Andtique rocking horses - new paint

Old rocking horses with new paint

I am using child-safe acrylic paints at the moment. Each horse gets 4 or 5 coats of blue - grey paint before dappling. It is finished with three coats of varnish which can be tinted and applied unevenly to simulate age.


Dapple grey is by far the most popular colour and most old rocking horses are painted to the same basic design. The dapples form a hexagonal pattern of white centres surrounded by black which fades out at the edges. The head, legs, and some other points also have black markings in specific areas.
However each maker had their own particular and distinctive styles and their own base colours.


For restorations, the original pattern should be copied if possible. Dappling is quite easy but it is worth practising some dapples a few times before trying it on your precious horse.


I find a stippling brush more effective than a dappling pad but everyone has their own favourite tools and it is the finished effect which matters.


If the painted horse doesn't look quite as you hoped it would, you can always do it again. We all have to repeat work sometimes when learning and of course later on, things don't always work first time. If it isn't right and you can see how to make improvements, it is better to sort it out at this stage than try to adjust it after the hair and tack have been fitted.


The pictures show old horses with new paint.
The top horse has not yet been varnished so looks a little dull. Use a varnish which will give a soft shine; old rocking horses don't look so good with a high gloss finish.
If you are using tinted varnish, practise first as it is not easy to get just the right aged look.



It is often tempting to leave a painted and varnished horse without tack but with luck, they will be even better when completely finished.


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