How to make a DIY Hobby Horse - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

How to make a DIY Hobby Horse

| October 29, 2010 | 53 Comments

I have been pondering on how to make an easy Stick Horse (or Hobby Horse in some parts of the world) for a while. Ever since, we had the Sock Bunny visit, I have been wanting to make a Sock Stick Horse, and here we have it! I have made it for Red Ted this Christmas, which is such a shame, as I cannot wait to give it to him. Mummy will have to be patient!

It really isn’t too hard to make and there are lots of shortcuts you can do, which I will highlight along the way!

Hobby Horse


Hobby Horse Materials:

  • A Sock for the head (a stripy one would be fabulous)
  • scraps for ears (I used some old jeans)
  • some ribbon/ string/ bias binding/ leather strips/ curtain cords for halter
  • wool (for mane), buttons for eyes (though you could probably use felt),
  • a sturdy stick the height of your child, (lots) bubble wrap or similar for stuffing,
  • a saw (for taking twigs off stick),
  • scissors,
  • thread & needle.

Sounds like a lot of stuff! But the only “new” thing I used was the sock! I didn’t have a “nice” spare sock… but would have loved to have used an old one… then this would have been virtually free. What I do recommend, is that you think about the colours you are using – i.e. bring all your materials together and look what works well together. E.g. I originally was going to use some white wool for the mane, but found that the blue one was nicer. And I fib: I had a fab red and green sock, but didn’t have any ribbon to go with it as a halter – you catch my drift! Anyway, my “new” grey sock only cost 50p…

Here we go:

How to Make a  Hobby Horse

hobby horse how to

1) Prep your stick – saw off any branches/ twigs and add a notch around 20-30cm down from the top. This notch will later help “hold” the head in place. Stick should be child height or slightly longer.

2) Cover the top of stick with stuffing (bubble wrap in my case) and some fabric scraps – this will protect the horses head later and help prevent the stick poking out!

hobby horse how to

3) Stuff lots of small pieces of bubble wrap into sock. By putting in small pieces, you will find it easier to “shape” the head. And indeed get the bubble wrap in! When you have a sausage up to the heel, add more stuffing to the side of the face – to form a bit of cheek. Add more stuffing to heal.

hobby horse instructions

4) Insert stick and then add stuffing all around it. I found this to b a bit fiddly and I even broke a sweat (most unlady like)! It s fiddly. But it is worth it! Re shape the head if need be, by squishing it around and poking the stuffing a bit.

5) Secure with string at the same height of notch. You can then also add some ribbon or something to “hide” the string, but I left mine. Some people secure the whole lot with hot glue. But I don’t have hot glue!!!!

hobby horse hobby horse instructions

6) Make the ears – I cut some ear shames out – 3 pieces – one for centre of hear and 2 to make the ear itself. The centre bit is the “reverse side” of my denim. I attached it blanket stitch. Then I put the ear pieces right side facing each other, stitched round it and turned them inside out. Voila, an ear! You can make this easier and quick, by using felt pieces and gluing them.

hobby horse instructions

7) I the cut my Bias Binding into halter length pieces – a nozzle, round the head and then the reigns.

8. Pin it all onto the head to see if you have the right pieces and make sure you are attaching it correctly relatively to each other (you don’t want wonky eyes or a skewed ear). I found this a REALLY useful step. So wouldn’t skip it!!

9) Sew on Ears, Eyes and Halter. This was a little fiddly. But I reckon you could probably glue some of this. I think sewing is much nicer, certainly if using buttons for eyes and much more secure. But you could do felt eyes and stick them on. And the halter could possibly be tied on? Just have a go and see what works for you.

hobby horse instructions main

hobby horse instructions

10) The main – I cut LOTS of strips of wool and sewed them on separately. To get them even, I wrapped my wool round a book and cut at both ends. See picture for how to sew on: I drew a line, to get a roughly straight main. Sew in the piece of wool and then tie a simple not. Repeat LOTS. The more you do, the better the mane!

Isn’t he simply divine?! I am in love!!!! (the middle Sick Horse shows “work in progress”)

hobby horse


Will you be making anything for your kids, friends or family this Christmas? If so, what?

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Category: Gifts, How To's, Recycling, Sewing

Comments (53)

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  1. Oh I love him! Thanks so much for adding him to Thrifty Christmas!

  2. Red Ted Art says:

    Yay!! And he was very very thrifty to make… can’t wait for Red Ted to have him! I “let” him see it on the “puter” today and he got soo excited just looking at a picture “of a horse” – little does he know and Xmas will bring a lovely surprise for him!

  3. Ruth says:

    Fabulous idea Maggy. I’m going to make my little girl lots of cushions for her room to flump around on in her room including an alphabet cushion in her initial.
    Everyone else is getting handmade soap (probably)

  4. Red Ted Art says:

    Ooh, I like the idea of lots of cushions and certainly the boucing bit! Think of how cozy you could make a den… An alphabet one will definitely be best of all!

  5. Amy says:

    I wish I could sew my little on would so love that. I may ask a friend for help.. Great idea… Enjoy your fun weekend..

  6. MessyMissy says:

    That is so cool!!! I love the use of the sock.

