How to Transform Trees Into Enchanted Gnome Homes With Your Kids
Want to spend more creative time outdoors?
Create enchanted gnome homes for local garden gnomes and fairies!
It’s a fun project that promotes creativity and imagination, while using simple craft materials you already have lying around.
In this article I’ll explain how to build an enchanted tree home in your yard.
Why Make an Enchanted Tree Home?
When you create a home for neighborhood gnomes and fairies, you open the door to endless creative play.
Children love to use their imaginations to see magical characters come to life. So why not bring a little mythological folklore into your yard, and create an enchanted tree home for the neighborhood gnomes. You can invite some fairies to stop by too!
Being earth dwellers, gnomes appear to prefer living in a natural environment like the base of a tree. Trees make the perfect backdrop to build a fantasy home for magical friends.
Everyone needs a little magic in their life, not just children.
The imagination explodes when the whimsical little doors to a gnome home open. Wouldn’t you love to happen upon one of these little homes while strolling through a park? Once you create a gnome home, you’ll inspire others to feel that way!
Ready to construct a gnome home with your kids? You can make yours as simple or complex as you’d like. The examples below from Squidoo on the left and Crafts Unleashed on the right are very different, but the gnomes will love either one of them!
The basis for any gnome home is to attach a little door to a tree. Once you’ve done that, you can add as many details as you like.
Include windows, construct a walkway or give your little gnome friends some landscaping to make their home more inviting.
Before you build your gnome home, sit with your child and talk about the gnomes who may live in your yard. Use your imaginations: Who are they? Is it a gnome family? Perhaps it’s a gnome who shares his home with some small animals.
Whatever the backstory, write it down. You can also draw pictures to better visualize your gnomes.
Once you have an idea of whom you’re building for, decide what to build.
#1: Plan Your Gnome Home
Gather your supplies, then head outside.
Walk around your yard and look for a tree to use as the backdrop for you gnome home. Find a cozy spot that your neighborhood gnomes would love.
Once you find the perfect location for your gnome home, start making plans.
Decide what to include in your home construction. You may want to add some input, but let your child lead the conversation.
Make a list and/or draw a picture (like blueprints) of what it should look like. Your gnome home can be as simple as a single door or have many doors and windows, as well as outside décor, landscaping and so on.
When you take a few minutes to decide what to build and plan it out, it will give your child a clear direction for his or her creative process. Let your child know that ideas can change. This is just a starting point. It’s also a skill that will help them considerably in the future.
#2: Build Your Basic Gnome Décor
Leave the craft sticks their natural color or paint them. If you decide to paint the sticks, use outdoor or acrylic paint, so they’re weather-resistant. Do not use tempera or any other water-soluble paint.
Using the craft sticks and hot glue, assemble windows and doors for the gnome home. Build as many windows and doors as you’d like. We thought it might be nice to include space for neighboring fairies. We made an extra door so they had their own entrance, and gave them an extra window too.
For windows, place the sticks in a square, and glue them together on the ends. For doors, place sticks horizontally next to each other, and then glue them together by attaching one stick flat against the tops and another to the bottoms. Add a small button or something similar to use as a doorknob.
Safety Note for Parents: Please show your older children how to properly use the hot glue gun or handle the glue gun for small children. The tip can get quite hot and burn you easily. Not only is the gun hot, but the glue will be hot also.
Be creative with your craft sticks. See what other items you can make. How about a park bench or steps leading up to their doorway? Throw out a couple of ideas, but encourage your kids to use their imaginations.
Since your kids may need help with the construction of more complicated pieces, it’s a perfect opportunity to work together as a team.
Once you construct the elements, find a way to decorate them. For example, to make curtains for the windows, cut out fabric and glue it on.
Another option: use markers or paint to color craft sticks after construction.
#3: Create Landscape Elements
Create decorative details for the landscaping if you’d like. We put together some miniature terracotta pots and silk flowers.
Place a small piece of Styrofoam inside a mini terracotta pot. Then stick in a silk flower. Add some silk leaves too or cover the Styrofoam with rocks.
Once you have your flower placement just right, glue it in place.
Raid your craft drawer and see what elements you have to work with. Have fun and be creative!
#4: Assemble Your Gnome Home and Landscape
Take your decorative elements outside to the chosen tree.
Using a brush, remove any excess dirt and debris from your tree. Since we don’t want to hurt our trees, we won’t use nails. Instead, connect your gnome décor to the tree using hot glue.
One at a time, put a large amount of hot glue onto the back of your doors and windows, and then attach them to the tree. Hold the pieces in place for a few seconds while the glue cools and sets. Be careful to keep little fingers clear from hot glue!
Once you have the house looking its best, start on the landscaping.
Use small stones and pebbles to create a path to the gnome home. Then add whatever details and personal touches you created, like benches and flower pots, to make your gnome home unique.
Tap into your creativity, as you set out décor. Plus, if there’s a detail you missed, go back and make it. Then add it to the house.
Remember the gnome story you made up at the beginning? See how it matches what you created. Now that your gnomes have a home, write stories, poems or songs about their adventures whenever you want.
Some Final Thoughts…
Once you have one gnome home location, don’t stop there! When you look around your yard, you’ll likely discover other places fitting for gnome or fairy homes.
This adventure’s the perfect way for a family to work together creatively outdoors. You can collaborate on one gnome home. Or make a village, where everyone creates his or her own gnome home.
Hot glue, some craft supplies and a little magic are all you need to creatively work with your kids and bring their imaginations to life. Plus, you’ve made a charming home where any wandering gnome would love to live. It’s “gnome sweet gnome.”
What do you think? Did you have fun building your gnome home? What story did your kids create for their enchanted tree? Can you think of any other places gnomes would like to live? Please share your gnome stories and pictures below.
Crystal Foth is a mom and artist based in Los Angeles, CA. She manages 19 Southern California art studios and spends her free time enjoying creative adventures with her daughter. Other posts by Crystal Foth »