How to Paint a {Small} Carousel Horse

Ok, I’m going to apologize right now.  This before picture is the worst EVER!  I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to take several pics in efforts to get one that was decent.  Plus, the lighting where I was is terrible – but I’m not complaining.  I was just thankful to have a place warm enough to paint. 

What?!?  I don’t look like a tidy project person?  Ok, you’re right.  I feel messes are a sign of productivity!

So, what d’ya think?  I gotta say – this is one of those projects where I was feelin pretty proud at the end.   Actually, when it came time to part with my little pony I was reminded of Home Sweet Homemade.  Somehow it had come up in conversation with Diane giving away items created.  She does not like to do so, and at the time I didn’t have a problem with it.  Well Diane, I now have a better understanding of the love you put into each of your creations.  I felt like this horse was my ‘baby.’  I did have a pretty hard time parting with it when the time came.  I think because it’s kinda similar to that secret bond between mother and child – those nine months shared between only the two of you.  Well, I know the amount of time and effort I put into it – something only known to me and the horse. :)


Difficult – only because of the patience and time required.

Cost: $60 with Coupons

Ordinarily $29.99, but the antique mall I purchased it from was having a 15% off sale that day, so it ended up being $25.49.  The rest of the prices are shown next to each material.  Those prices do not reflect any craft store coupons utilized for this project.  The glass door knob was from the model warehouse.

Time to Complete: Long Time!

Don’t ask!  Honestly, I didn’t track how long it took.  But, I do know it took several hours.

Materials Needed:

  • Small Carousel Horse
  • Spray Paint Primer
  • Golden Open Acrylic Iridescent Silver {#7487} {$5}
  • Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint {$8}
  • Rhinestones {$3}
  • Decorative Embellishments {$4}
  • Small Rhinestones with Adhesive Back {Scrapbook Supplies} {$3}
  • Silver Ribbon {$2}
  • Spray Primer {$4}
  •  Glass Door Knob
  • Drill
  • Large Bit
  • Artist Brush
  • Water
  • Glue
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Xacto Knife

How To:

  1. As with any paint project, clean and prep the object.  Lightly sand, and wipe clean with mineral spirits.
  2. Apply spray primer.  A few thin coats for complete coverage – making sure to allow each coat ample time to dry before applying next layer.
    • Tip: Read back of can to ensure you are following steps specifically for that product.
  3. Mix iridescent pearl paint with water.  Think whole milk consistency – adding enough water to thin paint for smooth application, but not so much that it drips and runs upon application.
    • Tip: keeping that in mind, a little goes a long way.  Load brush with nominal amount of paint when painting the horse – otherwise it will become a runny mess.
  4. Apply paint to all areas of horse intended to be the pearlized white.  Allow to dry.  Having been thinned with water, dry time should be fairly quick.
  5. Apply second coat of  pearlized white.  Allow to dry.
  6. Continue to apply thin layers of iridescent white until you are satisfied with coverage and appearance.
  7. Next, move on to the next most prominent color.  For this horse it was silver – only because of the numerous layers it requires to create an even finish with this particular paint and color.  Being that the silver paint is the same as the iridescent white you will need to add some water to thin.  Not as much as with the iridescent. {The iridescent was thinned more for a couple reasons.  1. It needed to go farther.  2. Since it was coating over white primer, it merely needed to add the iridecent appearance.  The silver needs to be a bit thicker because it needs to camouflage the primer.}  With lots of patience, and a steady hand begin to add silver to the horse.  Begin with the mane and tail, as these will take the longest amount of time.  Use slow controlled strokes – following each strand of the mane to it’s end.  Take your time.  Doing this will truly highlight the intricate detail.  Once mane and tail are complete, move to the next area to be painted silver.  The trim on the saddle, and the saddle blanket are also painted silver.  Once complete, move on the the next color.
  8. Pink was next in line with prominence after silver.  Mix paint with a bit of water to help prevent brush marks, and apply paint to saddle.  Do your best to keep a wet edge to work with, it will help provide an even finish.  Once saddle is pink, move on to the belt.  Next is bridle, which will be another test of steadiness and patience.  Finish up by applying to mouth, nostrils, ears, and hoofs. 
  9. Finally apply the metallic green.  Apply to details of the saddle, outline of saddle blanket, bridle trim, small dots for eyes, base and pole. This paint does not need to be thinned!  Use very small amount loaded onto brush – it will apply very smooth and sheer.  The application of this color should go more quickly.  Plus, the areas designated to be painted green are raised saving time from trying to get paint in stubborn crevices.  When painting the poll, previous colors painted onto the  horse should be dry by this point – allowing you to steady with one hand one the horse.
    • Tip: To really make the detail in the saddle pop, apply silver to the crevice forming the detail.  This really allows the lines to appear through the green.
  10. Repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 until you are satisfied with appearance.  Most likely you will need to do several coats on the mane and tail, and the base and rod being the only green areas requiring more than one coat.
  11. Remove wood knob from top of pole.  Use drill to create hole large enough to accommodate different finial.
  12. Wrap pole with ribbon.  Use Xacto knife to trim edges of ribbon as close to edge of horse as possible.  Add dab of glue, then use knife to tuck any visible ribbon edges into horse. 
  13. Attach new finial to top of pole – making sure to tuck ribbon edge underneath, and secure by tightening finial.
  14.  Cut a piece of ribbon appropriate length for reign.  Attach reign to each side of bridle with dab of hot glue.
  15. Adhere decorative embellishments to bridle to camouflage attached reign.  Use dab of hot glue to attach.  If desired, add embellishment to bridge of nose.
  16. Place tiny dot of glue on back of two identical rhinestones.  Place on eyes.
  17. Place tiny rhinestones on saddle and bridle as desired.  If rhinestones are being a booger to separate, use Xacto knife to slice between each rhinestone on sheet to separate adhesive.

If you have the energy, step back and admire your work!  If not, try to muster up enough oomph to at least take a hot shower to relax your back muscles.  Falling asleep on the floor next to the horse is ok too. 😉

 I hope you enjoyed this half as much as I did creating it. :)


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