Growing a Garden Gnome

Participating in craft challenges is just that.  A challenge!  I love how each one helps me think in different ways and pulls me out of any ruts I might be experiencing.  This one is all about sustainability.  For me that means:  Minimize purchases.  Upcycle wherever possible.  This time, I even grew something from seed!

Meet the crafty creatives! 

Julie @ Sum of their Stories  Paint Your Own Vibrant Fabric

Gail @ Purple Hues and Me  Vibrant Volume Decoupage Flowers DIY

Christine @ Christine's Crafts  Turn Trash into Treasure Bangle Bracelet

Mel @ Decor Craft Design  Upcycled Spring Sign from Bottle Caps

and me!

Growing a Garden Gnome

Here's where my project idea began.

It's fun to grow and decorate gourds.  This one is tiny!  I knew I wanted to craft with this cutie as soon as it was harvested.  

Drying gourds takes time and some space.  Here are a few tips:
Leave gourds on their vine until stems are yellow.  For my area, that's late Autumn to early Winter.
Get them somewhere out of the weather.  We have an old milk barn, so I use one of the stalls.
Place the gourds on a dry surface, not on the ground, with as much ventilation as possible.
Spread out the gourds, not touching one another.
Leave until Spring, turning occasionally.

  The above photo shows how gourds look when first dried.  Sometimes I like all those dark speckles and leave as is.  For this project though, a cleaner finish would be better.  

After an overnight soak in soapy water, a quick scrub with my manicure brush easily removes the outermost skin.  Easy Peasy!  This will become the head and torso for my Garden Gnome!

Gnomes can be seen engaging in all sorts of activities, so posable arms were created using a pipe cleaner in a soft beige.

I love that this gourd grew its own little nose.  Can you see it?  Also, let me just say this project would have been much easier if I weren't so enamored with that long stem.

The base for garden gnome legs was found inside my little cabinet for candles.  I think it was originally used as a votive holder?  Maybe it held toothpicks?  It could also be a shot glass.

Whatever this versatile glass item might be, it was tossed in the dishwasher.  Denim ribbon was attached with hot glue, hopefully looking like a pair of jeans.

* * * * *

Dressing a Garden Gnome begins with that magnificent hat.  I've created this type of hat twice before.  If you would like to see me and my Handsome Husband at Halloween as Garden Gnomes, here's that link:  Quick Couples Costumes.  The same idea was used to create a witch's hat for my vintage doll when she was Just a Little Bit Wicked.  It would also be great for wizards!

Since this project is on a smaller scale, I've written a tutorial for the multi-use hat pattern.

Step 1.  Measure from the jaw line on one side of the face, up, over the head, and to the other jaw line.  That stem is seriously in my way.

Step 2.  Measure from the side of the face to the back of the head.

Step 3.  Measure how tall you want your hat.  I'm going for an exaggerated height and know that stem will keep things in place for me.

Step 4.  With measurements complete, cut the pattern.  Here's how it will look.

Step 5.  Try the paper pattern on your model.  Make any necessary adjustments.

Step 6.  Cut the felt and sew one straight seam up the back.

For ladies, I leave the bottom square and sew a long ribbon along the bottom for a nice, pretty bow under their chin.

For men, I prefer to round the bottom jawline so it frames their face and looks more casual.

Garden Gnomes tend to have impressive facial hair.  I measured just under my little gourd's nose down to mid-tummy and then from ear to ear.  

With patterns finished, it's time to find some vibrant felt and fabric!  And maybe a couple of accessories.  Every single item came from my stash.  

Over here, keepin' it sustainable!

Other than that spectacularly tall hat, most of this project is attaching items together with hot glue.  I absolutely adore my vibrant little Garden Gnome!

If you would like to see some other my gourd projects, here are some links:

What crafts have you been sprouting?

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  1. This is so cute. I would never have thought to use gourds in this way! This is so creative!

  2. Awh, this little gnome is just adorable. I especially love his bright little hat and that pretty jug.

  3. Your garden gnome is so sweet and adorable, Marci! And so very creative! Love how you made his jeans! Who would have thought to do that! You did! He's a keeper! It's always great hopping with you!

  4. Now if this isn't the sweetest thing on the internet, I don't know what it. I love this little guy. Did you name him? I have always wanted to try growing gourds. Can you hang them to dry?


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