Air Dry Clay Gnome with Fur Beard

This air dry clay gnome is going to be a favorite summer craft. No need to heat up the house with polymer clay because the alternative works up easily.

In this free gnome tutorial, you will learn how to create a sturdy body with a faux fur gnome beard. Combining the two is going to make for a fun afternoon!

Horizontal image of clay gnome with gray fur beard with a red hat and naked gnome body on moss with wood rounds.
This clay gnome is a fun summer project because you don’t have to heat up the house!

RELATED READING: These Clay Gnomes are SO Easy to Make (All Ages)

Clay Gnome Bottle Topper and Decor

Here at Ruffles and Rain Boots, I try to bring new ways to use the myriad of craft supplies we all have at our disposal. For more than 2 years, I’ve wanted to make this but for some reason kept putting it off while designing and publishing other DIY gnomes.

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collage of diy gnomes teaching how to make a gnome with or without legs and with or without sewing
Horizontal close up image of a back side of a naked gnome on moss with wood rounds.
Create a cheeky view in the back or choose to wrap around the beard.

This week, I finally unpacked a box that had been sitting in my new craft room for months and what did I find? I discovered two unopened packages of air dry clay and two, half-used packages of the same stuff! This told me I really needed to make a gnome with air dry clay, so I set myself to the task.

This clay gnome idea takes about 45 minutes of hands-on crafting time. It’s an easy, beginner gnome and it looks great with the combination of clay and fur.

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Vertical image of gnome in moss with wood rounds, sola flowers, and wood fence background.
Laugh your way through making this fun clay project idea for summer.

RELATED READING: Cute and Fun Clay Gnomes with Big, Bare Feet (Those Toes!)

Tips for Working with Air Dry Clay

  • Work the air dry clay in your hands a bit to get it soft and roll it out using a rolling pin, glass jar, bottle, or your hands for a more handmade look.
  • Air dry clay is easy to use because one can create anywhere and anytime (no oven required for baking). It also makes it a perfect craft for the hot days of summer.
  • If you live in a humid environment, the clay will need longer to dry than it states on the package.
  • Use very small amounts of water when working with the clay. There is no need to use more than your finger lightly coated (no drops).
  • Smoothing air dry clay can be done with fingers, smoothing tools, or even a dry paintbrush.
  • You do not need clay cutting and piercing tools for this project: a knife, a toothpick, and your hands are perfect.
  • Though it looks it, air dry is NOT white clay. It dries with a gray or blue tint, so painting a white base coat is recommended.
Square close up image of a clay gnome with a red hat and a fur beard on a moss and wood background.
The heart accent on the gnome nose is the cute bit of extra for this clay gnome bottle topper or decor piece.

RELATED READING: This Wine Bottle Gnome is a Fun Warm Weather DIY

How to Make a DIY Clay Gnome with a Faux Fur Beard

The detailed instructions to put together this gnome wine bottle topper and decor piece are below. For a printable clay gnome tutorial with a list of supplies, scroll down.

If you are a visual learner, watch the full air dry clay gnome with fur beard video tutorial. While you’re there, subscribe to the YouTube channel – we have a lot of fun over there.

First, crumple the foil, spread it out, and hot glue it to the cone. Be sure to create a point for the hat with a thick, pressed bit of foil so nothing breaks off.

Crafter using a hot glue gun to attach foil to a cone.
Add crumpled foil to the cone.

Next, roll out the air dry clay to no thinner than 1/8th inch thick (1/4 inch recommended) and fully wrap the piece in it. Be sure to add clay to the bottom to widen the base for stability.

Crafter using hands to add air dry clay to a foil covered gnome.
Add the clay to create a fully covered clay gnome with hat.

Pinch off an inch sphere of clay, roll it into a sphere and then a log. Split it in half to create the ‘cheeks’ for the back of our gnome. First, score the clay in the back of the gnome to form a split. Affix each cheek by scoring the small piece add on and the body and blend until solidly attached.

Crafter using hands to add cheeks to the back of a clay gnome.
If adding cheeks, create a divide and add clay to either side, smoothing it out.

Create a channel under the nose by using the knife to create two cuts 1/8th of an inch wide. Dig out the layer of clay between the two cuts. The channel should go at least halfway around the gnome.

Crafter cutting a channel into a clay gnome for a faux fur beard.
Cut a channel under where the gnome nose will be.

Make a 1 inch sphere of clay, press it into an oval, and attach it just above the channel. Be sure to get it even and exactly opposite of the cheeks on the back. Smooth out the clay all over the body and let the piece dry.

Crafter adhering a nose to a clay gnome made of air dry clay.
Center the gnome nose and blend it in to attach to the body.

NOTE: Drying time will vary. I live in a high humidity area, so I let my piece dry for two days to be sure it was ready.

Protect yourself with a dust mask and your work surface (or go outside). Use the sanding sponge to even out the body texture. Wipe away any dust with a lightly damp cloth.

Crafter using a sanding sponge to smooth out air dry clay.
Use sand paper or a sponge to further smooth out the clay gnome.

Paint the entire gnome with white acrylic paint and let dry. This trick will make the painted colors more vibrant.

Crafter using a foam brush to apply a base coat of white acrylic paint.
Use a foam brush to apply a base coat of white acrylic paint.

Paint the lower half of the body and nose with beige paint and the gnome hat with red acrylic paint. Dry and repeat for a second coat.

Crafter painting the gnome hat red with a flat brush.
Create a nearly perfect line for the gnome hat using a flat brush.

Seal with varnish or a spray sealant.

Crafter using a paint brush to apply a liquid sealant to an air dry clay gnome.
Seal the paint before moving on.

Measure and cut the faux fur beard as wide as the channel we cut PLUS an additional 1/8th inch on either side. Fold in the sides and top of the faux fur and secure with glue to hide the fabric backing.

Crafter using a hot glue gun to fold in the rough edges of a faux fur gnome beard.
Fold in and hide the rough, fabric backing on either side and the top of the beard.

Glue the top of the faux fur (the rolled over portion) into the channel. Glue down the edges to cover the sides and display your air dry clay gnome!

Crafter using a hot glue gun to attach a fur beard to a clay gnome.
Add glue into the channel and tuck in the top of the fur gnome beard.

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Close up top view of red hat gnome with gray beard with text which reads easy and fun air dry clay gnome.
Make this fun gnome craft idea using basic crafting supplies.

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