How to make a Rocking Horse

The winner of our inaugural Upcycling Competition gave an old cable reel a new life as a charming rocking horse.

Dunedin mum SallyDobson is a passionate upcycler who sees treasure where others see trash. The 100-year-old villa she shares with her husband and their one-year-old son Angus affords her lots of opportunity to get creative with plenty of “junk” left behind from yesteryear, just waiting to be repurposed. A cable reel abandoned in Sally’s back garden received such a gift of new life.

you will need:
• Wooden cable reel
• Spanner
• Screws
• Screwdriver
• Saw
• Length of 4x2 timber
• Old sack
• Leather scraps (can be sourced from an upholsterer)
• Needle and thread or sewing machine
• Glue
• Scissors
• Paintbrush
• Sandpaper
• Resene Lumbersider in your choice of colours. Sally used Resene Half Bison Hide and Resene Wood Bark.

1 Dismantle the cable reel, keeping all the parts, and saw circle in half.

2 Place a length of 4x2 timber on the ground (three quarters the length of the circle circumference) and place the circle halves flat side down on either side. Screw two slats from the cable reel as shown below, so that the circle halves are splayed outwards.

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3 Turn upside down and screw the piece of 4x2 in place.

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4 Screw two slats from the cable reel to either side of a 20cm off-cut from the 4x2, to form your head.

5 Screw another slat to form the back of the head as shown below and screw neck in place.

6 Use the bolts from the cable reel to make the horse’s eyes, screwing them in place, and saw angles to make ears and nose as shown in picture at top.

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7 Screw four more slats on each side towards the top of the horse, spacing them evenly. Saw slats flush on each side.

8 Cut a slat into a long flat triangle and screw onto neck.

9 Give the horse a light sand then paint with Resene Half Bison Hide. Once dry, apply a coat of Resene Wood Bark to the whole horse except for the bottom three slats on either end. On these three slats paint a strip of Resene Wood Bark down the sides to give the illusion of legs.

10 Sand back areas of the horse to give a distressed look.

11 Cut strips from the sack. Using one strip as a base, sew the other strips in bunches along its length to create the horse’s mane. Glue in place between the ears.

12 Cut strips of leather to form the bridle. Glue these in place.

13 Cut a large circle from the sack to form the saddle blanket. You can hem or zigzag stitch the edge to prevent fraying. Cut a saddle shape from a scrap of leather and glue onto saddle blanket. Glue saddle and stirrup straps onto horse.

14 Use strips of the sack for the tail. Tie into a messy bunch. Unscrew top back slat. Position tail behind this slat and screw back in place.

15 Paint two off-cuts of slats with Resene Half Bison Hide and screw onto the horse at the end of the stirrup straps.

16 Rock and roll and enjoy!

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