When my brother and his family moved to Honduras, they did not have the option of taking many of the children’s toys with them, so they became very creative. After the youngest child was old enough to have a stick horse of her own, her eleven-year-old sister, Jules, made one out of a pair of old jeans. I was so excited over the job she did that I asked her permission to add it to my blog. I am delighted that she agreed! She wrote me the following:

The idea of this project is to utilize an old pair of pants. This can be done in two ways: either by using the bottom half of two legs sewn together to make a “new long leg” or by cutting a 30-inch length of one pant leg to make this cute horse.

The following list is what you will need to have:

  • A pair of old pants ( they should be ankle length )
  • yarn
  • black and white felt sheets and/or black buttons
  • fiberfill
  • string/rope
  • a strong stick at least three feet long

The first step is to cut both legs of the pants at the knee. Next, remove one of the rear pockets off the top half of the used pants and cut it in half. The pocket pieces will be used later, but can currently be set aside. As for the top half of the pants, they could be used as shorts, or used in other crafts since they will not be needed for the rest of this project. Now is where a sewing machine will be handy. Sew together the two legs so as to make one long tube. If you choose to only use one pant’s leg, no sewing is needed. Now turn the fabric inside out and tie one end together with a string a few inches away from the end so as to make it secure from slipping. Turn it back right side out. The end where you tied the knot will be the horse’s nose.

Now that your horse has a head, it’s time to add some facial features! If you are using the felt, cut out eyes and a nose. If you prefer to use buttons,use larger ones for the eyes. Next come the ears. Cut slits where you want the ears to be. Now the two halves of the pocket need to be brought back into the picture. Fold the pocket to make ears, then stick the ends through the slits and sew them on.

The next step of making the mane takes a while. Begin by cutting four 1/2 inch vertical slits in two columns the length of the leg. The slits should be separated by about one inch. The two columns should be about 1/2 inch apart. Now take your yarn and cut pieces of it to be the size and thickness that you want. (A suggestion is 9-inch lengths and at least 40 pieces of yarn.) Bundle the yarn pieces evenly. Tie a knot around each bundle and pull them through the slits so that the knot is between the slits under the fabric. It is recommended to top-stitch over each bundle so that the individual pieces of yarn do not slip out during play.

Stuff the horse head with fiberfill. Then, insert the stick. From previous experience, we have found that the stick needs to have some kind of knob or enlarged area at the end that is inserted so that the head will not fall off. We have found a wooden flagpole with decorative knob to be perfect.

Finally, it is necessary to use string or rope to tie the head onto the stick, double the head over, and create a bridle. (Approx. 5 feet) We have found it to be helpful to take a few stitches on the underside between the head and the body to secure the head in a downward position. Also, be creative with your bridle, maybe using two different types of rope to make it stand out.

This is a fabulous project that can create really fun-looking horses or donkeys of all colors and sizes. I had a white pair of pants ruined by mud spots, but it is slated to be a cute dapple gray horse some day soon!

This design came from A Gold Mine of Crafts for Kids. Published by Gospel Light in 2001. I would suggest this book for anyone with children who enjoy crafting especially with an Old West theme.

Thank you, Jules, for taking the time to write about this cute recycling craft!

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