Breathing New Life into a Thrift Store Find

Wednesday , 6, November 2013 12 Comments

If you are like me, you are always searching for great deals and toys for your little one. It helps keep costs down and in the case of toy purchases, keeps the little one happy as well. A month or so before Christmas last year, I was walking through Clothes Less Traveled, a Peachtree City thrift store, looking for ideas for Christmas. And that is where I spotted the perfect Christmas gift for the Goober, a rocking horse.

The rocking horse (now named Pedro) wasn’t in the best of shape, with a dirty, matted and ripped mane, deteriorating leather bridle and saddle, and covered in shallow gouges and scratches. However, his “bones” were still in good shape and I could see the potential in him. His current condition also meant he was only half the price of the other, flashier rocking horse in the store.

I enlisted the help of my husband in removing the mane and bridle which was held on by tiny little nails (some of those suckers were really in there) and then got started filling the nail holes and other gouges with wood putty. Then he got sanded and wiped down with a damp cloth and painted with a white spray paint primer. After the primer dried, I gave him a few coats of royal blue spray paint, hand-painted his eyes, and then added more coats of a clear lacquer to seal him against getting gouged and scratched again during play.

I picked up some yarn in blue and gray from Wal-Mart (well, actually I picked up a whole stack of different yarns and then returned the ones that didn’t make the cut) and cut them into lengths and used a staple gun to attach them for the mane and tail. I used a small hammer to make sure all the staples went in securely, and finally, with the last staple secured, Pedro was ready to be placed by the tree on Christmas Eve.

With a little bit of TLC, Pedro went from looking like this:


Close-ups of the Original Pedro the Pony

to this:



Best part is the Goober still loves rocking on it! So that is my thrift-store rejuvenation story. Do you have one to share? Have you found any cool thrifty items lately that have really sparked your creative interests?  Did you walk away from it, or did you find yourself bringing it home with you?  Maybe you brought it home and it is still hidden away in the basement or closet, waiting for you to find time to work on it (I confess I have plenty of projects like that). Looking back at these pictures make me so excited for Christmas this year! I would love to hear your stories so Share Them!


Pedro the Pony Before & After

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  • Rachel says:

    I am impressed! I have a few thrift store finds in my house that are still in their original condition including a coffee table and a ladder. I plan to re-finish the coffee table, and make the ladder into a decorative shelf for one of my bathrooms. One project I have done, is to make an old window into a decorative wall hanging. Nap time just isn’t long enough to get all of my projects done!

  • Wow that horse came out great. What a great save!

  • Melissa says:

    Oh my gosh, the after looks amazing! What a great find. I don’t get to my thrift shop often enough.

  • Nicely done. I can’t see his eyes – did you give him some baby blues? The antique shape is so pretty!

    • Allie says:

      The pupils are black with a glint of white, but the surrounding area is a royal blue, just a bit truer blue than the navy of the rest of him. The shape is definitely what drew me to him. Glad ya’ll like it.

  • Chelsea says:

    Oh my gosh you did a GREAT job! I love it!

  • Kecia says:

    Wow! He looked so tired and worn out in the before picture. You did an amazing job!

  • Angela says:

    I am so happy to see that you patched that little guy up. It looks better than new and much loved by your little one.

  • Thrift store finds are some of the best deals there are. You really turned that “sows ear into a silk purse” 😉

  • Pedro came out looking all brand new again!!! I still have my rocking horse from when I was a little-little kid. It’s mane got a trim by my step-aunt because, well, my rocking horse is at least 25 years old!! (I don’t really remember when I received it so that’s why I said at least) 🙂

  • Debi says:

    I love it. I love getting things from the thrift store and making it like new. You did a great job.

  • Great job! I love that you found something put your hard work and effort into it and made it fabulous.

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