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Courageous Khan Paper Horse


The sleek black mare that carries Mulan into battle is feisty and loyal, willing to dodge flaming dragon missiles and run through an avalanche to save her young owner's life. Here's how you can create a paper likeness of this brave and beautiful warhorse.

You'll need:

  • Template for Courageous Khan Paper Horse
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Black heavy cardstock *
  • White colored pencil
  • Craft paint (gray, white, pink, black, and green)
  • Glue sealer (such as Mod Podge) and medium-size paintbrush or foam brush
  • Thin black cotton yarn or pearl cotton embroidery thread
  • Glue dots
  • 2 paper clips
  • Pliers
  • Good quality glue stick or tacky glue
  • Pinch-style clothespins (for holding the glued pieces together)

* If you don't have heavy cardstock, you can glue craft paper onto a file folder or thin cardboard, such as the front or back panel of a cereal box.


1. Print and cut out the template, and then trace it onto a sheet of cardstock. Flip the template over and trace it onto a second sheet of cardstock. Cut out the tracings and use one for the front of the horse and the other for the back.

2. Using the template as a guide, draw the detail lines and facial features on both the front and back horse pieces with a white colored pencil.
Tip: To make it easier, you can place the template on top and use a regular pencil to draw over the lines using enough pressure to leave a light imprint on the horse pieces. Then you can go over the imprints with the white colored pencil.

3. Paint the underbelly and chest gray, as shown (don't forget to paint both the front and back horse pieces). Paint the blaze along the top of the face and the socks white. Fill in the whites of the eyes and go over the eyebrow with white as well.

4. Paint the facing ears pink. Then paint a green iris topped with a black pupil on each eye.

5. Coat both of the painted horse pieces with glue sealer and allow them to dry thoroughly. This will protect the paint and keep the pencil lines from smudging.

6. For the tail, gather ten 12-inch pieces of cotton yarn or pearl cotton in a bunch and tie another piece tightly around the middle. For the mane and forelock, cut a whole bunch of 2-inch lengths of cotton yarn or pearl cotton.

7. Place the back horse piece painted side down. Use a glue dot to attach the top of the tail to the rump, positioning it as shown. Then apply glue dots along the upper neck and attach individual mane pieces, placing them close together until you reach the top of the neck. For the forelock, attach 4 or so mane pieces to the base of the ears, as shown, and then pull the yarn strands between the ears.
Note: For a double-thick mane and forelock, you can attach yarn to the unpainted side of the front horse piece as well.

8. Now it's time to create a pair of stands so the finished horse can be set upright. For each stand, use pliers to bend the curved portion in the center of a paper clip so that it sticks straight up, as shown. The short end of the clip will be the front of the stand and the long end will be the back.

9. To attach the stands to the horse, first place the back horse piece (the one with the mane and tail attached) painted side down on a tabletop or cutting board so that the hooves are at the edge. Wrap a glue dot around the upright portion of each paperclip stand. Attach one stand to the right hind hoof and the other to the front hooves, as shown.

10. Now you're ready to join the two horse halves. Brush an even coat of tacky glue on the inner back piece, going right over the knotted portions of the tail and mane sections as well as around the attached portions of the paperclip stands. Don't forget the tips of the ears.

11. Set the front horse piece in place on top of the glued back piece, carefully matching up all of the edges. Press the two halves together firmly, using pinch-style clothespins to hold the layers together wherever needed until the glue dries.

12. Remove the clothespins and trim the mane to 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, the forelock to about 3/4 inch long, and the tail to about 3.5 inches long.

13. Stand the horse up. Ideally, the front and back of each paper clip should rest on the tabletop. If not, you may need to adjust one or both of the stands. To do so, firmly pinch the lower leg and hoof between your fingertips to stabilize the leg while gently leveling the bottom of the stand. It might take a couple of tries to get it right, but you shouldn't have to move the clip too much. If all else fails, you can simply use a rolled piece of masking tape to stick the back of the stand to the tabletop.

Ideas for creating a scene for Khan:

  • For the ground, use sandpaper or brown craft paper to create a road.
  • For a snowy background, drape a piece of quilt batting or a white towel over a piece of cardboard propped upright. Create a border between the snow bank and road with stones or pebbles.
  • For winter foliage, prop twigs sponged with white craft paint against the snowy background. Add sprigs of faux bittersweet or other colorful faux berries.

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