We love getting out in the garden with kids, from planting seeds to growing our own vegetables.
But, also making some cute garden crafts that we can then use and brighten up our yard throughout the year.
These adorable gnomes are super easy to make and if you seal them make an excellent plant marker (just add the name of the plant to the reverse with paint or permanent marker).
So here you go our cute garden gnome craft for kids to make with air drying clay this spring and summer.
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How to Make Your Own Garden Gnomes
We wanted to make a collection of gnomes that we could tuck into our own garden and maybe even sneak a couple into our neighbours' gardens.
These are inspired by the book Gnomes by Wil Huygen a classic book to share with your kids too.
So read on and discover the book as well as our step by step instruction on making air-drying clay gnomes to place in the garden for some fun.
Gnomes by Wil Huygen Our Featured Book
Gnomes have always held a special place in my heart.
My grandmother was a folk artist and she would often include little garden gnomes in the pieces she painted.
Resting on her bookshelf was the textbook "Gnomes" by Wil Huygen and illustrations by Rien Poortvliet.
This book seemed so magical when I was a child, with its scientific text and illustrations.
This is the "true" story of gnomes...it is a fascinating book a book that I could not wait to share with my children.
A few fun facts you will learn about gnomes; gnomes have vision like an owl, which is how they see so well at night. Gnomes only have to use the washroom once a day (very fun for kids to learn). Gnomes are 7 times stronger than man. The average gnome lives to be 400 years old.
Perhaps my favourite section of the book details how gnomes build their underground homes. The illustrations are incredibly detailed. The little rooms are well documented.
After reading through the book my daughter and I were inspired to make our own little gnomes. I actually have a large, female garden gnome in my vegetable garden. My grandmother painted my garden gnome some 35 years ago.
Materials Needed to make your Own Air Drying Clay Garden Gnomes
acrylic paints - green, blue, red, white, yellow and peach
matte acrylic sealer for outdoors like Folk Art Sealer
Instructions on Making your Miniature Garden Gnomes
The first step in making your own little garden gnomes is using the clay to sculpt the gnome body and hat. Our gnomes are about 4 inches tall - they are very small. We went with a super simple design. Shape the gnomes using your hands. The hats can be pointed straight up or flopped to the side.
Set the gnomes aside to dry. You will want to flip the gnomes over after a few hours, to be sure they fully dry. We left our gnomes to dry for about 24 hours.
Once the gnomes are dry it is time to draw on the gnomes. My daughter referred to the description in the gnomes book to create the little men and women.
Now that the planning is done, it is time to paint. Again, my daughter used the Gnomes book to help her decide what the gnomes would wear. Women wear green clothing and older (like over 400 years old) women grow small beards (she decided that her women would all be young women). Men wear blue clothing and wear red hats. Men wear belts where they carry their tools.
Let the gnomes dry and then use the thin marker to draw on their faces. How cute are these little gnomes?!
Finally, if you intend to place these gnomes in your garden...which is where they belong...then you will want to paint them with a couple of coats of clear acrylic sealer. Be sure to let the sealer dry between coats.
When the gnomes are dry they are ready to take outside and add to your garden.
We placed our gnomes in the container gardens on our front porch - so that we can see them every single day. We also popped a couple of gnomes into our vegetable garden. We will take 2 little gnomes to our neighbour's garden. They have a little collection of toys that kids can play with, our gnomes will fit right in.
Where will your little gnomes live?
Looking for more Gnome Ideas check out this Gnome Paper Plate Craft from Ruffles and Rainboots