We have a huge pile of wood off-cuts waiting patiently for inspiration to strike. Some were salvaged from pallets and others are left-over bits I couldn’t bear to part with. Today’s crafty idea involves one of those “I’m keeping you” pieces and rusty nails we rescued while dismantling the aforementioned pallets. Meet my DIY, scrap wood nuzzling horses with a rust-infused stencil.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

Aren’t they adorable? I’ve given them long wonky, coltish legs and added some primitive details just for fun.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

They remind me a little of the toy horses found in the collapsing ruins of ancient Karanis.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

Except my horses are only a few weeks old and they sure weren’t unearthed under a hot dusty sun. Handcrafted in a day – yes, dug up – nope.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

And that glorious, aged texture is thanks to rust dust. Yes, it’s a thing. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

In this easy tutorial that celebrates off-cuts and rusty stuff, I’ll show you how to make your own nuzzling horses. But before we get there, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!

What you need

  • Free nuzzling horse template
  • Scrap wood that’s at least 3/4”(2 cm) thick
  • 8 Long rusty nails
  • Coconut coir/fibre
  • Sandpaper
  • Texture paste
  • Small stencil

What I used to make the scrap wood nuzzling horses

You’ll also need a jigsaw or scroll saw, drill, large garden pebble and some rust dust.

What is rust dust?

I’m so glad you asked. I collect all the nails we pull from our pallets and repurpose them to make our Rusty Nail Muti, eco prints, dragonflies, fairy furniture, and these reindeer gifts.

Our collection of rusty nails that we use to make or stain muti

While sorting through our nail collection, I noticed a whole bunch of rust had crumbled into fine dust.

A collection of "rust dust"

I wasn’t sure what to do with the stuff, so I played around. And wouldn’t you know it – that rust dust comes in so handy as an instant ageing stain or to add texture, both of which are covered in this tutorial.

Collecting rust dust to make an aging stain

If you don’t have any rust dust, you can use garden soil to achieve something similar.

Making scrap wood nuzzling horses

First things first. Transfer the free Nuzzling Horses template to the piece of scrap wood. It’s basically a flat-bottomed wooden blob, with a heart cut out in the middle.

Transfer the free image of the nuzzling horses to the scrap wood

Cut the template out using a jigsaw or scroll saw. I found it easier to cut around the outside edges and then split the horses in two to cut out the heart. That sounds sooooo wrong, but you get what I mean.

Cut the horse template out

You should end up with something like this.

A view of the two scrap wood nuzzling horses after cutting

A view of the two scrap wood nuzzling horses after cutting

Sand the shapes with 80-grit sandpaper.

Sand the nuzzling horses with a rough grit sandpaper

You want to roughen them up, so they look like they’ve been lying underground for a few years.

Adding a raised stencil detail

This part is optional. My over active imagination pictured a young boy in a well-to-do upper class family playing with the nuzzling horses 2000 years ago. Which meant they had to be a little fancy. Since I was experimenting with that rust dust, I adapted our homemade texture paste recipe by replacing the cornstarch with a 1:1 ratio of rust dust and cornstarch. If you’re using store-bought paste, mix the rust dust into the paste and add a little water if the paste looks too thick and chunky.

Mix the rust dust into the texture paste

Place the stencil over the horse shapes and apply the texture paste with a craft stick or palette knife.

Place the stencil over the scrap wood horse and add texture paste

Remove the stencil and leave the rust infused paste to dry completely.

Leave the rust dust texture paint to dry

Ageing the scrap wood horses

To create a time-worn appearance gently smack the nuzzling horses with a pebble. It’s a quick and easy way to round off any sharp edges and creates dings and divets in the wood. Don’t worry if you chip away some of the raised stencil detail. It adds to the look.

Use a pebble to make dents in the scrap wood horses

Once you’re happy, mix a teaspoon of the rust dust with white vinegar and paint it on.

Mix the rust dust with white vinegar to make a aging stain

It instantly ages the wood.

Aging the wood with "rust dust" stain

I left my nuzzling horses to dry with the rust dust flakes on.

Apply the rust dust stain and leave to dry

Adding legs

The long coltish legs are probably one of my favorite features. If you want your horses to be the same height, it’s important to find nails that are roughly the same length.

Find rusty nails that are roughly the same height. Use a drill bit that the same diameter as the nails

To avoid drilling holes that are too deep or shallow, wrap tape around the drill bit and only drill to the point where the tape touches the edge. Use a drill bit that’s the same diameter as the nails.

Wrap tape around the drill bit and use it as a guide for drilling the holes

Make two holes at the bottom, front of each body and two at the bottom back. Insert the nails. If they’re a little wobbly pop some glue inside the hole before slotting the nails inside.

Giving the nuzzling horses a mane and tail

For the tail and mane, I used coconut fiber. That stuff comes in so handy for all kinds of crafty things, like porch creatures, teeny, tiny bird nests, and head-scratcher plant holders. Drill a few equally spaced holes down the back of the scrap wood horses.

Drill small holes along the back of the horse

Gather a few strands of coconut fiber, fold them in half and twist the folded end.

Use coconut fiber to make the mane and tail for the rusty horses

Put a dollop of glue on the fold and slip it inside the hole.

Put a small dollop of glue on the twisted ends

Fluff the coconut fiber out. The tail is done in much the same way.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

And that’s it. Easy, sustainable, eco-friendly, repurposed home décor with heart.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

Not bad for a day’s worth of playing around with rust dust. I even had time to thread a whole bunch of small wood slices together. I had to test my rusty stain first before I tried it out on the scrap wood nuzzling horses😉

Small slices of wood strung together with leather cord. The slices have been stained with "rust dust"

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

How do you do repurpose your rusty nails? I still have a big bucket of the things.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

If you like the idea of making a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with rusty accents, don’t forget to pin it for later.

Upcycle your off-cuts into sustainable home décor with this easy-to-follow tutorial. We’ll show you how to make a pair of scrap wood nuzzling horses with coltish, rusty nail legs. They add a touch of rustic charm and love to any room. The tutorial includes a free cutting template and a fun way to use rust as an ageing stain.

Sharing caring.

Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉

Walnut Hollow Rustic Basswood Plank 23' with Live Edge Wood (Pack of 6) - for Wood Burning, Home Décor, and Rustic Weddings
Maze Nails Maze Nails-CMH8-1
Sale Prevue Pet Products BPV105 Sterilized Natural Coconut Fiber for Bird Nest (2 Pack)
Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Compact Scroll Saw Kit
Dremel 7350-5 Cordless Rotary Tool Kit - Includes 4V Li-ion Battery and 5 Rotary Tool Accessories - Ideal for Light DIY Projects and Precision Work

And if you prefer to buy a rustic horse sculpture (or two), perhaps these beauties will appeal.

Deco 79 Teak Wood Horse Handmade Decorative Sculpture Head Home Decor Statue with Layered Woodchip Pieces, Accent Figurine 10' x 18' x 24', Brown
SunBlogs Art Handmade Horse Statue - Unique Rustic Decor for Office & Home - Hand-Painted Metal Sculpture - Perfect Handicraft Gift for Horse Lovers (Brown)
Touch of Class Loving Horses Table Sculpture Tan - Light Brown - Made of Resin - Display Decor for Horse Lovers Bedroom, Living Room - Animal Head Bust Statues - Nuzzling Equine

And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with laughter and love Thank you for popping in for a visit.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix