Shading the fur of a Hobby Horse

Shading the fur of a Hobby Horse with fabric paint

It is important to many Hobby Horse fans that their self-sewn stick horse does not look like a toy, but looks as realistic as possible. You can achieve this, for example, by choosing the right sewing pattern: the proportions and curvature of the horse’s head should be based on the original. And you can give it the perfect finishing touch by shading the fur of your Hobby Horse! That means that paint is applied to the fabrics, which intensifies the natural play of light and shadow. The result: Your Hobby Horse looks much livelier!

In our video tutorial on Youtube you can see exactly how you fabric paint can breathe some life into your self-sewn Hobby Horse:

Tip: You can find more Hobby Horse videos in this Youtube playlist!

What you need for shading the fur of a Hobby Horse

We use “MUCKI” fabric finger paint or “Creall Tex” fabric paint for shading. Both paints have been tested for harmful substances! You also need a sponge and a brush. If you want to paint a special coat pattern, such as the typical spots on a dapple-gray horse, you will also need some adhesive book cover.

That’s how it works:

Apply paint to the fabric with a brush or directly with a sponge. Then blur the paint with the sponge. You have to be relatively quick, otherwise the paint dries and can no longer be smudged! Swipe until the edges are soft.

In any case, it’s a good idea to try it out on a scrap of fabric before you get serious! This will give you a feeling for how much paint to apply and how much to blur. Sometimes it is also better to dilute the fabric paint with a little water (especially with rather viscous paints such as a fabric finger paint) so that it can be spread more easily and the transitions are soft.

In our experience it’s good to shade some pattern pieces before sewing them together. Because after sewing, some areas, such as the inside of the ears, are difficult to access!

Shading a hobby horse before sewing the fabric pieces together

We also shade some parts of the Hobby Horse only when the horse is finished and filled with batting. This includes darker areas to accentuate the throat, ganaches and muzzle. You can also paint pre-shaded areas again after sewing.

Shading a hobby horse once it's sewn and filled with batting

This technique can also be used, for example, for shading dapples on the fabric to create a dapple-grey Hobby Horse (also expalined in the video above).

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