Hanging with My Gnomies for Valentine's Day -- Paper & Felt Gnome Tutorials with Geometry Lesson


Have you noticed how gnomes seem to be so popular these days? They seem to be the in thing for the past couple of years, and they have moved into different seasons. It used to be gnomes were for Christmas and maybe the fall and of course the garden. Now they seem to jump into every holiday! I was thinking about gnomes for Valentine's Day. And I was thinking about how paper gnomes would lend to geometry. Then I was thinking back to our Waldorf School days and remembered a felt gnome tutorial. I went and created different kinds of gnomes for you! The first one I made is the one on the right.

His body started as a 3-inch circle. I used circle punches for the body, head (1-inch), and nose (1/2-inch). I didn't like the body as a circle, so I cut the sides down into a wedge. I folded the beard around the head and drew on eyes. I also have a small heart punch which I used to decorate their hats. Here is a picture of the back side to see the shapes better.

The other paper gnome is my geometry lesson. It works with triangles. Triangles can be classified with their sides and with their angles. We will focus mostly on the side classification. (You can right click on the picture below and save. I left the ruler there so you could get the correct measurements when you print.)

The body is an equilateral triangle (which is also equiangular and acute and therefore a regular triangle). Equilateral means all three sides are equal. I constructed the triangle from a three-inch circle. Using my compass set to 3", I put the point on the edge of the circle and drew arcs in both directions. Then went to the new marks (where they intersect the circle) and drew arcs in each direction. Keeping doing this until you have six x's where the arcs intersect on the edge of the circle. If you connect every other x you will have an equilateral triangle. Or you can draw the base length you want and then set your compass to the same length and draw an arc with the point on each endpoint of the base. Where the arcs intersect will be your third vertex. 

The beard is an isosceles triangle. An isosceles triangle has two equal sides, and the third side is called the base. To create this triangle, you can draw the base whatever length you want and then set your compass to a different length. You draw an arc from each of the endpoints of your base like you did above. Where the arcs intersect will be the third vertex. 

I hand drew my curved hat, but while I was thinking about this gnome, I realized a scalene triangle would also work. I used a scalene graphic from PicMonkey to give you a guide for the hat. A scalene triangle has no equal sides. This one look like it may be a right triangle which works but also you could make an obtuse scalene triangle (with one angle greater than 90 degrees). 

To talk about angle triangle classification we usually discuss acute, right, and obtuse. An acute triangle has all three angles under 90 degrees (acute angles). A right triangle has one angle that equals 90 degrees and the other two (base angles) are acute. An obtuse triangle has one angle that is greater than 90 degrees and the other two are acute angles. An equiangular triangle has all three angles measuring 60 degrees; therefore, it is also acute. A regular triangle is defined as having congruent sides and congruent angles (all sides are the same length, and all angles measure the same amount). This means the equilateral triangle is the regular triangle. A square is the regular quadrilateral. 

This gnome is perfect for a craft to go with the triangle geometry lesson. I used my 1/2-inch circle punch for the nose and heart punch for decorations. Then you just glue the parts together. They also can be used to make some cute valentines. As you saw in my photo above there are some cute gnome sayings. Just google gnome valentines for more. 

Next I moved to felt gnomes. I pulled out my copy of All Year Round: A Calendar of Celebrations. This is a book I bought years ago when we were going to the Waldorf School parent/child class and have shared some crafts from it previously. The gnome on the left I created following the autumn gnome tutorial in the book. It is made with one piece of felt, floss, and wool roving. His beard got a little messed up for the picture. Sorry!

I added the pink heart after creating him. It is very easy to make and there is not much to him. I remembered the flower fairies I made (and shared previously) from the same book. I decided to combine the tutorials and make a gnome. So my second felt gnome is made with the combination.

I cut small hearts out to decorate his hood. The felt gnomes in All Year Round have a nice, hooded cape for the pattern. I also added a wooden bead for his nose. I sewed it onto the head. 

My final gnome I made my own tutorial for you. Start by cutting three pieces of felt. See the photo below for measurements. You can choose the colors you use.

Once you have the three pieces of felt, we will begin with the head. Find a matching floss and stitch along the edge of the square to create a spherical shape by gathering the sides.

Before gathering the stitches tightly, add a small amount of stuffing. You can use wool or fiber fill. I used fiber fill on this one. Then tighten the stitches and close up the head. It does not have to be perfect as it will be mostly covered up. Put aside.

Next we take the body piece of felt and create a tube. I blanket stitched mine shut with matching floss. Since the stitches are in the back, it does not matter too much. Do not cut the excess floss. You can use it to attach the head in the next step.

Stick the head into the body and stitch around so they will be attached. Now you can tie knot and cut excess thread.

Next we turn to the hat. I wanted to add a heart to my hat. I drew lightly in pencil a heart shape on the heart and then backstitched in a decorative color of floss. You couldn't see my pencil markings so I added a graphic here.

Once I stitched the heart I used a blanket stitch to close the hat. Start stitching from the top of the that. Again don't end off the thread. You will use it to attach the hat on the head.

Before attaching the hat to the head, you can put some stuffing inside it. If you want, you can have it come out a bit for hair. Then you will stitch the hat onto the head. I did not do a decorative stitch for this because it is not an easy thing to sew.

Now our gnome needs his beard. I took some fiber fill and wrapped it around the head. I stitched it closed in the back with a matching floss. Don't end the floss. You will use it to attach the nose.

From the front it now looks like this.

Now I wanted to add a nose. I was going to use a wooden bead like I did before, but I saw the small pom pom and thought it would be a cute nose. I stuck the needle through the head and into my pom pom. If I had used the bead, I would have stuck it through the head and then strung the bead. 

I then stuck the needle back through the pom pom and head and ended the floss on the back side. 

So that is my third gnome. Now to find a place to display them in our house. Happy gnoming!