Earlier this year, I had my second bunion surgery, and when I finally was able to get up and move around, I had a moment of creativity. I remembered friends having stick horses to play with and thought, maybe I could do that.
There’s a few tutorials for sock horses or tutorials for stick horses going around the internet on how to make a stick horse, or sock horse, or play horse. I kind of winged this – and I want you to know you don’t need to do this perfectly to make this work. You can make up your own patter and wing the stick horse.
Here’s the general steps that I followed to make my DIY Stick Horse. For the most part I upcycled things in my home, or found things second hand. We bought the sticks new but you could have something around the house.
I did dream of making a unicorn but I never got around to giving her a horn. The kids have been playing with these for a few months now (I made them in January) and they are still fairly put together. The purple horses mane is a little scruffy but that was expected.
Supplies for a Stick Horse
- Fabric for the exterior of the horse – I used stuff from my sewing stash.
- Something to make the ears thicker and stand up – I used some felt I found.
- Stuffing for the inside of the horse body – I used an old pillow we don’t like.
- Material for the Mane this could be wool or yarn, or fabric – I used some stuff I found at the thrift store, just really left over scrappy stuff, different weights and textures gives it a more fun look.
- Eyes – buttons or eye patches
- Sticks – we used a broom stick from the hardware store that we cut in half
- Needle & Thread, Sewing Machine (you could do this all by hand – a more simple non-sewn method is to use a sock for a horse head).
How to Make a Stick Horse
You may choose to sew the mane directly into the horse, but I didn’t find that to be easy and abandoned it.
Make the Horse
- I roughly sketched out the shape of a horse head onto some construction paper and then cut it out. I was cautious about the size of the material I had. You don’t kneed to be an artist for this. It’s a pretty simple sketch of a “V” or check mark.
- Cut 2 out of material – I did this by folding the material together and doing one cut. Don’t forget to consider seam allowances.
- Place the material with right sides facing each other and sew together leaving the bottom open. You may want to hem the bottom depending on how you want the edge to be finished.
- Sew some ears – again, this was as simple oval shape. I did one inner colour, one exterior colour, and one layer of fleece
- Stuff the horse with your choose of stuffing, don’t be scared to stuff it and stuff it some more.
- Sew the ears in place – I hand stitched them.
- Sew the eyes in place – again, hand stitched based on how it looked.
Make the Mane
I used a variety of different techniques to make the mane of the horse.
For the brown horse, I cut 6-7″ strips of yarn and sewed it down onto a strip of material. I then hand stitched that material into the back neck of the stuffed horse.
For the white horse, I created some braids, hand stitched them in place. I also created big loops of white material, that I also hand stitched into place.
Truthfully, I winged this and experimented with different styles and types. The braids and hair are fairly tightly sewn in using a thick piece of string and reinforced with yarn. They have so far not budged.
I also cut the bangs as appropriate and let it sit.
Attach it to the Stick
Now this is where it gets tricky… I sewed some double thick thread around the exterior and then tightened. This too easily slid off.
We needed up drilling two holes into the stick and then piercing some ribbon through the holes and the horse head and tying to close. This was then double knotted.
A bead of glue will hold it in place as well.
This was my best compromise from internet tutorial – you could also use a ribbon and glue to tie and hold down the fabric where it needs to sit.
Stick Horse Play
And then you let them play and make repairs along the way.
You can totally do this DIY kid toy without a tutorial or pattern. Stick horses is an easy way to upcycle or repurpose things you already have in your home. Use other material that you have available to create a fun pretend play activity for your preschooler.