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DIY Felt Stick Horses - Input for a 2-Year Old

Discussion in 'Family, Home & Health' started by JGator, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Sep 30, 2014
    Hi, my daughter is turning 2 at the end of October, and we are planning a barnyard animal theme party. She is also going to be a cowgirl for Halloween a few days after her party. I found this idea online for stick horses/ponies and would like to make at least one for her and potentially 8-10 more for her friends who are all 3 and older. I do not have a sewing machine, but I can sew a button to give you an idea of my sewing skills. What do you think on cuteness of these ideas and my ability to execute without a sewing machine and/or sewing skills?

    Option 1 - Felt - http://liagriffith.com/diy-felt-stick-horses/
    Option 2 - Sock - http://radmegan.com/2012/02/diy-sock-hobby-horses.html
    Option 3 - Super cute but more seams - https://www.etsy.com/listing/198147439/paint-patch-applique-supplemental?ref=shop_home_active_2

    Thanks for any advice.

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  2. VRBeauty
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    by VRBeauty » Sep 30, 2014
    I've done a lot of sewing. I wouldn't even try the third one without a sewing machine, because of the seams and because you'd have to stuff the form pretty full to get it to keep that shape, which would be a problem with hand stitching.

    The top horse (felt) is pretty forgiving as far as the stuffing is concerned, and I think it would be do-able if you hand-sew it. The mane is far easier on this horse than on the sock horse, since you just sew it into the seam. With two-year olds, you might want to sew on a piece of felt for the eye as they did with the sock horses, or sew on a much larger button than the one they used. (You can use fusible web for this, and iron on the eye, but I don't think you can use fusible web for the seams. If you use fusible web with a non-wool felt, be careful to test in a scrap for the correct iron temperature so you don't accidentally "melt" the felt.) One possibility, since this is such a simple pattern - see if someone could sew the seams on a machine for you. If you cut out the head and mane, sewing it on a machine would take almost no time. The leather bridle is nice but obviously optional. If you wanted to you could get the same effect with brown grosgrain ribbon.

    The sock horse would be the easiest without sewing, and the directions given with that pattern are very clear, although the mane will take a bit of time but it's very do-able. But - it's adorable, and I think 2 year-olds would like the brightly colored horses as much as the more realistic colored felt horses. Experiment with sock sized - you don't want them too big or you'll have to use a ton of stuffing (and the horse's head will tend to droop). You would have to hand-sew the eyes on as shown, since the fusible web option wouldn't work as well with the knit fabric. (You might be able to just glue they felt eyes on with a good fabric glue after the horse is stuffed, however.)
     
  3. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Oct 1, 2014
    Thanks, VRBeauty. I appreciate your thoughtful response. I do not have access to anyone who can sew nearby. My MIL is a sewer. knitter, etc. but she lives in a different country, unfortunately. I bought some fabric supplies last night, and I realized my scissors do not cut felt well. So, it looks like I need to get some pinking shears and probably some regular fabric scissors also. I also bought some striped socks - I couldn't find any rainbow striped socks, but got something colorful that may work. So, I will probably try out a few, but it will be back to the store tonight for fabric scissors. Any recommendations on brands - I was thinking maybe Fiskars.
     
  4. Loves Vintage
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    by Loves Vintage » Oct 1, 2014
    JGator - I really like the first ones! Keep us updated on your progress. I want to see how they turn out!!! I have used Fiskars on felt with no problem. (Shopping tip: be sure to search for coupons if you are going to Michaels, Joanns or the like!)
     
    


    


  5. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Oct 3, 2014
    LV and VRBeauty, I made a test horse last night with the felt. It was funny because this horse was cut out with my old scissors so it's not pretty, but I wanted to have a sample to learn from and make mistakes on. I used my new scissors for the mane and that turned out well. My hand sewing was not so hot because after I stuffed the head the seams split open! So, I re-sewed it with a different type stitch - I think it's something close to a whipstitch. Anyway, it has held. I stuffed it and now I'm trying to figure out the eyes. I think it looks strange with the buttons so I might do a button eye and glue a googly eye on top. I also still have the sock to try out which will involve less sewing, but then I have to do the mane in yarn. And, I'm wondering if I need to use a glue gun for the stick to stay in or not - different sites have different directions. And some say to put a foam ball on the end of the stick inside the head for safety. I have some so I will try those out too. But, the horse itself and mane look okay for now, but maybe a little on the small side. Just need to figure out the eyes and how to get the stick to stay in! I also bought bandana patterned ribbon and some bandanas so I will use one of those as decorations around where the stick and end of the horse head meet. I will post pictures once I get the eyes on.
     
