Adding the Waterproof Shell and Painting the Garden Gnome
If you want to make a house gnome instead of a garden sculpture, you can use paper strips and paste or paper mache clay instead of the waterproof materials I used for this tutorial.
Some of the other posts that were mentioned in this video:
- The pumpkin, the first time I used the products I’m using for the gnome.
- The epoxy clay squirrel
- Medical-grade plaster cloth (I used two rolls)
- The Mapei grout I used it for the hard coat, from Lowes.
- FlexBond Thincoat mortar from Home Depot. That’s the product used by other YouTubers to hard-coat foam. I couldn’t find any locally, so I used the grout instead.
- The Gnome Book.
(If I forgot anything, be sure to let me know. 🙂
This is how my gnome looks in the snow.
Rain, snow, wind or summer heat – he takes it all in stride. His friend, an epoxy clay squirrel, has been outside since 2016, and he doesn’t mind the snow, either. 🙂
How to finish the DIY Garden Gnome:
Options: You don’t need the masking tape if you’re making a house gnome out of paper mache clay. You will want masking tape if you’re using paper strips and paste, because it won’t stick to foil.
Cover the masking tape with plaster cloth.
Options: You don’t need plaster cloth under any kind of paper mache, but occasionally use it under paper strips and paste because the project is finished so much faster.
Use a foam brush to add a thin coat of the grout. I used about one part water to three parts of the powder. You won’t need very much – but don’t mix up any more than you think you can use within half an hour. It does set up fairly quickly.
To make the grout smooth, get your gloves slightly damp and rub your hands lightly over the grout.
Set the gnome aside for a few hours to get hard.
Add a second coat of grout. I used more water this time to make it thinner so it would go on faster. I used the foam brush for everything except the beard and mustache. For the hairy parts I used a chip brush.
Sculpt the face with epoxy clay. I used Magic Sculpt this time because it’s slightly less expensive than the Apoxie Sculpt that I usually use. I couldn’t see any noticeable difference between the two brands. You’ll need less than a pound of the product for your gnome’s face.
I always buy the larger containers, because it costs half the price per pound – they charge a lot of money for those little plastic tubs. But if you don’t’ think you’ll use the epoxy clay for any other projects, stick with the one-pound set, because it can dry up even with the lid on tight.
Let the epoxy clay cure overnight.
Options: If you’re making a paper mache house gnome, you can use air dry clay to make the features of his face.
Paint your gnome with acrylic paint. The colors I used are:
- Tunic – ultramarine blue and white
- Hat – cadmium red medium
- Mittens – burnt sienna (but any color would work)
- Boots – burnt sienna and burnt umber
- Belt – burnt sienna and ultramarine blue
- Face – Cadmium red medium, yellow ocher and white
- Eyes – ultramarine blue with black pupils and white reflection spots
- Beard and mustache – white and yellow ocher
You could also choose pre-mixed colors of craft acrylics at a hobby store. Be sure to give your gnome a final coat or two of exterior varnish. Folk Art brand makes an outdoor matte sealer that would look nice. Or find an exterior clear sealer at your local DIY store.
If you’d like to make a smaller, faster Gnome…
And remember – if you make a gnome, either for inside or outside, please come back and show him off. We really want to see it.