Toy Hay Bales for Horse Stable for American Girl or 18" Dolls

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How to make straw hay bales for horses for 18" or American Girl dolls. Free step by step sewing tutorial.

These were so fun and cute to make, I couldn't stop myself and made six! You don't have to be perfect - hay bales certainly aren't!

You'll need burlap - you could use old potato sacks or purchase new (it's inexpensive) and stuffing and embroidery thread for that finishing touch.

General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

First cut out:

2 - 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces for the ends
4 - 3 1/2" x 7" pieces for the sides

I wouldn't recommend going much shorter just because it will get hard to sew with a sewing machine (unless you are hand sewing). I started cutting with a rotary cutter, but found my burlap was really tough to cut with it (probably needed a new blade) so I ended up cutting with scissors and that was easier for me.

The easy way is to cut strips 3 1/2" wide from the burlap, and then just trim down to 3 1/2" or 7" lengths as needed. Hey, I can't help myself - I think in terms of ripping and cross cutting :)

Step 2

Next take your four bigger pieces and sew the long edges together with a 1/4" inseam. I used a zig zag stitch just because the weave of my burlap was pretty loose and I worried a straight stitch might not catch the open weave in spots.

Step 3

Once you get your four sides sewed together, things will look like this.

Step 4

Now this is where things start to get a little tricky, but if I can handle it, you can too. Position one end on the end of the sides, matching edges.

Step 5

Step 6

There's one end done.

Step 7

One the last end, leave an opening for stuffing.

Step 8

Stuff away - I used old stuffed animals and throw pillows - and then pin and stitch the opening closed.

Step 9

Trim excess threads and pull excess threads away to create a frayed look.

Step 10

There's the straw bale! Now we just need some ties.

Step 11

Take the embroidery thread and measure out enough to wrap the straw hay bale and tie in the front.

Step 12

Start about 1/3 from the bottom edge in the middle, just catching the burlap.

Step 13

Don't knot the end, just leave enough left out to tie the end (about 6"). Stitch around the bale, about 1/3" from the edge, all the way around.

Step 14

Then just tie up the two ends. I first knotted the two ends together, then made a bow, and double tied the bow.

Aren't they just so cute?

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Jack H. (not verified)

Sat, 12/22/2012 - 18:37

It has been a while since Home Ec., but are the strips of burlap for the sides 7x7, or 3.5x7?