DIY Gnome Update

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My Garden Gnome has been outside in Minnesota for two winters, and it’s still doing just fine.

The waterproof grout I used (instead of paper mache clay) is still hard as a rock. The artists’ paint probably wasn’t what I should have used, but it isn’t showing any damage yet, either.

But the varnish I used got really weird.

Links mentioned in the DIY Gnome update video:

If you’d like to make a smaller, faster Gnome… 

OK, this isn’t really a gnome, but that’s what a lot of people call him – when they aren’t calling him Santa. He’s based on the Swedish Tomte.

> See how to make it here.

Remember – If you made a gnome, or anything at all, you can show it off on the Daily Sculptors page.

6 thoughts on “DIY Gnome Update”

  1. Hi Jonni- it might not be the varnish, it might be the paint. The Pal Tiya people always use outdoor house paint with an acrylic varnish. Well, not always, I’ve seen Kim do videos on using alcohol inks and cement pigments as well. I haven’t tried the inks but have tried the pigments…that worked out well.
    That little rabbit I did a tutorial for your website 2 or 3 years ago is holding up beautifully.. it looks as good as it did when I made it. Now, our PA winters are not as severe as yours but there were several snows where the little head was just sticking out so we are representative of winter! The key in using the outdoor paint is to use a diluted version of the paint so it can soak into the cement. At our Lowes you can get the sample size of the paints for a reasonable price and if you are diluting, they last forever! I just use any clear outdoor spray varnish and tell anyone who buys a sculpture to reapply every 2 years to protect the paint.
    I’ll bet you can sand those bits of varnish off, repaint with house paints and revarnish if it bothers you. I kind of like the weathered look….it gives it character! Thanks for the update!

    • Totally awesome and correct. Just make sure the varnish is at least three layers with a good drying period between them. It greatly improves the stretchability of the varnish. When freezing it needs all the strength it can get so that extra layer will help prevent it from flaking or cracking. Also (I mentioned this before) a bit of turtle wax will repel water and protect the varnish from sunlight. May seem weird to protect a protective layer but they do it for cars so why not for a statue?

  2. LOVE this design Jonni!!

    The people creating gnomes are making them with the hat pulled down over their eyes. I DO NOT like that design. So strange looking.

    Thanks for ALWAYS being so inspirational my dear!!

    All the best!
    Ken Carpenter


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