At the end of last year I was approached about a unique commission, a project that would not only be a beautiful Christmas gift, but one that would be the start of a new family heirloom. It was so wonderful to be asked, I just had to say yes! The Project was to repaint and restore a stunning Rocking Horse.
Now I know this seems a million miles away from jewellery making and sewing, but I have a thing for painting and love up-cycling too. I also like a bit of DIY and am no stranger to masks and a power sander, so I knew I would enjoy the task. But it was no mean feat! Below is a summary of the jobs it entailed and of course, the all important Before and After photos!
The horse had been painted in its heyday, but age and storage conditions meant it was in need of some filling and patching from where the joins had cracked opened. It was decided that a full new paint job would be the best fix and make it showground ready for it's new home!
After a wash down and some protection prep, I started work. (Who knew that one day I'd be putting 'making a horse shower cap' on my CV!)
All the gaps and cracks were filled and the old paintwork was sanded down to give a smooth surface to work from. Then it was onto the painting!
Because Rocking Horse's are classed as toys, they must be treated and covered with the correct paint to enable them to be child safe. Unlike normal paint however, this water based Acrylic was super thin. It took 9 coats to get the horse back to it's gleaming white state!! But what a difference once it was on.
After studying some stunning Rocking Horse paint work online, I started work on the face and legs. The old eye's had been slightly damaged during the initial works on the horse and by the adhesive used to secure them, so these were filled in and covered separately. The paint around the horses muzzle, ears and hocks needed touching up and blended better so this was done here also.
The next part was to add the dappling effect and create the full body detail. To be honest, I was quite nervous about this stage. I knew how long it had taken me to get the horse fully white, and a mistake with the black paint would mean another sanding job and 9 more coats to cover it! So I took my time, planned it out and practised with the dappling brush before committing to the horse. I was really pleased with the result and by now could see it all coming together.
With 2 coats of varnish now on and dry, and the leather cleaned and polished,the last and final part of the restoration was to tackle that hair!!
After a wash, dry, straighten and brush (yes, I actually used my own hair straighteners to tame that mane!) I gave it a trim and tidy up:
And Voila! A beautifully restored show pony was ready for it's new home! What do you think?
If you have a commission, big or small, that you would like to discuss with The Butterfly and Toadstool then please drop Dee a line here. We are happy to share advice and help too!
Thanks for reading!