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.

cute little air-drying clay garden gnome hidden amongst the plants with a red painted hat and blue body.

How to Make Your Own Garden Gnomes

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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 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.

inside gnomes book with couple

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

air dry clay

acrylic paints – green, blue, red, white, yellow and peach

thin black marker

pencil

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.

air-drying clay formed shapes to make some garden gnome plant markers

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.

Hand drawn Gnomes for the garden

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.

Painted Garden Gnomes following gnome folklore to get the colours and appearances right

Let the gnomes dry and then use the thin marker to draw on their faces. How cute are these little gnomes?!

garden gnomes finished

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.

diy garden gnomes made from air drying clay easy project for kids to make

When the gnomes are dry they are ready to take outside and add to your garden.

garden gnome being placed in 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.

Air drying clay garden gnomes sealed and used in the garden as markers and ornaments

Where will your little gnomes live?

Looking for more Gnome Ideas check out this Gnome Paper Plate Craft from Ruffles and Rainboots

Fun Garden Project for Kids to make air dried clay gnomes

More Garden Crafts for Kids

DIY Whimsical beaded garden ornaments - keep the colours of summer throughout the year in the yard or garden with these simple summer craft for kids and get them to create their own Beaded Garden Ornaments
Stone Plant Markers to make with kids
DIY summer craft for you and your kids to make to remember your beach trip. Use your shell collections to make beautiful sand moulded stepping stones.

Whimsical Beads For the Garden

Stone Markers for the Garden

Shell Stepping Stones

Garden Gnomes Craft Project for Kids to Make these Simple Gnomes to use as stone markers
Author
Jen at Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Jen Farr is a writer and stay-at-home mom with 2 adventurous tween-aged daughters. Jen shares everything that lands on their kitchen counter on her blog, Kitchen Counter Chronicles.

While there you'll discover how Jen is navigating her way through parenting tweens in our hectic, digital times.

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