Upcycled Rocking Horse




Introduction: Upcycled Rocking Horse

About: Master Builder in training

This is a rocking tyre horse made out of upcycled components such as an old car tyre, reclaimed pine planks, rubberwood and 2 by 2 wood.

It is child-friendly and made with the purpose as a toy for children to play on.

Made by the Biji-Biji Initiative.

Step 1: Gathering Your Materials

1. Pine wood planks

2. Half-cut rubber car tyre

3. Thick jute rope

4. Rubber wood

5. 2 by 2 wood pieces

6. PVC pipe and end caps

Most of these materials can be found at your local home depot, hardware shop or lumber suppliers. Just dig up an old car tyre and you're good to go.

Find a pvc pipe size that is suitable as a handlebar for kids. I chose to use a 3/4 inch diameter.

Step 2: Tools You Need

1. Mitre Saw
2. Jigsaw
3. Angle Grinder and cutting disks
4. Belt Sander
5. Sandpaper fine grit (>600)
6. Wood glue
7. Power Drill
8. Hole saw drill bit
9. Nail gun (optional)
10. Nuts and bolts (optional)
11. Pillar Drill (optional)

The angle grinder is for cutting the rubber tyre in half. Please remember to wear a mask while cutting and to avoid inhaling the fumes from cutting.

The nail gun and nuts and bolts are optional because this method can be replaced with the use of screws, depending on the builder's discretion.

The pillar drill is also optional as one can simply use a power drill with the right drill bit for making holes on the wood.

Step 3: Preparing Your Wood Cuts

1. Horse head and Backrest
Start by drawing out a sketch of a horse* head and a 'tombstone' shape on a slab of rubber wood. Proceed to cut those traces using a jigsaw according to the shape.

*Note: This doesn't necessarily have to be a horse and can be drawn to be anything else depending on you.

2. Wooden base seat
Measure and cut two pieces of pine planks according to the size of your tyre with additional space on both ends of the tyre. In my case, I cut out lengths of 90cm. Also cut out two or three pieces of small pine planks according to the horizontal length of the two 90cm pine planks placed side by side. This is for attaching them later to hold your base seat together.

3. Tyre connectors
Firstly, have your tyre prepared by cutting it in half with an angle grinder. Cut out two pieces of 2 by 2 wood or any kind of hard wood according to the inner width of the tyre as shown in the picture. This is for later connecting the tyre to the wooden base seat.

These are the three main components that make up your rocking tyre horse.

Step 4: Sanding Your Wood Pieces

Make sure to sand down all of your wood pieces with a belt sander before starting to attach them together. Be sure to remove all of the rough edges and smoothen out the curves. Use a medium grit belt sander sandpaper for this.

Step 5: Horse Head

1. Prepare some pieces of 2 by 2 wood with the same length as the base of the horse's neck.

2. Sandwich the horse head in between 2 pieces of these woods and attach them together as shown in the picture. You can either use wood glue and a nail gun to attach it, or simply screw them in place with a power drill.

3. Prepare a 'base' for the horse head with a small plank of pinewood that is slightly bigger than the horse head structure. Similarly, you can choose to attach this together using a nail gun, power drill, or through the use of nuts and bolts which is what I chose to do and will share in the next few steps.

4. Lastly, give your horse head a smooth finishing with some fine grit sandpaper of 600 and above.

Step 6: Backrest

1. Similarly for the backrest, cut out one piece of 2 by 2 wood about the same length as the backrest and place it like so.

2. Attach it to the wood with some wood glue and a nail gun, or screw it together with a power drill.

3. Again, sand off the backrest with some fine grit sandpaper to give it a smooth edge.

Step 7: Wooden Base Seat

1. Moving on to the wooden seat, glue and attach the small pine planks to connect the two 90cm pine planks with a nail gun or power drill. Make sure to attach two on each ends of the planks and one in the middle for good support.

2. At this point, you can start placing the horse head and backrest on the wooden seat to mark the spot where you want to position them and for an estimation of how the end results will look like.

Step 8: Tyre Connector

1. For the final component, have your half cut tyre placed on the floor as shown above and place the piece of hard wood in between the gaps on each end of the tyre.

2. Screw it in place while making sure that the top of the wood is flatly leveled with the ends of the tyre so that your wooden base can sit nicely on top. For this, you can either use hex screws or phillips screws depending on your preference. Take note that you may have to drill pilot holes on the piece of wood depending on how hard it is.

