Rocking Horse project

A few weeks ago I received the text “Would you like to take on a new project?” with this picture:

New project

New project

Although I was right in the middle of my big home clean-up and organization, and doubting whether I would have enough time at first, it didn’t take me very long to decide that it was a definite YES for this rocking horse makeover! When I showed the picture to my boyfriend, I was picturing the whole final version to him and he replied: “well, sounds like you’ve got the whole thing figured out and you really want to do this”. So, I sent a text back to my friend, saying “okay, bring it on :)”.

It surprised me at first that apparently this was an IKEA rocking horse. Unfortunately, IKEA doesn’t sell it anymore, but my friend got it at a second hand store and thought it would be a cute gift for her nine (I think)-months-old nephew. For when he’s a bit older, that’s to say ;).

How convenient that you can take any IKEA furniture apart, and so I did. Because I loved the combination of grey and white stripes as I used to paint our coffee table (check it out here!), I pictured the rocking horse in grey and some white stripes on the seating and the legs. To add some colour, I wanted to crochet some socks and sleeves for the handles! I LOVE TO CROCHET! You can very easily add some texture and colour to your interior by adding a few crocheted items. Besides, it’s relaxing 😉 No, I’m not that old, I’ve had my portion of granny-jokes already, but wait till you see what fun objects you can make using crochet!! (I will post a photo-summary soon… still finishing some things though). It might surprise you…

Anyway, back to the rocking horse. Luckily, we had a few nice and sunny days, so I could take the painted pieces outside to dry.

Just in time, because the last few days it has been raining, and raining, and raining….

Since it’s getting colder outside this time of the year, I took the parts inside after a day or so and left them for another 12 hours to dry completely.


In the meantime I decided to create some manes on the horse’s head by carving them with my dremel tool. After I primed the head, I drew on some lines to help me carve them. Afterwards I’ve been wondering why I even bothered: While carving the manes I changed the design completely….

Carved manes

Carved manes

Head in progress

At this time I sent a ‘teaser-text’ saying: “look, I’m giving it manes!!” To keep my friend up to date 🙂

It took me a few layers of grey paint for the head, seating and legs, and after it had dried very well I taped off the areas I wanted to paint white (for the stripes).  If you want to put tape on fresh paint to create stripes or lines, make sure the paint has dried very, very well! Otherwise the tape will stick to the paint and you will damage it while taking the tape off!

After painting the white stripes and taking the tape off

After painting the white stripes and taking the tape off

I’ve used a knitting needle to leave the painted head to dry. Just using anything at hand, 😉

Drying the painted head... using a knitting needle

Drying the painted head… using a knitting needle

I wanted the manes to have a different colour than the rest of the head, so I tried a technique I hadn’t used before: glazing. For this I used a glazing medium and mixed it with white paint, applied the mixture onto the head and then wiped it off with an old (clean) cloth. This technique may be very useful for some pieces and I will definitely use it again, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the results for this project. It leaves a sort of ‘wash’ effect, white in this case, and though I expected this I didn’t like it combined with the rest of the painted pieces. And so I painted over the head with grey paint. With a paint roller: by using a roller ánd not applying too much pressure, the paint will not reach the carved lines and will only stick to the ‘higher’ areas.

I put the whole thing back together and placed the rocking horse on some old towels: although the paint had dried, I didn’t want our floor to damage the fresh paint while it was hardening completely. It takes a few days for paint to become scratch-resistant you know…

In the meantime I started crocheting the socks and sleeves: just crochet a flat circle until it is the right diameter for the handles and the bows on the floor, and then go upwards, like I did with my baskets. But than smaller ;). I just tried them on once in a while to see if they would fit and where to end.

For the handles I’ve used a dark blue acrylic yarn, for the feet I took a bigger hook and crocheted three different yarns together (dark blue, light blue and a multicoloured one):

crochet feet

And there we have a very cute rocking horse makeover!! Well, at least I think so ;).

Here’s a closeup of the head after glazing it… you can see the white wash effect I mentioned before! This is before I’ve painted over the head.

The head

The head

And these pictures give you some impression of the final version. Because it was a sunny day, I wasn’t satisfied with the lighting of the pictures, so I took some in a darker room using flash as well. This way you can see the stripes better 😉

And the results: in the sun

And the results: in the sun

rocking horse 1feet slipped on

rocking horse 2

rocking horse 3

If IKEA ever starts selling these again, please let me know!!! I totally want to take on a project like this again some day!

What do you think? Like it?

See you next week or so 😉

Enjoy the rainy nights with candles, good music and a good book or some yarn and crochet hook. Fall has its good parts as well, you know!

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