Thursday, August 18, 2016

Duct tape tack

Today I received an unexpected box from my friend Bobbie Allen, who is currently living in Japan,. Inside I found a whole trove of treasures, many of which are blog worthy, but none more so than this gorgeous lime green halter. 
Believe it or not, this halter is made out of duct tape.

Yes, you read that right: duct tape.

Back in January 2015, Bobbie shared photos of her duct tape tack on her Horse Tender Studio blog. I loved the tack, loved the post and have wanted a duct tape halter ever since. I am so pleased to finally own one. 

I am also excited to share the original duct tape tack post here. This is one of my favorite blog posts ever, not just from Bobbie's blog, but from all blogs. It is just that awesome.

Thank you so much, Bobbie!

Duct Tape Tack 

by Bobbie Allen

As I forge ahead with my tack making journey, as in LEATHER tack, I thought it would be fun to share some of the stunning tack I made when I was a kid...  hahaha

Let's jump right into it and then I'll tell a bit of back story:

This is "Devil In Disguise" he was one of my favorites as a kid and this is HIS halter.  I made it for him a looong time ago and he's pretty much been wearing it ever since.  
The halter is simple, it's elegant...  it's made out of duct tape.


A tiny bit of back story:  As a kid, for some reason, I started making things out of duct tape.  I was doing this way before it was "cool".  There were only three colors back then - silver, brown, and black.  I used to make entire models out of duct tape.  I would make a wire skeleton, use paper towel or toilet paper to build muscles, and duct tape for skin.  My specialty was actually dinosaurs, but I did some other creatures too.  Sadly none of my models survived when I decided to purge for a move and get rid of a bunch of my "kid stuff" as a young adult.  (though I've thought that I should try and make one of them again)

I became known in the area as the kid who makes things out of duct tape.  This was something I learned once while trick-or-treating with a duct tape covered prop for my costume.  I was recognized by a lady in a house a few neighborhoods over.  "Oh, you're the one who makes things out of duct tape, I heard about you!" - haha.

Okay, back to horses..  Fairly recently, when I decided I was going to try and get into making tack (again?), I had unpacked some of my current supplies and organized them.
Today's focus is:
Yep, we're going way back...  Behold the contents!
I have two Arabians that have their own halters, "Devil", above, and this guy. His name is "Shalamar" and he's another favorite.  His halter is actually made out of masking tape and it features a handmade "buckle".  He's been wearing his halter since it was made too.
My goodness, what is that...??
This is the first duct tape saddle we'll look at.  It's a little harder to hide the choice of material here, versus a thin strip for a halter. 
I think this might have been used in photo showing.  I can't remember how it did.  Haha.
Next up appears to be my only attempt at a duct tape western saddle, unfinished.
I'm not sure if I had run out of black and brown tape here or what, but on this one it's REALLY easy to tell what that saddle is made from. 
Going down in size, here we have a Classic scale McClellan saddle.
It didn't age as well as the others.  It's pretty much a hot mess (even worse than a duct tape McClellan would be expected to look? - haha).
The off side seems to have held together a little better, but there's still a lot going on here.
Moving on to another Classic saddle.
It kinda looks familiar, but something's not quite right...
Yep, this one is an Australian saddle, but the polley on one side seems to have gone missing.
It looks like I tried to be a little fancy on the breast plate, cutting out a notch, versus leaving a straight strip of tape, ha!
I also did a fair bit of stuff with yarn.  I can remember that I had a neat rope halter/bridle combination thing I'd come up with.  At one point I had a bunch of them.  Sadly, this is the only yarn creation that survived.  It is a pair of classic "rope hobbles".
The only thing in the pile for a Stablemate is this... saddle? I'm not even sure what I was trying to do here.  The "tree" is a wire frame, covered with masking tape. What was this? We may never know...
Moving on to headgear.  Here's the whole pile:
First up, a draft-sized halter, made from masking tape.
Something I thought was interesting on this one is... a buckle with a tongue!  I didn't think I'd done that back then.  This does appear to be the only one in the bunch.
Another point of interest, I made the noseband adjustable too.  Fancy!
Next, a duct tape halter.  I'm not sure who this was made for - clearly not him, but he was handy...
Moving down to Classic scale again.  A masking tape halter...
For something different... A shadow roll, made from electrical tape, I think the fuzzy part is a wad of toilet paper.  Somewhere around this point during the photo shoot, I realized that my model appeared to be giving me a look like, "You have got to be kidding me."
"Seriously??" she says.
Yeah, that one isn't quite the right size.  It was then that I remembered who this one was made for.
My attempt at a fancy show headstall for my baby Saddlebred. This one is made from duct tape with masking tape accents, with a masking tape/marker-colored browband.
Last up, is this.
I remembered as I was looking through all of this stuff, that this was my "pride and joy" at the time I made it.  It hasn't aged very well, but here it is... a double bridle!
I don't remember if it was made for Midnight Sun or the 5-Gaiter, but I'm thinking 5-Gaiter.  I don't have either of the horses I'd had when I made this, but I pulled a Midnight Sun from my body shelves.  I didn't want to fiddle with it too much to try for a better fit.  The ones with masking tape are pretty brittle and I figured I'd just do a quick setup for the pictures.  :)

I'm not sure why I used silver tape for the reins, maybe I'd run out of of the black tape.

Check out that bit!  I think the shape is really cool, for just a piece of bent wire.
That's it!  I hope you enjoyed this look at my childhood duct tape tack.  It certainly was fun to go through all of it again.  A lot of memories there and I'm glad I still have it all to share.


  1. My first attempts at a saddle looked like those but made of leather.I wasn't as creative as her.

  2. Oh my gosh, this reminds me of me! I was the Girl Who Made Things Out Of Pipe Cleaners. I still have most of my favorite horses. They got me through a lot of preteen-teenage junk. :)

    My first Breyer-size saddles weren't as nice as her saddles. They were made from valiant attempts to sew upholstery vinyl to wire trees!

  3. I made an awesome SM size cutback saddle out of felt, and bridle from embroidery floss, when I was about 16. No idea what happened to them, though.