Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Mini Brushes

I’ve neglected the grooming kit project for ages, but finally have another few pieces to add to it:


Like the posts I’ve done on the mane brushes and hoof picks, this isn’t quite a tutorial. Also, these things are extremely tedious to make, but I think the end result is worth it.

For the bristles, I used some cheap hair extensions I bought off of ebay.


I used a popsicle stick to sketch out the size, then used an exacto blade and sandpaper to get the shape I wanted.


This is a pin vise – it’s a hand held drill that allows me to drill different sizes of holes, depending on the bit used.


I used this to drill multiple holes in the wood, being careful not to go too deep. A lot of the splintering I was able to sand away later, but I found it hard to avoid.


To add the bristles, I would cut off a length of hair in the amount I wanted, then trim one edge flush.


I added a bit of glue to the end and stuck it inside one of the holes, working from one end to the other.


This really was the most frustrating part. Synthetic hair is quite slippery and the tacky glue I was using didn’t set fast enough. I did end up switching to Fabri-Tac and that worked out a lot better. Fabri-Tac is what I like to call the “cold” hot glue, as it sets fast and is very tacky. (unfortunately it also comes with those annoying glue strings/”cobwebs”) It was definitely a trial and error thing though.

Eventually I got the entire piece covered:


After letting it set for a bit, I trimmed down the bristles. The wood got a coat of varnish and I added a scrap leather strap across the top:


The others were made pretty much the same way, but I did experiment with different shapes and thicknesses of wood. The brown one was made using an old paintbrush instead of the hair. It’s very soft while the others are more stiff. (hey like full-size brushes, woohoo!)



I’d like to experiment with different materials, and I have tons of hair left over so I’m sure I’ll be making more in the future!


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Miniature Hoof Picks

Hoof picks were next on the list of things to make for the grooming kit. I ended up making four different styles since I couldn’t decide on just one.

While these are less tedious than the brushes, they’re still very small and fiddly and require quite a bit of patience. 😛


The easiest way to make a basic hoof pick is from a paperclip. I use the colored plastic-coated ones but they can also be made from the plain ones as well. When I was younger I would make them from the silver clips, then dip the “handle” into paint to give it color.


To remove the excess plastic, take a pair of scissors or your wire cutters and gently score around the clip. You want to cut through the plastic, not the metal. It doesn’t take much pressure and can be pulled off once it’s cut through.


Bend the top into shape, cut off the excess and ta-da! A tiny hoofpick.


I like to take mine a step further and flatten out the actual pick. I’ll do this by leaving the top unbent and flatten the wire with a hammer. Because I don’t have an anvil of sorts, I use a second hammer underneath. Also, don’t smash your fingers like I usually do.


Another way is to bend the clip into shape, then hammer it over an edge… if that makes sense…


The difference is subtle but I prefer it over leaving them round:


To make the other styles, I started off by sketching them out on a piece of scratch paper first. They measure about 3/4 of an inch tall, so drawing them beforehand helped me keep them the same size.


The first thing I did was make the metal picks. These were made from a long piece of wire, again, flattened with a hammer beforehand.


Using my drawings as a guide, I bent and cut down each pick to size, leaving excess to attach to the handle.


I found that cutting out my sketches and using them as a template was a lot easier than trying to draw them again. I used Sculpey polymer clay for these, rolled out thin, but not thin enough to have the wire poking through.

Using the template, I cut two of the horse head shape…


Then stacked them together, sandwiching the wire piece inbetween.


I used my sculpting/dotting tools to smooth out the edges, seams and add some detail.


I also made sure to add a little hollow in the back, for the bristles to go in later:


The red and purple hoof picks were made in a very similar way:


I added a small groove here before sticking the wire inside:


This one was lightly textured with sandpaper before baking, but it didn’t show up very well.


Here’s the purple one. I just now realized that the pick is facing the wrong way, AGH. Pay attention to reference pictures, hahaha.


Once they had baked and cooled, I gave them a coat of matte varnish. (which still looks glossy, urgh) The red and blue needed bristles, and those were attached by filling the little hollow with glue, then gluing bits of an old paintbrush inside.


I found it easiest to pull a small bunch away from the paintbrush, cut it off (somewhere along the red line here) and glue that cut end into the hollow.


Once completely dry, cut the bristles down to size and they’re done!




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I didn’t originally intend this to be a tutorial, but since I documented the process (something I’m trying to get in the habit of doing) I thought I would go ahead and share how I made these tiny mane/tail brushes.

I went with two different styles, modeled after brushes for real horses:


For the double-sided brush, I started by sketching out the shape on a popsicle stick:


I shaped it down by carving large bits away with an exacto knife (much like skiving leather) then using a file to further sand down the edges. (a dremel might come in handy here, just don’t sand your fingers off!)


Using an embossing tool (I use nail art tools) I made a sort of indent on both sides of the wood:


Looking back now I don’t really think it was necessary, but oh well, onward!

I made the bristles and pad (have no idea if this even has a name, ha!) from very thin beading wire. The thinner, the better, I think.
I also used white Super Sculpey clay, and TLS. (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) The TLS acted as a glue to get the clay to stick to the piece of wood.

Once the pad-thing was stuck down, I cut up a ton of wire pieces, then dipped one end into the TLS before poking it into the clay. This was tedious.

Again, the TLS is acting as a glue here, to give them a little more strength.


Once all those were in place, I baked it for a few minutes to harden the clay, then added a tiny bit more TLS around the bristles, and baked it for a couple more minutes.


When that was cooled, I started cutting down all the wires, till they were the length I wanted them. To make the ends less sharp, I dotted more TLS on the ends, then baked it for a few more minutes to harden.


The handle was “stained” with watered down paint, the tops of the bristles were covered with silver paint, and the entire thing was varnished:


For the other side, I trimmed an old useless paintbrush down, applied tacky glue to the side of the brush (I guess that hollow did come in handy here) and stuck it on top to dry:


Once dried, it got chopped off and trimmed down to size.


The curved brush was made almost the same way. This time I started with a small craft wood piece. (there’s a brand called “Woodsies” I think, that can usually be found in bags at craft stores)

The shape was sketched on like before, then cut, carved and sanded to shape.


I also used TLS to attach black clay to the wood. The handle was made from a very thin strip of clay, which was wrapped around and textured using the back of my clay blade/cutter.

Also, I DID pre-bake the piece with the handle BEFORE adding the black pad, so I wouldn’t mess it up later. I just failed to get an image of that. >_<


Add the bristles just like before:


And here it is, with a few coats of paint and varnish:



I’m happy with how they turned out and of course have ideas for more… but this is good enough for now, I think. I still have a bunch of other grooming-kit pieces to make, ack!


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