How to build your own toy rocking horse

With a few pieces of building materials

and a little imagination, you can make your own toy rocking horse and you can make it as big or as small as you would like.

Supplies you will need are wood, braided nylon rope, material for ears, screws, dowel, sandpaper, and finishing materials.

Start by making a template on paper or poster board of all the pieces you will need for your horse. You will need a head and mane, a seat, the rocker base, and legs. If a child is going to be playing on it you will want to be sure to make all edges smooth and rounded; don’t use treated wood, and be sure to use non-toxic finishing materials. Make sure there are no large knots in the wood you have selected as it may weaken the wood.

To begin your project, cut the head out. Put the head in a clamp. Mark points spaced evenly along the mane area of the head. Drill holes into the edge of the head using a bit the same size as your rope.

Trace the cut line for the mane installation directly on the head of the horse. Carefully cut this line with a saw. After you install the rope you will glue this piece back into place.

Cut your rope (after wrapping it with masking tape) whatever size that will make your mane look proportionate. If you made ten holes you will only need five pieces of rope. If you wrap the rope with masking tape you can cut through the tape easily and it will prevent the rope from unraveling. Thread the rope through the holes you have cut. Thread both ends through adjacent holes.

Using a sharp knife chisel the wood from the edge of the head between the holes. You will want to make a cavity for the mane to fit in so that the horse looks like it has a braided mane. Screw the mane section back to the head. You may have to chisel the cavity a few times to get this to fit. Wrap the ropes with tape while you continue working on the horse. When your horse if finished you can trim the mane with scissors if needed.

Mark where you are going to place your riding handle. Drill this out. When you are finishing your project you will want to insert a piece of dowel into this hole.

Cut your seat. Sand where necessary. Mark the center line of the seat. This will help when you are putting your horse together.

Drill a hole in the rear of the seat for a tale. Be sure to use your center line to keep this straight. You may want to angle your hole to make the tail look more natural.

Glue the head of your horse to the seat. Drill two holes under the seat so you can attach screws to the head on the horse. Drill two longer holes and fill it with a piece of dowel to give strength to the head of the horse.

Cut out the two rockers and reinforcement strips. Sand where necessary. Starting with the center reinforcement strip, attach to the center of both rockers. Measure and space evenly your other reinforcement strips.

Cut the legs and sand where necessary. Screw them onto mounting blocks and attach to the seat and front and back reinforcement strips on the rockers. You may have to make some adjustments to get the legs to fit evenly.

The finishing touches are all that need to be done now. You can paint the horse’s mouth, eyes, jawline, bridle, and anywhere else you want to add your own touches. Apply free-standing ears. After you have finished the wood, you can add the tail. To make the tail you need to bind pieces of rope together and glue. After this has dried you can glue the bound end in the place you have drilled for the tail. Allow drying. Comb out the tail and mane and trim as desired.

For the areas of your horse where you are using screws, you may want to countersink holes in the place where the screws will go. After the screw is in place, you can take a small piece of dowel and glue it into the hole over top of the screw or you can use decorative plugs. This will give your horse a more finished look.

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