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How to make a DIY rocking horse

Published September 1902

A rocking horse and how to make it

How to build a rocking horse

One of the most notable services in recent years to domestic art was that rendered by the series of design for nursery furniture and decoration by Messrs. Cecil Aldin and John Hassall. These designs not only comprised drawings for wall coverings and furniture, but also some very pretty and quaint ideas for toys. Among these were designs, by one of the artists named, for a rocking horse, and it is to this design I am indebted for the idea of the sketch above.

I am afraid the rocking horse shown here has not the keen and amusing look of equine intelligence possessed by the ones I have mentioned, but if any of those who undertake this task are able to achieve a knowing expression in the animal, there is nothing to prevent them doing so.

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The horse consists of four principal pieces; two sides in tin or 1½ in. wood, and two rockers of the same thickness. The rockers are joined by five splats firmly dowelled in, and the two halves of the horse by footrests, joining the forelegs, and a seat fixed between the two sections of the body. Underneath this seat, and proceeding to the middle splat between the rockers, is a short iron rod to give additional strength.

It is impracticable, of course, to give a full-size working drawing in the limited space of this journal, but the sketch made on squared paper may be enlarged readily enough, and the plans given in the corner will assist in showing how the woodwork has to be put together. Two working drawings of the horse in profile, so to speak, will be required, as it will be difficult to cut through both thicknesses at once.

When these are completed a number of pieces of wood of the same width will be wanted for the seat, the footrests, and the lower splats. When these are cut and shaped up ready to fix in position the job may be put, if desired, in the hands of a smith to do the bolting together. This, however, is not a great undertaking. Short bolts for the feet and one long bolt with a nut above and below the splat, and others above and below the seat, is all that is wanted. The nut above the seat will be let into a square hole made for the purpose. Washers would prevent the nuts wearing into the wood.

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And now the decorative part has to be attempted. An augur and some glue and the hairs of a stiff yard broom will supply mane and tail, and a paint brush (to put in brown colour where the design in shaded) will assist in giving the desired air of verisimilitude to the creature. A glass bead for the eye and some cheap straps completes the equipment. The bellyband may either be painted or consist of a piece of American cloth. Screw eyes above hold the reins, so that they may be manipulated from the seat or a small cart at the back. The real art in this undertaking consists, as I said, in getting a good intelligent expression on the horse’s face.

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Free Rocking Horse Plans

I have included a free design for a vintage rocking horse. This can be downloaded and reviewed at your own leisure. The rocking horse plans support the construction instructions written on this page. The free rocking horse design plans give a plan and side view perspective. Use the grid pattern to scale up the design to suit. The rocking horse construction plan is free to download in PDF format.

Free rocking horse plans

About this article

This article is a reprint of an existing article, published in The House, September 1902. It is the intent of this website to present this article in human and machine readable form. Format and editing changes have been made. This article is provided for the purpose of enjoyment only.