As kids, most of us horse lovers likely accumulated a wide range of equestrian themed trinkets and figurines. As we get older, and move into adult hood, sometimes those childhood toys get tossed to the wayside and left to collect dust in some forgotten closet corner.

So why not find a new purpose for some of those old toys?

It not only saves them a trip to the waste bin, but allows you to keep you to keep your childhood memories while giving an old object new life.

While going through some of my boxes of old figurines this spring I came across some old ‘Paint your own’ mini horse models that had, to put it kindly, seen better days. Instead of throwing them out, I re-purposed these battered old figurines to make some cute and decorative business card/photo holders.


What you need:

  • Model Horses (preferably smaller mini model types)
  • Wire
  • Paint (in this case I used chalkboard paint, but most acrylic paints will do the job)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sandpaper
  • Pliers

The first order of business is to prepare your model horse for painting.

Depending on the type of model, how you go about this will differ. For the models I used, they were plastic with a cheap acrylic paint coating that came as part of the kit. With a bit of gentle sanding the paint began to peel off, leaving the original plastic underneath. If you model is a pre-painted type (such as a Breyer or something similar), a bit of gentle sanding to remove the top coat of paint (the clear coat that makes it shiny) will help the new paint adhere better.

Make sure to be gentle with your sanding, as you don’t want to ruin the actual model, end up with rough spots, or sand away some of the details (like the mane, etc). Sometimes this takes a bit of trial and error, so just take things slowly.

The “Before”

Once your model is prepared for painting, pull out your paint brushes and paint and let your creative side run free. Give that model horse new life with whatever designs your heart sees fit. I used acrylic chalkboard paint (available from most craft stores) to paint my models. Not only do they look great painted black (goes with all décor!), I can write and draw on them as well!

Some models may require a few coats of paint to provide adequate coverage, make sure you leave enough time to allow each coat to dry fully before adding another. Depending on the paint you use, you may also need to leave the models to dry for an extended period of time so that the paint can cure (ex. this is the case with chalkboard paint).

Once the paint is fully dry, its time to pull out your wire and tweezers. The wire you use should be thick



enough that it will support the weight of your business card/photo, but not so thick that it is difficult to bend and twist into shape. Depending on the type of wire you use, you may be able to bend it into shape using only your hands. I used a thicker wire I had on hand, and thus needed pliers to manipulate it into the shape I wanted.

First, stretch a segment of your wire out, and wrap the end of it around your model horse, either at the centre of the model or at the back (between the barrel and hindquarters). Then you need to decide how tall you want the straight portion of your holder to sit. I opted for about two fingers high, try to make it proportionate to the size of  your model (if its too tall your poor horse may fall over when you put a photo in the holder!).

Finally bend the wire into a series of circles. You should make a spiral (with two loops), with the back circle being larger than the front. This is where you will stick your card/photos (in the gap between the two loops). You can bend the wire by hand, or it may help to wrap it around a pencil or other round object.

Voila! You now have your very own business card/photo holder made by recycling one of your own horse models!


The Finished Product!

One Response

  1. DIY Equine Inspired Craft Ideas and Products | The Eloquent Equine

    […] Dusty old mini model horses, every horse crazy individual is sure to have a few lurking about in a closet or storage space. Give those little guys new life with a bit of paint and wire, no advanced crafting skills required. You can get extra creative, like we did, by adding some chalkboard paint and making a business card/photo holder that you can also draw on! Learn more about how to make one for yourself by checking out our tutorial here. […]


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