Gnome-like but not quite

If you’re looking for a super easy, unique DIY winter decor idea, this project is for you! It seems like everyone has an elf on their shelf, but you can stand out from the crowd by proudly displaying your very own handmade tomte.

“What in the world is a tomte?” you ask. A tomte is a mystical creature from Swedish folklore. It is a household spirit that has the ability to bring good luck to homeowners. A tomte’s physical appearance is similar to that of a garden gnome’s. It is small, has a long white beard, and wears a conical hat.
If you are lucky enough to have a tomte who brings you good luck, be sure to leave it a bowl of porridge with butter every Christmas Eve. It is their favorite food, and it’s the least you can do to show your appreciation.

You can buy a tomte online, but it’s such an simple project, why not make your own? This is a fun project to do with kids, but please use caution and supervise them when using glue guns. Glue guns get extremely hot and can cause serious burns.

STEP 1: Make the COAT
Select a piece of felt and cut out a 4.25” x 2.25” rectangle. Wrap the rectangle around the peg doll’s body and trim it as needed to form the coat. The coat should fit snugly on the doll’s body, but leave enough space to apply glue under the top layer of felt. Apply a thin line of glue to the inside seam of the top piece of felt and press it onto the bottom piece of felt.

Step 2. Make the BEARD
Starting at the bottom of the sheet, cut out a .75” x 1.25” rectangle out of the craft fur. Use the scissors to trim and shape the fur into a pointed beard. Apply a thin line or glue to the fur’s fabric backing. Press the fur onto the front side of the doll, in the center of the head.

Step 3. Make the NOSE
Apply a small dot of hot glue to the flat side of the button plug. Place it on the center of the beard/head. Place it low enough on the beard so that you’ll have room to fit the hat over the top of the beard.

Step 4. Make the HAT
Cut out a felt triangle for the hat. The base of the triangle should be approx. 4” wide and 6” long. Leave the tip of the triangle blunt so that you have room to fold the felt into a pointed cone. Apply glue along the seam on one side of the triangle. Roll the felt into a cone and press the side with glue on top of the opposite side. Trim the bottom as needed so that the hat can fit snuggly on top of the tomte’s beard. The hat should just barely cover the top of the beard. Apply glue to the bottom of the hat on the inside and place on the head.^

Rachel Kauffman thrifts what she can and makes the rest. Her 1950s ranch home has been called a “virtual cabinet of curiosities,” and this unique pressed flower art will fit in perfectly with her vintage art collection. Contact Rachel Kauffman at or Instagram @racheldeerhead