Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Hobby Horse Christmas Tree Ornaments - a Free DIY

I first made my hobby horse ornaments last year, and posted one on the old Jupiter Hollow blog, and I'm finally getting around to sharing the how-to, after teaching them last week at Wattle Flat Crafts.

Hobby horse ornaments are cute, easy to make and are a great way to use up leftover scraps of fabric and trim.

Materials Required:
  • Small bits of fabric for your horse body. Felt is great for not fraying, but most fabrics will do.
  • Tiny bits of matching or contrasting felt for the ears.
  • Beads or very small buttons for the eyes. (Not necessary, you could embroider eyes instead)
  • Something for hair. I used unravelling shoelace and cords and fringed trim. Yarn would probably be very good too.
  • A small amount of stuffing.
  • Other accessories like ribbon to hang them and make a bridle.
  • Some kind of stick. I initially used the sticks left over from my sugar sticks from Fortnum and Mason (pictured). When they ran out, I got some thin dowel and glued wooden buttons on for the end.
  • Needle, thread, glue and scissors.

Fold your fabric over and cut a horse-head shape from your fabric (so that you have two matching ones). I do mine freehand, which allows for variation of species and size as required. Also cut two triangles for ears from your felt.

Prepare your horse hair. My favourite has been unravelling braided cord things. One of which I know I rescued from a shopping bag so a very useful recycling choice! Ribbon can be cut and frayed. Fringed trims can be cool and different. I also experimented with this millinery material I can't even think of the name of, maybe sinamay ribbon? And I think feathers could be fun too, although if you have cats they probably don't need the extra incentive to attack your tree decorations.

Cut enough horse hair for behind the ears and a little bit for in front of the ears. Leave a bit blank at the bottom back because that bit will be gathered up anyway and bits there are most likely to fall out as you sew.

Place one horse head piece flat on the table. Arrange your mane along the back, facing in. Place your ears facing in too.

Place the second horse head piece over the lot, lining up the two horse head pieces.

Sew around the horse head, sewing the hair and ears in as you go, leaving the bottom open. I handsewed mine, partially because I wanted to sit in front of the TV to make these, and partially to make sure everything stayed neatly in place. I recommend either a second pass of stitches or some glue over the hair if you have something that is frayed and easy to pull through.

Turn inside out and stuff. Trim hair if necessary.

Put a dab of glue on the end of the stick to give it extra hold then put it in place. Run a gathering stitch around the base of the horse head and gather it in around the stick and sew in place.

Sew, glue or embroider some eyes and attach any other trim you like. Include a ribbon for hanging.

Admire. Gloat. Hang. Enjoy.

Try again with different trims, colours and even try a different animal!

Try a reindeer! This fellow's antlers are made from the stalks of artificial flowers that I used in another project. I've also done felt antlers.

 Why not a hobby giraffe?

I also made a unicorn and a dragon queen in honour of our old name, and I plan to keep working on my menagerie.

If you make a hobby horse ornament, I'd love to see it!


  1. Aww, this is sooo cute! I totally want to try this, especially because I am sure I have all the needed materials at home anyway. Thanks for this lovely inspiration :-)


  2. Such a cute idea! I am going to make these up for next year's Christmas ornaments... I make my children a homemade ornament each year so when they are grown up and ready to move out they will have their own box of special ornaments to decorate their home with. Loved your unicorn too! :)

    1. Thank you Dawna! That is a gorgeous tradition to have and I'm very happy to think I will play a small part in it. That's just wonderful.


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