Polymer Clay Gnome Tutorial - Make a gnome with Papa's Clay
We're going to make a polymer clay gnome in this clay tutorial using Papa's Clay. The great thing about this tutorial is that it starts out simple, but you can add as much or as little detail as you like. And, you will see how experimenting with details will add a lot to your polymer clay gnome.
Here's what you will need to get started:
- Any color of Papa's Clay for your body, skin, and hair. We're using Mint Green, Chocolate Brown, and a mix of Ocher and Latte for the nose.
- A clay cutting tool or knife
Step 1 - Condition the Clay
Papa's Clay conditions differently than other types of clay. It just needs some gentle rolling and heat from your hands. Make sure to condition your clay before you start working with it. Small pieces take just a few seconds to condition and big pieces can take up to a minute or two. You can use a hair dryer to condition it even quicker. Your scrap pieces should be pretty quick to condition, but you might need a bit longer depending on how much white clay you need.
Step 2 - Make the polymer clay gnome body
Take your main color polymer clay and turn it into a cone. You’ll probably want to do some adjusting here and there to get it into your desired shape and size. Spending some extra time to make sure your clay is not misshapen anywhere will be very helpful.
Once you’re happy with it, take a cutting tool and slice off the top. And, do a little more adjusting if you need to. You can also take your polymer clay cone and put in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden it up so that it does not get adjusted by the cutting tool.
Our cone needs a little adjusting after removing the top. But, you will now have the body of your polymer clay gnome. You can leave it as is, or you can add some details and embellishments before you make the rest of the gnome.
Step 3 - Make the gnome nose
We mixed half latte and half ocher for the nose we created, but you can use any color or combination of colors for your nose.
Take your polymer clay and shape it into a little Tic Tac looking thing and press it on the top side of your gnome’s body.
This will give you a very simple polymer clay gnome nose. You don't anything fancy to make your gnome look good, but you can add as much detail as you like.
Step 4 - Make the gnome hair
Take the polymer clay you used for your gnome's hair and turn it into a snake using your fingers. You can use an extruder or other techniques to roll out your clay, but this does not need to be super-precise. Get it to a decent size based upon how big your gnome body is.
Fold the snake in half then twist it together so it looks kind of like a braid. Then cut it in half so you have two pieces.
Put one piece of hair on one side of the nose. And then cut off the excess so you can place the other piece on the other side of the nose.
Place your second piece and do a little adjustment so that it looks like hair is coming down from inside the gnome’s hat.
Trim off any excess.
Step 5 - Make the gnome hat
Make another cone out of your polymer clay for the hat, but use less clay this time than you did for the gnome body.
Spend some extra time making sure your clay cone is not misshapen anywhere. Then, make sure you get a nice, pointy end on it.
You can use your finger or a ball stylus to push in the bottom of the gnome's hat. This will make it look like your gnome's hat is sitting on top of an actual head instead of smashed on top of the hair and nose you made.
Step 5 - Admire your gnome
Bake your polymer clay gnome and then admire it. It took about 15 minutes total to make this, but we used a lot of beginner's polymer clay techniques. Techniques like making shapes, rolling clay, and adjusting as you work are very important for sculpting.
This beginner polymer clay tutorial is also great because it gives you a "blank slate" that you can add a lot of detail and personalization to.
Check out the video tutorial here:
Take your creation to the next level with some details
If you want to take your polymer clay gnome to the next level, then add detail! Details big and small help make sculptures more interesting and dynamic.
Some additional detail ideas to add to your gnome:
- Color highlights in the their hair
- Different color hats
- Beard accessories
- Different shape noses
- Fashion accessories
Help your polymer clay know standout with some custom made scenery
Another fun way to improve your creation is to make some special scenery for it.
A gnome out in the grass can be accomplished using some green clay and poking it over and over to get a grass effect. Then, you can place your gnome on top of the grass.
You can give your gnome a wooden themed home by finding some sticks for it to hide in.
Finally, little pieces of wood called "tree cookies" make great bases for almost any type of creation.
Every polymer clay gnome needs a companion!
Every gnome could use a partner to complete your set. You could make a husband and wife, brother and sister, or a pair of best friend gnomes.
The most important thing
The most important part of creating a polymer clay gnome is to enjoy the process. Crafting is all about "losing yourself" and having fun. Be spontaneous, be silly, be yourself and just enjoy the process.