How to make a standing gnome

How to make a standing Gnome. (an easy DIY)

Ever since the first gnomes made it into the stores in the Christmas decor aisles, I have been searching for just the right one. There was always something that I wanted to change with just about every single one I saw. I finally decided that I would just make a standing gnome myself. Problem solved!

I have a few sitting gnomes but I just think that the standing gnomes are so cute and they add some much-needed height to my Christmas displays. I add my Gnome boots and it is just right. If you like a shorter gnome, try our DIY Leprechaun Gnome and change out the costume for a Christmas theme.

In this post, I have included a supplies list, along with resources, tips on choosing socks and styrofoam balls, step-by-step instructions on how to make a standing gnome, and a link to my post on how to make Gnome boots for your standing gnome and a short video tutorial. I also use our easy DIY pattern weights in this project. These pattern weights are a great asset to any craft room.

This post contains affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases (at no cost to you).

DIY long legged gnome

how to make Gnome shpoes and boots

Use our Easy to make Gnome boots (shoes) made from cardboard tubes when you make your standing Gnome.

Craft Supplies you will need to make Standing Gnomes

This is a great opportunity to recyle some bits of left over fabric. The beard can be made from the fur off of an old stocking or coat, the hat and arms can be made from old sweaters, and easily recyle a outdated hat for the body.

Tools needed to make a standing gnome

If you would like to use a different size styrofoam ball – adjust pattern accordingly.

Tools Needed if using a Cricut Cutting Machine

This project will require a cutting machine that can cut fabric, such as a Cricut maker or Cricut Maker 3.


A note about the Glue

In this tutorial, I use a variety of glue types. I like to use fabric glue on fabric, but if you want to use hot glue for all the applications, feel free. The only caution is, some styrofoam melts when hot glue is applied to it. be careful it doesn’t seep through your fabric.

Wooden Dowels

If you purchase your wooden dowels at a home renovations store, like Home Depot or Lowes, have them cut before leaving the store. Most Home reno stores have a free cutting service.

What kind of sock or hat can I use to make standing Gnomes.

The sock should be thick and stretchy and large enough to fit over your styrofoam ball.

The sock should be a tube sock (No heel or toe in the sock)as the toe of the sock will be visible on the finished gnome.

A sock that has a tight weave is good. It will be stretched over the styrofoam ball, so the tighter the weave the more opaque it will appear. If the sock has a thin weave, you will see through it, and the final result will not be attractive. A thick fuzzy sock is ideal if you can find one large enough for your styrofoam ball.

Be careful of patterns. Stripes are cute on the legs but if they are on the body, they can look wonky if they are not straight. Solid colours work best for the body, or a pattern that dors not need matching.

Using Hats – If your styrofoam ball is big, most socks won’t fit around the ball. Using a small knit winter beanie-style hat is perfect. be careful of hat seams. A short seam on the hat is easily hidden on a large ball, but if the seams are too long it will not look as appealing on your gnome.

For the legs. – I like to have a striped pattern on the legs, to add some character to the gnome. When using a patterned fabric, make sure that you are careful to get it straight, especially if using a horizontal stripe.

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Getting the right styrofoam ball for your standing gnomes.

There are usually three types of styrofoam balls available in local craft stores. There are rough surface styrofoam balls, smooth surface styrofoam balls, and floral foam styrofoam balls.

Rough surface styrofoam balls, are not as dense and are easy to poke into, They are notorious for melting when coming into contact with hot glue. These are my least favourite as they melt and are lighter and easier to damage during the assembly of my standing gnomes. If using a hot knife for cutting the leg holes, this type of styrofoam also melts when in contact with the hot knife and is messy, If you are using this type of ball, use an X-Acto knife for cutting the holes.

Smooth Styrofoam balls, are denser and are nice and smooth. They are better for our standing gnomes project as the gnome body will be smoother when finished. Low-temperature hot glue can be used (most of the time) with these balls. The smooth surface does not damage easily when constructing the standing gnome. These styrofoam balls cut very nicely rising a hot knife. This is the type of styrofoam ball I used in this tutorial.

