Cardboard Stampede

Or: How to make a cardboard horse.

cardboard horses

In 2006 I started making cardboard horses. They were a self imposed assignment, a daily creative task intended to motivate and loosen me up, little experiments, paralysis prevention. My plan was to make a cardboard horse everyday, Monday through Friday until I had 100. I did and exhibited the group at Tinlarkin Los Angeles  in 2007. I’ve made 3 patterns, two adults and a colt, to share and I hope you make a cardboard horse or two or three or maybe a little family or maybe your own stampede!

What you will need:
cardboard- you can use any kind – I think a medium weight is good, I’m using cardboard from a gift box.
manicure scissors
hammer and one nail
thin wire
paint and brushes, glue, paper, fabric, lace etc. – whatever you like, whatever you’ve got.

First download and print the patterns, cut out the pieces and trace them  onto your cardboard.  I like to use a pair of manicure scissors for the difficult small bits – corners etc. I included an optional tail and mane in the pattern.  I’m foregoing those for this horse and will add a tail and mane of antique lace.

(Click the images for a larger view)

You can finish your horse with collage or fabric or pencil  – the possibilities are endless – but if you choose to paint  then paint both sides to prevent curling. I’m using latex paint for the base, adding some dapples from my water color box and some splatters of ink, you can use a stiff paint brush or old tooth brush. I used a fine sharpie pen to draw on a very simple  eye and mouth.

Next I’m adding the antique lace mane and tail using a glue stick ( or elmer’s glue if you prefer).
Once that is dry we’re ready to assemble.

Arrange the legs with the body sandwiched between and use the nail to make a hole through all three layers. You’ll need to put a piece of wood or heavy cardboard underneath to protect the surface you’re working on. Thread the wire through the button holes and then pass both strands through the legs and body. Thread both wires through a small button on the back,  pull it tight  and twist to secure and trim the extra wire with pliers. Add  another piece of wire for hanging by twisting it around the buttons. I like to give all my horses a name, this is Sebald, horse #101.

cardboard horses

I’ve hung sebald amongst the snowflakes with horse #71 winston.

You can share your horses here if you like:
I’d love to see!


  1. Thank you soooooo much Ann for this generous and awesome tutorial!!!I can not wait to get started!I have been a fan of your work so long and this is so exciting,to be able to make something myself with your patterns!thank you again!
    xoxo Dees

  2. Hi Ann! I commented on the design sponge post about this, using it for a workshop for adults with developmental disabilities. Thanks so much for offering to donate supplies, that’s super rad of you! You can contact me at so we can talk about it further 🙂

  3. This idea of a daily horse as a kind of creative routine is brilliant and the result looks so great ! Did it actually work to prevent “creative paralysis” ?

  4. i’m a big fan of your work. i’m putting these as my desktop wallpaper so i can look at them one by one 🙂

  5. Thank you soooo much for the pattern and tutorial! I have admired your work and cannot wait to try to make a couple of them!!

  6. Thanks Ann for sharing this! I’m going to make some and use them in my scrapbooking and cards – how gorgeous are they?

  7. Ann,
    I happened to stumble on to your blog and I was so excited to see your hundred horse project! I grew up with horses as my first love and I now have a granddaughter who loves horses as well. I am going to make her some horses for her room. Thank you for being so generous.

  8. Just wanted to say thanks so much for the inspiration, and patterns. Your art is so lovely. Check out our blog to see our herd started across my daughter’s wall.
    Thank you!

  9. Denise Leavens

    I AM GRINNING right now.
    Ever since your hundred horses piece I have had a desire to make these. I never did quite get around to making my own pattern. I was even thinking of this project as recent as yesterday, and here I find it as a GIFT from you today! THANK YOU so very, very much. I am really looking forward to making some!

    Blessings and love,

  10. Son tannn bonitos. Me gustaría mucho hacer aguno, pero seguro que no me quedan tan dulces y originales…

  11. Hi Ann,

    I just stumbled upon your blog and am utterly smitten with your 100 horse project. They look fantastic together

  12. Jennifer

    Hi Ann,

    I thought was truely wonderful idea and wanted to try it myself as a gift for my niece who loves horses. After 15 peices completed, I had to stop. They are absolutely wonderful, but now I can really appreciate all the work you put into 100. They are so whimsical and delightful and I appreciate you sharing them.

  13. hi ann,

    thanks so much for posting your templates. i finally got around to making a few horses out of some paint chips i had lying around. turns out repetative cardstock cutting is like stress therapy for people without health insurance.

  14. Thank you! This is exactly what I’m going to do with my nieces next weekend. You have the best ideas.

  15. BlueHornet

    What’s up, is there anybody else here?
    If there’s anyone else here, let me know.
    Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.

