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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

Oh this was a fun one! Who doesn't love a rocking horse? Especially when you know you get to help the horse become a zebra! I was asked to custom paint this for a friend and I jumped on it! Maybe you don't have a rocking horse laying around to paint.....but you likely have something that means a lot to you and it's old or weathered or drab or out of style....and it just needs a facelift! This painted rocking horse is the exact same process you would follow!

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

This horse was solid white (a blank canvas) and imperfect. It is not wood. It is some sort of cast resin or plaster material that is very heavy, chipped, and cracked in places yet still solid and sturdy. I chose to prep it by removing any dirt and oils from it with a White Lightning wash followed by a rinse with water. I then primed it with two coats of Slick Stick….which is a bonding primer for anything with a slick or shiny surface. This sort of levels the playing field and prepares the surface for what is ahead……ME & PAINT!

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

This horse took a few turns in design direction so be prepared for a little zig-zagging in my description.

I first painted her in a solid coat of Fluff by Dixie Belle…which is from their chalk-mineral line….and my go-to paint. I then began hand drawing the zebra stripes and filling them in with Caviar black. However….when I made the choice to use the new decoupage paper (also from Dixie Belle)….it was filled with the softest hues of green and blue and pink which very much reminded me of the color palette for their new SILK line of paint. Silk is an “all in one” paint that has a built-in blocking primer and a single topcoat. I decided this horse was a great project to use multiple colors from the line while giving me the opportunity to work with the paint.

So…….I gave it a single coat of Saltwater (white) allllll over the stripes I’d already started…yep….sure did! I’m dedicated to trying new things and I was ok with the extra time it would require to re-paint! I then used Anchor (black) to repaint the stripes. What I found is that Silk is a thinner paint than the chalk mineral paint. This makes it VERY easy to use when doing small details….however it does require a second coat for full coverage. So two coats of Anchor for every black stripe you see….but it was so worth it… the finish is flawless and as smooth as SILK!

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

I then applied the decoupage paper. I chose Pallet Wood. The paper comes three to a pack and they are large at 12″x17″ each. I used the Clear Top Coat method to apply and you can watch me do this process here.

This video is part of a four part series. Click here to see the whole playlist!

From here I just began painting freely. I chose to paint the saddle in Conch (pink) and used a deep metallic pink to create a harlequin pattern on the seat as well. I used the bold blue of Harbor for the frame around the rocker portion and each of the handles on her head. I am in LOVE with the color Tide Pool (my favorite in the line) and chose to use it on the horse’s mane and tail as well as on the trim that frames out the decoupage paper.

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

I then got down to business with my full-on whimsy and added the checkerboard pattern in Saltwater and Anchor on the outside edge of the rocker on both sides. I show you EXACTLY how to measure this and what brush to use in this video here.

This video is part of a four part series. Click here to see the whole playlist!

I was now ready to really make this painted rocking horse…I mean zebra…unique! I knew all along I’d be creating a WoodUBend bouquet to her hip/saddle area…..and it turned out exactly like I’d been imagining! I chose this giant rose as my center. I then added two smaller rosebuds and multiple scrolls to surround the florals and make the bouquet come to life. I painted the roses in Conch (pink) and the scrolls and trim in Tide Pool (seafoam green).

I heated them on a skillet….applied TiteBond glue….and pressed them into place. Did you notice how the large rose actually bends and curves over the large lip of the saddle? That is what I love about the WUB products. You just heat them and they become pliable and will fold any direction you want without breaking or tearing. The glue dries instantly…..and you can just move right along with your project!

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

I applied the WoodUBend trim around the plank paper on the rocker section and then I was ready to add metallic gold to this painted rocking horse turned zebra!

I chose Golden Gem Mousse and infused it with a bit of Top Coat Gloss. This allows me to thin it out to a paint consistency and it dries quickly! I applied the gold to the hooves, the ends of the handles….the trim around the saddle straps. I then decided to paint four keyhole molds in gold….and apply them to the four corners of the planks.

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

I let all of this dry for 24 hours before applying the final antiquing glaze.

I chose VooDoo Gel Stain in black (Up in Smoke) as my overall antiquing finish. This is a water-based stain that is thin and easy to apply for a final wash. I just brush it on and immediately wipe it back with baby wipes. The baby wipes were actually removing too much of the stain from the body of the zebra….so I reapplied and wiped it back with a dry cloth instead. This left just enough stain to tint the white and make it less bright!

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

I show you this exact process in this video here.

And we are done!!!! Because I used Silk paint with a built-in topcoat….I do not need to apply a finishing coat. In addition to that….the VooDoo Gel Stain does not require a topcoat either. However…..I may decide to add a coat of Gator Hide for a higher sheen after I let it sit for a few days. I don’t need to wait for any reason other than I’m unsure I want the sheen….and need to look at her for a bit before I decide.

I absolutely love her! The painted rocking horse/zebra looks so regal and classy and romantic and FUN! There is such a huge difference between her before and after photos!! I am honored that my friend allowed me to fancify her…..I think she was meant to look this way all along!

Painted Rocking Horse Turned Zebra

I hope you are inspired to pull out that old rocker or yard art or end table……and try a little paint to dress it up! You can add a mold or two….a little decoupage paper…..and even try the new Silk Mineral paint! All of these things really can transform boring into beauty with just a little effort!

Believe it or not, I have another painted rocking horse to share. She has a very different vibe but equally stunning! Click here to see my very FIRST painted rocking horse.

And since we are talking about horses…many years ago I went outside my comfort zone and painted a horse headboard for a client – you can see that here.

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