PineGnome Tutorial

This is my first tutorial- for a pinecone gnome ornament. It's a simple project and can easily be completed in an afternoon or evening. See my previous post for how the gnomes came to be. Here's a photo of the first gnome I completed-


 Here are the supplies you will need to gather to make one gnome:

-A pine cone- the pine cones I collected are about 2.5 inches tall and are from Virginia Pine trees

-A 1 inch wooden bead or ball with a hole drilled in one end

-A 3x4 inch scrap of wool felt

-A bit of wool roving or mohair fleece

-One cotton pipe cleaner- I buy these in the tobacco section, they are shorter and thinner than regular pipecleaners

-Tacky glue- I use Aileene's

-Embroidery floss that matches the felt

You will also need good sharp scissors, clippers or junky scissors, a needle, and colored pencils in an eye color and a mouth color.

Let's get rolling- My son Julian was assisting as photographer. He did great for a 6 year old, but that's why I am working on different gnomes- we required multiple takes!

1. To start, bake the pinecones at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes. It will make your house smell like a Christmas tree.

2. Carefully trim the pine cone stem to be as smooth and flat as possible. Use clippers of junky scissors. You will be glad in the next step if you get these nice and flat- sandpaper might also help here.

3. Glue the wood bead to the top of the pinecone. I like to use plenty of glue. This can be fiddly. I like to find the nicest grain pattern on the bead and make that be the front of the gnome. I figured out that it works very well to use a pan with beans or sand to hold up the pine cones while the glue dries. See the pan in the left of the photo.


4. Wait for the beads to dry- I wonder if the fast-dry Aileene's really would be faster here. There are other things to do while it's drying, but I always start fooling with them too soon and knock the heads off in a swearing fit, so learn from my impatience and let them dry a good long time. Here is my gnome army gathering, hatless and armless.


5. While the glue dries, cut out the hat and sleeves. The sleeves are little scraps of felt, about 1 inch square, and the hat pattern is a triangle- two sides are 2.5 inches, they make a right angle- and the long side is about 3.25 inches. Blanket stitch the hat seam along the 2.5 inch side, and make a loop for hanging at the top.

6. Cut the pipe cleaner into thirds, about 2 inches long. I tea dyed these to age them, but you can skip this, it didn't change the color much. Glue the sleeves around each piece of pipe cleaner, leaving about .25 inch sticking out on one end. That's the hand. Bend the other end of pipecleaner back on itself.


7. When the head is totally dry, you can assemble the gnome. Put a modest amount of glue inside the hat.


8. Glue the hat to the head. I like to pull it down almost to the pine cone in the back, and have it angled on the sides. It's so cool the way felt will stretch a bit to conform to the shape of the head. I like the hat to fit snugly.


9. Now onto the arms. Put glue on the folded over part of the arm-


10. Stick the arm way into the pinecone at where the shoulder might be. I like to stick it kind of towards the front, not exactly on either side. Ack- this photo is a bit blurry- sorry!


11. Draw on a face. I use sharp colored pencils and make small, upright ovals that are pretty wide set and make a small smile that leaves room at the bottom of the face for the beard.


12. Make a light "smile" of glue for the beard. This photo shows less glue than I usually use, it was starting to dry and get clear.


13. Pull out a little bit of wool for the beard.


14. Snip one end of the wool to make it straight.


15. Glue the beard to the face. This is fiddly too, I gently pressed the wool to the face. It's hard to not get glue all over your fingers! You can press the wool down and away from the mouth and cheeks. I like to twist the end of the beard a bit, and you can trim it shorter if you like.


16. That's it! I have some vintage glass ornaments that mine will be holding, but a little basket would be cute, or he could be collecting firewood, knitting, holding a walking stick, skiing- I have too many ideas, I need to make more!

I would love to see any gnomes that you make- please add them to our new flickr group. Also please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.