Every time I see the Travelocity Gnome on the Amazing Race, I tell myself ‘I have to get around to making a gnome’! I had so much fun with this gnome DIY, I really don’t know what took me so long to make one! But I’m glad I did wait, because the gnome kit I received from Kim and Garrett Make It, combined with the Christmas Sweater stencil from Old Sign Stencils, is so worth the wait :). With a gnome kit and stencil in hand, this is an easy diy gnome – no sewing required!
Of course we had to put our own Birdz of a Feather spin on our version: just like our Hot Cocoa Bar Sign, our Christmas gnome lights up too! So if you’re ready to get your craft mojo on, come hang out with us!
The grey felt you see below is a scrap from Hubs. He recently started a new hobby resurrecting old sewing machines. So he uses this felt to line the bottom of the sewing cases. I had to upcycle something for this project, right?
Before we get into the DIY gnome instructions, if you haven’t already, get you craft mojo on with Birdz of a Feather and subscribe for more fun ideas! You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Gnomes are thought to have originated in Scandinavia. Whether you know them as Nisse, Tomte, or Tonttu, they are mischievous little creatures that are said to bring good luck (yes, please!).
What I love about this particular kit is that the pieces are interchangeable. You get three gnome hats and 12 interchangeable accent pieces for each month of the year (I show you the Fall/Winter collection on the video). So I can design a different gnome hat and swap out the accents as I wish!
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What Supplies do I Need to Make Gnomes?
Here’s the supplies you’ll need for the Christmas Gnome DIY. Many of these gnome making supplies are also available at the dollar store, if your area isn’t in lock down like ours.
- Christmas Sweater stencil
- DIY gnome kit: Standing Gnome with Interchangeable Accents
- Medium weight felt, grey – I used a polyester scrap
- Pom pom
- Darice Moon Lights. Mine are only 4.5 feet because it’s what I had on-hand. But purchase one with more linear feet if you want more lights
- Paint (white, black and skin colour) – I used leftover PPG Break-Through from other paint projects, but use whatever you have on-hand
- Wide foam brush
- Foam dauber
- Burlap paper, grey (dollar store)
- Stencil brush
- X-Acto Light Duty Snap Off Utility Knife
- X-Acto hobby knife
- Command strip
- Cellophane tape
- Double side tape
- Gorilla Contact Adhesive
- Elmer’s ProBond Glue
- Strong magnets
- Small flat washers
- Ultra fine Sharpie
- Sharpie felt marker
- Dritz Omnigrid Double Sided Cutting Mat
Gnome DIY Video
Check out our DIY gnome video (and follow us on YouTube while you’re at it). Full tutorial follows below.
How to Make a Gnome
Step 1 – Cut Gnome Pattern from Felt
To create a pattern for the DIY gnome, trace the mitts and hat pieces onto the back of some felt with the fine marker and cut out with scissors.
For the gnome hat, you can use an X-acto knife instead to cut directly around the shape, like I do on the video.
Step 2: Stencil the Felt
Using the Christmas Sweater stencil from Old Sign Stencils, stencil the pattern with white paint onto the felt gnome hat and mitts. Be sure to tape the stencil down at the edges to keep it from shifting as you work.
As you’ll see on the video, I use a combination of pouncer and stencil brush to transfer the paint onto the felt.
I start with the reindeer at the bottom – the widest part. That’s because I want to give ‘Rudolph’ a red nose (as you’ll see on the video) :).
Move the Christmas Sweater stencil to finish the pattern at the top of the hat. There are registration marks for the tips of the trees that make it a breeze to line up!
Set aside for now.
Step 3: Paint
Paint the beard and the snowflake white.
Tip: paint from the middle out to the edges to avoid getting paint drips over the side.
If you do get paint on the side, just touch up with black marker.
I tried to stencils hearts onto the middle of the snowflake with silver transfer, but my glue is old and it didn’t go to plan. All glue has a shelf life, so this one will need to be replaced.
But the snowflake is still pretty and I also embellish the tips with glitter to make it sparkle even more!
Tip: crease a piece of paper before you add the glitter. The fold will help you get the leftover glitter back into the jar.
Just brush the wet glue onto each spoke – one at a time.
Then turn it upside down and place onto the pile of glitter on the paper. Tap off the excess and let dry.
As the glitter is drying, paint the stand with black paint.
Step 4: make Gnome Boots
Trace the boots onto the back of a piece of burlap paper and also the outline of the beard. Cut and glue onto the body.
Tip: since the main body is not painted, outline the boots with black marker so the lighter colour can’t peak through in case there are any gaps.
Step 5: light Gnome Hat
Now it’s time to light our gnome hat! The fairy lights will get sandwiched in between the felt and interchangeable gnome hat.
Test out the lights first to make sure they are working.
