My little "cowpokes" love horses, and since stick horses eat a lot less and make much less mess :) I decided to try my hand at making some for Christmas!! We'll leave the real thing at Grampa's house :)
I didn't have any old broom handles or dowels so I thought a dollar store mop might be the perfect material not only for the stick but also the mane and this is what I came up with!
It was a pretty easy project and I think my kiddos are going to LOVE them :)
This is how I did it.
I took the mop end off of the metal handle and pooped off the plastic so the strands were loose. I also spray painted the "stick" black. You could leave it white, but my sock is off white and black and I thought the black would look better. Plus, these days I never turn down an opportunity to spray paint something. Maybe it's that inner teenage rebel that never surfaced.. who knows :) But, I had it on hand so I sprayed the metal handle black.
For the head I used a thick mens sock and stuffed it as full as I could with pillow stuffing.
Now for the mane, I measured the length of the individual mop pieces and then cut an equal number of pieces of black yarn the same length. Using a large needle and going down the center of what would be the back of the sock I used the yarn to attach the doubled over mop strand.
A double knot secures it nice and tight.
My mop had about 60 strands so I ended up doing two rows of the mane starting at where the heel is on the sock and going down to where the top begins. You could just do one row, but I had the material and liked not only the two color mane but also how thick it is so I did two.
For the front I did the same thing, just cut the mop strands and yarn in half so that they don't cover the eyes once they are on. Basically, you want to now go the opposite direction of your other rows and cover where the heel would have been on your sock.
This is is what it looked like with all the strands attached.
Nice and thick :)
This is the point where I attached the handle. I decided to flip the handle around and use the end that would normally have been the exposed end on the mop and put that inside the sock. On my mop, the end that was attached to the mop head had a nice plastic end the other end did not so I figured the plastic end would probably be a little gentler on my floors :) Once the handles was all the way up to the heel portion of the sock I liberally applied glue all around the handle near the bottom of the sock..(which actually used to be the top).
Then wrap the sock tightly around the glue and handle. I used some extra black yarn and wrapped it around the handle to finish it off and give it some extra support.
Now the personality :) I used these google eyes also from the dollar store for the eyes and the little ones for the nose. Just a little glue and already these critters are starting to come to life ;)
For the mouth I threaded a piece of red yarn through the sock and around, tying it off at the corners.
The eye lashes and ears are just pieces of felt that I cut and then hand sewed on with a few stitches. It's hard to see in these pictures... (sorry about that), but I layered black and off-white felt and then pinched the bottom together and put a stitch through it before sewing it to the head so the ears would stand up better and look more realistic.
The bridle came from this old purse of mine that had ripped. I used the straps and rings from the handles to make the bridle.
And the reins are an old pair of yoga pants that I cut into strips, quickly braided and then tied to the rings on the bridle.
Pretty fun for a few bucks :) I made two.. one for each kiddo in an night. Like my other recent projects, these are tucked away waiting for Santa. Once again the chubby guy gets all the credit!!! Funny how that works :)
Now almost a year since I made these my kids still love and play with them, but we did just have one of the sticks get bent during a rather rambunctious ride, so if your kiddos are bigger or rowdy like mine you may want to reinforce the thin metal handle of the dollar store mop with some tape. I used black electrical taped wrapped around the full length, this would also skip the painting step.. bonus :) You could also follow the head technique above using a dollar store mop, but substitute the handle for a wooden dowel from Home Depot or Lowes... just ideas!
Happy Trails, Lindsey :)