Floral foam balls are very lightweight. They are the softest styrofoam balls of the three. They damage very easily when handled. These are great for projects like our Cedar Kissing Balls, but I don’t recommend them for use in standing gnomes.

The Free Printable pattern and the SVG cut file are both available in our free resource library.

How to make a standing Gnome – Step by Step

Cut out pattern pieces

Using printable Pattern

Printable Pattern provided – adjust to the size of your styrofoam ball. The printed hat pattern is designed to print on a standard 8.5×11 sheet of paper. You may need to widen the base of the hat and make it a bit taller, depending on the size of the ball you have chosen.

For the Hat – Cut a triangle with a rounded bottom. Place hat pattern on the fold and cut with a rotary cutter on a cutting mat or with scissors. Pin or use pattern weights to hold the pattern in place.

For the arms – cut four rectangles – each is 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.

For the legs – Cut two pieces of fabric that are each 8 inches long and 2 inches wide.

For hands/mittens – cut out four fleece or felt mittens (2 for each hand)

Using a cutting machine (Cricut Maker or Maker 3)

SVG Cut File – SVG provided in our resource library.

Upload the design into Cricut Design Space. If you get a message saying incompatible select Ok.

Select Ungroup

Resize if needed.

These sizes are for the 6-inch styrofoam ball. If you choose to make a standing gnome that is larger or smaller, adjust sizes accordingly.

Duplicate the following:

  • Hat – cut 2 (8.5 by 11.5 inches)
  • legs – cut 2 ( 2″ by 8 inches)
  • arms- cut 2 (2 ‘ bu 4 inches)
  • mittens cut 4 – (1.5′” by 2.5″)

Select Make it

how to make a standing gnome

Mark Leg holes on Styrofoam Ball

Place the wooden dowl on the surface and using a pen or marker, draw around the dowel, marking where the legs will go.

Cut Holes in the styrofoam ball

Using a hot knife or an X-Acto knife, cut out the holes where the legs will go. A hot knife is the easiest way as it cuts a smooth line and makes a smooth cut. If you don’t have a hot knife, an X-Acto knife is fine, it just takes a little more work.

My Hot knife is a Walnut Hollow Hot knife. It is a great product that makes cutting all types of foam and some vinyl smooth and simple. If you make Cosplay costumes a hot knife is a must.

Glue fabric onto Leg dowels

Using tacky glue or fabric glue, run a bead of glue vertically on the wooden dowel. Using a craft paintbrush, spread the glue over the wood dowel. Adhere the cut fabric pieces to the leg dowels. If you are applying a patterned fabric, such as a plaid or stripe, be sure and take the time to line up the pattern.

how to make a standing gnome - glue fabric onto legs
Make a standing gnome – glue fabric onto legs.

Let them dry completely.

Sew Hat and arms

With right sides together sew side seam on the hat. Turn right side out and push up the point. If you use fabric fusion glue instead of sewing, allow drying completely before turning right side out.

make a standing gnome - sew the hat

For each sleeve: Fold sleeve piece in half with right sides together ( should be 1 inch by 4 inches). Sew along the longest side and turn inside out.

how to make a standing gnome - sew hat and arms
Sew hat and arms and turn right side out.
how to make a standing gnome - attach mittens
Attach mittens to sleeves

Attach mittens: Insert the mitten into the sleeve end and either glue with fabric fusion glue or sew. (I find that gluing allows me to keep the mitten straight.) Allow to dry completely.

Insert styrofoam ball into knitted hat or sock

Place the ball inside of the sock/hat and pull it snuggly around the ball.

If using a hat, make sure that the seams are centred on the bottom of the styrofoam ball.

how to make a standing gnome - use zip tie
make a standing gnome – secure sock/hat with a zip tie.

Using the zip tie, pull it tightly on the top of the ball. (this part will be hidden inside of the gnome hat.) Trim the zip tie, if needed.

