Thursday, February 13, 2014

DIY Hobby Horse

My little Princess loves, Loves, LOVES horses and for Christmas she desperately wanted a hobby horse, however, the price in the store was beyond what I was willing to pay... so I figured I would try making one.  The results were very pleasing both to my spirit (Yay! I accomplished a sewing project successfully) and to my budget (it cost about $5 to make).

I did not take step by step pictures but I can walk you through what I did:

Supplies needed:

Fabric  ( I did not measure my fabric, I just used scrap I had on hand.  It was probably equivalent to 1/2 a yard)

Sewing machine

Fiber fill to stuff your horse with

Yarn - about 30 inches, doubled over

Button(s) - two for two open eyes or one for one open eye like mine above

2 clothes pins



Acrylic Paint


Glue gun

Styrofoam ball

Ribbon for harness

Embroidery thread


1. Draw a horse head shape on a paper bag and cut out.

2. Trace your template onto a piece of fabric, twice, and cut out.

3. Mark the spot where you want your eyes to be on the fabric and sew your button(s) on.

4. Cut ears out of felt.  I used brown felt and pink felt for the inner part of the ear.  Plug in your glue gun and let er' warm up.  If you want to have an "inner" part to your ear then glue the smaller triangle inside the bigger one.  Now pinch the bottom of the ear together and glue in the crease.  I secured it with a clothes pin until the glue was cool/dry.  Hence the need for 2 clothespins above.

5. Find yarn to use for the horse's mane.  I wrapped the yarn around a book until I had the amount I wanted. (a good picture of this can be seen here on mad mim's blog when she made her crazy adorable hobby horse) Leaving the yarn attached to the skein, carefully slide it off of the book.  Now, here comes the tricky part... you are going to sew that lump of yarn right down the middle to make your mane.  It's okay if it is not perfect, I mean... whose mane is.  :)  Set aside.

6. Cut a slit in horse head pieces where you want the ears to be.  Push an ear into the slit, make sure they are facing the right way, and the fabric flaps from making the slit are pushed inside next to the bottom edge of the ear as you are sewing so they are not sticking up around the ear on the outside of the horse's head. Stitch several times so they are secure.

7. Now comes the fun part!  Fold your mane in half lengthwise along the line you stitched and lay the folded edge  between the two head pieces, along the neckline, pinning as you go.  Stitch around the perimeter of your horse head leaving the neck hole open so you can stuff your horse head later. Go slowly so you can attach the mane securely.  Make sure when you are going around  curves you clip into the seam allowance so it does not pucker or tear.  Click here for more instruction.

8.  Now turn your horse head right side out and see... it looks like a cute horse!  Grab a pair of scissors and cut your mane down the middle so your horsey has free flowing locks.
One side has an eye open and the other side has an eye closed because my little girl likes to tuck her animals into bed to sleep.  :)
9. If you are making a sleepy eye, like my pony above, you can cut out an eye from felt and hot glue it on.

10.  Paint your dowel (I made mine striped by curving masking tape down the dowel and then painting the dowel one color, removing tape and painting the curve another color or two.)  Let dowel dry and then seal it or varnish it.  Let dry again.

11. Cut a hole out of a Styrofoam ball (not all the way through, just enough to put the end of your dowel in) and squeeze a bunch of hot glue into the indent and quickly adhere it to the top of your dowel.  Let dry.

12. Knot end of embroidery thread and thread through your needle.  Have it ready next to you.

13.  Stuff your horses head with Fiberfill, leaving room to place your dowel end with the styrofoam ball into the horses head.

14. Push the dowel with ball up into the horses head nice and high so it is secure. Stuff with remaining fiber fill until the horse's head is nice and full.  You want the horse's head to be pretty firm so pack the stuffing nice and tight, it helped for me to use a ruler to get the filling squished in there. Stuff along the neckline, leaving a few inches toward the bottom empty.  Secure with a gathering stitch using your needle and embroidery thread. Pull the gather tight and wrap the extra thread around the dowel and tie.

15.  Embellish with a ribbon or bias tape for harness.

Enjoy watching your little Princess or Buckaroo gallop around with their new friend.  :)

Here are links to other DIY Hobby Horse tutorials that helped inspire me  (some are easier and some are more difficult but you can tweak it to what your skills are):

Felt Stick Horse at Lia Griffith

Mad Mim's amazing Strapping Stick Horse

Red Ted Art's Sock Stick Horse

Happy Crafting!

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