Around a one-year-old boy, vehicles start multiplying in the house, as if appearing out of thin air. (Seriously! I only remember buying two myself, and all of a sudden we have several dozen.) With a two-year-old boy, the roars of dinosaurs fill the playroom. This new interest came on so suddenly that I imagined a secret “kid’s interest checklist” that my son got to working on! So now I’m battling with words like “daspletosaurus” and “beipiaosaurus”, and Budster proclaims that he is “dancing like a dinosaur” while jumping on the couch.
Well, why don’t you dance with a dinosaur, Buddy? I’ve been meaning to make him a hobby horse for a while, but it seemed like a dinosaur hobby horse would be more appropriate now!
Sometimes I wonder how certain things got invented. You know like, “Who was the first person to think that mixing together flour, milk and eggs would produce delicious pancakes?” Well, I didn’t wonder about the hobby horse: it seemed like jumping around, saddling a stick, was the most natural thing for Budster. He had used umbrellas, a cane and long dowels for these purposes before, but he fell in love with his dinosaur before we even had it finished.
Actually, it was when I saw him saddling a long wooden rod, left after some project, that I decided to start working on his dinosaur.
Materials for Making a Dinosaur Hobby Horse
– two colours of felt for skin and spikes; strictly speaking, you can use any type of stretchy fabric for the body, but the spikes need to be made of felt
– (optional) white felt for the whites of the eyes and red felt for the tongue
– polyester stuffing (or wool, if you prefer)
– a couple of buttons for the eyes
– hot glue gun
– a dowel (1″ diameter)
1. Draw the shape of a dinosaur you want to make on a piece of card stock. We love using pizza or cereal boxes for these purposes! Draw the shape and size of your intended dinosaur, then add a considerable amount to account for depth and seam allowance. Approximately double the size.
2. Trace the shape twice onto the piece of fabric you prepared for the dinosaur body. If your fabric has an obvious front and back, do not forget to flip the pattern when making the second half. For tracing, I use a washable marker on the inside of the fabric. Cut the dinosaur halves out.
3. Make a pattern for one spike. Count how many spikes will fit on your dinosaur’s neck and cut the appropriate amount. I needed six.
4. Pin the spikes as shown to the outside of the fabric – the side that will be seen once the project is done. You only need to pin them to one half.
5. Now, pin both halves together inside out. Sew them together, leaving a small opening to turn the dinosaur right side out and stuff later. If you don’t want to use a sewing machine or don’t have one, it would be a really easy project to complete with just a needle, possibly for a more homemade look. But if you’re adept with a sewing machine, you can use the machine to expedite the sewing time. And if you do not have one, you can see some really good ones on sewmyplace.com/sewing-machines-reviewed.
6. My husband is the sewing machine master, not me! And when he got to the dinosaur’s muzzle, he said “It would look great with a tongue sticking out!” So as a last minute addition, I cut an ovular-looking tongue from red felt, folded it in half, and we inserted it in-between layers of fabric. When Jeffrey finished sewing that spot, the tongue was secured.
7. Turn the dinosaur right side out!
8. Plug a hot glue gun in, and while it’s heating, stuff the dinosaur head through the hole. Fill the head, then insert the dowel and pack stuffing around it until the neck is full! Once the dinosaur is stuffed and the dowel is in place, glue the ends of the fabric to the rod with the hot glue gun.
9. On top of it, you can glue or tie a ribbon.
10. Finally, eyes! Two circles of white felt and two buttons will make them. I thought it would give our beastie some character if I used two slightly different buttons.
11. Last of all, you will probably want to trim the dowel a little bit. We let Budster run around with the dinosaur and figured how much shorter the dowel need to be, so that it would be convenient for him to ride his new pet, yet he wouldn’t outgrow him too quickly. Then I used a handsaw to cut the dowel.
Who wouldn’t like to ride a dinosaur? Here comes Budster, the excellent dinosaur tamer! Hop-hop-hop! (Or rather, the way he says it, “Foop-foop-foop!”)
The dinosaur has become Budster’s new friend. Not only does he take him for imaginary adventures, galloping around the house, but he also cuddles with him in an armchair. To be completely honest, I suspect the later has something to do with Budster’s discovery that this dinosaur is very useful for reaching out to objects high and far from him. So, while Budster is innocently sitting in a high chair, the dinosaur is climbing up the bookshelves and rummaging through the papers on the tables.
We can’t wait to take our dinosaur outside. He and Budster will have so much fun, frolicking in the fields!
Update: Two years later, they’re still frolicking! In that time, the dinosaur survived a couple of washings and got new eyes and a new bow. But he is still a good adventure buddy to Anselm.