Handmade Christmas gnomes for post how to make easy DIY gnomes.

How to Make Easy DIY Gnomes

GNOMES are everywhere you turn, and they are in every size, shape, and style! Come along for today’s creative project as I show you how to make easy DIY gnomes.

See ALL gnome posts here.

Inspired by all the cuteness, my girlfriend, Ruth, made all of these adorable versions to utilize her Mom’s stash of recycled wool sweaters.

I think they are irresistible and, like dolls, connect to each of us differently.

DIY Gnomes

This post is a great place to start, but when you are ready, below are links to a bunch of other ideas and inspiration for your gnome projects!

Irish Gnomes
Spring Gnomes
Easter Bunny Gnome E-book
Fourth of July Gnomes
Halloween Gnome Ebooks

Gnome Tutorials

Follow the basic gnome tutorial at the bottom of this post or purchase one of the Gnome Books in the shop.

There are tutorials for gnome bunnies, chefs, witches, mummies, and ghosts.

All of the ebooks include full-color photos with step-by-step instructions. Each book is over 19 pages long with patterns, ideas, and tips!

See the Gnome Books here. Buy more and save, or you can buy them individually too.

Halloween Gnomes

These colorful Halloween gnomes are so popular! Make the whole set!

Try spooky props with tiny pumpkins, brooms, spiders, and bats for a Halloween theme.

Day of the Dead Crafts

The Day of the Dead (el día de Los Muertos in Spanish) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico. These gnomes celebrate the color and symbolism of the celebration.

Winter Gnomes

Try using cozy sweaters of fabrics for the winter months. Add winter props, sleds, skis, and shovels.😁

Swedish handmade gnome - DIY tutorial for how to make gnomes

Christmas Gnomes

Then, try blues, silvers, reds, and greens for regular holiday, plaid holiday, and Christmas gnomes. There are also ornament gnomes and wine topper gnomes.

The possibilities are endless.

 

Valentine Gnomes

Use hearts and shades of pink and red to celebrate the holiday of love! ❤️

Valentine's Day Handmade gnome - tutorial for how to make them

Bunny Gnomes

Next up … Spring! Everyone loves Ruth’s Easter bunny gnomes with ears and a cute little furry tail.

Make them with Minky fabric for the sweetest soft, and snuggly look. Try a pastel color palette with eggs and a basket for Easter.

Check out the Easter Bunny Gnome Tutorial Ebook here.

Easter and Spring time handmade DIY gnomes

St Patricks Day Gnomes

How about these St. Patties gnomes? The cutest bit of blarney inspiration ever.

Use Irish sweaters or patterned fabrics in greens, creams, and touches of orange. Add in shamrocks, clovers, pots of gold, and Celtic charms for the complete ensemble.

How to Make a Gnome

There are so many ways to design gnomes. They can be crafted for any celebration, holiday, or to honor someone special.

Whatever design you prefer, Scandinavian, Viking, nordic, garden, country, holiday, tree, nurse, or graduation gnome, etc., there is probably a gnome style for you.

By adjusting the color palette, and the fabrics and changing up the props, your gnome takes on a whole new look.

Are you ready to make one yourself? Keep reading, and I will show you how.

Free Gnome Pattern

You can download a free gnome pattern when you subscribe to my email list.

You will then receive an email (in about 15 minutes) with a link and the password to log in to the free library. This will give you access to this pattern and all project downloads.

When you enter the library, look for the thumbnail photo of the gnomes. Click it to open the PDF, then click the download icon to download the pattern.

After you download and print the PDF, return to this post and scroll down to read the instructions for making a gnome.

You can also purchase a handmade gnome for yourself from Ruth. Just send me a note, and I will get you connected. (US orders only)

It’s nice to have a pattern if you plan to make more than one gnome and you’d like them all to be similar.

After making one gnome, you will quickly get the hang of it, and you can then adjust the size and details to create your own style.

A paper pattern will work fine if you make only one gnome. However, if you make more than one, you may consider transferring the pattern to rigid cardboard; this makes it easier to trace around and cut the fabric gnome parts out.

Pattern Pieces

For a classic gnome style, there are three main pattern pieces. One for the hat, the body, and one for the arms.

I have also included a beard, mittens, and nose pattern. Other styles of gnomes have additional accessories.

Gnome Hat Pattern

The gnome hat will set the stage for your gnome. Remember to trust your own creative judgment and make it any size you want. 😃

Add stuffing or wire to adjust the design.

