• Retro Palm

Stick Horse DIY Restoration Project

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

An easy and affordable nursery decor idea!

Boys Nursery Wooden Stick Horse Restoration Project

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If you are looking for an easy and fun diy decor project for a nursery, this stick horse restoration project could be the inspiration you are looking for! Not only was this project very affordable but it was also fun and easy to do. Here is how I did a quick restoration on an old wooden stick horse from the thrift store.

Materials Used:

I found this old wooden stick horse recently while browsing at my local thrift store and I was lucky enough to also find a bulk bag of plastic canvas yarn with several shades of blue and enough to give this horse a fresh hairstyle. All I had to do was grab a tube of paint from Michael’s and a few tools and then get to work!

After laying out some old newspaper to protect my workspace, I started by removing all of the old rope and hair. This ended up being the most challenging part of the entire project because each rope “hair” section was glued into a hole with some pretty serious wood glue. After cutting down the hair with some kitchen shears I was able to remove the rest with a pair of pliers.

After cleaning the old rope from my workspace, I gave the remaining wood base a good wipe down with a microfiber cloth and then it was time to start painting! I had to do a total of three coats per side with drying time in between each coat on each side. I really liked this paint from Artist’s Loft as it had a really smooth texture and it coated the wood really nicely. I also liked that this is a non toxic paint. Drying time was around 15-20 minutes but I left a few of the coats overnight, especially the last one before gluing the hair. Some of the paint collected in the eyes and the holes for the reins and hair which I removed with a small wooden stick.

A helpful trick I learned for acrylic paint is to store the paintbrush and extra paint in a plastic zip bag in between coats to keep it from getting clumpy or dried out. You could also just rinse the brush out between coats but I poured too much paint and didn’t want to waste it!

For the hair I just measured a strand by eyeballing where it would land after being pushed into one of the plug holes and then cut the rest of the strands to match. This ended up being about 19.5 inches. I used four strands of the navy, white and seafoam colors and five strands of the baby blue for each hair section (four total). I arranged the strands how I liked them and then folded them in half. I used some of the navy color string to tie off a section at the top to hold them together. This was the part that I planned to stuff into the plug holes and I hoped that it would not be visible. To achieve this I was sure to try and keep this section on the smaller side. I cut the excess from the ends also.

For the reins I took the leftovers from each color and braided them together. I tied a knot leaving some of the ends to look like fringe. I used a clipboard to hold the strands in place and braided until I had a roughly equal amount of fringe to tie off on the other end.

I was originally going to leave the eyes white but at the last minute decided it would be interesting to see what they looked like painted. I had some leftover blue acrylic paint so I just quickly filled in each eye and let them dry.

Finally it was time to put everything together for the final look! I used hot glue to attach the hair in each plug. I filled each hole about half way with the glue and then carefully pushed the tied off section into the hole using a small wood stick. I use the stick because hot glue has a way of seeping through things and burning fingers! The stick also made it easy to really push down the hair to get it to stay in place.

After gluing all the hair into place, the final step was to add the reins. I just threaded the braided strand through the hole for the reins and tied a simple knot to keep it in place. I chose not to use any finishing spray on this piece because I wanted to keep it as simple (and non-toxic) as possible. This was a fun little project and I love how the finished piece turned out!

For more restoration projects and fun diy project ideas be sure to stay tuned! I hope this project gave you some new ideas - good luck and happy decorating!