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Need fun ideas for budget-friendly DIY arena letters that actually look good

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  • Need fun ideas for budget-friendly DIY arena letters that actually look good

    Any DIY ideas for outdoor arena letters that look great but don't cost a fortune? We're hoping to keep the cost under $200, if possible. Sure, we could do the white traffic cones with letters stuck on, but they look like, well, traffic cones. We're not afraid to pick up a paintbrush. We've been brainstorming and looking at wastebaskets, flower pots, etc. The ideas that seem like they'd look good are well over budget. We could do Rubbermaid kitchen bins, weighted and with flowers - gotta have flowers, but it seems like they would still look like wastebaskets with a letter painted on.

    Any creative sorts out there with a great idea they'd be willing to share?

  • #2
    Do you want them to be easily moveable, or are can they be heavy/semi permanent?
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


    • #3
      Get cinder blocks and paint them with concrete paint. There are so many colors available now. Cheap PCV pipe or wooden garden boarder and you can have an arena. If you dont have enough to PCV pipe the entire thing at first just do the corners.

      I also don't think terracotta clay pots are to expensive either. Paint letters on them then plant with real or fake flowers.
      --Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity--


      • #4
        Years ago, when I was working for a veterinarian, I saved bleach bottles from the laundry at the practice. The plan was in Practical Horseman about a century ago... Anyway, one would fill one bottle (the bottom bottle) with water or sand. Then drill holes through two bottle tops, and fasten the tops together, back to back, with bolts and nuts. Put the bottle filled with sand on the bottom, screw on the lids (fastened together), and fasten another bottle, inverted, on top. Put the letter on the top inverted bottle (I used electrical tape to make the letters). We went through a lot of bleach at the practice, so most of the supplies were free, and I had all of them quickly. They looked good enough that when I moved out of state my trainer was quite anxious to take them off my hands.


        • #5
          In the past we have done letters on wood boards screwed to ballister posts then inserted into flower pots. Easily changed, and can be removed to replant pots, or pots can be used with out letters for jump decoration.
          Mighty Thoroughbred Clique - has a Facebook Page!!!http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mig...80739235378806


          • #6
            How about getting the low sections of garden fencing and putting the letters on that. It Comes in many materials/styles and is usually pretty cheap. Something like this.


            or this





            • #7
              Look at these - you can order or use the idea to make your own in whatever shape you want! http://www.equicross.us/Dressage%20Letters.htm
              We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


              • #8
                Do you have a fence around the dressage ring or is it a low dressage fence only?
                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                • #9
                  I'd do flowerpots painted white,with flowers planted and the letters coming out the top from a spring or wire or something like that, If you plant flowers in a flowerpot and the letter on the side,I don't think it'd be very visible.


                  • Original Poster

                    I do like the idea of the flower pots with the letters on a post sticking out of the top.

                    StellaTMK, do you have a picture available of what you've done? I'd like to send an example over to the trainer to get her feedback.

                    For those that have asked, the top height of the rails is 15", and there isn't really a good place to hang the letters.


                    • #11
                      I did it the cheap easy way lol. My fence is higher though and i bought the mailbox letters from home depot. I got white with black letters and stuck them to my fencing. Works well, not fancy but easy to do and after 6 years they are still there and look good.
                      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                      • #12
                        I tried flower pots, but my brown thumb proved itself. They ended up just being pots of dirt with letters sticking out. Drove me nuts.

                        We are in the process of building new ones. We have several large oak trees that need to come down. So I am going to cut 2+ft sections of the large logs and angle cut one side at about 45* angle so it has a nice 'face'. Then I will paint that face white, and paint on letters in black. I am going to use a water seal on the ground side flat cut to slow down rot...

                        No idea how long they will really last, but should be pretty and weighted enough not to blow over.

                        Still felling the trees so I don't have any examples to show yet. We have one HUGE and and really pretty base section that I plan to make C.


                        • #13
                          I made dressage letters using those big wooden letters from Michael's or Hobby Lobby. If they are making plastic ones, that would be even better. They can be painted & nailed or screwed to stumps, fence posts, whatever you've got. If you're using them outside and they're wooden, I'd seal them with something to make them weatherproof.


                          • #14
                            I did the letters for our indoor arena using white Rubbermaid bathroom waste baskets and a set of stick on dressage letters like you can get from Adams or probably Dover. They cost me about $45. To use them outside you would need to figure out a way to keep them from blowing over, or away. One suggestion was to get a brick, put a little hay string around it. Make a hole in the top of the waste basket to suspend the brick.
                            Providence sometimes takes care of idiots. Agnes Morley Cleaveland in No Life for a Lady.


                            • #15
                              For moveable dressage letters I have used medium size orange traffic cones and a wide majic marker to write the letters on them. For permanent use, I have printed out the letters on letter size paper and laminated them. The laminated letters were then zip tied to the arena.

                              There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness". - Dave Barry


                              • #16
                                Ditto the cinderblocks. My former instructor uses cinderblocks painted white with the letters in Black. They look nice, and last for a LONG time.
                                Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
                                CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle


                                • #17
                                  I have white bed cones - stay with me, here - they are small stands which go under the foot of each corner of the bed to raise it up 8 inches off the floor. I have gotten them at Christmas Tree Shops for 8 dollars for four, and I have white square footed ones. I just don't know what they are called. But they would be Perfect for letter cones. You could use black tape to make the letters onto them from two sides. You could put them on top of traffic cones, you could put them on top (perfectly) of a 4/x4 post, you could just set them on the ground. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Sometimes they come round, but most often I've seen them with a square base, and they are either white or choclotate, white being the ones I am thinking of.

                                  Here they are


                                  This link says "not in stock" but I have found them at many places which you could search for.

                                  Google white bed risers, and images, you will get a lot of choices.

                                  My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


                                  • #18
                                    I bought the sticky dressage letters and then bought several no parking signs from one of the big box stores. I cut the signs in half and then put the letters on the back/plain white side of the signs.

                                    My arena has a 4 board fence on 3 sides, so I simply screwed the signs to the fence. On the 4th side, I cut some landscape timbers in half and put them in the ground a ways back from the arena; they stick out of the ground about 2 or 2.5 feet.

                                    That's been about 10 years and the signs are still in great shape.


                                    • #19
                                      For some reason we had a ton of small white plastic supplement buckets, with plastic handles. We talked about stencils but found a handy mom to spray paint (in red) the letters on the bucket.

                                      We just drop some sand in them to keep them from blowing over. Very safe, portable, stackable, look pretty good.

                                      The downside? The first time, my horse stopped at every bucket, looking for grain.


                                      • #20
                                        If you're going to do planters, may I suggest a different animal for each letter? You should hand out modified tests for the readers. "Zebra, enter working trot; X halt salute, continue working trot; Giraffe, track right; French Bulldog, medium walk."




                                        (there are many more if you browse Target's plant stands).