November 5, 2008

Make Your Own Hobby Horse/ Stick Pony: Tutorial

My son was a cowboy for Halloween and instead of using all my resources (time, materials, imagination, etc,.) for something that would just end up in the costume box for the rest of time I decided to make a hobby horse instead of chaps or holsters. Every cowboy needs his horse, after all. I looked online and couldn't find a pattern (that is, I couldn't find a free one) but I scoured the internet and found a bunch of pictures of homemade hobby horses and thought, "I can do that!" So I did. And it was super easy. You can do it too.


Cut two horse head shaped pieces out of the fabric of your choice. I used a cream colored flannel left-over from a failed baby quilt.

Cut pieces for the eyes out of felt. Obviously you can do whatever shape you like. This is what I chose.

Let your son place the eyes where he wants.
Place the eyes on the horse heads and sew around each individual piece.
Cut out pieces for ears. Two from the head fabric, two from a contrasting fabric, two from a heavy interfacing. I used fusible fleece. Fuse the interfacing to the contrasting fabric.

Sixth:Place the two right sides of the fabric pieces together and sew around the edges, leaving the bottom open. I would double-stitch it because you stuff it pretty tight and it pulls on the seams a bit.

Place right sides of ears together sew around the edge, leaving bottom open. Turn right side out, iron the seams, and stitch 1/4 inch around the edges. Create a pleat at the bottom of each ear and sew across to set it. (wow, did that make any sense?- just do what you can to make your ears look like the picture)

Eighth:Place the ear where you want to attach it to the head and make a mark that is the width of the ear. Then make a slit along it and place the ear about 3/4 of an inch inside the slit. Turn it wrong side out and then pin the ear in place. So it looks like this. You should have three layers of fabric (the head, the ear, the head piece again). Stitch along the edge-backstitching at each end, firmly attaching the ear in place so it looks like this when you turn it:
Once you have the eyes and ears on, it's time to add the mane. I got an embroidery needle and pulled yarn through the fabric and then knotted it. There probably is something faster, but I certainly didn't figure it out.
Once the mane is done it is time to stuff. Stuff the head about half full (about to where the neck begins) and then prepare the stick. I crumpled a piece of felt and then draped another piece of felt over it and tied it on the end of the stick like so:This prevents the stick from poking through and tearing the fabric. Once that is done, place the stick in the head, put the stuffing around it until it is packed as tightly as you want and you are ready to finish it.
Get a hot glue gun. There is nothing like a hot glue gun when it is late at night and you need a stick horse for Halloween the next day. put a ring of glue on the stick and gather the fabric and press it onto the glue. Then get ribbon, strips of fabric, whatever and wrap the thing like crazy. then hot glue the end of the ribbon and voila! Your almost done!

Get ribbon, or binding, or whatever you want to use for reigns and a bridle and glue it in place. It honestly is as easy as that.


Carli and Jeremy said...

Oh my goodness. You amaze me. And inspire me. I love you!

casserole said...

This is such an awesome project!!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing Blog:

casserole said...

Oops! I think I posted a bad link before. Trying again:


Language Lover said...

Love this! I was looking for hobby horse instructions and yours is the perfect balance of ease and attractiveness :) Thanks!

Language Lover said...

Thought I'd do a quick update now that I've actually made the horses:

1) The ear instructions were great! I used stiff felt instead of interfacing, and I loved attaching them by sewing on the inside of a slit rather than just gluing them or having visible stitches on the outside. The dart down the center added a nice realistic touch too.

2) I tried this for the mane and it worked great: Loop yarn around your palm several times, then set it between the inside-out layers so that one end of the loops falls at the back edge of the horse's neck. Do this several times down the neck, then pin it in place and sew along the seam normally. Turn right side out and cut all the loops apart; the mane looks totally natural and it's very easy.

My girls are totally in love with their new horses and have made "beds" for them next to their own.

Thanks again!

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Chels said...

This is a great tutorial and cute pony! I have your link on my Make a Stick Horse post!

Perrine said...

I really like your how to. I was wondering if I could translate it in French and add it to all the how tos as explained in my french article (
Of course, your website would be quoted and there would be a link!
Thank you,

Joe & Kris said...

I absolutely love your post thank you so much. I might be a little blonde but I can't see a pattern. Is there any chance of posting a pattern for those of us who can't draw to save ourselves??

Uncle Steve Severance said...

Does anyone know a cheep place where I can get 20 or so sticks to make hobby horses?