Easy Graduation Gnomes DIY (Handmade Ideas)

Make a DIY graduation gnome for your favorite grad! It makes a thoughtful gift for any degree, from K-12 to a doctorate level!

3 Minnesota DIY graduation gnomes.

It’s grad party season! This easy Graduation Gnomes DIY with handmade ideas is a fantastic project for a gift idea you can make yourself. 

Artist Ruth Johnson made all the handcrafted gnomes on this website and shares her ideas with us today!

For more gnome inspiration, check out these Gnome Posts for lots of tips and tricks to quickly learn to create your own DIY gnomes.

If you prefer to purchase a gnome, you can shop for Ruth’s handmade gnomes at her Etsy Own a Gnome Shop or visit her Own A Gnome Facebook Group.

A Minnesota DIY graduation gnome.

I think people want something a bit different and not mass-produced, and they value the love and skill that goes into something a person has made.

– Emily Winter

Graduation Gift DIY

A handcrafted and custom graduation gnome is such a thoughtful gift.

Your recipient will be surprised and delighted with your creativity.

I’m sure they will not receive anything else like it!

It is a keepsake that they can enjoy for years to come. It is fitting for any age or level, or type of school.

Handmade Gift Ideas for Friends

Get creative and have fun! When creating the gnome, incorporate your recipient’s school, colors, an emblem, logos, or school crest.

Next, add a tassel, a diploma, pendants, and pom-poms.

You can find these novelty items of new or vintage school clothing items at a craft or dollar store.

Check online at sites like Amazon, Oriental Trading Company, or Etsy as well.

How to Make a Gnome

To make your gnome body for the graduate, start with the basic gnome.

See this gnome-making beginner post to get started and for ideas and step-by-step instructions.

Then, subscribe to get the gnome body pattern. (More information below) 

When you’ve done that, come back to this post to get graduation ideas for the grad cap and diploma.

3 Minnesota DIY graduation gnomes.

Free Gnome Pattern

To get a free version of the base gnome body, subscribe to my GNOME email list for information about logging in to download the pattern PDF.

After signing up, you will receive an email (in approximately 15 minutes) with a web link and a password to sign in to the free library. 

When you enter the library, look for the small photo of the gnomes.

Click the picture to open the PDF, then press the download icon. 

Download and print the pattern or any of the project downloads.

After you download and print the PDF, go back to the DIY Gnomes post and scroll down to the lower half of the post to read the gnome-making instructions.

Also, visit the DIY Gnome Post for more imaginative ideas, fabric choices, trims, and embellishments.

Supplies for Graduation Gnomes

To make your own graduation cap, tassel, and diploma, you’ll only need a handful of items!

Grad Cap

Affiliate links are underlined.

Felt affiliate link
Cardboard 2 pieces, thin & corrugated weight
Hot Glue Gun
Hot Glue


Embroidery floss
Charm optional, affiliate link
Silver or Gold Twist Ties optional
PreMade Tassels optional, affiliate link


Embroidery floss
Charm optional

A red & black DIY graduation gnome.

How to Make a Graduation Cap

You’ve made your gnome body; now you are ready for the graduation cap.

Here’s an easy way to make a mortarboard for your gnome!

Instructions are below.

Cut two pieces of cardboard—one lighter weight, one for the hat band, and one slightly more rigid cardboard for the mortarboard square. These pieces will give the hat structure.

Next, cut two pieces of felt to cover the cardboard. See photos.

Parts to create a mortarboard cap for DIY graduation gnomes.

Hat Band

Hot glue the felt to the hat band and roll it in a circle to create the bottom of the cap.

Next, overlap the felt in the back so it is aligned, and seal it shut with a vertical line of hot glue.

Mortarboard Square Top of Cap

Place the cardboard in the center of the felt. Wrap the felt around all four edges to the other side of the cardboard.

Secure with a piece of duct tape. Trim the felt if necessary, then hot glue the flaps onto the cardboard. 

Putting the Hat Parts Together

With scissors, snip the top edge of the band approximately 1/4 inch down, in 5-8 spots, spaced out.

Fold all the tabs inward. These will glue to the top of the hat. 

Position small spots of glue on the top of each folded tab.

Align and center the top square and press the two hat pieces together. Hold until the glue has adhered and cooled. 

13 red & black DIY graduation gnomes.

Graduation Tassel

You can purchase a premade tassel at the dollar store, on Amazon, or at Oriental Trading Company, or create a tassel out of embroidery thread. 

Mini diplomas & tassels for DIY graduation gnomes.
DIY Mini Diplomas and Tassel Key Chain

Making a DIY Tassel

It is super easy to make a tassel!

For starters, STOP! Don’t pull apart your new package of floss just yet! Instead, carefully slide the band off of the product.

Gently pull off and cut one 8-10 inch strand of embroidery floss off without distributing the others in the pack too much. Then cut that piece in half.

To connect the tassel to the top and center of the hat, take one of those pieces of floss, fold it in half, and thread it through the top arch of the threads in the package. 

Tie the two ends together in a knot at the very end.

Before tightening it, double-check to see if the length will work with the top of your mortarboard.

Wrap the other piece of floss around the head of the tassel approximately ten times.

Tie it in a knot to secure it. Trim the ends and cut the bottom of the tassel body to your preferred length.

Attaching the Tassel to The Hat

Hot glue the top end of the loop onto the center of the top of the hat.

Cover with a button and glue that to cover the circle.

Use the existing loop on your tassel, or make a loop with a piece of embroidery thread if you do not have one.

Loop through the tassel ring, then knot it to attach it to the top of the cap.

Add a charm to the tassel if desired. Glue the hat onto the body of your gnome.

Gnome Diploma

To make a tiny diploma, roll up a small sheet of paper. Then, secure it shut with transparent tape or glue.

Tie a matching string of embroidery floss and attach a charm—glue it to the gnome’s felt hands.

You did it. Your gnomie is ready to graduate!

Gnome Tutorials

There are other gnomes to create! Discover many gnome ideas in these Gnome Blog Posts and find easy patterns in the Gnome Pattern Shop.

The pattern ebooks take you comprehensively through each stage of the project.

In addition, they include a supply and buying resource list.

Thanks so much for stopping by!



Other Gnome Projects

How to Make DIY Gnomes
Easter bunny gnome e-book
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Fourth of July gnomes
Halloween gnome e-books
Christmas gnomes
Holiday gnomes
Christmas ornament gnomes
Ornament gnome e-book
Plaid gnomes
Wine Topper gnomes
Bottle Topper gnome ebook

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