  6. mia1181
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by mia1181 » Oct 4, 2014
    Fun! I love crafting! I don't have a sewing machine either so I have made a few beginner-level projects by hand. I have made some cute things and my secret is to find ideas that are a lot easier than they look. My hand stitching is horrendous, so I just find projects that you can't see the stitches that well. Just make sure your thread is strong and matches the felt well. Glad you figured out a stronger stitch too, that will really help.

    Make sure to post pics, I'd love to see what you come up with!
     
  7. JGator
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    by JGator » Oct 8, 2014
    I'm back with an update. 3 horse heads down! I am still trying to figure out the stick attachment, but I have 3 heads. Each one is larger than the last one. I used the crimping scissors on the 2nd one (grey one) and then forgot on the 3rd one (light tan), but I will go back to that for the pattern as I like the look better. I also added a 2nd layer of mane felt on the 2nd and 3rd ones to make it look thicker. I put the googly eyes on top the buttons as well. I had to go back to a regular stitch as the whip stitch wouldn't work around the part where the mane is - it kept tangling into the mane. Also, I am having a problem lining up the ears and eyes so they aren't even! What do you think? My daughter seems to love them so far. Hopefully, she will not destroy them pre-party. We just sent out her party invites, and I will try to make one for each kid. In the first picture, the far left horse is version 1 (camel colored), then the grey was v2, and the light tan is v3. I think I will stick with the v3 size, but definitely use the crimping scissors next time on v4.

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  8. Loves Vintage
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    by Loves Vintage » Oct 8, 2014
    BRAVO!! I love them!! I may be stealing this idea one year, hee-hee!! Seriously, they look really good! Keep at it!
     
  9. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Oct 8, 2014
    Thanks, LV! I will have to post my updated instructions when I am finished. By the time I am done with the last horse, who knows what I will have come up with!
     
  10. monarch64
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    by monarch64 » Oct 8, 2014
    JGator--amazing! I am sitting here just so impressed! Thanks for showing us pics of what you did. I was following this thread thinking about ways to be helpful but someone else seemed to have all the good ideas so I didn't chime in. I love how these turned out. Great job!!!

    :appl: :wavey:
     
    


    


  11. VRBeauty
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    by VRBeauty » Oct 9, 2014
    They look terrific! Re the sticks, I was wondering whether pool noodles might be a possibility? You'd be probably be able to hot glue the head to the stick, and safety wouldn't be an issue at all.
     
  12. JGator
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    by JGator » Oct 9, 2014
    Monnie, thanks for the compliments. Each one is getting a little easier than the last one.

    VRBeauty, you are brilliant. I googled pool noodle stick horses, and some people used the pool noodle for the whole horse, and one person put a leg of tights over the pool noodle to give it a pattern, but basically they are just folding the top of the noodle down to create the head and taping it around the base of the pool noodle. I like my heads now, so we will see what I can do as that will save our floors from the dowels scratching them up. Maybe I can duct tape the heads to the pool noodles even and then just cover up with the bandanas?

    More input needed. Do you think I should add a rein to hold the head up? I have seen that on a few of them, and now that I have 4 done, I'm getting ambitious! I made a grey one with a purple mane last night which is really cute - getting a little more girly.
     
  13. VRBeauty
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    by VRBeauty » Oct 9, 2014
    Duct tape sounds like a great solution! It did occur to me, however, that the pool noodles might be pretty big for a 2-year-old's hands...

    hmm...
     
  14. JGator
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    by JGator » Oct 9, 2014
    Good point, VR. i will have to go do some shopping research with the 2 year old in tow. I also found bandana print duct tape online. They have every pattern now!
     
  15. monkeyprincess
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    by monkeyprincess » Oct 9, 2014
    Super cute, JGator! I'm impressed!
     
    


    


  16. JGator
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    by JGator » Oct 27, 2014
    Party was today. The horses were a big hit with the kids. I ended up making 10. Here they are....

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  17. monkeyprincess
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    by monkeyprincess » Oct 27, 2014
    Wow, awesome job, JGator! Cute party idea, and adorable little cowgirl. I hope K had a great time!
     
  18. choro72
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by choro72 » Oct 28, 2014
    So cute and you're so talented!
     
  19. JGator
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    by JGator » Oct 28, 2014
    Thanks, MP and Choro. I'm not talented - they took a LONG time to make - my nightly activity for weeks! Hopefully, they will hold up to toddler and elementary kid use/abuse! We'll see. K did have a great time.
     
