Free Needle Felting Tutorial: Felted Tomte, Nisse, Tonttu, or Gnome!

needle felted christmas gnome ornaments

A customer called us and wanted to know what she needed to make “Tomte” and did we have a free tutorial?

We didn’t know what a “tomte” was…so we had to “google it”, and the next thing you know,
the little cones we had planned for needle felted Christmas trees took on a whole new life!

[read about the tomte below the tutorial]

We pointed our caller to the great tutorial for needle felting gnomes that was gifted to us by Diane Beauchner…but

We were quite taken with the story of the little guys and soon they became our new pet project!

Enjoy this little needle felting tutorial for making
needle felted Tomte, Nisse, Tonttu or gnomes 🙂

For our needle felted tomte, we used Living Felt CW-1 Core Wool to form the cone shape,
Living Felt MC-1 Merino Cross Batts for color – shown here are True Red and Storm Gray,
a small amount of Fleshtone or Linen for the nose/face, Locks or Merino Top/blends for the beards.
The gnome in the pic above has a beard of Merino-Silk blend in Spice.

For tools, we used a variety of felting needles,
Living Felt Earth Harmony Needle Felting Foam and a wooden skewer.

Start by wrapping a strip of core wool onto your skewer, making one end tight to the stick and the
other end a bit more bulky.

Wrap one end thicker (using more layers of wool) to form a cone shape.

Needle felt your wool while it is still on the skewer and form the cone shape as desired.  Take time to
smooth out all lumps, bumps and air pockets before adding color. Flatten the bottom (widest end).

For this process, we left our gnome on the skewer while being needle felted. This makes small ones very
easy to handle. Also, it you decide to mount them with wire or even on the stick, the hole is already in place!

Wrap the colored wool of your choice for his clothing and hat. Needle felt this smoothly to the core wool.

I like to form a little ridge for his hat. Some of our models have a very flat transition between hat and clothes,
it’s up to you! This grey on this particular gnome is MC-1 Charcoal.

Pinch off a small amount of fleshtone or linen for his nose. Roll it into a ball shape, leaving a little tail.
Place the nose on the face area just beneath the cap line. You can give your tomte eyes or a face as desired.

Many of the models we saw showed only the nose and lots and lots of beard!

Spread out your locks or beard fibers to gauge the length and fullness. you made desire a few layers for a
bushy beard, or just a few locks for fun. They are easier to needle felt if you fold them in half and needle felt into the fold.

We needle felted our fibers on this little gnome right under the nose and all the way to the cap line.

A little needle felted Christmas Tree being decorated by a teeny tiny gnome.

These Tomte are very, very small!
One stays on the ground and tosses up the decorations to the tiny one in the tree!

This large glass jar looks vintage, but I just could not find one suitable for the project.
This score came from World Market for
around $5.

Cut a small piece of floral foam and cover it with a thin layer of core wool.

Place it in the bottom of the jar. Add white wool in mounds and layers to get the snow drift effect.

Add your needle felted Christmas trees and gnomes by poking the wooden skewer through the
fiber and the foam. This can be made easier with an awl. (I call it “the crafter’s ice pick :O)

We had great fun making these….some, like this cute little guy,
got magnets so they can “hang out” 
in really cool places :O)

Wishing You Great Fun Needle Felting Your Own Gnomes or Tomte…or whatever you choose to call them!

One of our customers and felting friends, Diane Beauchner also donated a tutorial to our community
sharing her method for needle felting larger gnomes…you can see that here:

Needle Felted Gnome Tutorial

According to Wikipedia:

The tomte, nisse or tomtenisse (Sweden) (Swedish pronunciation: [?t??m?t?]), nisse (Norway and Denmark) (pronounced [?nìs??]) or tonttu (Finland) is a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. It is no taller than three feet, and has a long white beard and colorful clothes. [1] It is known as a gift bearer [2] and considered the Swedish version of Father Christmas.

The tomte/nisse was often imagined as a small, elderly man (size varies from a few inches to about half the height of an adult man), often with a full beard; dressed in the everyday clothing of a farmer. However, there are also folktales where he is believed to be a shapeshifter able to take a shape far larger than an adult man…

The Tomte delivers gifts through the door, in accordance with the Swedish tradition of the visiting Santa Claus who enters homes to hand out presents. [7]They are also commonly seen with a pig, another popular Christmas decorative piece in Sweden. People who believe in the Tomte usually leave behind a bowl of porridge with butter for the creature to eat after he leaves behind the gifts.[8]

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