Body and Arms

The rest of the gnome is fairly standard, including the stuffed body and arms.

You can vary the fullness, widths, and lengths to create your own individual look.

Gnome Materials

These little gnome masterpieces take very small quantities of fabric and tiny bits of trims and embellishments, so they do not cost a ton.

If you choose quality materials with care, your finished piece will be a beautiful handmade keepsake for yourself and make a wonderful gift. As they say, it’s truly all in the details!

You’ll need a variety of materials for your gnome. See the complete supply list below.

Affiliate links are below in blue.

Supply List

Fabric or Recycled Sweaters
Felt for mittens
Craft Fur for beard
Wire approximately 18 gauge
Pipe Cleaners HERE optional 
Wood Beads
 HERE for nose
Popsicle Sticks HERE or HERE for skis
Trims flowers, greenery, props, etc.
Pattern Download see info above
Paper Scissors
Sewing Scissors HERE 
Sewing Machine
Adjustable Temp. Glue Gun HERE
All Temp. Glue Sticks HERE
Pencil or Marker
Rice or Washed Pea Gravel for filling
Polyester Batting for filling, optional

Where to Buy

Most of your gnome materials can be found at a craft or fabric store. Look online for supplies and props on Amazon.com or Etsy.com.

Check your closets for old sweaters that you may be ready to retire or your craft stash for fabric or trims. You may find what you need just by looking around your house!

Thrift stores are also great for finding old sweaters to upcycle.

If you are not usually a thrift shopper, it takes a bit of open-mindedness, but recycling is a wonderful way to get a good deal and be good to the environment. Oh, it’s a lot of fun too!

Shopping for gnome details and props is the best! Trimming your gnomes can add so much to the finished product.

Decorative ribbons, ornaments, and tiny props can be the perfect addition to complete the look. Look at miniature dollhouse props. Check the party sections for miniatures.

Or consider making your own props out of basic materials, like cardboard, wooden skewers, tongue depressors, paper, string, etc. Enjoy the process and use your creativity to make each gnome special.

Recycled Sweaters

If you’ve decided to use vintage (old!) sweaters, now it’s time to wash them.

Wash sweaters in a regular washing machine in a zippered bag or pillowcase to protect them. Finish in the dryer. Check on them from time to time. I did have one shrink, but most sweaters work great using this method.

Gnome Tips and Tricks

Here are some things to remember when you are looking for materials for putting together your personal “gnome kit.”

Thicker fabrics or recycled sweaters work great for the body, arms, and hat.

The heavier weight gives the hat and arms more body, and they “stand up” better. Stronger fabric for the gnome body also works best to hold the rice and batting filling in. Avoid loose weaves or thin material.

Ruth uses pea gravel in the body’s base to add weight and stability, then follows with polyester filling to fill and form the rest of the gnome shape. Try various materials and see what you like best.

For fabrics, consider combining colors and prints. This provides more interest and personality.

Okay, are you ready to officially start this project? Here goes…

Instructions

Gnome Pattern

Download a free pattern (by subscribing) or create your own pattern.

You can download the free pattern when you subscribe to my gnome email list. You will then receive an email (in about 15 minutes) with a link and the password to log in to the free library. This will give you access to this pattern and all of my project downloads.

When you enter the library, look for the thumbnail photo of the gnomes. Click it to open the PDF, then click the download icon to download the pattern.

After downloading and printing the PDF, come back to this post and scroll down to read these step-by-step instructions.

Cut out each pattern piece on regular paper or transfer it to sturdy cardboard. 

Prepping the Gnome Hat

2  Cut out the hat piece. If your fabric has a pattern design, be sure to position the pattern exactly how you want it, so the markings you want to see most are placed in front correctly.

Fold in half lengthwise with the right sides of the fabric together. Stitch from the tip of the hat to the brim. Turn right side out. Be gentle, so you do not stretch the fabric.

Creating the Body

3  Cut out the fabric for the body. Fold in half lengthwise, placing right sides together. Sew the open side from top to bottom.

Before you turn, close up the bottom of the body with a rubber band or clear hair tie. Then for reinforcement, wrap again with a wire if desired.

Next, turn the piece right side out carefully. If you are using a sock, you do not need to sew the side, just close up the bottom while inside out and then turn the right side out.

Next, fill the bottom of the inside with pea gravel (for weight) or rice. Top off with polyester filling so your body is approximately 3-4 inches tall.

This is up to your personal preference! Experiment to get the look you like.

