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Homemade Christmas Ornaments: Pinecone Gnomes

Submitted by Ingrid of California

"Tomte the Christmas Gnome Ornament"

I grew up with stories of Scandinavian tomtes (also known as sprites or gnomes and not to be confused with trolls). It is said that if you treat them well, they will care for your animals and help you around the house. If you treat them disrespectfully, they will play little tricks on you to get even. I’m hoping they approve of my ornament or I could be in big trouble. Typically, they don’t show their faces...just a nose peeking out.


I got everything at a Michael’s Crafts store....even the pinecones in an assortment bag. If pinecones aren’t your thing, you might try some other natural material like a magnolia pod. You can use any size that you wish...just need to adapt the size of the hat.

Pinecone - I used small cones, partially opened, about 3 inches long.
Red felt
Batting or other stuffing material
White pompom – I used 1/2 “ size
Wood beads (for nose)
Cording, embroidery thread, or ribbon for hanger
Hot glue gun (mini size), glue sticks (or Tacky Glue)
Scissors, tweezers, scrap paper, pencil, ruler, straight pins
Needle (upholstery needle works well)

Tomte Christmas Gnome Ornament 2


It is helpful to make a paper pattern for the hat. Cut out a triangle with two straight sides and the bottom one as a curved line. (Mine was 2+3/4” straight sides, 4+1/2” curved bottom but you should adjust the size to fit the pine cone you are using.) Pin pattern to felt and cut out hat. Coil the felt piece to form a cone-shaped hat and apply glue along raw edge to fasten. You can stitch it together with needle and thread if you prefer. The hot glue can be tricky but with a little practice it’s faster, especially if you’re making a large number of them. Tacky glue or fabric glue will work also but takes a little more time to dry.

Stuff hat with batting. Run a bead of glue around the inside bottom edge of the hat, leaving about 1/4 of the edge (at the front) without glue. Position hat on cone. If you’re using hot glue, it will set immediately. Glue nose bead just under the free edge of the hat on the front. Push the hat edge back away from the nose and add a tiny dab of glue on the upper edge of the nose. Then with tweezers, pull the hat down over the nose edge and it will stay in place with the glue.

Thread needle with choice of hanger material and knot end. Run needle through center of pompom and pull pom flush to knot. Hot glue the knot side of the pom to top of hat (I cut off the pointy tip of the hat so pom would fit better). Tie knot in hanger for the length you wish to have. You’re done!

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