“Roll me over and set me free,
Cowboy’s life is the life for me.”
—from “Cowboy Song” by Thin Lizzy 
Here at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West we strive to provide fun and educational programs for visitors of all ages. Through our Art in the Garden series from a few summers ago, we provided hands-on activities for kids to enjoy with their families, while creating something they can take home.
The first week of art in the garden that summer was themed “Cowboys and Cowgirls.” Kids created different crafts having to with cowboys and cowgirls, while learning a little more about them. Each craft was a lot of fun and the children thoroughly enjoyed creating and showing off their work.
Below are the instructions for making your own cowboy and cowgirl crafts at home.
Cowboy and Cowgirl Crafts
Cowboy Boot Decorating
One of the most important aspects of cowboy wear are cowboy boots. But, did you know that this particular type of boot helps the cowboy do his work better and protects him from the elements? The narrowness of the boot and the slant of the heel helps him slip out of the saddle and makes riding and roping much easier. Today, cowboy boots can be heavily decorated. To read more on what made the cowboy boot so unique and helpful, go to I Can See By Your Outfit That You Are a Cowboy.
Decorate Your Own Cowboy Boot
- Paper (any size you prefer)
- Cowboy Boot Template
- Markers, colored pencils, or crayons
- Follow the link and print out the template, or draw a large cowboy boot on a sheet of paper.
- Cut out the boot.
- Color and decorate your boot however you want.
Popsicle Stick Cowboy or Cowgirl
“Cowboy” and “cowgirl” clothing are very popular fashions, but did you know that all the original cowboy garb was actually designed for specific functions to help the cowboy in his tasks? Every piece of the cowboy’s gear was worn for a particular reason. Cowgirls wore similar items to the cowboy, but most of their clothing was traditional dress altered to better help them with their work. For more information, check out Sharp Dressed Man?: It’s Buffalo Bill, I Can See By Your Outfit That You Are a Cowboy and Get Yourself an Outfit, and Be a Cowgirl Too. Or try out our interactive mix and match game.
Make Your Own Popsicle Stick Cowboy or Cowgirl
- Popsicle Sticks
- Construction Paper (Whatever colors you like)
- Markers or Crayons
- A small spool
- Glue one popsicle stick over the other to form a cross shape.
- After it dries, glue two popsicle sticks in a V-shape from the bottom of the cross. (These are the legs)
- After the glue has dried, glue a small spool on the back of the popsicle sticks. (Right under where the two original popsicle sticks intersected to form a cross.)
- Cut out a shirt, pants/skirt, boots, and hat for your cowpoke.
- Color them however you would like.
A cowboy’s horse was and still is very important to the cowboy. He wouldn’t be able to do his job without his horse. A horse was also a cowboy’s best friend, as the two spent hours together. So why not make a horse with your own child?
Make Your Own Stick Pony
- Thick paper or thin cardboard (manila folders also work great)
- Horse head template
- Dowel or yardstick
- Hole Puncher
- Markers or crayons
- Follow the link and print out the horse head (Ears optional)
- Trace it on the paper and cut the two heads out
- Staple the sides together so that the two horse heads become one, but make sure to leave the base of the horse’s neck unstapled.
- Decorate horse in whatever manner you desire.
- Around the top of the horse’s head, hole punch 8 – 10 holes (This is where you will tie the yarn to make hair.)
- For each hole cut four 7 – 9 inch long pieces of yarn (36 – 40 pieces).
- Take four pieces of yarn and place them through the hole tying a knot. Repeat this for every hole.
- Once you have completed the horse’s mane, place the dowel or yardstick through the horse’s neck.
- Staple the neck together as close to the pole as you can get. This will secure that the head stays in place.
For more information on cowboys, check out our essay on William Frederick Cody (also known as Buffalo Bill) by Paul Fees, former Curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum
For more information on cowgirls in the historic west, check out the post Girls Gone Wild West by John Rumm, director of our curatorial division and curator of public history; along with our essay on Annie Oakley, by Paul Fees, former curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum.
Or come visit the Buffalo Bill Museum here at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
1. “Cowboy Song.” Performed by Thin Lizzy. On Jailbreak. By Phil Lynott and Brian Downey. 1976.
“Cowboy Song.” Performed by Thin Lizzy. On Jailbreak. By Phil Lynott and Brian Downey. 1976.
Madsen, Leah. “Get Yourself an Outfit, and Be a Cowgirl Too.” Center of the West Blogs. Entry posted June 25, 2014. Accessed July 1, 2014. https://centerofthewest.org/2014/06/25/get-yourself-an-outfit-and-be-a-cowgirl-too/.
—. “I Can See By Your Outfit That You Are a Cowboy.” Center of the West Blogs. Entry posted June 18, 2014. Accessed July 1, 2014. https://centerofthewest.org/2014/06/18/i-can-see-by-your-outfit-that-you-are-a-cowboy/.