07 Jan How to Make Easy DIY Gnomes
This seems to be the year of the GNOME. They are everywhere you turn, and they are in every size, every shape, and every style! Inspired by all the cuteness, my girlfriend, Ruth made 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. Come along for today’s creative challenge, as I show how to make these easy DIY gnomes.
For a NEW post about 4th of July Gnomes, click HERE.
Gnome Ideas and Design
Whatever design you prefer, Scandinavian, Viking, nordic, garden, country, holiday, or tree, nurse or graduation gnome, etc.; there is probably one for you.
There are so many ways to design gnomes. They can be crafted for any celebration, every holiday, or to honor someone special too. I will continue to add new versions to this post as Ruth designs more. Be sure to check back occasionally to see what’s new!
By adjusting the color palette, the fabrics, and changing up the props, your gnome takes on a whole new look. For example, try a brighter colored outfit and include tiny birds, flowers, or a fishing pole and you have Spring or Summer gnome.
Similarly, you can create gnomes for holidays, beyond Christmas. For instance, use lots of pink and red, with tiny hearts for Valentine’s Day and a green and orange scheme with shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day. Do a pastel color palette, with eggs and a basket for Easter. After that Halloween, with tiny pumpkins, brooms, spiders, and bats. The possibilities are endless!
Are you ready to make one yourself? Keep reading and I will show you how.
Free Gnome Pattern
For starters, if you’d like to use a pattern, I’ve got a free one! It’s nice to have a pattern if you plan to make more than one 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.
To download the free pdf pattern, simply CLICK HERE. You’ll need to subscribe to the Bloom newsletter but you will then have access to all my project downloads.
After you download the PDF, continue to scroll down this post to read the step by step instructions on how to make easy DIY gnomes.
Print the PDF pattern. If you are only making one gnome, a paper pattern will work fine. 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 out.
How many Pattern Pieces
There are 3 main gnome pattern pieces. One for the body, one for the arms and one for the hat. I have also included a pattern for the beard, mittens, and nose.
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 though, your finished piece will be a beautiful handmade keepsake for yourself and will also 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.
Gnome Supply List
Affiliate links are below in blue.
Fabric or Recycled Sweaters
Felt for the mittens
Craft Fur for the beard
Clear Hair Ties
Pipe Cleaners HERE or
Wire, approximately 18 gauge or thicker
Hosiery or Flesh Tone Fabric or
Wood Beads HERE, for the nose
Trims; berries, flowers, greenery, small props, etc.
Pattern Download HERE
Paper or Cardboard, for pattern, optional
Sewing Scissors HERE
Washing Bag or Pillowcase, to wash recycled sweaters
Adjustable Temperature Hot Glue Gun HERE
All Temperature Glue Sticks HERE
Pencil or Marker
Rice or Washed Pea Gravel, for filling
Polyester Batting, optional for filling
Where to Buy Gnome Supplies
Most of your gnome materials can be found at a craft or fabric store. Online, you can look 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 looking around your house!
Thrift stores are also great for finding old sweaters to upcycle. If you are not usually a thrift shopper, it does take a bit of open-mindedness, but it’s a wonderful way to get a good deal and be good to the environment by recycling. Oh, it’s a lot of fun too!
Shopping for gnome details and props is fun. 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 too. Or consider making your own props out of basic materials, like cardboard, wooden skewers, tongue depressors, paper, or string, etc. Enjoy the process and use your creativity to make each gnome special.
Tips when Buying Supplies for Gnomes
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.
Consider combining colors and prints. This provides more interest and personality.
Preparing your 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 the majority of sweaters work great using this method.
Okay, I believe you are ready to officially start this project. Here goes…
Step by step Instructions
1 Download the free pattern or create your own. Cut out each piece on regular paper or transfer it to sturdy cardboard.
PREPPING YOUR 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 GNOME BODY
3 Cut out the fabric for the body. Fold in half lengthwise, placing right sides together. Sew side from top to bottom. Before you turn, close up the bottom of the body with a rubber band. 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 right side out. Next, fill the inside with rice so it is approximately 3-4 inches tall. This gives your gnome some weight to stand and be adjustable.😃After that, stuff polyfill in until you get the body size you want. Set aside.
ADDING THE GNOME NOSE, BEARD & SLEEVES
4 For the nose, Ruth originally used hosiery and polyfill (as in the photos), but recently has started using flesh-colored wooden beads. It works equally well and is much faster. See the materials list above for her source. If you would like to use the hosiery method, take a small piece of polyfill and roll 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 with a clear hair tie until secure.
On to the beard. Grab your fur and sewing scissors. Be sure to work with a single layer of fur at one time. Take a look at the fur and determine which way you want it to lay before you cut. You can use a rotary blade, but for a small piece of fur, I prefer sharp sewing scissors. The best way to cut craft fur is from the back, focusing on the base. Weave your scissors up against the base on the fur side, so you do not cut the fur at all. After you have the back of the fur piece cut, gently tug the fur apart.
Next, for the sleeve. Cut out the sleeve fabric and lay on a table with the right side down, 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.
5 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 and the nose. Position one at a time. Tack with a small amount of 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 gnome in the comment box below. I would love to see your project! Just tag me @bebraveandbloom or use #bebraveandbloominspiration to share.😃
Happy Gnomes to You!
For More Information
* Some products contain affiliate links. See the shop page for more information.