Giddyap – Make a Walking Paper Horse

DIY Walking Paper Horse

If you are wondering if we can really make a paper horse walk on its own, yes, you heard me right. We can make a horse out of paper that walks on its own down a slope. I bumped into this video and decided that this is one DIY that should not be missed! And I am sure you will enjoy this project.

Make a Walking Paper Horse

What you’ll need:

  • Card paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • A slanted surface – ideally a canvas board or similar texture.
  • Lots and lots of patience!

How to go about it:

Copy the template given below onto card paper or a thick sheet of paper. The paper should be easy enough to fold and thick enough to stand on its own (so the horse can walk!). Use a ruler to draw the shape below. Start with a rectangle that is 15 cm by 4.5 cm. Then divide it up as shown here.

DIY Walking Paper Horse

Cut around the perimeter of the rectangle, then cut along the yellow lines. You should now have a rectangle with 3 hanging strips on either side.

Don’t forget the small curved cuts on the horse’s legs. This step is very important and is exactly what makes the horse walk.

DIY Walking Paper Horse

Fold in the strips. The strips on the sides are the legs of the horse, while the middle one is for the head and tail – one on each end. Make sure the legs are folded straight.

Fold the head of the horse. Bend the strip in half and then bring the two other edges of the strip together towards the center.

DIY Walking Paper Horse

Roll the tail of the horse with a pencil (though horse’s tails are not curved!!). Note that a well-rolled tail balanced the horse on its legs.

DIY Walking Paper Horse

Giddiyap – Get the horse walking

DIY Walking Paper Horse

Place the horse on a slope. Try a few different slope heights and choose one that works best. We tried placing the horse on a smooth wooden table that was held slanted, but the horse just rolled down. Then we tried with a canvas board (we had to use one that my daughter had painted on because we did not have a blank one) and it worked like magic. This is a perfect lesson on friction – just enough that will help the horse walk and not slide down.

It took us a few tries (quite a few actually) to get the horse walking. But it felt amazing when we did it!

This project is a great STEM lesson for kids 10+, but the younger ones will love watching the horse walk. Use this project for some great lessons on friction, motion and gravity. And a perfect lesson on a very important characteristic of science – Trial and Error! This project takes a while to perfect and shows how we need to manipulate the elements of the project to make it work as expected.

Finding out why the horse walks is a great activity. Try walking a horse without the cut and then try the one with the curved feet. The rocking motion of the feet – it goes back and forth – is what makes the horse “walk”, while gravity pulls it down the slope. The rocking motion is very similar to the motion of a rocking chair.


  • Use thick paper or card paper to make the horse.
  • The cuts and folds must be precise for the horse to walk.
  • The surface you choose to walk the horse on should offer adequate friction to propel the horse. We would say not too smooth and not too rough.
  • If the horse does not “walk”, check to see if the tail and head are folded and curled correctly.
  • Ensure that the height of the slope is just right for the horse to walk. If the horse slides down, make it lower and if it does not move at all, make it higher.
  • If your horse is not rocking back and forth smoothly, trim the curve on the feet to make them rounded. The outside edge should be the highest point.

See it in action!

This video demonstrates how the horse walks!

We definitely enjoyed making this self-walking paper horse. Do give it a try. We are sure you’ll love this!

Check out our many more such exciting DIY projects


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