How to Make Cheap Stablemate Shelving

So Many Bodies, So Little Room

As you’ve noticed from earlier posts I have a LOT of Stablemate bodies and a metric ton of works-in-progress. In order to keep myself from buying even more bodies to fill in imaginary gaps in my stock, I decided to make it painfully obvious that I am hoarding the darned things.

Since I’m unwilling to spend money when I can MacGyver things, thus the mighty Stablemate Shelf of Cheapness™ was born!

Note: Breyer Stablemates cost roughly three bucks a piece. Stablemate bodies are intrinsically worth even less. Please do not use this method for resins or clinkies—they deserve wooden abodes!

Required Supplies

If I was planning ahead I would have taken photos, but alas.

  • Basswood board : 6 inches wide and as long as you want
  • Lots of tape
  • Index cards
  • ¼” Square wooden dowels
  • Two ½” metal brackets
  • Wood Glue
  • A level
  • A pencil
  • A horse to measure with (this will make sense later)

Making the Brackets

A Line and Two Shelf Supports

First off, draw a line on the wall where you want your shelf to be.

Second, measure out four wooden dowels that are the same width as the shelf. Use the wood glue to glue the two dowels to each other (this makes them as wide as the bracket). Once they are dry, glue them to the top of the metal brackets. If you wanted to be safer you could use hardwoods, or proper brackets, but since the shelf will be lightweight I’m not worrying about it.

Third, screw the brackets into the wall, making sure that they are level.

Now that you have something to put it on—time for the shelf!

Index Card Dividers

Stablemate WiP Shelf : Rough Draft

The main worry I have about the shelving is keeping the horses upright and not damaging the paint. Index cards are amazingly friendly this way, but I’ve seen folks build them out of dowels and fabric as well.

For the end pieces, fold the index card in half and then fold up the inside flap so that lays horizontal on the board. Tap into place so that the outside flap is flush vertically with the end of the board and the inside flap is flush horizontally.

One Horse Wide

For the middle pieces fold the index card in half and then fold up both flaps so that they sit horizontal on the board– and turn it into a triangle with approx ¼” base. These don’t need to be perfect triangles, but try to keep them roughly in the same place an at a 90 degree angle to the length of the board.

As you can see by my first attempt, taping them on willy nilly isn’t very effective. So when I went back to do it properly, I measure things out and ended up doubling my space!

To measure how far apart to put the dividers, use your widest stablemate (in my case this was the G3 Rearing Andalusian). Or, you know, be professional about it and actually measure things. You can guess which one I did. 😉

Success! … Almost.

Reinforcing the Ends

And They All Fall Down

The inside index cards are great at playing ‘catch that horse’, but the outside ones aren’t as strong. As you can see by the picture they do catch the Shire (my heaviest horse), but eventually they will give way.

This is because there is a lack of Triangle Love!

I think that’s really the only thing I remember from high school physics: if you want to support something, add triangles. *ponders*

Triangles Are Our Friends

So we’ll need to fold up a couple of right triangles to use as braces. You can measure the 3-4-5 ratio out or you can eyeball it– just make sure the upright part is as straight as you can get it. You can also make larger triangles, just make sure there is at least half the index card left flat.

Once you have the right triangle taped nice and solid, attach the triangle portion of the brace to the end index card and the leading flat edge to the underside of the board.

Less Falling More Happy

As you can see the sidewall is working a lot better now, although the board is flat on the table in this photo so the bracing triangle is getting additional support. If you need to you can reinforce it with additional index cards, or even some balsa or bass wood for good measure.

And when all else fails, add more tape. … And triangles. (If you have problems with the inside supports holding up horses, just make the triangles wider!)


As you can see, now I have room for almost all of my current WiPs and a constant visual reminder of the fact that I don’t need any more bodies.

Room for 19 Adults + 1 Foal (or Mini Whinnie)

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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