Make a Decorative Horse Sculpture

7 Materials
$10
4 Days
Medium

Using a brick and a toy horse, I made this faux bronze sculpture using chalk and metallic paints.

My "bronze" horse started as a plastic toy.
My "bronze" horse started as a plastic toy.

This is an intermediate-level, faux-finish painting project and a good chance to practice dry-brush blending. Start with a brick and a toy horse.

A distressed brick for the base added depth.
A distressed brick for the base added depth.

I found this plastic horse with a velvet flocking at a thrift shop for $2.00 and the brick from my garden. I removed the mane and tail and glued the horse to a brick.

Modelling clay made a new tail and mane.
Modelling clay made a new tail and mane.

I shaped the tail with modeling clay and used a wooden skewer that I cut to about 1-1/4". If there is no hole in your horse where the tail can go, make one. Insert the new tail into the hole, and secure with glue.

I use Waverly brand chalk paints.
I use Waverly brand chalk paints.

I used chalk paint in just 4 colors to simulate a bronze/copper effect. Patchy areas of green-blue and light brown paint are blended together using a mostly dry brush. I lightened the blue and brown colors with off-white and yellow as needed.

Blending the paint was easy, I found.
Blending the paint was easy, I found.

The green-blue lightened with off-white was my predominant color. Light brown (called "Truffle" with Waverly paints) helped blend in the green-blue patches.

I recommend Hearty brand modeling clay.
I recommend Hearty brand modeling clay.

I shaped a mane out of modeling clay and used tweezers and scissors to add texture. Let the clay dry and use glue to attach it to the horse's head. Paint it to match the horse's body.

Highlight with metallic gold and green paint.
Highlight with metallic gold and green paint.

When the chalk paint dries, use metallic colors such as

gold and green to highlight. if you've over-done your gold, like I did at first, blend the blue-green and brown paint on top, to tone it down.

Imagine this figurine for holiday decor.
Imagine this figurine for holiday decor.

The horse looks wonderful on the mantel just as I imagined it would. We are restoring a 200 year old house and doing a lot of decorative painting throughout. If you'd like to see some of our progress, click here.

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Stephie McCarthy

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Carla
    on Nov 13, 2018

    Can't help but giggle. It looks so good! You also stole my idea of using an giant old glass light fixture as a treasure viewer/holder. Is that project here? Thanks.

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Nov 14, 2018

      Yes, terrariums are one of my weaknesses. This summer I put a fresh floral arrangement in it. This Christmas I am planning to put a miniature Christmas tree with small roses. Putting a tall mirror behind the fixture is one of the tricks I figured out.

  • Alicia Pousada
    on Nov 14, 2018

    I'm sure he did, but do you want "cute" or "classy"? That is the question.



    • Jewellmartin
      on Dec 6, 2018

      What’s cute about it to me is that a lowly brick and a cheap plastic horse could become something that looks so classy as a bronze statue. I can wait to try this! ☺️

Join the conversation

4 of 88 comments
  • Alice
    on Dec 4, 2018

    I collect replica Tang & Ming Dynasty horses. This would be a fun project. I love the one you made !!! Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Dec 4, 2018

      I was inspired by those beautiful terra-cotta horses too, and showed an example on my blog. The next one I make will be those lovely off-white and brick shades of the Tang & Ming Dynasty. I think the liquid wax sold by Waverly would give it almost a porcelain glow to that kind of finish!

  • Jewellmartin
    on Dec 28, 2018

    Stephie, I’ve only made it to the spray paint a plastic animal stage. But I want to try theaged bronze look and many others. Thanks for an excellent tutorial. 😊

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Dec 28, 2018

      Let me know how ever I can help, Jewell. One thing that worked well with this horse is that I used a plush horse and the chalk paint really seemed to work well on that for the metallic look.

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