I originally posted about my clay gnomes over on my craft blog but soon discovered multiple blogs isn’t good for my sanity and also figured it could be something you could try with children.
After making the giant fairy castle in air dry clay I did have some clay left over. I stored it in an air dry container till I figured out what I would make with it.
I contemplated cones with stars cut out but on a quick attempt they looked rather wobbly and didn’t fill me with Christmas cheer. I wanted something Christmassy and started thinking Father Christmas type things as I don’t have any Father Christmas type things. A bit of googling and I came up with Scandinavian gnomes as their shape would work really well in clay.
I started off making 1 which then turned into 7. The last one I remembered to take pictures as I went, so here goes….how to make a clay Scandinavian gnome.
I start with a lump of clay, making sure the rest is in the airtight container. The aim was to work towards a cone shape so I started squishing so its thicker one end more than the other.
As it starts to form I make sure I am rolling it on a flat surface hence my work board is upside down so the grainy side it down away from the clay.
It’s up to how tall and how pointy you want to make the hat and the overall shape. Some gnomes are skinny tall ones, I went with short plump ones.
When I was happy with the shape I formed the nose which is generally a squished round nose. I formed it out of the clay instead of creating a nose and sticking it on because I can never get attached clay to stay put no matter how I try.
After the nose, I made the under indentation of the hat. This then makes the hat look like its been plonked on top. I went around a few times till happy with the shape. I made sure the hat part was staying smooth and didn’t worry about below the hat as that gets furred up in the next step.
Now to make fur or hair effect I used a knife edge and sliced downwards in a rough motion. I didn’t worry about being neat as the effect I was going for was rustic.
As I sliced through the clay it did pull some away. The big bits I took off but the rest I left to give a rough beard look. You can see in the picture at the top of the hat there were a few cracks, I smoothed these with water and gave the last smooth-over all around the hat and set aside to dry. I had started out to make one but got carried away and made various sizes. I did know though that being a solid piece of clay they would take a while to dry.
I left them a day or two so that the outside was dry to touch which makes handling them a bit easier. I then scooped out the inners and left them to dry on their sides.
When they were dry I gave them a quick sand down with fine sandpaper to smooth off any bumps or cracks. In the picture below the fellas in the back-row have been sanded. The rest are patiently waiting.
As a rough guide to how much clay I used, you can see I made 7. This was from about half a slab of the clay slabs that you can buy in places like The Works. You can just see the DAS packaging in the container in this last pic (right-hand side). Its £4 so these little chaps cost about £3.
Last came painting. The clay dries white-ish so I didn’t paint the beards a colour but did paint in glue and dip them in white fine glitter. Doesn’t quiet show up with the camera though. The hats are painted with red paint I had left over from my bedroom. But you can use acrylic paint and go wild with the colours.