December 31, 2020

Bridle Tree Barn Raising Challenge


The finished arena wall decorated for Christmas. 

Kenzie Williamson hosted a super fun event on Facebook for the month of December - the Bridle Tree Barn Raising Challenge. You could makeover a barn, make a tack room or arena wall, or decorate for the holidays. What a nice diversion this has been. Also, my tree is very tall. The wall itself is 22 inches tall by 40 inches wide. 

As with all projects, it starts with planning it all out. I was looking into which direction I wanted the boards to go on the kick board wall in this photo. As it turned out, I ended up using popsicle sticks (not my first choice) as there just wasn't any wood available in the right sizes. The walls are dollhouse panels made of plastic, simulated to look like a corrugated metal. It took 4 pieces. I wanted something sturdy to hold up with lots of use. I love how these look. 

To assemble the wall, I used 2 large foam boards that I glued together and reinforced with wood strips. I'm going for longevity with this thing. Side note - don't buy different foam board brands as apparently a half inch is not the same across brands. Oh well. You can't tell from the front.

I really love the look of windows in an arena, so I measured and cut them out of the foam bigger than the actual window, so that hopefully the thick foam wall won't show.

Then I glued the plastic panels over the front of the foam, measured and cut out the windows.

All the wood strips were stained using some leftover stain from samples when we redid our hardwood floors. The color was exactly what I wanted, oh happy day! It is Bona Special Walnut, but I didn't stir it up, just used the thin layer of stain at the top of the can. 

The window frame pieces were cut using a tiny miter box I picked up at Michaels years ago to get decent 45 degree angles.

To make the kick board wall, I glue the stained sticks onto thin foam board and used channel molding strips for the top and bottom to hold it all together. I like how this looks like wood boards nailed together, but without the hassle. The channel grooves were a little on the wide side, so I shoved some extra strips and sticks behind to push the popsicle sticks into place up against the front of the molding. The back is not pretty, but it's functional.

Laying everything out to check fit before gluing in place. The plastic and wood aren't creating the strongest bond, especially since the plastic is wavy and doesn't have a flat surface to glue onto. I might end up finding something stronger than Aleene's when they start popping off over time...

Once assembled, I added a fire extinguisher, which was a prize from the Field of Dolls Online Photo Show (thanks Anne!), and several little signs I printed out on card stock.

I used pieces of plastic from a Breyer box in the windows.
The blue sky and clouds is showing through from my other backdrop, which I thought was a nice touch.
I love a cheery blue sky and fluffy clouds. 

I also made lots of ornaments, presents, and decorations for Christmas.
It's never too late to decorate for Christmas!
Happy holidays!


  1. Great idea reusing Breyer box plastic, I love it! Not to mention popsicle sticks. What a beautiful wall.

  2. Absolutely stunning! And I love the view through the windows!