My daughter is really into horses. Like..really. Anytime I do one of those “surprise, lets go pick out a new toy!” gigs, she gets another horse. And because her love is sincere, and she is a rider, I go with it. Now I have purchased her a few barns for her horses, plastic ones that my husband and I have spent far too many hours putting and re-putting back together. And for the $50 that they inevitable cost us, the truth is they are pieces of crap.
So this time after watching her play horse for the 100th time this summer but no barn to put them in, I asked her if she wanted to make a horse barn.
The answer was predictable: YES YES YES!
I honestly wasn’t sure how we were gonna make it, so I just went to the craft store and wandered around till I found something. Turns out I found lots of somethings that make perfect barns. I hope this article serves as some inspiration to pass on the plastic and do something a lot more creative, fun, and long lasting.
How to make a Homemade Horse Barn
(for the horse gal in your life!)
What you need (supplies listed below covers BOTH barns we made!)
- Milk Crates– we found them at Micheal’s in the wood section. The size you buy will depend on the size horses you are putting inside. They run from $3.99-$9.99. We purchased a large one for $9.99 (and used a 40% off coupon making it $6), and two smaller $3.99 ones.
- Plywood– Yep, we found this in the wood section in Micheal’s already pre-cut and the same size. I was pretty worried I was gonna have to break out the saw but turns out they pre-cut this stuff for crafting. We bought 2 pieces of wood for the bottom and the same size wood for the backboard. The backboard wood was thinner and the bottom was thicker. Get the thickest cut they have because once you nail the two pieces together if its too thin the nail will pop through. Trust me.
- Decorations– I had some gold paint already in the house, we purchased some .25 cent felt for grass and backboard, purchased a few tiny rake/hoes/buckets from the dollhouse area, some “hay” in the flower area of the store. I also had some battery operated tiny lights I had bought a few months ago that I used on this project and they turned out cute to use. We found some little grass in blocks under the 70% off garden section so they were just under $2 a piece.
- You will also need a hammer and small nails
First we knocked out one side of the wooden milk crates with a hammer. Just took a blow or two to pull off the two planks of wood, which we used later in the project so set aside.
Now its time to get to work- nail your back board and bottom of the plywood together. Lay like an L and then use your tiny nails to hammer in place along the board.
Now you need to nail down your milk crates. On the first barn I used a milk crate on each side (after knocking the two extra boards out) and nailed in the thickest part on both sides securing them to the floor of the barn. This is so when you move the barn they stay put!
Here is how it looks to have them both done.
Now I took my extra pieces of wood I took off and used it to separate the crates into two stables. Takes as simple nail to secure back on. Originally I was going to cut this piece so I could make it flush, but decided to leave it the same length and use it as a way to hang a sign to state the horses name on the top.
Now its time to paint! I used a gold spray paint and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO messy. I don’t know if the can leaked or it was just me, but I am still gold today. After the gold was dry, I went back over the barn itself with some white so it mixed the colors just a bit for contrast. Basically you can paint to your hearts desire.
Now its time to decorate! This was the easy part. We added hay, our horses, a name placard to write the names later when Charlotte decides and our little buckets. We also put in a nail to hang the rake and other tiny items. You can pick up little pieces of fence prepainted in the wood area if you like. I thought it was a cute touch. Cost just a dollar or so.
Just to show you how different you can do the same plans, this is Charlotte’s more fancy and girly design she created. She used stiff green felt for grass, pink background (all just hot glued onto the boards after they were nailed), a large crate in place of smaller ones for her large horses and we chose to NOT nail this one down so it was movable.
I know that some will look at this and go, I am NOT that crafty, but I can assure you it was simply nails and paint! We took it all outside on the back porch, hung out, and created a toy that will last for a long time. I can see many more barn designs in our future!