Rocking Horse


Materials needed: Wood (3/4" plywood, 2" by 4", 2" by 8",) 1" dowel, computer paper (or card stock,) glue, paint, drill, drill bits, jigsaw, screws, two 3/8" carriage bolts that are 8" long, two 3/8" lock washers, and two 3/8" nuts

This project is rated as: DIFFICULT

In this project, you will make a child's rocking horse. The size of the horse is suitable for children up to 2 or 3 years of age. The completed horse will be similar to the one shown below.

The patterns for the head, seat, rocker(s) have been designed so that they can be printed on an 8.5" by 11" sheet of paper (or card stock.) The head is given in 2 pieces. Print the upper part of the head and then print the lower part of the head. Cut out each piece and tape the two pieces together to form the template for the head.

The seat pattern only gives one-half of the seat. You have two choices for making and using the seat pattern:

1. Print 2 half seats, turn one over and tape it to the other piece to make a complete seat template
2. Use just one half seat to layout half of the seat, then turn the template over and use it to layout the other half of the seat.

In either case, print one or two copies of the seat pattern.

The pattern for the rocker template is just one-half of the rocker. Print one or two copies of the rocker pattern; then form a complete template from two halves, or use the one-half template twice for each rocker.

After preparing the templates:

a. Use the head template to layout the head on a 3/4" thick piece of plywood. Cut out the head using a jigsaw, and drill a one inch hole where shown on the template.
b. Use the seat template to layout the seat on 3/4" thick plywood. Cut out the seat using a jigsaw.
c. Use the rocker template to layout two rockers on 2" by 4" wood. Cut out both rockers using a jigsaw.
d. The "body" of the horse is made from a piece of 2" by 8" wood. Its dimensions are shown in the following diagram.

e. The "platform" (or foot rest area) is a piece of 3/4" plywood that is 9 inches wide and 10 inches long.
f. The hand hold is a 1 inch dowel that is 7 inches long.

Sand all pieces before assembling.

Assemble the horse as follows:

A. Fasten the "platform" to the two rockers using 4 flat head #10 screws that are 1 1/2" long.
B. Counterbore the seat at the locations marked on the template so that the diameter and depth will accommodate the heads of the carriage bolts. Drill 3/8" inch holes through the seat, body, and platform. Assemble the seat to the body and the body and seat to the platform using the long carriage bolts, lock washers, and nuts.
C. Center the handle in the head through the 1" hole. The handle can be pinned in place by using a finishing nail (or small dowel rod.) Drill a suitably sized hole from the top of the head down into the handle. Place a pin in this hole so that it is flush with the top of the horse's head.
D. The body is to have a slot mortised into the top of the body as shown in the diagram. This mortise is to 3/4" wide (centered on the body), 1.125" deep, and 5" long. Place the horse's head into this mortise with glue (for added strength, the head can be pinned also by driving two #4 finishing nails through the body and head near the front and back of the mortise.)

After the rocking horse is assembled, you can paint it any color that you desire (2 or more coats.) The pictures show a red horse and a clear varnished horse.
After the finish is dry, the mouth, nostrils, eyes, and mane may be added using colors that you desire.
To be complete, the horse needs a tail. Braid a tail from suitably colored yarn, and fasten it to the rear center of the seat with a small screw.

Also, you may add carpet or rubber treads to the foot rest areas of the platform.

(Note: If you are using a MacIntosh computer, the patterns will print too large. You will need to copy the patterns to a graphics program and re-size them to the proper dimensions.)

I hope your child and others get as much enjoyment from the rocking horse as our child and others have gotten from the red horse which is over 40 years old.

Return to BobStuff page.