself “i’d TOTALLY wait in line and fight people for a motorized tribble!”

      • trujunglist says:

        you can get one in that catalogue that has all the zany whacky shit in it. I forget what it’s called.. something about how awesome it is.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          thanks but i’m not sure i actually want the product – just the experience of waiting in line with the kind of people who WOULD wait in line for a motorized tribble. and wrestling them to the ground for the privilege of saying that i fought someone over a motorized tribble.

    • Traveller says:

      I actually have a tribble. A white one, still mint on its card. But it’s not motorized. The motorized ones (yes they are available) cost a lot more.

  5. admiral_stabbin says:

    This rocks! Epic article, Consumerist! You have made my day.

  6. friendlynerd says:

    This is awesome. However, as the former owner of generic Pump shoes as a child, I can confirm that the kids are unforgiving of substitutions.

    • redskull says:

      Yeah, I can confirm that kids are not fond of substitutions.

      I asked for an Atari 2600 the first Xmas it came out. Instead I got Sears Pong. It was a console with “80 different” Pong games hard wired into it. No cartridges for this system! The “80 different” games were all lame variations of Pong as well. The most ridiculous one was “Invisible Pong,” in which the ball was invisible until it made contact with the side of the screen or your paddle. Impossible to play, to say the least.

      When I pointed out to my parents that this was not the game I asked for, they said it was the same thing, plus it was $60 cheaper. No doubt!

      • friendlynerd says:

        It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like the shoes, it was that the kids at school made fun of me to absolutely no end.

        • evilrobot says:

          as a former owner of fake Kangaroo’s (the shoes with pockets), i will take my seat next to you at the loser table in the school cafeteria.

          • lilyHaze says:

            I wore those light-up sneakers as a child for a long time. I do not remember if they were the knock-offs or not. If there was any teasing, I have already repressed those memories from my mind.

            • axhandler1 says:

              Teasing?! Those shoes that lit up with the blinking red lights were the coolest! I never got a pair, but everytime I see a kid wearing them today, I still want some, and I’m 24 now.

          • Kuchen says:

            I shall also join, and bring with me my fake Cabbage Patch Kid (even uglier than the real thing!). My sister got a real one for the same Christmas. I was not happy.

          • friendlynerd says:

            I think mine were called Jox or something horrible like that. It’s no wonder I was mercilessly picked on.

          • DJBS77 says:

            I’m at that table to with my fake Air Jordan’s made by L.A. Gear.

          • MadameX says:

            Room at the table for a wearer of imitation VANs?

            Hey, they may seem inexpensive now but back in the 70’s it seemed like a lot of money to my parents…

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        hey now, i still have pong. it’s cool. granted, i play my atari 2600 a lot more because, you know, it’s in color and stuff.

  7. scoobydoo says:

    I’m sure kids won’t mind getting a Shoo Shoo pet instead of the real thing :)

    Ideas like this only really work for adults – kids won’t fall for our tricks.

  8. phrekyos says:

    This is the pinnacle of the “I make my own ___ at home” meme.

    Anyway, don’t Zhu Zhu Pets normally cost only $10? I thought they only cost more because of scalpers.

  9. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    This one actually has a remote control too, which makes it BETTER then the zhu zhu that just sort of mindlessly wanders around. I still want to get one for my cats. After xmas dies down I’ll pick one up. $8 for amazing entertainment can’t be beat!

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      I agree, I think it’ll be fun. The only thing that worries me is that when Alfred was a wee baby kitteh, we had gotten him a robot mouse that they market as a cat toy. We had no idea that it was so loud, it made this really loud mocking sound, sort of like woodie wood pecker. Alfred was so freaked out by it he threw up right away.

      We returned it to Walmart. You should have seen the customer service lady’s face when we told her “It made my kitten so scared that he threw up” LOL

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Awww poor little kitty!!!! :(

        • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

          Alfred is the reason we have a Bissel Spot Bot (Pet edition). He has the weakest cat stomach I’ve ever seen. He likes to chew on tape (Like from a box) and if he gets the tiniest bit of tape in his tummy, out it all comes just a little bit later.

          Ugh. Oh well.. I love his lil furry self anyway.

      • NewsMuncher says:

        I also bought my cat (didn’t meet her until she was adultified) one of the robotic mice. It was plastic and, I think, blue. It yelled something idiotic and my cat wanted nothing to do with it. And it died pretty quickly.
        And my cat searches out anything leafy to eat which she then immediately throws up twice. Sometimes she gets on a roll and throws up nothing but spit every couple of hours.
        I must find out more about this Bissel Spot Bot you write of.

        • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

          You had the same mouse I had!! I was trying to google it but I don’t remember what they called it. Scary thing.

      • Chinchillazilla says:

        As a child I got a little horse at the museum. The horse has wheels on its feet and just kind of rolls around.

        My cat ADORES this horse. He knocks it over and hugs it.

  10. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    It doesn’t seem as cute as the real thing… but the LED rims intrigue me. Maybe you can program them while you’re out cruisin for lady robot hamsters.

  11. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    So I have been looking, but places like thinkgeek sell them for $20 – where’s a good place to get a cheap RC car?

    • katia802 says:

      Well, if it weren’t for the problem of being livestronged I’d say RadioShack. But, most dollar stores have em.

    • NewsMuncher says:

      As much as I like thinkgeek, I can usually find whatever they are selling cheaper elsewhere. And it pays to read reviews of stuff they carry.
      For instance, the ‘prank gift boxes’ are also carried by The Onion, and their online gift store has more varieties. The only reason I know this is because I came across them today while wandering bewildered across the internet.
      I saw the laser bluetooth keyboard at Fry’s when my husband and I were trying to find the front doors again. It was about $130.

