If you live an hour from Churchill Downs (the location for the Kentucky Derby), you are absolutely obligated to create something fun in its honor! Last year, the races were postponed, but we are counting on a May 1 race day for 2021, and we are prepping for the big day with these adorable stick horse piñatas! Kids can participate in a silly race with these mini stick horses, and then bust them open for some fun treats and toys. They are the perfect party favor for your Derby celebration, but would be adorable for any pony or horse-themed event for kids. Let’s be honest – adults would probably love them just as much!
You could also add a horn and turn them into unicorns. I remember participating in a stick horse contest at the county fair back in the 80’s, and although I did not win the grand prize (or any prize…boo-hoo!), I am hoping to win BIG with the kids at our Derby party when I pass out these piñatas!
what you need:
- Twisty balloons
- Newspaper strips
- Paper mache paste (1 C flour, 1 C water)
- Clear tape
- Balloons pump
- Wax paper
- Acrylic paint in black and various shades of brown and white
- Sponge brush
- Fringe scissors
- Felt in colors to match paint
- Cooling rack
- ¼” Black gem stickers
- String or yarn
- Box cutter
- 6” wooden dowel
- Small treats and toys
Use a balloon pump to blow up a twisty balloon to about 7” long. Tie it off, and cut off the excess using scissors. Tape down the tied piece at the end, so it’s as flat as possible. Fold about 2 ½” of the balloon down, and tape the folded part to the other half, so it looks a bit like a horse head.
Dip newspaper strips in paper mache paste, and completely cover the balloon piece in a few layers of the strips. It is easiest to start by making an “x” with two skinnier strips of newspaper over each end, and then wrap wider strips going up each piece. Allow to dry on a cooling rack.
Paint the horse heads in various shades of brown and cream using a sponge brush. Allow to dry.
Place black gem stickers on the sides of the horse heads for eyes.
Make a strip of fringe about 12” long, by folding streamers in half, and cutting them with fringe scissors. Glue the strips to the middle of the head, going down the back of the horse, as a mane. It is best to fold the 12” strip in half, and glue the folded piece on for a thicker mane. Allow to dry.
Cut two narrow triangles out of felt as ears, and glue them on each side of the mane, near the top of the head. Allow to dry.
Use yarn or string to create reins by tying a piece around the snout of the horse. Cut the small leftover string close to the knot. Take the longer piece, and drape it over the back of the horse, and then tie another knot parallel to the first. Cut the string off close to the second knot.
Use your box cutter to cut a small “x” in the bottom of the horse head, and place some glue on the end of your dowel rod before placing it through the “x”. Allow to dry.
Use a paintbrush and darker shade of brown or black to paint nostrils on the end of the snout. Allow to dry.
Cut three sides of a small rectangle on one side of your horse using a box cutter. Pull out the deflated balloon and pieces of tape, and shake out any flakes of dried paper mache paste. Fill with treats and small toys, and push the door back in place. You may use Washi tape to hold it shut if necessary.