With their oversized hats, long beards, and giant noses, gnomes are cheerful holiday decorations full of character. If you'd like to make some, Maker Team member Dani of @knitty34 has a tutorial complete with instructions for a girl and boy in multiple sizes so you can fill your house with these little visitors!
Over the last few years gnomes have been a popular holiday decoration, and with good reason - they are adorable! Today I am going to show you how to make three different sizes of gnomes: a mini for your tree, a medium size perfect for tabletop or mantle displays, and a larger version that could be used as a stuffed toy, at the foot of your tree, or even at your front door!
Skill Level: Beginner (for mini), Intermediate (for larger sizes)
Time: 20 - 45 minutes
Medium and Large Gnomes PDF template (click to download)
Cork, for Mini Gnome
Knee High, for Medium and Large Gnomes
Sewing Machine - optional
1. Cut a piece of felt the approximate height of your cork and long enough to wrap around with a small overlap. For my cork this was 1.75” x 3”.
2. Using your glue gun, run a bead of glue down each short edge of the felt and wrap the felt around the cork, making sure that the bottom edge of the felt is level with the bottom of the cork.
3. Trace the bottom of your felt wrapped cork onto another piece of felt and cut out the resulting circle. Glue this circle to the bottom of the cork to enclose it.
4. To make the hat, use a compass and a scrap piece of paper to create a quarter circle template with a 2.5” radius. Use this template to cut out a quarter circle of felt.
5. Run at thin bead of glue up one of the straight edges of the quarter circle, avoiding the very top of the point.
6. Wrap the bottom edges around and pinch together, and then quickly close up the seam from the bottom to the top of the hat. You can add more glue if there are any spots that didn’t stick together. Don’t worry if a little glue shows – this will be at the back of the ornament!
7. For the boy gnome, let’s make the beard. You are going to cut a leaf shaped piece of the fun fur, approximately 1” in length. (If you haven’t worked with fun fur before, please see my cutting tips below.)
8. Glue the beard to the front of the gnome, lining up the top of the beard with the top of the cork.
9. For the girl gnome, cut about six 5" lengths of tapestry wool for hair. Glue these to the top of the cork, and then braid or tie the bottom of the hair.
10. For both gnomes, attach the hat by running a bead of hot glue around the top of the cork. Press the hat down over the cork, covering the top of the beard or hair.
11. Glue the extra small pom-pom onto the gnome for a nose. Tuck it under the hat slightly. In the example, I used a dry pinto bean.
12. Using your needle, thread a length of string through the back of the hat to make a hanger. I also like to bend the top of the hat over and press it with my finger, just to make them even cuter. And that’s it! You are done! Now go make a million more!
Medium and Large Gnomes
1. Print and cut out the paper templates for the size of gnome you are making. Check that the print scale is set to 100%. For the large gnome, you can add as much length as you like to the bottom of the body template. The longer the template the taller the gnome - just make sure you have enough felt!
2. Using the templates, cut out felt pieces (2 body, 1 bottom, 1 hat).
3. Sew up the sides of the body pieces, leaving an opening at the top for turning and stuffing. You can do this by hand or with a sewing machine. If you are using a sewing machine, keep the seam allowance small (1/8”).
4. Pin the bottom piece to the bottom of the body.
5. Sew around the bottom, with the body facing up. When you come to the side seams, you may have to manipulate the felt to get over the bulk.
6. Turn the body right side in through the opening at the top and poke out all the seams. At this point, you can place rice, beans, or pebbles in the bottom of the gnome to give it some weight. I definitely recommend this for the large gnome if you want to display him standing. Stuff well until you get the desired shape. It will look weird at the top – don’t worry.
7. Whip stitch the top opening closed. This does not need to be neat, as it will be hidden under the hat.
8. Place the straight edges of the hat together, and stitch.
9. Turn the hat right side in, poking out the top with a pencil or knitting needle.
10. Using the paper template, cut out the beard from fun fur. If you have not worked with fun fur before, please see my hints below.
11. Glue the beard about 1” down from the top of the gnome. You want to make sure that the top edge of the beard is covered by the hat.
At this point, you can start to change the character of your gnome and make him your own. You can make the beard wider or narrower, tuck in the outside corners, make it longer, etc.
12. For the nose, cut a piece of stocking or knee high about 3” square and get a small ball of polyfil ready.
13. Hand stitch around the stocking in a rough circle.
14. Place a ball of Polyfil in the center of the stocking and begin pulling the thread to close up the nose shape.
15. Close the nose by pulling on the thread and then wrapping the thread around several times and securing. Trim excess stocking material.
16. Using a generous amount of glue, stick nose to the top of the beard. You may want to test the placement by first holding the nose in place and trying on the hat. This is another place to give your gnome some character.
17. Place the hat on the gnome and place tiny dots of glue under the edge of the hat to hold in place. I do not recommend gluing the hat to the beard or the nose. You can flip up the brim of the hat and glue it in place as well to change the look.
You are all done! I hope you have enjoyed making these gnomes and that this tutorial inspires you to make a few to add some cheer to your holidays!
Fun Fur Cutting Tips
- When working with fun fur, you want to try your best to cut only the backing material, not the fur on the front. You want the long fur hairs to stay intact, rather than get chopped off.
- Flip the fur over so the backing is up, and using small scissors take very small snips to create the leaf shape. Don’t open your scissors very wide.
- Once you have cut your shape, brush away any loose fur from the edges. There will be lots. It's part of the fun!
Thanks to Dani for designing and writing this tutorial! You can follow her on Instagram @knitty34. Stay tuned for more Benzie Design Maker Team tutorials from Dani and the rest of the Team!