The pea gravel gives your gnome some weight to stand and be adjustable. After that, the polyfill gives you get the body size and shape you want. Set aside.

Adding the Nose

4  For the nose, Ruth originally used hosiery and polyfill (see photos), but now uses flesh-colored wooden beads. It works equally well and is much faster. One of her favorite sources is amazon.com click for wood beads. (affiliate link)

If you want to use the hosiery method, take a small piece of polyfill and roll it into a small ball, the size you’d like the nose. Cut out your flesh-colored fabric or hosiery piece.

Next, wrap the fabric tightly around the fill so that the nose is smooth. Gather the unfinished ends tightly at the back and wrap them with a clear hair tie until secure.

You could also wrap the nose in a colored or printed fabric to add some whimsy and fun!

If you use the wooden ball, there is no need to do anything yet.

Gnome Beard

On to the beard. Grab your fur and sewing scissors. Be sure to work with a single layer of fur at one time. Look at the fur and determine which way you want it to lay before cutting.

You can use a rotary blade, but for a small piece of fur, I prefer sharp sewing scissors.

Cut craft fur from the back; focusing on the base is the best way to cut craft fur. Weave your scissors against the base on the fur side, so you do not cut the fur at all.

After the back of the fur piece is cut, gently tug the fur apart. You can then trim the corners if desired to get the shape you like best.

The Gnome Arms

Next, for the sleeve. Cut out the sleeve fabric, lay it on a table with the right side down, and fold both lengthwise edges into the center, so they overlap slightly.

Run a bead of hot glue down one side and place the other side on top to seal. Hold for 10-20 seconds until it cools slightly.

You can also lay a pipe cleaner inside the arm before gluing, making the finished sleeve slightly adjustable. If you do this, use an additional row of hot glue inside the arm for reinforcement.

5 To attach the arms, cut an appropriately 8-inch length of pipe cleaner or wire. The wire should be thick enough to hold your fabrics but pliable enough to bend easily.

Wrap the wire around the top opening of the body form, then secure by twisting a couple of times.

Next, place the sleeve piece across the back and center it. Twist the two wire ends around the center of the sleeve piece until you get the sleeves positioned where you want them.

After that, it’s time to glue on the beard, hat, and nose. Position one at a time. Tack with a small amount of hot glue until you are confident about the placement, then add more glue and hold for 10-20 seconds until secure and the glue has a chance to cool.

Embellishments and Props

6 Hot glue or hand sew on any embellishments, ribbon trims, or props.

You did it. What do you think? Adorable, right? I told you so!

Please let me know if you create your own gnomes in the comment box below. I would love to see your project! Tag me @bebraveandbloom or use #bebraveandbloominspiration to share.

Happy Gnomes to You!

xo,
Cindy

More Gnome Crafts

Christmas Gnomes
Spring Gnomes
Easter Bunny Gnome E-book
Fourth of July Gnomes
Halloween Gnome Ebooks

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53 comments on “How to Make Easy DIY Gnomes

  1. Oh my fabulous fanny these are adorable. I was just browsing pinterest looking for instant pot dishes and these little cuties came up. I will be making some for my mum and auntie for v-day. I can’t wait to go out tomorrow hunting for cute sweaters or scarves at the local charity shoppes. You are a genius! Hugs

    1. Bre, Oh my gosh. Thank you so much! You made my day! I am thrilled you are going to make some. Please let me know how they turn out!

  2. A few questions, for the nose, couldn’t you use a little wooden ball and just glue it on? And, the wire doesn’t rundown the length of the arms, it’s just twisted around the center to attach them, or it , since the arms are one piece, correct? Couldn’t you just hot glue the arms on? Thank you! I’m planning on making some Easter gnomes!

    1. Hi Pat, Yes, a wooden ball for the nose works great! Ruth does do all wood noses now instead. (I need to update the photo steps!) For the arms, correct, it just wraps around the center so that it is completely hidden. Yes, the arms are one piece. You could certainly test the hot glue for the arms, but the glue may melt some fabrics or not hold the weight. Please let me know if your ideas work? Enjoy the project!

      1. Hi Cindy! I have been making Easter gnomes! I did use wooden beads for the nose. They look good! For the arms, I cut 2 out of leftover sock (I’m using socks for my gnomes). For each arm I run a line of hot glue down one side of the arm fabric, roll it so the glue hits around halfway down the length, then put glue on the other long edge and finish rolling. To attach the arms, I put hot glue on the end of an arm, then attach it to the body. I’d love to show you pics, but there’s no where to post them.

