Christmas is fast on its way and my kids are already in the full swing of wanting to make winter projects. They’re also still in love with playing outside in the crisp fall air because the snow hasn’t started sticking around yet, but we all know it will soon. Until then, they’re adoring all the leaves and forest things that can be found on the lawn around this time of year. They always have the most fun crafting when there are unconventional supplies and more than one thing they love in one place, so we started brainstorming ways that we could help them make fun winter things using nature pieces they can gather outside. That’s how we found ourselves making these cute pine cone and wood slice gnomes together! We were so happy with the finished piece that we decided to make another one so we could outline the process for other people who want to learn how they’re done as well.
Check out these step by step instructions, complete with photos! If you’re more of a video tutorials mind of person, scroll to the bottom of this post to find one of those instead of a written guide.
For this project, you’ll need:
- Blue batik paper
- A wooden disc
- A spun cotton ball
- Pink paint
- A paintbrush
- Red and black felt
- Pipe cleaners (blue, white, and orange)
- Hot glue
- A dotting tool
Gather your materials!
Poke your dotting tool into your spun cotton ball and then use your paintbrush to paint the entire thing light pink. Set it aside to dry. Set it aside to dry.
Cut a piece about two inches long off your blue pipe cleaner. Turn the ends of this new piece inward, making each one look like a curl. Then bend the piece in half, not creased sharply into a V-shape but more arced into a U-shape. This piece will be your gnome’s hands and arms.
Cut what’s left of your original piece in half. Curl one end of each of these pieces inwards again, creating more of a spiral now than just a curl but leaving the other end of each piece straight. These will be your gnome’s legs and feet.
Cut a square piece about two inches by two inches from the corner of your piece of blue paper. Then, starting at one corner and arcing over to the one diagonally across from it, cut a curved line that rounds off the corner that sits between the two.
Apply hot glue along one straight edge of your new blue shape, from pointed tip to rounded off edge. Curl the other edge inward, rolling it towards the edge with the glue. You should see a cone shape forming, with a pointed tip at one end and a circular opening at the other end. Stick the glued edge down where it meets in your curling. This will be your gnome’s hat!
Apply glue in the inside edge of the circular opening and fit the hat onto the gnome’s head, still on your dotting tool.
Use your markers or felt tipped pens to draw your gnome’s face on the painted spun cotton ball. I used black for the eyes, nose, and mouth and red for the cheeks.
Turn your pinecone upside down so the flattest part is at the top and apply hot glue. Stick your gnome’s head down there.
Apply hot glue to the bend in the U-shaped arm piece you made earlier and stick it behind the gnome’s head, where the spun cotton ball and the pinecone meet. Then apply hot glue to the uncurled tips of the pipe cleaner legs you made earlier and stick them to the pointed bottom of the pinecone, between the pieces.
Cut a two inch piece from your orange pipe cleaner and apply glue in the middle. Stick it down behind the gnome’s head again, around the same spot as where you stuck the blue pipe cleaner arms. Bend the ends of the orange piece around the front of the gnome’s neck and twist them together. Your gnome now has a scarf!
Cut a one inch piece from the end of your white pipe cleaner and curl it into a little ball. Apply glue to the bottom of the ball and stick it to the tip of the blue hat. Next, cut another piece of white pipe cleaner about an inch or so long. Apply glue to the back of the gnome’s head near the edge of the blue hat where it meets the spun cotton ball and stick one end of your white pipe cleaner down. Curl it carefully all the way around the rest of the hat’s edge until it meets again with its other end at the back. Trim off any excess and glue your loose end down.
Apply hot glue to the bottom of your gnome’s feet and stick it in place on the wooden disc. Feel free to bend and shape the legs and feet however you need to get the gnome to stand upright the way you want.
You’re officially done once your gnome can stand on his disc! Just in case you’d like to try this project out for yourself, here’s a fantastic tutorial video to help you!