Step 9: Making the Handlebars and Tail

1. For the final touches of your rocking horse, you will need to drill holes on the horse head and back rest. Use a hole saw drill bit on a power drill or a pillar drill if you have one for this.

2. For the horse head, make sure that the hole you drill is exactly the size of the pvc pipe diameter for a tight fit. Strategically plan your hole to be somewhere in the center of the horse head for ease of reach and sturdiness. Cut the pvc pipe at roughly a 1 feet length and place the end caps on both ends.

3. For the backrest, drill a hole that is slightly bigger than the diameter of the jute rope that you have. Cut the jute rope at roughly an adult arm's length and tie a knot halfway as shown above. Fray one end of the jute rope from the point where you knotted it.

Step 10: Putting It All Together

The method that I chose to attach the horse head and backrest to the wooden seat is through the use of nuts and bolts. This step can be skipped if you chose to attach them using screws or a nail gun instead. Below is the process of how I did mine.

Horse Head
1. Drill holes the size of the bolts that you plan to use on the 2 by 2 wood pieces of the horse head as shown above

2. Drill corresponding holes onto the small piece of pine plank that acts as the 'base' for the horse head. Put the bolts through with washers and position it on one end of the wooden seat. Secure it to the wooden seat with a nail gun or some screws with the bolts facing upwards like shown above.

3. Place the horse head on top of the base sitting nicely on the bolts and then tighten them with nuts. Don't forget to place washers on each ends of the bolts to avoid damaging the surface of the wood.

The perks of using this method of fastening the horse head with nuts and bolts is that it makes it detachable and interchangeable with any other types of heads should you wish to do so in any point of time.

Similar to the horse head, drill holes on the piece of 2 by 2 wood of the backrest all the way through to the wooden seat and tighten it in place with some bolts and nuts. As there is a double layer of pine planks on the back end of the wooden seat, you will need to use longer bolts as compared to the ones used in the previous step.

Wooden seat and Tyre

Once you have everything in place, you can now attach your wooden seat to the tyre by drilling screws into the hardwood pieces that you have attached earlier into the tyres. Again, you can choose to use hex screws or phillips screws depending on your preference as long as you make sure that it doesn't protrude on the surface of the wooden seat.

Handlebars and Tail

Finally, you can now choose to permanently attach your handlebars and tail to your rocking horse if you plan to leave it in its original colour. If you wish to paint your rocking horse, it is advisable to attach them after painting.

1. Fit the pvc pipe through the hole of the horse head and find a midpoint. Add superglue along point between the pvp pipe and horse head the to hold it in place. Also add superglue on the rims of the end caps as you cover the ends of the pvp pipe to complete your handlebar. Alternatively, you can also choose to use transparent silicone glue or epoxy for this.

2. As for the tail, you just need to slot in the end of the jute rope that isn't frayed through the back of the backrest and then tie a knot from the front to lock it in place. Cut off any excess rope that you have after the knot from the front.

Your final product should look as shown in the picture above.

Step 11: Finishing

To complete your rocking tyre horse, you can choose to paint it in the colours of your choice and add your own elements of design into it. Be creative with your drawings and make it as fun and vibrant as possible for kids of all ages to enjoy!

Thank you for checking out this instructable. For more cool builds and installations, drop by our website www.biji-biji.com or shoot us an email at share@biji-biji.com if you have any inquiries.

We are an open source social enterprise based in Malaysia that champions environmental sustainability. We incorporate the upcycling of waste materials into our designs in hopes of inspiring others to adopt this movement.

The Biji-Biji Initiative - We make things. Saving our environment one build at a time.

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    rubberwood is used for making quite a lot of modern furniture, it is soft to wrk with but is very strong and light in colour...hope this helps..??


    3 years ago

    What is rubber wood? If my boys were still little, my dad would be making a dozen of these--he tended to get a little carried away when he found a great idea.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi there! Rubberwood is a medium dense type of hardwood that comes from trees grown in rubber plantations. Quite common to find around here in Asia. They come in sheets and look like this.

    Awesome. Your dad sounds pretty cool :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    I guess I could just use whatever boards I can find. He was the most awesome grandpa. We miss him a lot. I do projects sometimes just because I know he would have loved them. I have some old tires and friends with small children so this is going on my summer to-do list.


    3 years ago

    those don't look too stable...