How to Paint a Gnome

Here’s how Sunday went — did some running in the morning, took a nap, started glazing Star Trek mugs that I painted SAturday. After glazing all 32 mugs and loading the kiln I decided to do something fun for myself. One of my students is making gnomes for her yard so my husband poured an extra one for me.  He is over 17″ tall.

  • But before I start — unload two five-gallon pails of slip and take to basement
  • Alberta 0679 large gnome with shovelGet the gnome down from the top shelf (won’t fit anywhere else)
  • Find the catalog picture on the computer
  • Choose colors Confederate blue for the hat, summer blue for the pants, native flesh for the face (since he’s outside and has a tan). Paint hat, pants, face & hands.
  • Choose colors for the shovel — walnut brown & silver. Paint shovel
  • Choose colors for hair & beard — saddle brown & medium brown. Paint saddle brown, then dry brush with medium brown. OOPS! That’s not hair, it’s eyebrows. Paint flesh to separate eyebrows from hairline. Touch up eyebrows since there’s now flesh on them.
  • Choose colors for jacket & shoes. Catalog picture is dark and boring, so chose garnet red for jacket and gold for shoes (Picture was more blue and brown) Paint red on jacket. Paint second coat of red. Outline with black and do fold lines. Paint belt black also.
  • Take break for dinner
  • Help hubby take six half-sheets of plywood to basement for mold shelves. Unload two more five-gallon pails of slip and take to basement.
  • Back to the gnome. Red is streaky and too dark. Highlight with real red. Paint shoes.
  • Help hubby unmold a gnome (takes two people).
  • Still too dark. Try metallic red. Doesn’t work either. Go get navy blue. One coat of navy covers everything. Yeah.
  • Choose colors for leaves. Have a bottle of light green not Duncan so use it to base coat all the leaves. Oops! That’s part of his pant leg.  Go back and repaint blue.
  • Help hubby unmold another gnome (second).
  • Back to painting. Oops! That’s not leaves, it’s part of his shoe. Repaint with gold.
  • Paint flowers red (already out for the jacket). Three flowers on the front, lots on the back. Decide it’s too many red flowers so will pick more colors.
  • Use holly green to outline some of the leaves, and drybrush one variety.
  • Clean up for tonight.
  • Next day. Paint belt metallic gold because the black doesn’t show up next to the navy blue. Also use gold to trim jacket.
  • Finish leaves and paint flowers in a variety of colors.
  • Paint face–eyes & mouth & add some color to the cheeks.
  • Spray well & put outside.

[To be honest he isn’t quite finished but I had some other things that needed attention first. Like painting gold on some mugs because the light underglaze didn’t show up when fired. Then sorting decals and choosing which to use on sample cups & plates for next week’s Thursday night workshop.]

Carousel Creations
Where having Fun is why we come!

So paint a gnome, or something else. If you don’t like the color or you paint the wrong part just paint over it. Acrylics paints are very forgiving.

About carolscarouselcreations

I am a retired math teacher. My jusband and I have been pouring, cleaning, firing, and painting ceramics since 1970 and have been teaching since 1972. We are both Duncan certified and members of IADCCT (International Association of Duncan Certified Caramic Teachers) and MVCT (Mahoning Valley Ceramic Teachers), a local chapter in North East Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. We have a home studio where we teach Technique Workshops and have Open Class time. We also have a party van which we take to local nursing homes. A new addition in 2020 is our online Facebook Live classes/demonstrations. We have two Etsy stores AfAfKidsNFriends for our African-American pieces and CarolsCarouselShoppe for our carousels. Find us on Facebook at CarolsCarouselCreations or send us an email to
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