Horses and barns go together.

How to Make a Headboard With a Horse Theme for Toddlers

by Ronna Pennington

Nothing says "horses" quite like a barn. If you want to make horse-themed headboard for your toddler, keep the traditional red barn in mind. Its shape forms a natural base for the headboard, and you can include a horse or two "in" the barn. Stay away from using large horse heads as a headboard design since they might frighten a toddler. After all, the goal of decorating a toddler's room is to make it a comfortable place to sleep through the night.

Locate a piece of barn clip art. Coloring books are another resource.

Take the design to a copy store and have it enlarged as much as possible to fit on the foam-core board. The design likely will not utilize the entire board.

Tape three sheets of carbon paper together, side by side. Tape the remaining sheets of carbon paper together side by side, then tape them to the bottom of the first set. This creates two rows of carbon paper taped together as one block.

Lay the foam-core board on a flat surface. Place the carbon paper on top of it, carbon side down. Add a small piece of tape to hold it in place on the board if needed.

Place the enlarged clip art on top of the carbon paper. Tape a corner of the art down onto the foam core to secure it while tracing if desired.

Trace the design onto the foam-core board. Do not to miss any lines. After tracing the entire design, remove it and the carbon paper.

Cut out the design with the craft knife. If edges are not even, shave off a little to create a cleaner look.

Outline the design with the black permanent marker. Paint the barn red. Paint the horse the desired color. Allow the paint to dry completely. Add another coat if the paint looks splotchy after it is dry.

Brush on clear varnish across the entire design. Brush on a second coat for additional gloss.

Pair up three adhesive hook-and-loop dots or strips and stick one side to the back of the foam-core barn. Scatter the hook and loop pieces across the back for equal weight distribution.

Adhere the barn headboard to the wall, just above the bed.

Items you will need

  • Barn clip art or horse coloring books (optional)
  • Printer
  • Foam-core board, 20-by-30-inch
  • 6 sheets carbon paper
  • Transparent tape
  • Pencil or pen
  • Craft knife
  • Red craft paint
  • Black permanent marker
  • Craft paint for horse
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clear brush-on varnish
  • Removable hook-and-loop hanger dots or strips


  • Don't forget to paint the edges of the barn for a more finished look.
  • You can transfer this design to wood. Just be sure to hang it with permanent hardware so there is no danger of it falling on your toddler.
  • You can make a bigger headboard with a larger size of foam core, but most toddler mattresses are 27 1/2 inches wide.
  • If you are computer savvy and know how to tile printouts, you can eliminate taking the printout to be enlarged.


  • Use caution when working with craft knives.

About the Author

Ronna Pennington, an experienced newspaper writer and editor, began writing full-time in 1989. Her professional crafting experience includes machine embroidery and applique. When she's not repainting her den or making new holiday decorations, Ronna researches and writes community histories. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and an Master of liberal arts in history.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images