Maybe it’s a dominant tribal gatherer gene, but somhow I am incapable of passing a eucatyptus tree without checking to see if it drops some kind of craft-friendly gumnut. Imagine my delight when, lugging my gear to a recent Olive Tree Market, I discovered a grand patch of large gumnuts. Of course, gumnut experts will tell you the best gumnuts are found in WA (luckily I have a reliable source who freights me top-shelf pods from Perth) but this Newcastle variety I stumbled across was still a welcome haul. Enlisting Gracie’s help, we gathered the lot, inspired to make a batch of gumnut gnomes. Inspired too? Here’s how you do it:
- Gumnuts: check that they stand straight on a flat surface and don’t wobble.
- Natural wooden beads: I used 18mm for my smaller gumnuts & 22mm for the larger ones.
- Felt: I always use 100% wool felt, it looks and feels so much better than acrylic, and you’re supporting a sheep farmer instead of a polluting factory.
- Embroidery thread
- Scissors & needles
- Glue: I used 450 Quick Dry Adhesive & E-6000.
1. Start by sanding a small flat surface at the top of the gumnut (only about 1cm diameter) so the bead has an even spot to adhere to. I used a belt sander, but you could hand-sand or file it flat.
2. Glue the wooden bead head to the gumnut body. I used indstrial strength E-6000 glue for this job so there’s not risk of decapitation, I imagine any superglue would do. Allow to dry, sometimes I need to rest the head against a book so it dries in place before slipping off.
3. Paint or draw a face onto your gnome. I use the ends of a skewer to make the tiny eyes and mouth with acrylic paint. Allow to dry.
4. Cut out a strip of felt, 8cm by 1.5cm. I recently treated myself to these scalloped pinking shear scissors, so used them to cut along one long edge to neaten the decorative trim, but this isn’t essential. With small, sharp scissors cut slits along that edge, leaving about 5mm uncut.
5. Using two threads of embroidery floss, sew a tiny running stitch along the uncut edge. Pull to gather together. Wrap around the neck of the gnome, pull tight and then stitch and tie of a knot.
6. Cut out a hat. For the 18mm bead this is a triangle about 6cm along the hairline and 5.5cm tall. For the 22mm bead this is slightly larger – about 6.5cm along the hairline and 7.5cm tall.
7. I like to blanket stitch a contrasting rim along the hairline of the hat, using three or four threads of embroidery floss, but this isn’t essential.
8. Blanket stitch the sides of the hat together.
9. Dab a little glue on the crown of the head of the bead. I use 450 Quick Dry Adhesive but a gluegun would do the trick. Stretch the hat gently and then slip it into place on the bead, removing excess glue.
10. Gorgeous! Well done! A bunch of these in Autumn tones will look great on your seasonal table or how about a gumnut gnome family for your child’s playscape?