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Horsin’ Around

What wouldn’t we do for our kids? In theory you think “I’d go to the ends of the earth for them,” but when it comes time to exercise that from day-to-day it’s…. well, hard.
Case-in-point; my daughter’s hobby horse. 


My mom bought this from Goodwill for about $15. I had one when I was little and rode that thing until the springs fell off. When my mom brought it over to my house my daughter was less than impressed. Why? It was straight-up ugly.

Lookin’ a little rough.


 The springs aren’t squeaky and the metal isn’t rusted, it’s just the amateur spray-paint job with the 70’s colors kills the fun. So me, with my big ideas, thought I could just do a quick coat of spray-paint and a little freehanded detail to turn this cowboy stallion into a princess mare.

Off to Michael’s I went. They have a killer coupon available online, so I of course HAD to go there. I bought 6 acrylic paints, some self-adhesive plastic gems and about 7 cheap paint brushes for $23. I later had to go to Menards to get some plastic glaze, but there is a reason for that…

You see, I researched online the type of paint that I would need. Plastic is not porous like wood, so I knew I couldn’t buy just any ol’ paint. When I got to Michaels, I couldn’t find it. So I begrudgingly asked a sales associate-

Me: I’m looking for paint that I can use on plastic.

Her: Practically any acrylic will work.

Me: Any acrylic is fine?

Her: Yes.

As much as you want to believe what they are saying, DON’T DO IT! I mean, in some cases she may be correct. I’m sure small plastic figurines hide blotchy paint much better than a four foot horse. My only saving grace was that I spray-painted the whole body first, which acted like a primer so the acrylic paint had something to bond to, and I later put on the glossy glaze to ensure endless hours of joy (hopefully) without any flaking.

He isn’t looking his best here. And yes, that is duct tape on the handles.
Once he was spray painted, the REAL work began. I tried to freehand on the raised surfaces, but I am shakier than anticipated so then another light bulb appeared over my head…
He looks like he’s in some sort of horse bondage.
In theory, painter’s tape works. I had some laying around and it works on walls, so why not try? Again, plastic is not plaster, so tape does not stick well. My lines did turn out straighter than they did when I was just winging-it, but there were also random areas where the tape was loose and leaked through.
The touch ups weren’t nearly as arduous as ripping up tiny pieces of tape and framing the details, but once I saw that my lines were much straighter (where it didn’t bleed) I just sucked it up and trudged on.
 It took me about 11 days to complete. Obviously I skipped some days (I work 40 hours a week. I can’t spend all day painting a damn horse). It only took about 12 hours of actual work from start to finish.

Happily running through the "meadow."

Here is the updated and sleek Moose (yes, that’s his name. My daughter came up with it so I am just rolling with it.)

And by "meadow" I mean "driveway."

 I didn’t just pose him outside for effect. I guarantee that glaze could’ve caused me to lose some serious brain cells if I were to use it in a confined area.

Close-up on the bling

I added flowers (from The Dollar Store) along the springs. The flowers have metal wires for stems so they were very easy to twist into place. I used a bit of hot glue to stick them to the stir-ups because (let’s face it) nothing is durable when it comes to a two-year-old.
This horse (unfortunately) was not built like a parade float; both sides were not identical. I’m sure you didn’t notice the lasso on one side and not the other, or the paisley design having more or less swirls. That didn’t cause me too many issues, I just had flip back and forth to see which color I used in what similar area.

Close-up on even more bling

Without a doubt, this project was way more than I bargained for. But parenting in general has turned out to be a lot more than I bargained for (yes, I’ll admit it.) Honestly though, it did me no good staring at an ugly horse that no one wants to ride, so this was selfishly as much for me as it was for her.

And after his (her?) makeover, Moose is starting a whole new life!

The project cost me about $35 and 12 hours. I would love to tell you that this was torture and I had to exhibit a lot of determination and this proves I love my daughter and blah blah blah, but it was actually really fun. There was no stress because I knew the final product wouldn’t be judged by a harsh critic, and I got to skip out on cleaning the kitchen for a few nights because “Babe, I have to finish this project before we move.” Yeah, I played that card.

About Kristen Van Loon

My name is Kristen Van Loon and this is the chronicle of my search for *Oomf!* Not only have I deemed myself qualified to revamp, repair, refurnish and refine my house, but I also jump into any DIY project that my friends, co-workers, family and practical strangers stumble upon. I would love to tell you that this is my full-time job and my complete life mission, but I make my bread and butter elsewhere and raise a daughter (Olivia). I have some experience but no time, no formal training and no money. My only saving grace is that I love figuring things out, I’m great at improvising and I’m always inspired. For the record, some things that I do (play with electricity, for one) may seem risky, and some of them are. I will always tell you what I’ve done, but I won’t ever suggest things for you that aren’t safe. Even though I push the envelope, I am only marginally incompetent. If sources (father, my brain, Google) tell me not to do something then I usually won’t. But if I do try and it blows up in my face (figuratively or literally) you will hear all about it, and you hopefully won’t attempt it. At the end of the day, I hope to inspire you. Space-Lift isn’t just a blog, it’s a verb. It’s an action that brightens your surroundings by assaulting everything that needs improvement. Nothing is off limits, and all possibilities will be considered.

5 responses »

  1. Pingback: Spray Painted Rocking Horse

  2. Wow this came out AWESOME. Great colors. Your daughter must have been so happy.

    I’m really loving your blog too by the way.

    • Aww thank you! She was very excited for about 10 minutes then it just faded into the background like everything else lol. But she does ride it, whereas before she just looked at it with disgust. I loved wandering around your blog too! I can tell you’re a color girl just like me!


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