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Project Tutorials >

Gnomes and Friends Tinsel Bump Craft Project Tutorial

These gnomes are simple to make and spread cheer like no other! Plus they can be customized in scores of ways --  between different vest colors +  Dresden accents + festive miniatures, you can create a completely unique set to match even the most special decorations. Completed figures are about 4" tall. 

Supplies: 3/4" Spun Cotton Heads, Spun Cotton "Shoes", 3-1/4" Chenille Bumps, Dresden Bows, Top Hats, Festive Miniatures, Small Dresden Trims, Crepe Paper, Clear-drying Glue (like Alleen's or E6000), Needle-nose Pliers, Scissors, Template, Paint, Pipe Cleaners or Skewers,

Template: Click here to download a free pdf of our Gnome Vest Template + Accordion. (Print at "actual size.")

Step 1: Arrange your supplies.  To make 1 gnome you will need: 1 head, 3 chenille bumps (1 for arms, 2 chenille bumps folded in half for body/legs), 1 vest, 1 bow and 1 piece of Dresden border for buttons. 1-2 items to hold, 2 spun cotton shoes.

Paint spun cotton shoes to compliment your gnome's attire. Use skewers or pipe cleaners as handles while painting and for drying.

Step 2: Bend two chenille bumps in half to create the body and legs.  If needed, pinch the top of the bumps together with your pliers so it will better fit in the spun cotton head.

Step 3: Create arms by placing 1 chenille bump between the bent bumps. Just below the arms, twist the "body" 1 full turn to secure the arms in place and make a unitized figure.  Bend the arms slightly downward.

Step 4: Cut vest pieces out of crepe paper.  On vest back, fold small tabs on shoulders and at sides.  Apply glue to shoulder tabs and glue vest pieces together.  Let dry.


Step 5: Put vest onto figure and glue at sides.  Let dry.  Put spun cotton head onto figure and adjust vest if needed.  Glue head into place.

Step 6: Glue Dresden trim down center of vest.  Glue bow slightly under beard.  Let dry.

Step 7: Glue on shoes and top hat.  Let dry.  Shoes can be bent upward; top hat can be tilted to the side for character.



Step 8:  Use pliers to create small loops that will serve as your gnome's "hands" for holding his items.  Apply a small drop of glue in the loop, hand him his item and let dry   Repeat for each side.

Step 9: As always, display proudly! These guys look charming tucked into tree branches, accessorizing gifts and packages, and helping make merry on tablescapes and in dioramas.




From tiny wooden lanterns to spun cotton mushrooms, there are tons of petite and festive miniatures these gnomes can hold.  But you can also make a tiny custom accordion from crepe paper.  It's as easy as a few drops of glue and a simple folding technique.

To make an accordion:
-- Cut two strips and two squares of crepe paper.
-- Glue ends of strips together in a right angle.  Let dry.  The glued joint will be "center".
-- Fold bottom strip over top strip toward "center" and repeat until you have a "stack" of interwoven squares.  In our accordion, yellow folds over white, white folds over yellow, yellow folds over white, and so on.
-- When completely folded, trim any excess overhang if needed and glue last edges together.
-- Glue a small square to each end.  Let dry.
-- Glue into hands of gnome or friends.


There are so many ways to make your gnomes unique.  Below are some of our favorites with tips.

Match shoes to hats: black hats + black shoes makes for a cohesive look, like below Left and Center Right.

Gnomes love mushrooms: have him hold a cluster of tiny toadstools.  Leave stems long like below Center Left, or twist and trim like the mixed cluster below Right.


Go all in on different shades of red and green: you can't go wrong with a Christmas classic.  Below Left, Center Left and Center Right all have variations of red and green in their vests, bow ties and accessories.  Center Left and Center Right are even made with red and green chenille bumps.

Feeling lucky? Go from Gnome to Leprechaun in four easy tweaks: gold chenille bumps + green vest and buttons + gold Dresden star shoe buckles and bow tie + Dresden shamrock to hold.  Now if below Right will just lead us to that pot of gold!


Mix bump colors: try one color for arms and one for legs for an extra level of customization, like below Center Right.

Mix in other spun cotton heads: achieve a charming result with other 3/4" heads like the figures below.  Left, Center Right and Right all follow a Christmas theme with their red and green color schemes, but we couldn't resist making a Fall friend as well.  The adorable pumpkin below has escaped from the patch with gourd in tow.  Like the Leprechaun, simply change up the color scheme: green chenille bumps + orange vest and green buttons + autumn accessories.  Twist the gourd stem around a pencil or paintbrush handle for interest.  Don't tell the gnomes, but the pumpkin is one of our favorites :)


This tutorial specifically uses 3-1/4" metallic chenille bumps with 3/4" spun cotton heads.  We have similar tutorials using larger bumps and heads as well.  For a Snowman, please click HERE.  For another Pumpkin Man, please click HERE.  And for a Cheerful Easter Bunny, please click HERE.



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