DIY Carousel Horse {Centralia, IL and Southern IL Photographer} {AshLee Wethington Photography}



Hello! My name is AshLee Wethington, owner of AshLee Wethington Photography! I thought I would share how I turned a spring ride on horse into a DIY (or myself) carousel horse for my daughter’s 4th birthday party!


My first challenge was actually getting ahold of one of these horses. I had one as a kid… but that thing was long gone! I put out some feelers and eventually found one from a Facebook friend! (Thanks Jennifer!)

I almost forgot to take a photo of the start of the project! Oops ūüôā But here he is The original owner was glad to be seeing this guy being put to good use!IMG_1590IMG_1592I had my helper (the birthday girl) do a lot of the work. Here she is shaking up the paint. We started with plastic primer from Hobby Lobby (HL) but you should be able to find this at most stores. It took about 2 coats in most spots and then we followed with white spray paint for plastic the next day (also from HL).IMG_1593



IMG_1597I let him dry for 2 days… only because I got busy with life and wasn’t able to work on him for a bit.IMG_1616Next, was the¬†mane¬†and tail coats. I was eager to see some color on him. I chose to make him a her and add rose gold metallic coloring to the mane, tail, and eventually the base and pole. I used wrapping paper and painters tape to cover the horse while I spray painted the rose gold on.

IMG_1629What beautiful color that rose gold has! WOW! I was so excited ūüôā The birthday girl and I got right to work¬†hand painting the remainder of the horse.

¬†IMG_1633I just bought acrylic paint from HL (most craft stores and places like Wal-Mart carry the same paint), ya know the kind that comes in the little bottles! I chose a variety of colors and let her choose as we went along. *Note, you will see through the progression that some of the colors changed. We did decide on a different color scheme. IMG_1635Ms. MadaLynn did an amazing job helping me paint!IMG_1638After the paint was able to dry, I laid her down and colored her eyes. They were painted rose gold at first, but after it dried I didn’t like it, so I took a black permanent marker and colored them in. There is window light coming in from the top right of the photo, I had her positioned so I could see the catch lights in her eyes and then painted them on!Centralia-IL-Photographer-DIY-Carousel-HorseShe is getting there! Here is where we decided to change the color scheme…Centralia-IL-Photographer-DIY-Carousel-Horse (1)I added some flowers to the handle holes and hot glued them on.¬† I also hot glued the beaded/crystal necklace that my¬†Grandma Boozer had given my daughter the month before¬†to make reigns. Centralia-IL-Photographer-DIY-Carousel-Horse5

Here is the almost completed project. The pole is a 1 3/8in pole from Lowes and the top on it is from a curtain set that also came from¬†Lowes. Please note that I didn’t purchase an actual curtain rod set, as lowers sells them separate¬†so I was able to pick out exactly what I wanted ūüôā My husband then built a platform¬†as the base. It was difficult to find the right balance for the horse to stay level. She wanted to lean back. He ended up putting a bolt through the pole so the horse could rest on it. I am sure there are many ways that we could have done this, but I do no¬†intend to use the carousel horse as a ride or sit on prop for most sessions. It will be a free-standing prop. I only intend for my daughter¬†to get to sit on it.

He then painted the wood base white and then added a layer of the rose gold paint! My husband also filled in the back peg holes with epoxy, sanded it, and lightly painted over it. If we were given more time I know he would have covered it better, but this was less than 24 hours before the photo shoot!

Yes I know this photo is blurry and I apologize… sorry!

   Centralia-IL-Photographer-DIY-Carousel-Horse (2)

The last thing that went on was the ribbon. I again made a trip to HL and purchased ribbon. I wasn’t in love with all of the ribbon I picked out, but ribbon can be expensive so I went to the sale area to pick out most of it! I bought spools of each one that I liked and then cut them in 1/2. I had some left over elastic that¬†I cut and hand stitched end to end(kind of like a hair tie) just big enough that when it stretched out it would fit somewhat snug on the pole. I then hand stitched either a corner or the end of each ribbon onto the elastic. This sounds somewhat time-consuming, but it really only took about 8-10 min!



Here are a few images of the final project!  We wrapped the May pole for fun!centralia-il-photographer2centralia-il-photographer1centralia-il-photographer

So if you like my final project please share and comment below! If you have any questions about the process feel free to contact me. I am a Southern Illinois newborn, child, family, maternity, and senior photographer. I enjoy creating props and stylized sessions for my family and clients!

#centraliailphotographer #centraliail #ashleewethington #carouselhorse #photographyprop


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