Cut small slits into leg spots on balls

Using an X-Acto knife, cut small slits in the hat or sock, where the leg dowels will go. If you are using a hot knife, check the fabric type of the hat. Anything containing. nylon and spandex tend to melt and can leave a mess.

how to make a standing gnome = cut leg slits
Make a standing gnome – cut leg slits

Using fabric adhesive or fray check, seal the fabric edges, so that the slits that you have cut, will not run. This step is only necessary if the hat contains nylon and starts to run or spread.

Make Gnome nose

Place the wooden bead inside of the 4-inch square piece of felt or fleece. Wrap it and secure it with an elastic band.

How to make a standing gnome - make nose

Attach nose

Using hot glue or fabric glue, attach the gnome nose to the ball, where the nose should be (as in the pic below) Allow a piece of the fabric to show above the nose. This will be where we add the eyes.

Allow time for drying.

How to make a standing gnome - placement of face

Add eyes

Using fabric fusion or tacky glue, adhere your eyes just above the nose, fairly close together. Allow the eyes to dry completely

Attach the beard

Cut a triangle out of the faux fur for the beard. You can make the beard as long or as short as you want.

Attach with hot glue to the face under the nose and coming up beside the nose. (as in image). The best way to do this is to cut a slit or a small triangle out where the nose goes. I did not supply a pattern because the size of the slit or triangle varies, based on the size of the beard and nose. Start with a small cut and enlarge as you go, to make it fit. Faux fur is expensive and this is the best way to keep on budget.

Hat Brim

Roll up the brim of the hat/and secure it in place with fabric fusion glue. Allow the brim to dry before adding embellishments.

how to make a standing gnome - glue brim
roll and glue brim of gnome hat

Embellish hat

This is an opportunity to add a personal touch when you make a standing gnome. You can add buttons, fabric patches, raffia bows, burlap or whatever you would like to decorate your hat.

How to make a standing gnome - add hat embellishments
Add embellishments to the hat

Add a pom-pom or jingle bell, to the top of the hat.

Stuff hat and insert wire

Add enough poly-fil fibre fill to the hat to make it stand up, but don’t overstuff it.

Fold over the end of your wire (so it won’t poke through the top) and insert it into the hat, so that the end of the folded wire is right up to the tip and about an inch or more sticks out the bottom. This piece will be inserted into the styrofoam ball through the zip tie.

Attach the arms.

The top of the arms will be hidden under the hat. Be sure to put the hat in place to make sure that you are covering the top edge of the arms before you glue them on. Do not glue the hat yet, just check to make sure you have the right spot.

make a standing gnome - attach arms

TIPwhen attaching the arms, insert a pin into the arms to hold in place, while the glue dries.

Attach Hat to the Gnome

Insert the wire into the top of your gnome. Insert the wire through the center of the zip tie and into the foam ball. The zip tie (pulled tightly) will help keep your wire in place.

Pull the hat into place and glue it to the body and use pins to hold in place until dry.

make a standing gnome - add hat

Insert legs into the body

Squeeze some tacky glue into the cavities where the legs will go. Insert the legs and make sure they are pushed in tightly. Allow the glue to dry.

how to make a standing gnome - insert legs

Prepare weights for shoes.

You will need something in the shoes to add enough weight to keep your standing gnome standing straight. Use a small snack-size Ziploc bag containing rice, beans or sand. You can use anything in the Ziploc bags that you can mould around the bottom of the legs. If you don’t have any of these on hand, check our list of ideas for weight for the gnome shoes below.

Important note – If you are planning on making and selling these Gnomes, I recommend you use air-drying clay. Wrap it around the bottom of the legs and secure it inside of the shoe.

Ideas for mouldable shoe weights.

  • Sand
  • modelling clay (wrap around the bpttom of the legs)
  • cat litter
  • Aquarium stones
  • small beads
  • dried lentils or beans
  • rice
  • small pebbles

Insert legs into gnome boots

Apply a generous amount of hot glue into the Gnome shoes. Place the Gnome legs into the shoes and reposition, so that the legs are straight. Add weights to fill the shoes and hold up. I also put a little extra faux fur around the top of the boots to fill them in.

make a standing gnome = glue shoes

Enjoy your standing Gnome!

make a standing gnome - display and enjoy

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