Thursday, 21 August 2014

My Little Pony Hobby Horses

My eldest daughter (soon to be 4) is currently very obsessed with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ... and her little sister (22 months) is quickly following in her footsteps! :)  I love surprising them with My Little Pony things and things that I can make for them are even better! Annalise (the eldest) requested a My Little Pony theme for her birthday party this year. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Of course, I browsed Pinterest for ideas and came up with some pretty awesome ones ... but I'll blog about all the party ideas we did after the big day! :)  For now, it's all about the hobby horses I found on Pinterest! In my search for party ideas, I found this site where a mom made My Little Pony themed hobby horses for her daughters. I thought it was a great idea and wanted to make the same for my girls. Then I thought, why not do it in time for the birthday party so we can incorporate it into the party games?! :) I liked the basic idea shown in the site linked above but I didn't really like how she did the manes. I wanted something more authentic looking. I also wanted to add the cutie marks to the ponies (because you can't have a My Little Pony without the cutie marks, am I right?!). :)

So, here's my tutorial for the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic hobby horses. I made Pinkie Pie (which the tutorial will walk you through), Rainbow Dash (Annalise's favourite) and Twilight Sparkle (pre-season 4 so not Princess Twilight Sparkle as I couldn't find wings anywhere for her ... the wings I used for Rainbow Dash were ones we already had in the house that I just covered with blue tights). :)

Materials needed:
*Pool noodles (this are hard to find at the end of the summer. I literally had to climb through bike racks and displays to find the only blue pool noodle in the store! So this item makes this project more of a seasonal craft, when pool noodles are easier to come by in stores!) :)
*Felt (lots, variety of colours based on which ponies you are doing)
*Hot glue & glue gun (I recommend a low heat glue gun. My low heat gun broke so I had to use my high heat gun and it caused the foam pool noodle and the styrofoam eyes to melt a bit).
*Styrofoam balls cut in half for eyes
*coloured foam sheets for eyes (iris, pupils, etc), ears, and unicorn horns
*Pencil & marker for drawing out where you need to cut on the foam and felt
*sharp knife to cut styrofoam balls in half
*twine to tie down top of pool noodle to form head. (The site above recommends using yarn but to me that's not strong enough so I went with twine.)

Some of the materials: glue gun, glue, scissors, foam sheets

Pool noodle - pink for Pinkie Pie

Pool noodle tied down with head, felt, styrofoam balls
The first step, after gathering your materials, is to tie down the pool noodle to form the head (also remember to take any stickers off the noodle). As I said in the materials list, use kitchen twine for this. I cut three long strands which I braided together. "A cord of three strands is not easily broken." Strength is good when tying down something that doesn't naturally want to stay bent. :)

The next step is to add the ears. I cut these from foam sheets. The foam sheets I got at Walmart (pack of small sheets) were self sticking which is why you see some white at the back of the ear. I just took off the paper at the part that would stick to the noodle. I also added hot glue here as I assumed (correctly) that the adhesive on the foam wouldn't provide a permanent stick. :)

Next you will want to do the hair (mane). I started with the front. As I said, I really wanted these to look as authentic as possible, so I googled pictures of the pony (in this case Pinkie Pie) and used those images to draw out the hair on the felt sheets. I attached this to the pool noodle between the ears. I did one piece of felt for the long part here at the front and then some small round pieces to fill it out on top. I love the little curl at the end! :)

Next I did the back, again looking at a picture of Pinkie Pie and drawing what it looked like onto the felt to cut out. For the back, I did 3 identical pieces to give some "bounce" and fullness to her mane. 

Other view of Pinkie Pie's mane.

Next, you need to make the eyes. You will need to first cut a styrofoam ball in half. Draw eyelashes onto the back of some black self-adhesive foam. Remember to do a reflection for the second set of eyelashes or you'll have one that doesn't go in the right direction. :) Pinkie Pie's eyes are blue so my next step was to cut out large ovals from blue self-adhesive foam, smaller ovals from the black foam and even smaller ones (for the gleam in her eye) from white foam. :) Even though these are self-adhesive, I still used hot glue to attach them to the styrofoam ball. Now, here's where I discovered the trouble of hot glue melting styrofoam balls and foam pool noodles. Long story short, the eyes didn't stick because of the melting. I solved this problem (and prevented it on the other two ponies) but cutting out circles from the self-adhesive foam, in a colour that matches the pool noodle (pink in this case), put glue on the pink foam, let it cool slightly (but not to the point of being hard) and then attached the styrofoam. Then I peeled the paper off the back, attached the eye lashes, peeled the paper off that, added hot glue to the back and then stuck it to the pool noodle, holding it tight for about 30 seconds to a minute. This ensured it stuck well. :)

Here's another view of Pinkie Pie's head and a better view of her eyes. :)

I took a pink fine-tipped Sharpie to draw definition lines on the ears to make them look a bit nicer.

Finally, I cut out the cutie mark from more self-adhesive foam and again used hot glue to attach them. I did two sets of the cutie mark, one for each side (we're going for authenticity, right?).

As you can see, my girls were thrilled with this (even though Emilie doesn't look so thrilled at the moment). They both wanted to ride Pinkie Pie right away and, since I only had one, they rode together. :)

The next pony I did was Rainbow Dash. I don't have step by step photos to go with this or Twilight Sparkle but you just need to adapt the above instructions for any other ponies. Her hair was lots of fun to make - again, I looked at images on Google and drew what it looked like on felt. With the multi-coloured hair, I drew on various colours of felt and hot-glued the pieces together.

Side-view of Rainbow Dash. I found the blue tights for the wings at Target. The wings are fairy wings so not perfect pony wings but the girls are happy with them so I am too! :) This cutie mark was a bit of a challenge compared to Pinkie Pie's but totally fun and doable! :)

Close-up of Rainbow Dash's totally awesome rainbow mane! :)

Here's Twilight Sparkle. On her, the unicorn horn was by far the greatest challenge: trying to determine how tall to make it and then figuring out how best to form it and attach it to the pool noodle. I will admit that I earned a few blisters from the glue gun when attaching that horn! Her mane was also really fun to make with the multi-colours and the more squared-off shape compared to Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. I love how the style of the hair (not just the colour) shows so much of each pony's personality!

Side view of the completed Twilight Sparkle.

Twilight Sparkle's cutie mark. Since it is such a big cutie mark and has a few parts to it, I decided to just make one for her and to put it on her back instead of on the side. This is the only thing that Annalise complained about regarding all the ponies. "Mommy, the cutie mark is NOT supposed to be on her back! Now that means I will have to sit on it and I don't want to sit on it!!" :)

There you have it! My "My Little Pony" hobby horses for two very happy girls! :) I hope you enjoyed the post and can make sense of the tutorial to make you own! :)