I'm happy to share this fun Christmas Carousel Horse made from a kid's bouncy horse. Many of the hobby horses are called Radio Flyers. This spring horse is a cheap knockoff. In any case, when I saw the daycare worker haul it to the dumpster, I was thrilled!
Honestly, the child's spring rocking horse was nothing special, but I had high hopes that I could turn it into a unique Christmas Carousel Horse.
This is our Thrift Store Day, be sure to check out all the projects below.
How To Turn A Bouncy Horse Into A Christmas Carousel Decoration
Turning a hobby horse (bouncy horse) into a carousel horse decoration for Christmas can be a fun and creative project. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
Dismantle Your Hobby Horse
I recommend taking photos before you begin to dismantle your spring horse. A rubber mallet will tap the footrest free. Do this for the other footrest and the handgrip.
What Kind of Stand Do You Want For Your Carousel Horse
In order to turn a spring horse into a carousel horse, you will need some type of stand. I chose an old lamp and proceeded to take it apart.
Reconfigure Lamp Base
Lamps generally have three sections that easily unscrew. In addition, they have a weighted base!
I separated the pieces and found a very large washer to place in the joint of the lower two pieces.
Drill Hole | Test Fit
I learned a lot while making the bouncy horse actually look like it used to be on a Merry Go Round.
A few mistakes were made, and when you make your project, I want you to get it right the first time!
I used a hole saw to drill through the plastic; I think it's like blow mold. Mistake #1 was to drill the lower hole directly under the upper hole. That made the horse sit oddly. See the image above.
Another hole was drilled next to the original hole on the horse's belly. It now has the proper tilt on the lamp base.
However, if you look at a real carousel horse, you will notice that the rod is NOT in the middle of the saddle. I should have drilled the hole more near the base of the mane.
Perhaps you wouldn't even have noticed had I not told you?
Paint Your Carousel Horse
Not shown: I found two dowel rods in my stash to hold the legs on while I was spray painting.
Did you notice in the before picture that the tail was hair? Some of the spring rocking horses have plastic blow mold tails, but this one didn't. To make the project easier to maneuver while painting, I opted to put the third lamp piece on.
After taking a closer look, I could see hints of the original color showing through. I dismantled the legs again, and spray-painted the joints on the legs, and on the horse.
I then cut the dowel rods to length before I reassembled the pieces. Your dowel rod sizes may vary. I was fortunate to have scrap pieces on hand that fit perfectly. However, the hand grip holes were smaller than the footrest holes. You may need to adjust yours accordingly.
The wooden dowel rods were secured with Gorilla Glue.
Note The Detailed Areas
Before shopping for embellishments, I took close-up photos of the detailed areas of the spring hobby horse body. This made it easier to find items at the store to decorate my Christmas Carousel Horse.
You may decide to paint the details on your project, but I'm not good at painting tiny details.
Paint Eyes And Hooves
Painting the hooves and the eyes made such a huge difference in the look of my sweet pony!
Turn The Hobby Horse Into a Christmas Carousel Horse
These are some of the items I purchased for the Christmas Carousel Horse. After I painted his hooves and eyes, I decided to call him Jolly.
From this point on, to keep it simple, I'll mostly share where I put what and how. At one point, things went seriously wrong. I promise you will spot it right away.
Embellish Bouncy Horse
Initially, I tried to use double stick tape for the bridle (red glitter ribbon). When I ran out, I switched to hot glue, and that worked better. The key to a nice, clean look is to remember that "less is more".
The poinsettia flowers were a peel-and-stick design. Again, I decided to use hot glue instead.
I found an awesome beaded garland. Do you remember seeing that in the photo earlier? My plan was to use the garland for the reins and the tassels for the fake tassels on the hobby horse saddle.
The large glittered pinwheel pieces are part of a floral pick that I dismantled. It had three pieces. You can see two of them in the photo above.
Adding A Mane To The Carousel Horse
The man was made from two boas. One white boa and one red boa were intertwined to mimic a candy cane. The furry-looking mane was hot-glued on. The tail (at this point) was just stuffed in the empty hole on the bouncy horse's rear.
Did you spot it? This is where I was disappointed with the overall look of the Christmas Carousel Horse.
Related Content: Repurposed Christmas Projects
Wood Bead Reins
I moved on to the reins. I had to remove the beads in order to get to the tassels. So, I had to thread the wooden beads back onto the twine. I chose to keep the same pattern of two white then one red bead.
Do you remember when I mentioned changing out the ribbon from double-stick tape to hot glue? I had to remove the bridle in order to affix the reins. In this image, you can see I have the twine knotted. In the end, the knot was removed, and the ends were hot glued in place.
Something Isn't Quite Right
The bridle was reattached, adding tassels at the bit. Adding the glittered red ribbon must have been a challenge for me; as you can see, the bottom goes one way, and the top goes the other way.
The white jingle bells are a placeholder until I can find the right piece to top off the carousel rod.
This is the point I decided the boa mane and tail were not working for me. I took a break.
Replace Boa Mane and Tail
A lot of the boa came off, but I needed a hair dryer to remove the remnants of feathers and hot glue.
Let's Try This Again
If you're an observant person, you may recognize this red and white garland from the materials photo. The garland was very long, so I folded it and then twisted it. Then, it was secured with a hot glue gun. I haven't mentioned it, but I use a Ryobi battery-operated glue gun. It's very handy when working indoors or outdoors where you don't have access to electricity.
More Bling For Jolly The Christmas Carousel Horse
The weather turned cold. I had to bring Jolly inside. The images aren't the best quality.
When I went back to Hobby Lobby to get more items to cover up the hand grip and footrest hole, I found a bag of assorted red sequins! I felt there was too much white left on the saddle and blanket. The blanket was outlined with more red glittered ribbon. The sequins were perfect for the small divots on the saddle.
Another floral pick was used on the bouncy horse's joints to cover up the wooden dowel rods.
I think Jolly is finally done!
Jolly The Christmas Carousel Horse
Does he make you smile, too? Oh, I forgot to mention that I put red sequins on the base of the Christmas Carousel Horse stand.
I would love for you to pin Jolly before you leave to check out all the fabulous projects below:
- Cheese Dome Repurposed For Christmas
- Christmas Carousel Horse You are here, thank you!
- How to Make Snowy Votives
- Thanksgiving Wreath with a Brass Trivet
- DIY Christmas Joy Sign
- DIY Upcycled Piano Bench
- Magnetic Board Paint Makeover
- Ice Bucket Christmas Tree Stand
- Musical Washboard Christmas Decoration
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.