Old World Wooden Gnomes Tutorial

The other day I shared our latest gnomes… the Old World Wooden Gnomes. In the past we’ve made Peg Gnomes, Knit Gnomes, Sewn Baby Gnome Dolls, and Michelle even designed Gnome Pillow Panels that you can buy from Spoonflower to sew and stuff. So, it only seems natural that we would eventually have gotten around to making wooden gnomes 🙂

NOTE: For general instructions on how to cut out wood, prepare it for finishing, then painting, and finishing, including the beeswax and olive oil finish recipe, check out the post HERE.

I made these from 1″ ash, but you can use any medium or hardwood. Click here to download the Old World Wooden Gnome pattern. Begin by cutting the gnomes out of wood. As you will notice, they aren’t perfect. The saw blade had a mind of its own, but that’s okay. Even the wonky ones turned out cute 🙂

Although I’ve been working with wood for the past couple of years, and not nearly as often as I should to advance my skills significantly, I tried something new this project. I finally used the wood burner Michelle gave me for Christmas.

Trust me when I tell you I’m new to wood burning. So new I couldn’t even figure how to get the tips off so I just used the one it came with! (BTW… I figured it out AFTER I was done with the project 🙂 

I transferred the pattern for wood burning to the wood using a pencil.

I then practiced on scrap wood. Yikes! Not as easy as I thought it was going to be!

I moved on to the “real thing” and wood burned the pieces. I did not do a perfect job, but I was reasonably certain… or at least hopeful, that it wouldn’t matter when they were all done 🙂

When I was done wood burning the pieces, I erased the marks, then proceeded to painting.

As usual, I mixed up milk paints, and painted each a bit different. It was amazing how the burned lines made it easier to paint… the secret to “staying in the lines”.

When they were dried, I finished them with my beeswax/olive oil.

They have such an Old World look to them. The wee ones pounced on them when they came over. I know I will be making a whole village!

REMEMBER: For general instructions on how to cut out wood, prepare it for finishing, then painting, and finishing, including the beeswax and olive oil finish recipe, check out the post HERE.

The actual pattern can be found HERE.

Hope you have fun and populate your house with a bunch of gnomie friends 🙂


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    1. If you follow the rather lengthy and meandering link I have for how to cut out, paint and finish wood (apologies… one of these days I need to put them all in 1 click!), you would see I have a link to Gallagher's Milk Paints. http://www.milkpaintsamples.com/index.html . The actual paint is Genuine Old Fashioned Home Made Milk Paint . The reason I use Gallagher's is because they package small, 1 oz. packets of the paint. If you are doing small projects like these, you might only use 1/8 teaspoon of the powder. You can put together samplers of 10 colors or more. If you are making small projects like I do, this is great!

  1. hi,, i do love these. and those pillows. inspired by you..i would love to try woodburning. x

  2. I have a question about wood. I am a novice scroll saw user and have only used pine. How much harder is it to cut poplar, etc.? Thanks in advance for any tips!!!

    1. Poplar, ash and aspen are good intermediate woods and readily available. I have found them easy to cut. When you go into some of the hardwoods like maple, cherry and walnut, they will be harder to work with BUT they give you the most durable, long lasting finished product. Hubby says maple is the easiest and most affordable of the group of hardwoods to work with. I have not used maple yet. I'm still honing my skills on the intermediate woods. Keep us posted on your progress and we'd love to see some of your finished projects 🙂

    1. So adorable. Love the colors and the fairy doors. Must make some… SOON! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I’m new to your blog but have fallen absolutely head over heels in love with it and all that you are doing! I know what’s on my wish list this Christmas!! My hubby is a woodwork teacher so surely I can get him to point me in the right direction for some amazing wooden toys!??! 🙂

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