I was severely bummed.
It was all the encouragement I needed to shop IKEA for the materials and go with my original plan of making a set of outdoor Christmas gnomes built around tomato cages. Since storage space is at a premium in my condo, I made my Christmas gnomes (which we Scandinavians call Tomte or Nisser) as a temporary slipcover. That way I can use the cages in my summer garden, clean them, and use them again during the Christmas decorating season. If you have the storage space you can permanently hot glue the fabric to your tomato cage instead of holding it in place with clothes pins like I did.
Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share this decorating idea with your friends!
How to Make Scandinavian Christmas Gnomes
You will need the following supplies
IKEA POLARVIDE 100% Polyester Throw 67" x 51" per gnome – you can buy it online here
1 yard red polar fleece per gnome – you can find a variety of solid and printed fleece fabric here
1 Vinter cushion cover – this is enough to make the mittens for 2 gnomes. You can also use Christmas fat quarter fabric like these here
1 white IKEA Toftbo Bath Mat – this is enough to make the mittens for 2 gnomes. you find similar white chenille bath mats for sale here
1 pair of knee high nylons
Round tomato cage
Sewing measuring tape
Stray plastic bags or more fiberfill
Optional: stiff paper or interfacing
Step by Step How to Make It Tutorial
1. Use the measuring tape to measure the circumference of the tomato cage and height for the body of your gnome. Use the scissors to cut the gray blanket to this size.
Tip: I suggest making the body of the gnome taller than you think you want it. I basically starting by folding, draping, and temporarily pinning the fabric to my tomato cage to get the look I wanted. Then I marked the fabric with a tailor’s pencil, removed the fabric from the cage, and after double and triple checking, cut the fabric to the size and shape I wanted.
2. Measure and cut 2 long triangles from the gray blanket to make the gnomes arms.
3. Fold and pin each triangle in half, sew the seam into place, and turn right side out to make the gnome’s arms.
3. Trace your hand on the cushion cover/fabric you are using the make the gnome’s mittens with the tailor’s pencil and cut out 4 mitten shapes with the fabric scissors. If you have small hands like I do, you may want to add a seam allowance to your mittens using a sewing gage. A sewing gage looks like this.
Need a hand?
4. Make the gnome's mittens by pinning the rights sides of the fabric together (the pretty part) and sewing them together with the sewing machine, leaving the wrist area open. Clip the edges with a pair of scissors, turn the mittens right side out, and stuff them with fiberfill as desired.
Everybody wave hi!
5 Pin and hand sew (you might try using hot glue. I found it easier and less messy to sew it) a gnome mitten to the inside of each arm.
This project cost an arm and a leg!
Tip: My bathmat started to shed like crazy after I cut and handled it. In hindsight, I should have run a bead of Fray Check (you can learn more about what Fray Check is here) around the cut edge. Live and learn! Don’t be me!
7. Make the gnome’s nose by stuffing the center of a knee high nylon with fiberfill and tying the ends together in a knot. Trim the excess nylon as desired.
8. Sew/Safety pin/hot glue the gnome’s nose to the beard.
8. Sew the gnome’s beard to the center of the body fabric. I had to hand sew mine because the material was too thick to fit under the walking foot of my sewing machine.
9. Sew the gnomes arms to each side of its body.
10. With right sides together, pin and sew the edges together to make the gnome’s body.
11. Slip the gnome’s body over the upside down tomato cage and use the clothes pins to hold it in place if desired.
12. Tie or rubber band the legs of tomato cage together.
13. Use the measuring tape to measure the circumference of the tomato cage and height for the hat of your gnome.
14. Using the measurements you took in Step 13, cut a triangle shape with a rounded bottom to make the hat.
15. Fold and pin the triangle in half, sew the seam into place, and turn right side out to make the gnome’s hat.
16. Stuff the hat or line it with a cone of stiff paper/interfacing if desired and slip the hat on the gnome’s head.
There' no place like gnome!
Tip: I found that the hat sat better if I stuffed the top a bit. I used a ripped plastic bag and a bit of packaging pillows from the bag I forget to drop off for recycling at the grocery store.
I’ve always wanted a to decorate with a Julbukk (Yule Goat) (it looks like this) but, again, storage is in issue. Instead, I colored a Yule Goat coloring page I found on line and used Mod Podge Outdoor to attach and seal it to a piece of cardboard with ribbons hot glued ribbons to the back. I used safety pins to arrange the arms and tied the Yule Goat to his hands so it looks like my gnomes is holding it.
If you'd rather buy than DIY, check out the following options - and more! - below!
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