Want to spice up your holiday decorations this year? Creating a holiday garden gnome from a tomato cage is an activity that can include all ages and become a family tradition. All you need is a tomato cage or cages, zip ties or floral stem wire, greenery, a stocking hat and mittens, a nose, and yarn or Spanish moss for a beard.
Folk stories through the centuries say that gnomes are the guardians of homes, gardens, and nature and will keep bad spirits away. They are also good luck charms. The existence of gnomes dates back to Roman and Grecian times. In fact, the word gnome is derived from the Greek word “genomos,” which means earth dweller.
- Tomato cage-use different sizes of tomato cages to create taller or shorter gnomes
- Zip Ties
- Floral Stem Wire
- Duct tape
- Christmas ornament, potato, or nylon stocking filled with cotton for the nose
- Stocking hat and mittens
- Spanish moss or yarn for a beard
- Candy cane, bird, or ornament to wire to the mittens
- Selection of mixed greenery
I made the fleece stocking hat and mittens. You can also purchase inexpensive stocking or Santa hats and child-sized mittens from a local discount store.
Turn the tomato cage upside down and tape the three wires together with duct tape.
Cut the greenery into easy-to-handle lengths. I cut mine about 14 to 16 inches long. You can use one type of greenery or a mix to add more interest and texture. I used a combination of Green Giant arborvitae, Eastern red cedar, and plum yew. Make bundles of the greenery and use zip-ties or floral stem wire to attach them to the circular wires on the tomato cage. Floral stem wire was easier for me to use.
Begin by attaching the bundles around the lowest ring of the tomato cage, then continue covering the upper rings, ensuring the foliage drapes over the cut stems below. Completely cover the cage, creating the gnome’s body.
For the nose, I used a potato. You could also use a Christmas ball ornament or a stocking stuffed with cotton to create a nose. Run a wire through the potato and attach it to the cage frame. I used a package of Spanish moss I purchased from a craft store to create the beard. Use your imagination!
Attach the stocking hat on top of the taped wires and pull it down over the greenery and part of the nose. Use floral stem wire to hold the hat in place and attach the mittens to the frame.
Wire a bird to the top of the gnome’s hat and an animal in his mitten to create a woodland theme. Battery-powered lights may also be added to give your holiday gnome a little sparkle.
Creating a holiday gnome is a fun activity for the entire family. Happy Holidays Everyone!
For more ideas on holiday decoration, see HGIC 1753, Holiday Decorating with Fresh Greenery; Creative Ideas for Holiday Decorating; How to Make a Boxwood Kissing Ball for the Holidays; and Holiday Decorating with Orange Pomanders.