Welding Basics: Horseshoe Crafts 

Horseshoe crafts for every level, begin with a simple heart or boot hanger or find a difficult project for more advanced welders. 

By Barbie the Welder
April 2018

horseshoe crafts, welding basics, horseshoe art


Horseshoe Crafts (Racehorse Publishing, 2017), by Barbie the Welder, is filled with over thirty different crafts made from horseshoes. Whether you are an expert welder or just starting out, find the right craft for you. This excerpt is located in “Home Décor.” 

Welding Basics

Welding is a delicate art, but once mastered, metal is a blank canvas limited only by the imagination! Every welder has a process she or he prefers, whether it be MIG, TIG, Stick, or Flux-core. They all work for welding art, so the choice is up to you.If this is your first time welding, there are thousands of videos online that can help you get familiar with your machine, or you can refer to its owner’s manual to get started.

In addition to a welder, the tools that you will need for the welding projects are:

• Ball peen hammer
• Chisel
• Grinder with a cut-off wheel and sanding disks or hard stone
• Vise
• Clamp
• Tape measure
• Square
• Level
• Marker
• Wire brush
• Spray paint or clear coat
• A non-flammable surface to weld on (preferably a steel welding table or bench)

In addition to horseshoes, the materials you will use for these projects include horseshoe nails, 1/4” – 1/2” round bar or rebar, and an angle iron with one side being at least 1” wide.

When I refer to the horseshoes I will refer to the front and the back. The front of the horseshoe is the side with writing. I will also refer to the top and bottom of the horseshoes. The top is the open end, like the top of the letter U. When I refer to a shop prop, I am referring to anything of a non-flammable nature that holds the weldment at the correct angle or position so that you can weld it. I have used everything from my tape measure to pieces of scrap to my hammer!

Just remember that spatter may stick to these items, so choose wisely! As each project is laid out, it is necessary to “tack” (a series of small welds) the project together. Tacking the project allows you to make sure the work is aligned exactly how you would like it before welding. When tacking and welding projects, weld on the backside of the horseshoes, if possible, in order to hide the welds and give the projects a clean finished look.

After the project is welded, always clean up all spatter. Cleaning the spatter is important for two reasons—the project looks cleaner and is safer for anyone handling it.

The difficulty rating for each project is listed on a scale of one to five horseshoes—one being the easiest, and five being the most difficult.

Napkin Holder

simple horseshoe napkin holder
Photo by Barbie the Welder

Difficulty: U

Clean up the clutter with Western style! This useful holder can tastefully store napkins or help you organize bills, letters, or other documents. It is perfect to display on the kitchen table or on an office shelf. Make a napkin holder for the home or give one as a gift to a family member or friend.

What you will need for this project:

• Three horseshoes
• Angle iron
• Two clamps
• Square
• Ball peen hammer
• Chisel
• Wire brush
• Paint or clear coat


1. Clamp the angle iron to the workbench using the two clamps.

2. Hold a horseshoe against the angle iron with the open ends touching the bench.

3. Place a second horseshoe flat on the workbench with the open ends touching the open ends of the first horseshoe.

4. Tack these two horseshoes together.

5. Use the square to check the angle to make sure it is at ninety degrees.

6. If it is not, use the hammer to tap it gently until it is.

7. When connecting the second horseshoe to the base, it is important to make sure that not only is your second horseshoe angled ninety degrees from the base, but that each side is an equal distance from the first horseshoe that you tacked on.

8. Clamp the last horseshoe to the angle iron and butt the weldment against it.

9. Using the tape measure, you can measure the distance between each side horseshoe, making sure to adjust until your measurements are equal.

10. When you get the second horseshoe arranged on the base at ninety degrees and an equal distance from the first horseshoe, tack it in place and then double check the measurements and angles.

11. Once you are happy with the layout, weld it together in all the tacked spots. Modify the napkin/letter holder by making the front a heart, cross, or four-leaf clover.

Horseshoe Bowl

horseshoe bowl centerpiece
Photo by Barbie the Welder

Difficulty: UUUUU

The rustic look of this horseshoe bowl makes it the perfect kitchen table centerpiece or countertop accent to display fruit or flowers. Use it inside or out to bring a touch of country to your decor.