  7. JDaniel would love one of these. He keeps riding sticks in the backyard.

  8. Jackie says:

    I love, love, love this. My son loves the stick horses. I may have to make him one of these but I probably oculdn’t wait until Christmas. I am making a lot of homemade gifts. I’m making my youngest and my nephew “busy books”- fabric books with lacing, buttoning, etc. And I’m making my oldest son a bunch of boy dress ups and a dress up center. I love making gifts!

  9. Becky says:

    I absolutely adore this . If you would like to guest post this in my budget christmas bonanza die to start mid Nov please feel free x

  10. Red Ted Art says:

    Jackie – wow, I am impressed! Love the idea of busy books, and the dress up/ down centre sounds awesome! Are you blogging about it? Would LOVE to see photos!

    Becky – let’s chat!

  11. Red Ted Art says:

    Amy – not THAT much sewing involved. More stuffing… I reckon you can make this! Or use felt and you can do a little glueing?!

  12. Dear Red Ted Art,
    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment on my very meager F-Post for Mrs. Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday-F, F is for Fox.
    I hav terrible problems with my computer. Now, just yesterday, I can get back on line on my home computer. I have revised my F-post and would like to invite you to return whenever you have the time. Please usew the link below.

    Best wishes & thanks,
    Anna’s Alphabe-Thursday-F: REVISED!!!

  13. April says:

    What a fabulous idea! And it is so much cuter than store-bought ones!!

  14. This is great Maggy! I really like it and it looks relatively straight forward to make. I bet my little nephews would love these for Christmas.

  15. Red Ted Art says:

    Thank you :-) yes. It wasn’t too hard. Getting the ears on was a bit fiddly and stuffing the bubble wrap kept me warm!! But apart from that… you would be the coolest Auntie in town if you made these for your nephews!

    April – thank you – pleased it looks “better” than store bought! Hope Red Ted thinks so too!

  16. Kylie says:

    It looks great – well done. I am making lots of my gifts this year – although starting to think that I left my run too late:)

  17. ~Mama says:

    What a great idea! I’ve got a spare sock, a stick and an afternoon…think I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the tip.

  18. jfb57 says:

    I think I’ve met this handsome fellow before! He still makes me smile!!

  19. Gattina says:

    That’s absolutely adorable ! What a great idea !

  20. Virginia says:

    I wondered over from Jenny Matlock’s blog. Your website is such a great resource! THANK YOU.

    I just added the story cubes and stick horse to my Christmas gift to-do list!

  21. Paige says:

    THAT IS SO CUTE. I love him.

  22. Sadly, there are no little ones in my life right now since this is such a delightful project! I can just see a grandchild prancing around on his/her little horse.

  23. Theresa says:

    O gosh! Great H word and fabu tutorial!

  24. You’ve got me itching to make one out of a striped wool sock. Will I? I don’t know, but I’m definitely bookmarking your post and forwarding it to a couple of grandma friends. Thank you.

  25. Oh wow. This is the cutest stick-horse I’ve seen in a long time. You could even make it with those gray and red socks like the sock monkeys!

    Our Grands are getting too big for these…that just makes me sad!

    But I’m sending this link along to some friends with little kids and little Grands and hopefully someone can use this excellent tutorial to bring joy to a loved one!

    We usually make some simple crafts for gifts for the little girls to give each year but I’m not quite sure yet what they’re going to be!

    Thanks for linking.

    This was such a happy stop today.


  26. Red Ted Art says:

    Aaah thank you all for you lovely comments! I LOVE Hugo! So was so pleased to get to show him off!

    Jenny – thank you for passing on the links to friends!! Very much appreciated!


  27. Rebecca says:

    Oh he’s just gorgeous! I’ll definitely be making one (or two!) when the twins are a bit older :)

  28. Maggy, meant to tell you ages ago…. this is fabulous. You are soooo clever!


  29. What a great project! You did a wonderful job! Thank you so much for sharing at my Saving Christmas Party!

  30. Cara says:

    That is fantastic. I’m really inspired to have a go at this.

  31. mymumdom says:

    Oh he’s gorgeous. How difficult would you say this was? Bear in mind I don’t sew Brownies badges on, I use glue!

  32. Red Ted Art says:

    I would say “medium” – am sure you would be fine the main bit I “sewed” was the ears, reigns and the buttons. I guess technically the wool… You could try felt ears (less sewing – ie. you wouldn’t need to sew round the edges, just sew them on the head) and the reins you could tie on?

    The head is shaped by stuffing – no sewing!

    Wasn’t too hard, but did take me two evenings (of tv – esp with the main being bitty)

    Hope you do have a go


  33. ella says:

    I adore this Maggy, such a fun gift for children x

  34. Zoe says:

    Uh oh, a new thing on my list of things to do – this is great! J wants a unicorn hobby horse for her birthday and I had been looking for one. But then this post arrives like a gift… thankyou!

  35. Red Ted Art says:

    Perfect timing :-) now how to make the horn…. a felt cone maybe? I bet you will think of something!

  36. aww, he is seriously cute! I may have to make one for the M’s :)

  37. He is gorgeous, if my two were younger I’d be trying my hand at this x

  38. Red Ted Art says:

    Oooh Cass.. you will have bookmark this for the grandchildren then!!! Plenty of time of course!!!!

  39. What a great diy! Love it. You’ve done and excellent job.

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