Prep the wire: where there is a light, give the wire a twist so the lights are standing vertically. This will make it easier to poke the lights through the felt gnome hat.
Once all the lights are ready, stack the gnome hat on top of the body and turn them upside down.
Then cut a command strip in half. Remove the backing and place one half of the command strip on the body and the other half on the back of the battery pack. Let it set up.
Turn it all right side up. Bring the wire up and over both layers of MDF. Tape the cord with cellophane tape as shown.
Securing the Wiring
Now that you have a starting point to place the wiring, detach the battery pack from the back of the body. Set the body aside.
Working on the front of the removable gnome hat, run a line of black marker along the edges. Because of the bulk of the lights, the felt won’t quite reach the edge. So darkening the edges with marker will disguise the lighter colour MDF underneath.
Start taping down the wiring to the gnome hat with cellophane tape. Run the wiring back and forth along the hat, taping it as you go. Keep placing the felt over the wiring to check for positioning of where it will land.
Tip: place extra tape right up against the intersection of the wire and lights. This will keep it anchored when it’s time to bring the lights through the felt.
When the wiring is completely taped to the hat, run some double faced tape along the entire perimeter. Because of the wiring. the hat doesn’t get glued down.
Place the felt over top and make a hole with an awl to mark the placement. See how that’s done on the video.
Use an X-acto knife to cut the holes slightly bigger.
Keep the lights on as you work; it will help you ‘see’ where the lights are underneath so you can locate them under the holes you just made.
Given the nature of felt, it will want to close up again. so keep the awl handy to increase the holes if necessary as you guide the lights through.
After successfully popping all the lights through the felt, remove the tape backing and stick down the hat all along the perimeter.
Step 6: glue gnome nose
Paint the gnome’s nose with flesh colour paint. Like me, you might not keep flesh colour paint on-hand. Not a problem if you have bright yellow, red, blue and white! You can mix these four colours together to create paint for the gnome nose. Use more yellow, less red, a tiny drop of blue and as much white to your own preference. See how that’s done on the video!
When the paint is done, glue and clamp the gnome nose and let dry. Because it’s too cold to work outside these days, I prefer to use wood glue inside because it has ways less odour than the Gorilla Glue.
Tip: instead of clamping, if you combine wood glue with a few drops of hot glue, it will hold as it dries.
Step 7: Attach Gnome Accessories
Beard and Mitts
Using the wood glue, glue the beard onto the body right where it fits with the boots. Clamp and let dry.
Glue the felt onto the front of the larger mitt pieces.
The smaller mitt pieces are for raising the mitts so that your choice of seasonal accent can sit against them. I attach the larger mitts to the smaller ones with a magnet and washer.
Position the accent first, then snug up the small mitts against it. Glue in place as shown below.
Glue the washer on top of the small mitt (below) and the magnet onto the back of the larger mitt (shown above). For that, I used the gorilla glue; it’s like a contact cement.
Gorilla glues cures in 24 hours so don’t attach the mitts together until it has time to fully cure. That’s because if you pull the magnet off, it could break the glue bond.
The last step of the gnome DIY before assembly is to attach a pom pom to the tip of the hat. This will hide the wire on the edge that wraps around from back to the front.
Gnome for the Holidays
Say hello to our Christmas gnome, Gerrard Norman Gnome – or Norm as we call him around here!
I’m still in the process of putting my craft studio back together after a flood destroyed our flooring. It’s taking longer because I jumped back into creating before the basement was complete. So for a while I’m going to enjoy our Christmas gnome decor in my sewing room.
I love how Norm’s red lit hat plays nice with the ‘S’ on top of my card catalogue!
But this little guy has a mind of his own. He found the perfect spot on our Hudson’s Bay point stripe-inspired toboggan.
The width of the base fits exactly between the two ropes. It’s like they were meant to hang together! And besides, he’s dressed for cold weather :). See how our sleigh vingnette looks like now with the addition of our origami shirt advent calendar!
But, much like a certain mischievous frog around here, he can’t sit still for a minute and loves to wander.
He kinda likes hanging out in the living room, right on top of our upcycled coffee table. We don’t use the living room much these days, so he looks great glowing in the darkened room at night!
Anywhere he hangs out, you really can’t go wrong with Christmas gnome decor. Click here for more unique stencil ideas.
Gnome Kit Ideas
Check out Kim and Garrett’s painted/decoupaged gnomes on YouTube! Consider following them too while you’re there: Kim and Garrett’s projects are as much fun as they are!
Pin Gnome DIY
Pin our gnome DIY for later. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!
what is a wood gnome?
A wood gnome is unfinished wood decor that can be painted or embellished for any season. Wood gnomes are great decor for any holiday such as Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter etc. Pre-made MDF (medium density fibreboard) gnomes are a great time saver. If you’re wanting to make your own out of scrap wood, visit here for wood block gnomes you can easily make yourself.