        1. Hi Pat! That’s so awesome. I would love to see them! If you have an Instagram or Facebook account you could upload your photo to your account, and then tag me on your photo? (@bebraveandbloom) Thanks for sharing this with me!

    1. Hi Bev, It depends on your fabric weight. Pipe cleaners or approximately 18 gauge wire or thicker should work well. I would suggest using wire that is thick enough to hold things in place but flexible enough to bend easily. I hope you enjoy the project!

    1. Hi Julia, You’ll want to enlarge it to those approximate measures. (It would not fit on a printed sheet) Use your preferred size, but this is what is in the picture.

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your sweet gnome pattern and knowledge! I’m having a really hard time understanding the arms, and chenille stem! Do you put the stem through the arms first, and then twist it on? If you twist on the wire,then add the arms(which are one continuous piece, right?), then how is the wire getting into the arms, to be able to position them?
    I’m probably totally missing something here, but I was hoping that maybe you could explain it differently? Idk, I really want to make some, but keep getting stuck on that step.
    Thank you!
    Julie

    1. Hi Julie! You can really do it one of 2 ways. The directions in this post do not use a wire within the sleeve. It is just one wire that is used to close the top of the body and also twist the wire’s ends around the center of the sleeve piece to hold it on. You could also use an additional wire inside the sleeve though! Up to you. Hope that helps!

  4. I’ve been waiting on some of the materials. I’m looking forward to making these little guys. Thank you so much for sharing and explaining.

  5. I tried this pattern, not the easiest pattern to follow as the visuals were separate from the actual word instruction, which made it frustrating. I did find that not having the pattern to size was upsetting. I had to spend time blowing up and shrinking the image just to get it to the correct size, so not worth the time. I just ended up making a cone shape close to the measurements and it was okay. In the end it was free so that is nice, but next time I recommend putting the pictures with the word instructions, and making the pattern pieces to actual size, even if it means I glue pages together, I am okay with that.

    1. I’m sorry you had such a hard time. Thanks for the feedback, I will try to incorporate those ideas in the future. I do create this blog all by myself and basically, for free, and do the best I can.

    1. Hi Carolyn, Ruth uses 100% wool in most of the gnome’s hats. She says when washed, wool rarely unravels, but it may depend on the weave too. If you are not using natural fibers, you may need to run a stitch around the edge of the hat or hem it. Good luck!

  6. Ciao, io sono già iscritta alla newsletter ma non riesco ad avere il modello gratuito del gnomo, come posso fare?
    Se c era una password da qualche parte, non ce l’ho più, me la puoi rimandare?
    Grazie mille

    1. Hi Lexy, You can print it at a larger size or enlarge it on a copier, then tape it together. You can also just eyeball it and draw it with a ruler. They are very simple shapes. Make one gnome to see how you like the size. Then tweak it to create the shape you like best. Enjoy! 😃

  7. Just think gnomes are wonderful and would love to make some.
    Many thanks
    Barbara Gibbons
    Scotland UK

  8. Can’t wait to repurpose some of my Mom’s clothes into these adorable gnomes that I want to use as memory gifts for the grand kids! Thanks!!

  9. I think I might make one for each holiday and give them as gift set next Christmas. Wish I had found this page sooner. Can’t wait to get started on this project. Thank you

  10. I’m just to step two:

    Just confirming that the body is sewn on the long side from top to bottom. Then you use a rubber band or clear hair tie to secure the bottom. Wire can also be added.

    Does this provide a secure enough way to keep the beads, pellets, rice and batting inside?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Diana, yes, sew the body down the long side. Then turn. Close up the bottom of the body with a rubber band or clear hair tie. Since you only have two hands the hair tie is a great way to cinch it in place. Then for reinforcement, wrap again with a wire if desired.😃 Have fun!

  11. I am excited to try a few of the Gnomes. I want to make them for a birthday centerpiece, so I would like one arm to be raised to hold 6 tiny “Ballons” held by 20-gauge wire. Is there a suggestion you can give me to allow the arm to be strong enough to be raised enough and yet hold the weight of six 0.8″ Styrofoam balls held by six 20-gauge wires each about 7″ in length?

    1. Hi Karen, That sounds cute! It might be fine with just a stiff wire through the arm. Or you could try using a stiff wire or a wooden dowel, then try to brace it by inserting the lower end into the body? Let me know how it goes! Good luck!

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