Category: horses

cardboard horses

Way back in 2006 I made 100 cardboard horses as an experiment and creative exercise – I exhibited the group in Los Angeles in 2007. I’ve added cormac and the other 16 remaining horses (some of my favorites) from the collection to my shop.

PS -If you are getting snow I hope you’re enjoying it. I am getting snow and enjoying it.

Cardboard Stampede

cardboard horses

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 – 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.
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.


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If you’ve check out Laura Normandin’s blog then you already know I’m participating in a show in LA this July at Tinlark Gallery with Laura and Maggie Hiltner. It’s flattering to be included with such talented people. I’m enjoying making things for the show and excited in kind of a mildly hysterical way about the experience – I’ve never done anything like this before and the thought is a little overwhelming. I’m doing an installation in the project room that will include the 100 horse project.


The space is perfect for the horses and I’m also making new ships and some other things. I’ll be posting progress photos and will probably be getting myself on some kind of self -inflicted program soon to insure steady forward progress.


I’ll give you more news on the show as it becomes available.

Today’s bird, Freda, looks like she means business.


She’ll be in the shop at 8:30 PM EST.

100 cardboard horses

My one hundred cardboard horses are done.

I started, I finished and it was harder and way more work than I expected. It was frequently inconvenient, but no matter how much I sometimes didn’t feel like making one, it got my hands and brain moving in some sort of creative way, and for me, like a lot of people who work for and mostly by themselves that can be half the battle. So I’m glad I did it, I’d do it again, and I’m glad it’s finished. 100 is enough cardboard horses. I’m still not sure exactly what to do with them, but I’ll figure it out in the next week or so. In a couple weeks I’ll get myself on a new self inflicted program of some sort.

horse #100 quilty

And here’s the whole group, in sections unfortunately, due to the hugeness, but you can click on the images for a larger view.

Update : You can make your own cardboard stampede with the templates and instructions here.