We Lived Happily Ever After: DIY Rhino Rocking Horse Tutorial

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DIY Rhino Rocking Horse Tutorial

Hey everyone. Hope you are all doing good. Things have been a little crazy over here "mom life wise"...  which is why I haven't blogged this week. I could really benefit from learning to schedule ahead of time... or hiring a nanny... but for now I just post as life happens. 

With all that said, sometimes it takes me a while to get certain posts up, probably because my tutorials consist of lots of details and photos... This one, for example, has almost 60 photos. But I am finally posting it almost two years after creating it!

This Rhino Rocking Horse is hands down my favorite stuffed animal creation. Now, it's a little different because it has a frame inside it so that kids can sit on it. With all that said, I didn't make a pattern for this baby, becuase I was 100 months pregnant when making it (okay, 40 weeks-ish), and I think I was crying the whole time while making it (hormones) With all that said, I didn't expect for it to turn out so good. 

But thankfully I did take pictures to share incase!

First, I cut out a profile that matched the size and shape I wanted. When drafting a pattern like this you have to account for where the seams will go when it becomes 3D. I cut out four of these profile pieces (two grey fabric versions, and two green flannel versions to act as a back for this thin grey fabric)

Then I cut out 2 X looking pieces for the tummy and undersides of the legs. N... below is another photo for reference.

(Again, the green fabric was just so my fabric could be doubled up since I anticipated heavy playing on this rhino)

I placed the two right sides of the body facing each other (the green is on the outside becuase it is the insides, and will later be turned right side out) 

Then I folded the legs with the outsides facing away from each other.

I sewed the body pieces together, leaving the legs and upper back open (the back was left open to insert the frame & polyfill)

I then flipped the legs up... 

... and I inserted the inside legs on top of the matching legs...

... and sewed them together.

Here's another view.

Everything was then turned right side out.

Here's how it looked. 

Partially fill it up with polyfil via the open back.

Since building a rocking horse is different than my normal stuffed animal, I needed to build a base for stability. We just used 2X4's screwed together. Ignore the partial board- I used boards from my scrap pile. :)

Here's what it looked like from the sides.

The base was then inserted from the back into the legs.

At this point, I was pretty amazed that my crazy idea to build a rocking stuffed animal was actually kinda working! lol!

Next, continue to fill it with as much fluff as you can. And don't forget to stuff around the boards/legs. Looking slightly weird, huh?

Next you can stitch the back up.

Next morning (you can tell by the lighting difference in photos, lol) I started working on the horns. I just used another 2x4 board for them.

I cut them out with a jig saw & sanded them down.

Then I started working on the facial features. At this point I was feeling really discouraged with my progress. It just wasn't looking like I wanted it to. But I kept going.

This part was basically like plastic surgery. I just kept on marking areas I wanted to adjust.

For the nose, I rolled up fabric to use for the nostrils and pinned in place. 

I adjusted the upper back so it didn't stick up as much. 

Then I adjusted the mouth, pulling it in more.

At last! Another glimmer of hope!

Here's how I changed the mouth. I pinched everything in more & sewed it together.

This made his face shorter, and more sculpted.

Here's what I did for the ears...

Fold 1.

Fold 2.

Fold 3.

Ta dah! Now I sewed it all together do it wouldn't unfold.

Next I sewed on the nostrils.

They were just small strips of fabric I made into loops.

Would you call that a smile? Hmmm.

Then I attached the ears.

At this point I was getting excited. Like WAY excited. This rhino stuffed animal was turning out better than I had expected.

I drilled holed into the horns, sanded & white washed them.

Then I used a thick string to sew them onto the face. 

I really made sure they were secure.

Next I got a good sized strand of fabric to wrap the base of the horns.

Ahhh! So cute!

Then I went to work creating a realistic eye. It's an upholstery button, covered in felt, then wrapped in the grey fabric.

Then I made a cute little tail.

Here's what the base of the bottom looks like disassembled. In hindsight, we should have added more curve to the base so that it would rock... and if you would believe it, I still haven't fixed that problem... almost 2 years later. lol!

I mean, maybe it's a good thing it doesn't rock like crazy, becuase my kids are always standing on it.

Here's a photo of it all put together. I ended up just screwing the legs onto the base by drilling beneath the base up into the bottoms of the feet. I did have to put my screws through the fabric because of this, but I haven't had any issues.

And ta- da! 

Congrats if you made it this far into the post. lol. 

You can see more of my baby boy's room HERE or HERE, and check out the rest of the tutorials from his room below (still need to post about the airplane! Oh well, one tutorial at a time I guess)


  1. Hello.
    I absolutely love the Rhino rocking horse you created and would love to make one for a friend of mine for her soon-to-be new born.
    Do you have the actual dimensions/sizes of the pattern?

    1. I'm so sorry I didn't measure any of it- I was pregnant and not feeling well when I made it, so I didn't keep track of it. But the general size of the rhino is about the same as an actual rocking horse. Hope that helps!