    See ya,

  16. Pingback: Paper Horse Inspired by Ann Wood  | PinkOnHead

  17. I happen to stumble onto your site!!
    Iam in love!!
    I want to do a horse a day too!!
    Thank-you for being so very generous with you tute!!
    A New Fan!!

  18. These are so great! My mom actually owns the little green one at the bottom with newspaper/ print mane and we love him, we just had no idea who made him. I was so excited to stumble upon your blog – great work!

  19. Rani Jeannette

    Just finished cutting out three pink floral (all different florals) horses. Am going to mount them on black glossy c/s. Thank you so much…love having a bit of whimsy to start my day!

  20. Loooove your horses… just shows how a bit of creativity each day can turn into this beautiful stampede of horses. What a delight!

  21. I found this tutorial from a link on a blog – and waow ! My daughters love horses, and the February holidays have just begun here. We are going to have cold weather that will prevent them from playing outside – this will just be perfect to spend a creative afternoon that they WILL enjoy, I know it ! Thank you very much !

  22. Found you via liquidskyart…just love your horses. What a wonderful exercise and you bred them,too. I have a mentally challenged cousin who loves horses, I’ll make her some and share your pattern + some paints and buttons…she will be in horse heaven. Blessings and health. deborah

  23. These are fantastic! I often work with children and use brass rivets to make movable limbs on characters – dolls, animals, monsters. Using the buttons and wires is a wonderful alternative, and so much more creative. Thanks for the idea!

  24. I love this! I just made a shadow puppet theater with my son on Acorn Pies. I think you could have an amazing time making articulated shadow puppets using your pattern. They would be very magical. love, Beth

  25. Gemma Gough

    beautiful horses. They would make lovely garlands for a party banner or even mobiles!

  26. I have your beautiful horses as my front page on my computer (whatever you call it.. desk page?) I have started painting it.. red and white stripes for my sister who I remember loved her ‘horkie’ a red and white stuffed animal. I am finding the cardboard curls a little. Should I use thicker cardboard? (but then it will be difficult to cut.. ) please advise. Your website is WONderful!

    thank you for sharing!

  27. I am trying to down load the pattern for the horse’s so I can make these with my grand daughters that rodeo and are 6 and 10 they look like a really neat arts project that they could do while waiting at the rodeos.And it will not take me to the site for the patterns all I get is a blank page.Can you help me with this. Thank You Susan

  28. What a fun idea! And when you make 100 of them is really a powerful statement.
    Thanks for sharing

  29. 🙂 I was really excited to try it today. I tried it with acrylic craft paint on the cereal box. For some reason, multi coat is still unable to cover the cereal graphic. 🙁 I wonder what type of paint I should use?

  30. Actually, I think I will just trace the horse on the opposite side of the graphics. That should solve the problem. 😀

  31. I stumbled upon this site completely by accident and now I am completely enthralled and can’t wait to make my own. Beautiful project, thanks for sharing.

  32. Igna from Amsterdam

    Hello Ann,Thanks for the horsepattern.I am an artist myself and i dont like to copy things.But these horses are great(special when you make a stampede).thanks,Igna

  33. This is the best pattern I’ve found for a poseable horse. It’s going to make the best craft for my horse-loving 4-year old. Thank you!

  34. Brenda in snowy MN

    Ann, Thank you so much for sharing your horse pattern. I and several of my daughters are horse-lovers. I have ideas of what to do with your horse pattern swimming around in my head. Hopefully I can hang onto them long enough to implement them – Christmas Day is almost here!

  35. Hello,

    Nice to be registered on My little name is maxizhu 😉

  36. laura balsley


    I have made two red and white striped horses with red hair for their tails. I hope I can somehow post my two horses on your website so you can see what I have done. Thank you for your wonderful tutorial on this!

  37. Stephanie

    I am very impressed with this project. You did a lovely job of it. I love it!

  38. scrapironmatron

    I have to try these out with tin! I have a stash of scrap ceiling tin… now, what to do about the sharp edges?

    Thanks for the template!

  39. Pingback: Make Your Own: Cardboard Horse | Bambino Goodies

  40. Maricel

    Your cardboard horses are very nice! I suggest you turn it into a paper mache 3D horse so you can preserve it for long time.

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  42. karla McClain

    I find that your paper horses templates are no longer available on your site. Is it possible to get the patterns somehow?
    My great niece wants to do a stampede on her wall and will be heartbroken if I have to tell her it won’t be possible.
    Thank you

    • Karla,

      The horse templates are indeed still available. In the list of supplies, the link that says pattern worked for me on June 29, 2016 with no trouble at all.

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