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Don’t laugh, but how can you not resist!? These silly fellows have been bouncing around in my brain for a while and they just all came together. Oh, such whimsy and folklore for this best rustic woodland Gnome.

Natural & Found Materials:

I feel elated when I can whip up a design without a trip to the ‘craft’ store! I’ve been saving any fallen birch branches for bodies and have a good stash of vintage virgin wool blankets to clothe them in. I used a hand saw to cut the logs into varying lengths and did dry them in the oven for a couple hours at 250˚F. Fur, who can resist a great faux fur, no animals were harmed here.

It’s a better Nose:

If you follow me you know I always want to improve designs! How dull are all those gnomes with their ’round’ noses! Come on, you need a ‘good nose’, so out comes the polymer clay (use skin tone if you like). Noses are so interesting and so many variations… Start with a round drop, pinch some nostrils and then add holes, simple as that.

Ta-da! A nubbly nose! And some bigger and cuter, why stop at one or 10?!

I chuckle each time I look at a plate of noses. Fairy tales and old fantasy stories ring in my ears… After the recommended baking they needed some rosy ‘red-nose’ blush. Skin tone is a mix of white, red, yellow and bit of blue; pretty simple acrylic paint.

Cloaks from the Woods!

You knew that some eco printing was going to sneak in there somehow didn’t you?! Perfect, as the wool dyes so effortlessly with the maple leaves. The leaves are dipped in some iron sulphate solution, bundled and processed in the microwave. You can substitute what ever fabric you like but this makes a definite wonderful authentic woodland detail.

Take a circumference measurement of your log and cut some simple triangles for hats. The wool fringes easily and folds over for a sweet detail edge stitching. Sew up the back seam with a blanket edge stitch.

Hands and Arms are needed:

Some un-dyed wool makes mitts as hands. HINT: sew the shapes first and then cut them out; much easier than the other way around!

Hands need arms to attach to so make some simple tubes with folded fringe. Use a stiff wire to insert into the mitten and then through the sleeve.

Hair and Fur:

When I see a great faux fur I pick it up, and then figure out what to make. This fur is so amazing I have used it many times. It baffles me that it can be so soft and so realistic! Check local fabric stores, you will be amazed or shop here.

The only drawback of working with fur is the ‘fuzzy nose tickles’ and the mess. Do not just cut through it; it should be cut from the back and slide the scissors next to backing to avoid cutting the hair, then pull apart.

The beards start at the hat line (top of log) and can be long to the base. Folding over & gluing the edge makes it much more professional.

They need their moustaches as well. Using another accent long fur, triangle shape folded in at edges again will fit under a nose.

Tame the moustache to split in the middle and look authentic.

Glue the beard to the birch body log and centre glue the moustache as well. Hot glue works well, but make sure it is not only holding the hair but also the backing.

Now the fun! Pick a nose, any nose… and glue above the moustache. How amazingly novel!

Yup, no brain or head in there! Who knew? Add a spiral of wire to allow great manipulation of the hat.

The arms are attached under the hat, and some scraps make the hot gluing easier on the fingers.

A dab of glue on the end of the wire and then anchored in the end of the hat will hold it. Use some batting or cotton filling in the hat and then glue around the top of the birch log and on the top of the nose. Be careful to not get glue all over the fur, sparing use under the wool edge will be sufficient. They come together quickly and easily.

Such personality each woodland gnome has! Tall ones, short ones, big beards, skinny beards, all is good. They wear nature’s design; the rustic colour tones beautifully.

The back shows the blanket edge stitching; no need for a machine.

Give this woodland gnome a crook or a staff, or some burlap bag…

Make him some friends so they can mumble to each other.

I love a rustic natural Christmas theme, but I can imagine I’ll have a difficult time to put them away. I love how they celebrate the beauty of nature in colour, print and texture. Go find some birch logs, wool and fur… you won’t regret it!

Happy making!

barbmaker

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. Barb , your Gnomes are to die for ! OMG ….what talent you have ! Most people look at a birch log and see a birch log . The scarecrow off of Wizard of Oz said ” If I only had a brain” I say ” If I only had Barb’s brain ( and talent ) . Another fantastic post. Thank you so much !

  2. They’re so cute!!! Too bad that crazy wind last night doesn’t seem to have knocked down any birch trees around here…maybe I’ll make eucalyptus gnomes??? Great inspiration!!

  3. Sheer genius!!!!! I always look forward to your posts, you totally inspire me! I started with your concrete faces, carried on playing with cement through the summer and am currently making fairy castles. Thank you so much!!

  4. OH Barb–You have done it again!!! These guys are FABULOUS!! Such characters. And so real-looking, I can certainly imagine them coming alive at night! Have they started moving things around in your house yet?? Hahahaha!

  5. Now that gnome is the business! Thank you so much for sharing your creation and your method with us all. He is something special and would look right at home in the woods near his little gnome home!

  6. Dear Barb,
    I love, love to see your new work and look forward to your next exploration. You are so talented and explain step by step what you create. Awesome. My friend Amy loves gnomes to so will be following along too. Keep up the great creating.
    Dorothy

  7. Barb that little guy is terrific, love him !!!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing the instructions step by step. Your very kind.
    Merry Christmas Barb.
    Darlene
    Nova Scotia

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