  12. ngoandy says:

    I noticed that the list of parts didn’t include lead or antimony. It isn’t authentic unless it has the same lethal chemicals as the ones from the factory in China.

  13. rpm773 says:

    If you have a Roomba you don’t use any more, you can just reuse that. The kids won’t know.

    Zhu Zhu, now in sewer rat size.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Mommy why is it so fat?

      • Rachacha says:

        Mommy’s response should be: “It is a SUPER ZhuZhu. The regular Zhu Zhu is for losers, Mommy got you the super Zhu Zhu because she loves you more. The super Zhu Zhu eats the regular Zhu Zhus for lunch. Go out and challenge your friends to a Zhu Zhu duel for keepsies…you will thank me when you come home with your Super Zhu Zhu and 5 normal Zhu Zhus.”

    • floraposte says:

      Then install a chip to make it play the “Jaws” theme.

    • Noadi says:

      Make it with long ear and tell them it’s the new Zhu zhu rabbit!

  14. Blueskylaw says:

    ” this year’s super hot fad toy”

    Kid’s don’t make it a super hot fad, adult’s do it. My nephew has just as much fun pulling leaves off of a plant as he probably would with a Zhu Zhu.

    Cabbage Patch or Tickle me Elmo anyone?

    • lilyHaze says:

      The Cabbage Patch dolls were pretty cool. And that “fad” lasted a long time. I remember playing with my doll for a long time, certainly enough to justify the cost.

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        I still have mine that my mom bought for me while I was in her womb. (She was there waiting for the truck to arrive!) I have others as well, but that one I will keep always.

    • jesusofcool says:

      toy fads always remind me of Jingle All the Way…probably the top xmas movie of my childhood, right next to The Santa Claus and Muppet Christmas Carol. I clearly didn’t have great taste as a kid, what can I say.

      Btw, this youtube video is dizzingly fast!

    • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

      Furby, man. This is the new goddamned Furby.

    • hokuto says:

      I genuinely wanted a Furby as a kid. I thought it would be the coolest thing ever. I was so wrong.

  15. Bob Lu says:

    It is a RC rat at most. It totally missed the point of Zhu Zhus.

    Zhu Zhus are controlled by sort of sensor-reaction script, no matter how simple and basic it is (it is about as smart as a bacteria), when play it right it creates a great sense of interaction. I RC rat just won’t do the trick.

  16. Omir The Storyteller says:

    Am I the only one who looks at this and thinks, “What the *%@! is a Zhi Zhi robot hamster”? Or Zhu Zhu or whatever the heck it is?

    I mean it looks about as fun as any other remote control device, which is to say if I gave it to one of my grandkids they’d play with it for a day or so and then it’s either broken or forgotten. All except the 2-year-old. I’m just going to skip the presents and get him an empty box to play with.

  17. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Yeah, but does this one have the toxic fur that makes the little kiddies go crazy for?

  18. thisistobehelpful says:

    I’m so doing this.

  19. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    We decided to get a real hamster instead for Christmas. They day I was going to get it, There were plenty at Target. I just passed them buy. Our new little guy is much cuter, and DD will enjoy him far more. I think she will be way more excited too.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I hope you didn’t get a Siberian dwarf. They’re MEAN bastards. They’re adorable, but they will not hesitate to bite and not let go.

      • NewsMuncher says:

        My sis had one of the dwarf hamster varieties. Mean little thing was cranky and nocturnal. She said it would be up and around making noise at night, and during the day did NOT want to be messed with.
        But yes. They are freakishly cute.

      • Slave For Turtles says:

        We named ours Fang. -.- It drew blood.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        I had a Campbell’s dwarf who thought that biting me was the most fun thing ever. Total sweetheart other than that, and completely tame when she didn’t feel like chomping on my hands. Eventually, I just let her do it.

        Part of the problem was that she and her sister had Type I diabetes. She went blind at maybe 8 weeks old, and only lived four or five months total. Because she couldn’t see my hand, she’d run up and bite it frantically whenever I went to pick her up, feed her, or dared stick my hand in the cage.

        Her sister never went blind, but lived maybe 7-8 months. Poor kids. But they had fun lives while I had them.

  20. kaceetheconsumer says:

    My 4 year old has no clue about Zhu Zhus but man, now I want to make one of these just for my own fun.

    She is actually getting her first RC toy this year, though…this:

    • SaraFimm says:

      Just beware the wrong pen in the hole and no paper down on the floor. Other than that, this looks like a really cute toy.

    • Rachacha says:

      Very cute toy, but you are a lot braver than I am. I could just imagine my kids rushing in to show me the pretty picture that they drew on the hardwood floor using the sharpie markers.

  21. quail says:

    $10, isn’t that the retail price for the thing if you’re lucky enough to find one? And are people really buying this stupid thing for $100 on eBay?

  22. H3ion says:

    A. Buy a live hamster and let it run around the house.

    B. When the hamster dies, skin it and put the skin over a small electric car. Instant Zhu Zhu. Besides, your children get a lesson in irresponsible care of animals.

  23. Rena says:

    While I have little interest in robot hamsters, it’s nice to see DIY articles like this. Keep ’em coming.

  24. fredmertz says:

    This video could be alternately titled, “How to make a child cry”

  25. BytheSea says:

    Your kid will not buy this, and will later be retelling the story in therapy.

  26. Coonse says:

    omg! i love your idea.
    i wanna try it out even though i am not a kid.

    window blinds project