felt gnome tutorial | movita beaucoup

Last week I hosted my annual Gnome Making Workshop. I host one every December because at this time of year my students are basically useless. They are tired, over-worked and desperate to head home for the holidays. They grow dumber every day. So, a few years ago I invited Kate Mitchell, a graduate of our post-secondary program, to head a Gnome Making Workshop. Kate is an artist. The real deal. And for some reason, she’s really into gnomes. Gnomes, by the way, don’t really have anything to do with our dance programming. We just like anything Kate likes. Each year Kate returns to lead the workshop for our professional and teacher training students. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Also, Kate spells gnome with a k. Knome. Spell check disagrees, but you can decide which you prefer.

You will need:

  • pipe cleaners
  • felt
  • small wooden beads/heads
  • craft paint if you’d like to paint the heads
  • glue/glue gun
  • scissors
  • needle and thread
  • decorations – ribbon, sequins, beads, etc.

Cut a pipe cleaner in half. One piece will form your gnome’s legs, the other its arms. You can fold the ends in just a little to prevent your gnome’s hands and feet from scratching you. Or don’t. Live on the edge.

Fold one piece of your halved pipe cleaner in half. You’ve got gnome legs.

Wrap the second piece of pipe cleaner around the legs, leaving a small bit at the top. Now you’ve got arms for your gnome. That little bit at the top, by the way, is what you will secure your gnome head to. You can adjust the length of the arms and legs with scissors. We found that the arms were a little long, so we corrected the proportions.

Cut a rectangle of felt out. It should be as wide as your gnome (about 3 inches), and twice as tall (about six inches). This will become the robe or pantsuit. Yup. Gnomes can wear pantsuits.

Fold the rectangle in half.

Cut a small slit at the top (centre), and push the gnome neck through.

Place the head on top. (You could do this later if you like.) We use small wooden beads. You can stick them on as-is (faceless gnome) or paint your bead, as I did. I used a colour called Santa’s Flesh. Did that make you gag a little? I did. Then I dry brushed a little cheek colour on and used a Sharpie pen to dot on some eyes. Vary the colour of the beads/flesh paint to create ethnically diverse gnomes.

Shape a robe or pantsuit with your scissors. Just cut some sleeves and a bell bottom. Or bell bottoms if you’d like pants.

Sew the outfit. Stitch up the sleeves and sides of the dress/pants. I’m sure Kate would like me to remind you to be very, very careful when using sewing needles. Do not leave them on the floor. Kate is passionate about this issue because she once stepped on a needle and had to have it surgically removed. So she reminds us over and over again.

Make the hat. Cut out a equilateral triangle, fold and sew along one edge. Voila! Hat.

Glue gun the hat to the head. I put the stitching at the back of the head. I don’t have a picture of the gluing process. I thought it might upset you.

Give your gnome some bling. Go crazy. Beads, ribbon, sequins, whatever you like. I made a felt scarf. BAM.

Utilize your gnome. Hang your gnome on a tree. Use as a gift topper. Whatever you like.

Here’s Kate’s knome – isn’t it sweet?

Also, you should know that Kate makes awesome cards. By hand. With Japanese paper and stuff. You can find them at Bogside Gallery in The Hydrostone Market in Halifax, NS. You should check them out – they are every bit as cute as her knomes are.


  1. P.Kitty on December 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    please tell me you did the Swedish Christmas Gnome dance…..

    • movita on December 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Uh, it’s a Danish dance. Do you know how to hopsa?

  2. emmalina73 on December 29, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Insanely cute. INSANE. You had me all hooked and gnomey right up to the Santa’s flesh bit and then I just couldn’t concentrate and needed a shower. But then I got all hooked in again and feeling happier by the end. Phew, that one was a rollercoaster!

    Cute Knomes, spell check be hanged.

    • movita on December 29, 2010 at 9:33 pm

      Who names a colour “santa’s flesh?” I had a hard time walking it to the register at the front of the store, but it really was the best colour. Shudder.

      • emmalina73 on December 30, 2010 at 6:22 pm

        There should be a law.

  3. ginger 2010 – house #4 « on December 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    […] 2010 tags: ginger by movita Our fourth entry comes from Jo-Anne and Kate. Yah. Kate from the gnome tutorial. Turns out she likes gingerbread houses too. This entry makes my gingerbread house look like total […]

  4. kirstenskitchen on January 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I am totally making some of these dudes!

  5. movita beaucoup on July 3, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in 2010.