  20. VRBeauty
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    by VRBeauty » Oct 29, 2014
    Those are just darling - and you sewed them all by hand? I'm very impressed! And I have to say - your daughter is so cute in her cowgirl dress and hat and boots!
     
  21. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Oct 29, 2014
    Thank you VR. Your advice and guidance really helped me select the horse that we ended up with, and I really appreciated your input and encouragement. I did sew them all by hand...my previous experience included only sewing buttons which is funny because I ended up having to sew 2 buttons on each horse head for the eyes along with the ears and then just the outside seam around the horse head. I used bandana patterned duct tape to tape the bottom of the horse to the stick and then covered that with the little bandanas. It probably took me 1-2 hours per horse to make them. If I knew how to sew with a machine and had one it would have been much faster! My mom wants me to sell them on ebay - I said no way!!! Thanks for the compliments on K - she's our sunshine for sure! Today is her 2nd birthday.
     
  22. Loves Vintage
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    by Loves Vintage » Jan 11, 2015
    Hi JGator - I hope you are around and see this. When I said I was going to borrow your idea, I guess I wasn't joking! We have about 14 in progress for my daughter's upcoming 4th birthday party. My hand hurts from all of the cutting! We have quite an assembly line. I am cutting them, DH sews them (with a machine, he knows how, I do not), DD stuffs them! I haven't started yet, but will try to hand-sew button eyes. Still have to get the dowels, and am also stealing your bandana idea! Quick question there - did you use standard size bandanas? Where did you find them? Yours seem smaller than the ones I found at a dollar store. We are sewing the bottom of the horse and leaving a space for the dowel and will then try to glue horse to dowel. Not sure how that's going to go, but hoping it goes well, haha.

    Also, I am going to make one for a one year old. Would you do a mini-dowel, or just no stick at all?

    Thanks for your help and inspiration!!!
     
  23. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Jan 12, 2015
    Hi, LV. I used regular bandanas - some from Dollar Store (red/blue) and some from Michaels (pink and purple). I cut them in fourths and then folded in half to make triangles and then just tied a hand knot to close the bandana. I sewed all around the head pattern except the bottom. Then when time to stuff - I put some stuffing in and then I glued a styrofoam ball to the end of the dowel, and then put the stick with ball into the head. Then, I stuffed more stuffing in to fill out the head, and then I took the bottom and squeezed/twisted to close it and then just used red bandana duct tape to tape the end of the head to the stick. Then, I covered that up with the cloth bandana. I would maybe cut the dowel shorter for the 1-year old. I don't think the horse head would be much fun without the stick. K loves hers and plays with it all the time. The hand-sewing button eyes was easy. Do it before you sew the 2 sides of the head together if you can, but it can be done after. I also stuck on googly eyes on top the buttons. Did you double up the mane? I used 3 sheets of felt per horse - 2 same color for the head and ears, and 1 for the mane in a contrasting color. I think you will have some left over on the manes too. Did you get fabric scissors? I could not cut without them. That was the most expensive part of the project - fabric regular scissors and crimping shears. Let me know if you want me to take any pics of K's horse without the bandana on.
     
  24. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Jan 12, 2015
    LV, that's awesome that your DH is helping with the sewing. I used this duct tape - http://www.amazon.com/Duck-283050-Bandana-Printed-Inches/dp/B00J5NRFL0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421098973&sr=8-2&keywords=duct+tape+bandana You can get this at Michael's and use one of the coupons - I saw it there after buying mine on Amazon.

    I was worried about the glue coming undone if I glued the felt to the dowels. I also got the dowels at Joanns fabric - I think they were cheaper there than anywhere else - I want to say 5/8" dowel and they are 36 inches long. I checked Home Depot and they didn't have the right length, and Michael's was a little more expensive I think than Joanns for the dowels surprisingly. I would say the size we got is a little big for our 2-year old but most of the kids were older and they were fine for them.
     
  25. Loves Vintage
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    by Loves Vintage » Jan 12, 2015
    Thanks, JGator!! I have been visiting lots of dollar stores looking for bandanas. I have 14 now, only one of which is pink! That is a great idea to cut them. I wondered if that was what you did. I will pick up another pink one, and will then have pink/blue/red.

    We've already partially sewn up the bottoms. I got some glue for my hot glue gun this morning, so I'm going to try to glue, then sew with embroidery thread to keep the head on the dowel.

