Or: How to make a cardboard horse.
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 – a stampede! I did and exhibited the group at Tinlark in 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.
hammer and one nail
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.
I’ve hung sebald amongst the snowflakes with horse #71 winston.
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!
OHH I’m in love of your work.
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 email@example.com so we can talk about it further 🙂
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” ?
Thank you so much dear Ann!
you and your art are marvelous!!!!!!
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 🙂
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!!
Wondering if you have seen an old art film, Dream of Wild Horses.
I made my own little cardboard horse! Thanks so much for the pattern, it’s really fun! 🙂
Thanks Ann for sharing this! I’m going to make some and use them in my scrapbooking and cards – how gorgeous are they?
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.
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.
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,
Son tannn bonitos. Me gustaría mucho hacer aguno, pero seguro que no me quedan tan dulces y originales…
Thank you for posting your pattern. I’m making felt horses with it.
Please take a look at 3 I made today-
I Used brads on the blue one, out of buttons!
This is such a fun Idea! The kids and I are going to start a Summer Stampede.
I love your house project!
sorry…I do not mean house but horse…
I just stumbled upon your blog and am utterly smitten with your 100 horse project. They look fantastic together
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.
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.
I just finished my first horse myself; http://attaquesurprise.deviantart.com/art/Marius-the-stallion-128143918
You’re extraordinarily talented, I could browse through your shop and blog for ages… so inspirational!
Thank you! This is exactly what I’m going to do with my nieces next weekend. You have the best ideas.
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.
love this project and had to post. Your work is stunning Ann.
[…] Ann Wood Horse Tutorial I’ve downloaded pattern from Ann’s side and started my silver-black horse. I used scissors, yogurt lids, black paper, cardboard, craft glue, toothpicks and beads. The hardest think was to cut horse from cardboard and to make horse legs moving. Paper Horse Tool Kit Paper Horse Second Try […]
I love your horses and I had to try to make my own here you can see the result my paper horse
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!!
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!
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!
I have dream of the paper horses ..they are so pretty
What an incredible work – This is awesome !!!
Loooove your horses…..it just shows how a bit of creativity each day can turn into this beautiful stampede of horses. What a delight!
Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing 😀
formidable !!! j’admire votre talent, merci pour le partage de vos chevaux merveilleux.
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 !
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
thanks so much for sharing!! i love these, and finally made them!
Thank you so much for such fabulous inspiration! I will be making some of these wonderful horses with my children! Lucy
This is fabulous! I’m going to do some with my son this week!
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!
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
beautiful horses. They would make lovely garlands for a party banner or even mobiles!
these are simply lovely. Thank you for the inspiration.
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!
I love these horses.
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
What a fun idea! And when you make 100 of them is really a powerful statement.
Thanks for sharing
Thanks for sharing this! I started making some in October, and just got around to posting pictures to my blog.
I love your work!
🙂 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?
Actually, I think I will just trace the horse on the opposite side of the graphics. That should solve the problem. 😀
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.
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
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!
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!
Nice to be registered on berlinswhimsy.typepad.com. My little name is maxizhu 😉
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!
I am very impressed with this project. You did a lovely job of it. I love it!
Thanks for the great template! My daughter loves them and we have just finished some of them.. but still more to come:
Thanks for your inspiration and sharing this with us!!!
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!
Excellent Post, but this has nothing to do with dog fencing.
[…] – these poseable cardboard horses are just fabulous, even more so en masse. Just print one of Ann Wood‘s three templates, trace onto card, cut out and assemble, using wire and buttons. Then go […]
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.
[…] A long time ago, back when Google Reader was a thing and I actually kept up with a whole range of blogs I used to read Design Sponge all the time. It’s still a good place to browse for ideas and inspiration, but there was always this one specific project that caught my eye. It was 2009 and they shared Ann Woods Cardboard Stampede. […]
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.
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.
do you also have donkey ones?
[…] I’m a huge fan of ann wood handmade. I go and check her blog everyday, just to make sure that she hasn’t written something new, and I have bought several of her patterns. Well, last night, I was searching for something to do, and just out of way of habit, I strolled my browser over to Ann’s sight. For fun, I went to see her very first post in her archives, and as I was scrolling through, I came across her cardboard horses. […]
Thank you very much for this wonderful and generous tutorial.
i am keen to do this with my after school art club.
How did you hang all those horses on in the wall.
I have a great place in my room for all these i am working on.
Thank you Ann
How did you hang all those horses on your wall.
Just starting mine this week.
Thank you Ann for such a fun project!
I used little picture nails – they are hung from the wire in the back. Good luck with your stampede!
Looking forward to getting some of those Other patterns soon.
Going to be a great 2018!
Thank you Ann! For several years my grandchildren and I have created your horse stampedes and we always have so much fun! I love how different each one is… just like the grands themselves. We just use brass brads instead of buttons to simplify that process. And we all enjoy the naming process too and then admiring them mounted on the wall. Visitors always enjoy the frisky stampede on my wall as well. One of these days I’ll try your one-a-day project. Love everything about this! Great Big Thank YOU!
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Thank you for the lovely crafted eye candy. I am glad to have found you on Pinterest
Thank you, Ann Wood. My life is much sweeter. A horse a day is just the joy I needed.
I enjoy seeing all of your creations, but the stampede is my all time favorite. There are so many things, not just horses, that I can imagine doing in a similar fashion. Thanks for this great idea.
I LOVE the horses!!! So many amazing free projects and your paintings are beautiful!
Thank you for this. I can’t wait to make some to race about my studio! <3