What you will need for this project:

• Nine horseshoes
• Ball peen hammer
• Chisel
• Shop prop (see Welding Basics)


1. Start this project by laying four horseshoes in a cross pattern, facing up on the workbench. Each horseshoe should touch the others. This will give you the general position that the horseshoes will need to be in to form the bowl. You will need a shop prop that will hold the horseshoe up at approximately a forty-five-degree angle from the bench. Please remember this is art and not an exact science, so just get each horseshoe close to forty-five degrees. The main thing is that you use the same shop prop for each horseshoe so each side of the bowl is welded at the same angle.

2. Using the shop prop, angle the end of the horseshoe up. With the welder ready, hold a second horseshoe up to it at the same angle, using the nail holes in the horseshoe as guides to give you consistency in your construction. Tack the two horseshoes together in two places. Use the shop prop to hold the first two horseshoes up while you hold the third horseshoe at the same angle and tack in to the first two in two places. You should now have three horseshoes tacked together all leaning at the same angle. Hold the first three horseshoes up with the shop prop and place the fourth horseshoe up to them. Tack it into place with two tacks at each of the two horseshoes it touches. You have successfully created the hardest part of the bowl!

Here comes the easy part!

putting horseshoe bowl together
Photo by Barbie the Welder

3. Place a horseshoe in the bowl, centered over two horseshoes and up on the lips. It should lean back against the two horseshoes. When you have it centered, tack it in two places. Repeat this with each of the three remaining horseshoes. Take the last horseshoe and place it on the workbench facing up, and place the bowl on top of it in whatever direction you feel looks aesthetically pleasing. When you have it placed the way you like, tack it in place.

4. Once you have tacked the bowl completely and you are happy with the layout, weld everywhere you have a horseshoe touching another horseshoe. Have fun and play around with the layout, add more horseshoes or place the horseshoes upside down to give the bowl your personal touch.

Note: The majority of these projects have the same instructions regarding cooling, cleaning spatter, and adding finishing clear coat/paint. Please see the instructions at the bottome of the page from the Finalizing Your Project section for directions on how to finalize your projects.

Boot Hangers

boot drying hangers for wall
Photo by Barbie the Welder


There is nothing worse than putting on wet boots first thing in the morning right when you are about to head out for an adventure. These charming boot hangers secure boots and waders upside down for faster drying between your outdoor treks. Hanging boots and waders upside down also prevents mice and other pests from climbing in during the night when you have to keep the waders in your garage or cabin.

What you will need for this project:

• Four horseshoes per set • Ball peen hammer
• Chisel
• Square
• Angle iron
• Two clamps


1. Start by clamping the angle iron to the edge of the workbench with the two clamps. The angle iron will give you a ninety-degree angle from the workbench, making it much easier to hold the angle as you tack the horseshoes together.

2. Lay one horseshoe flat on the workbench, front side up, with the closed end touching the angle iron. Stand the second horseshoe up against the angle iron, open side up, on top of the first horseshoe.

3. Tack the two horseshoes together. Check with the square to make sure the horseshoes are at ninety degrees and then weld each spot you have tacked. Repeat the same process for the second boot hanger. Modify the boot hangers by making the backs hearts, four-leaf clovers, flowers, or the initials of the user.

Finalizing Your Project:

Since all of these projects require the same steps for cooling, cleaning spatter, and finishing, please refer back to this section when finalizing your project. Once you have laid out, tacked, and welded each project’s pieces in their final position, inspect each area of your piece. Using your wire brush, clean each welded area. If there is any weld spatter, use the chisel and hammer to remove it. Once your project has cooled off and is free of spatter, you can finish it with a clear coat to keep the natural metal color and to prevent rust. If you want to add some vibrancy to your work of art, use a colored paint made for metal.

Reprinted with Permission from Horseshoe Crafts: More Than 30 Easy Projects to Weld at Home by Barbie the Welder and Published by Racehorce Publishing.

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