    I don't know what I was thinking about the one year old. We will cut the dowel down further. We already cut about a foot off of each of them, so they seem a little more manageable!

    Yes, I have fabric scissors, but I think they have suffered from cutting through so much felt over the years. I had pinking shears already, but couldn't find them, so bought another pair of those too. I don't mind cutting with the pinking shears, but it's the fringe that is tough. When you say double up, do you mean make it wider than was suggested in the instructions?

    This is really a lot of work!! But, they are very cute!! :))
     
  26. Loves Vintage
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    by Loves Vintage » Jan 12, 2015
    We were posting at the same time! So funny. I could not find dowels at Joann's so got them at Home Depot, and cut a foot off, to wind up at the same 3 feet you have! I feel like the dowels were the most expensive - 2.50 or 3.50 a piece???? Oh, and I bought a cheap bed pillow and used the stuffing from there, which sadly, is one of the more clever ideas I've had, haha!

    I will check the tape link. Will do a prototype with the glue with S's horse, the first of our batch.

    Thank you for your help!!
     
  27. JGator
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by JGator » Jan 12, 2015
    LV, I used 2 strips of felt fabric for the mane. I took one new sheet of the felt and measured I think about 3 inches wide or maybe 3.5 and made 2 long identical vertical strips for the mane. Then, I put them together and made the straight cuts and then just took the 2 pieces and sewed them into the back of the head right next to each other to make the mane more full. Not in the instructions - I made this up myself. Sounds like too late for you. I got the dowels for maybe $1.50 max at Joanns. Good luck wiht your glue gun. I don't have one so I was going to use some super strong glue, but I just used that only to stick the styrofoam ball to the stick end. I read about the ball on another site to avoid the stick accidentally hitting a kid in the mouth if it goes through the top for some reason. I can't wait to see pics of your horsies! Yes, for me, the sewing was so time consuming! They will be a hit though! Worth it - I called it a labor of love! You know your a Mother when..kind of moment.
     
  28. Loves Vintage
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    by Loves Vintage » Jan 13, 2015
    Ohhh, that was a good idea to double up the mane. If I ever make more, haha, I shall try that. I've been cutting the mane as thin as I can, so I've been happy with the way it falls. I sewed one set of button eyes last night. I am going through from one side to the other, to try to create a dimpled effect. They look ok, but I may cut some felt eyes with eyelashes to create a more expressive look -- yes, I have thought about this, a lot! Oh, and that was a good idea about the foam ball. Maybe I'll try taping some cotton to the end of the stick before final sewing. I bought more bandanas last night (another dollar store!) They are everywhere! But, no pink. I only have one pink one, which will be for four horses. There will be lots of girls, so I have to get two more, as I am not going to have anyone go without a pink bandana if they want one! At four, I think they will definitely have preferences in this regard!!!
     
  29. JGator
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    by JGator » Jan 13, 2015
    LV, yes, they all picked their own horses at our party. I think I had 3 boyish ones and 7 girlish ones for our party. One of the 6-year old boys immediately took a purple maned horse, but I think his parents re-directed him to a more boyish (red/blue) color. Not that I cared, but everyone wanted purple/pink manes and bandanas! Also, we got these hats which were a huge hit as a suggestion for you. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012KGYHK/ref=pe_385040_121528360_TE_dp_2 I also saw them at a party store for less money afterwards - party depot since you need more than 12. I think they sold them individually for around $1. We had some leftover which K plays with - we had a 5 year old girl over recently and I gave her one to take home she was so smitten with them.

    Try Michael's for the pink/purple bandanas! And, I know how you can get with these being so all consuming. I think the lashes are a great idea!
     
  30. Loves Vintage
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Loves Vintage » Jan 13, 2015
    Ahhh, I must get those hats now! I noticed them in your photos, but yeah, I think they would be great, and it's good to know the kids like them. Unfortunately, no party depot around here, but will start visiting party stores tonight. Yee-haw! I know a dollar store, right next to a Joann's that has pink bandanas, so if I were to drive to Michael's again, also near Joann's, then I might as well just go to that dollar store, but since I really don't want to drive there again, I keep walking into dollar stores and checking for them, thinking I won't have to make the drive to the Joann's/Michaels/pink bandana dollar store area. See my logic. Fortunately, I have Friday off and no plans, so will be able to work on all of this then. Hmm, I may just order those hats from Amazon . . . Thanks for talking me through all of this. My DH does not understand my OCD on this, though he finds it amusing and is not surprised by it, lol!
     

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