Clay

Gnomes & Homes Garden Stakes

By  Sue Pratt  for  Fossum Street Creations

size: 1-1/2"x4"; 2-1/2"x4"

  • Gnomes & Homes Garden Stakes

Materials

  • Polyform Sculpey Pluffy Clay: White, Dark Purple, Blue, Green, Gray, Black; Premo! Sculpey Navy Blue; Sculpey III Leaf Green
  • Wooden birdhouses with 12”-long dowels, two
  • Wooden dowels, 12” long, three
  • Floral moss
  • Craft wire, 24-gauge, 18” length
  • Chipboard banners, two

Tools

  • Small alphabet stamp set
  • Wire cutters
  • Clay tools: ball stylus, 1/2”, 1/16”; roller
  • Circle punch, 1/8”
  • Acrylic paints: black, white
  • Permanent markers: black, green
  • Clear outdoor sealant
  • Glue gun with sticks

Basic Supplies

  • ruler, toothpicks, spray bottle and container of water, small paintbrush, wet wipes, non-stick craft mat, parchment-lined baking sheet, oven
  • Preparation
  • 1. Condition all clay in hands before combining colors; mix and set aside. For thyme gnome, mix 1/4 pkg. White + 1" ball Gray + 1/2" ball Green. For basil gnome, mix full pkg. Blue + full pkg. Navy + 1-1/2" ball each of Gray and White. For thyme leaves, mix 1" ball Leaf Green + 1" ball White + two pea-size balls of Gray.
  • 2. Apply thin coat of white paint to each birdhouse and all dowels; let dry completely. Apply second coat to all dowels.
  • Gnomes
  • 1. For bodies, roll 1-3/8" clay ball each: mixed thyme, mixed basil, and Green clay for Lavender gnome; make 5/8" deep indentation in body bottom using dowel end. Attach 1" White ball on top of each body. Depress eye indentations using 1/16" round tip tool. Roll 1/8" Black clay balls; set into eye depressions. Stamp name into front of body; clean off stamps immediately. Bake following manufacturer's instructions. Let cool.
  • 2. For hats, roll same body color clay into 2"-long snake with 1" diameter. Shape into long teardrop. Pinch wider end into cone opening and other end into point. Attach to gnome head. Pinch and smooth to add hat wrinkles.
  • 3. Mix all remaining basil clay with equal amount of White plus 1" ball of Gray. Pinch off three pea-size balls and mix with equal amount Dark Purple for lavender buds; set remaining clay aside for mortar.
  • 4. For lavender buds, pinch two pea-size balls; roll together to form straight bean shape. Make three buds with remaining clay in Step 3 and six Deep Purple buds. Attach to front of hat in bunch. For thyme leaves, pinch two pea-size balls; roll into football shapes. Flatten slightly; depress line in center using toothpick. Arrange four leaves in plus sign; attach to lower part of hat. Repeat, decreasing leaf size as working up hat. For basil leaf, roll Leaf Green clay to 1/8" thickness; cut out large raindrop shape. Smooth edges, draw veins using toothpick. Attach leaf to hat, arranging to create ripples. Bake following manufacturer's instructions. Let cool.
  • 5. Adhere dowels to gnomes using glue gun; let cool and cure.
  • Birdhouses
  • 1. Roll 1/4 pkg. Black into 1/4" thickness. Cut away irregular-shaped stone pieces that are pea- to nickel-sized; smooth edges. Arrange stones on birdhouse. Bake following manufacturer's instructions. Let cool.
  • 2. Roll reserved mortar clay to 1/4" thickness into sheet large enough to cover front and sides of birdhouse. Wrap and press clay onto front and sides creating smooth surface. Keep roof, bottom, and back side bare. Trim off excess. Press 1/4"-deep indentations for "doors" using 1/2" round tool. Working one side at a time, arrange baked stones on house; press into clay. Lightly spray any exposed wood with water before baking. Bake following manufacturer's instructions. Let cool.
  • 3. Paint roof and back of house black. Apply coat of white paint on bottom and stakes. Let dry. Adhere moss to roof using glue gun.
  • 4. Punch hole in each end of chipboard; apply two coats of white paint. Darken edges with black marker. Write wording using green marker. Apply two coats of sealant if using outdoors. Thread wire ends through each punched hole, looping around twice, leaving 2-1/2" excess at ends. Wrap ends around toothpick; slide off to curl. Twist small loop at center to hang on each perch.
  • Tips
  • 1. Practice facial features on scrap clay. Eye placement can give gnomes different looks and expressions. Far apart and low (as shown) gives calm, innocent expression. Use pinky finger nail, hand palm up, to lightly impress mouth if desired.
  • 2. Smooth out any fingerprints left in clay surface with soft paintbrush, using a light stroke in one single direction.