Introduction: Zombie Garden Gnome Mod

I don't remember how I got to the hospital. When I woke up it was dark. Quiet. Still. I stumbled out of my hospital bed and eventually found my bearings. No one was around. I was drenched in urine. The hallways were disturbingly silent. Light fixtures buzzed and flickered. Everything had a light coating of dust. The elevator didn't work. I looked out the window. It was overcast. Seemed like it had rained recently. No cars on the streets. I made my way through the hallways and stairwells to the ground floor. There was a stench, like warm roadkill. There were papers strune about the floors. Gernies were upended. There was a folding chair thrown through the main entrance glass door.  Where was everyone?

Was that blood on the ground? I recognized the street. I was a few miles from from home. I waited at the nearby bus stop for what felt like forever. Bus didn't come. I started to walk toward home. There were cars stopped in the middle of the street. Like time had frozen. I didn't see a soul. Not even a squirrel.   I approached my street and could see my house. I could tell the front door was open. The cat could get out. Must have been my daughter. I tell her to keep the front door closed all the time so the cat doesn't get out. I arrived to the front steps and started to make my way up. There was movement in the flowers. Rustling. Must be a bird, I thought. First one I saw all day.  But it was no bird.

Dozens of them. Lumbering around almost aimlessly. Some covered in tiny amounts of blood. Some missing tiny limbs.  There was one was taking a tiny bite out of another.

This Instructable will show you how to transform an ordinary ceramic garden gnome into a tiny mindless flesh-eating backyard horror.

Step 1: Materials and Supplies

For this project to be successful you'll need just a few basic supplies.
  • "Bondo" auto body filler
    • Bondo hardener (normally this is included in your Bondo purchase)
    • small mixing cup (like a cleaned-out yogurt container
    • Popsicle stick to mix the Bondo
  • Outdoor adhesive
  • Acrylic craft paint. There are a few specific colors that are needed:
    • Caucasian flesh tone (or your preference)
    • Black
    • Blood red... this is key. You need a good looking red for the blood. And blood's the only thing it should be used for; if you want your Gnombie to have a red hat, for example, use a different shade of red.
    • Various other colors for clothing and stuff
  • Acrylic crackle medium. It's found along with the craft paints
  • Craft paint brushes
  • Clear spray sealer.  Clear enamel spray paint will work great.
Oh yeah, you'll need some ceramic gnomes.  You can repaint your old gnomes or buy a fresh new set.  I recommend eBay for gnome purchases.  I got a set of 7 for about $50.  If you repaint an old gnome make sure you wash it and scrub it with soap and water and let it completely dry. Use a water-based white primer before painting it.

Step 2: Study the Gnomes

Now that you have your supplies you need to plan out your Gnombie apocalypse.  Gnomes come in all kinds of styles and sizes. And there are lots of different positions that the gnomes are in. Some are sitting, some standing, some lying down, etc.  So you should really try to envision what your gnombies are going to become.

For example, a sleeping gnome could become a dead gnombie.  A gnome on its hands and knees could become a gnombie that's gnawing at another's leg.

Notice where their hands are. Maybe the gnombie could be holding something. Or maybe it's not a gnombie at all.  Maybe it's a gnombies' victim that fighting off a attacker.  There is a million ways to look at it.  And sometimes the best route isn't the most obvious.  So take your time and think about it.

Step 3: Gore

Before any painting gets done, you need to apply the structural gore.  That is to say, any blood or flesh that is more than just painted on.  This can be accomplished using Bondo.

In a small mixing cup, prepare the Bondo per the container's instructions. This is usually just adding a tiny bit of hardener to a clump of Bondo and stirring with a popsicle stick until the color is consistent.  You have to work pretty fast at this point.

Using the same mixing stick, start applying the Bondo to strategic areas of the gnome. For instance, an open wound would be an area surrounded by a rough outline of Bondo.  It's also good to put Bondo around the mouth area, as if the gnombie has a mouthful of gnome meat hanging out of its mouth.

The Bondo will dry very quickly.  In less than an hour you can use primer (or just white craft paint) on the Bondo area.

Step 4: Painting- Step 1 (beard)

A note about painting: I believe that gnomes should be painted in a specific way. Start with the beard, move to the face and hands, color in the clothes, and finish up with details (eyes, buckles, fingernails, etc.)

It's best not to paint the beard one solid color. If you think about it, your hair isn't one color. It's a mixture of color tones that gived your hair its overall color.  So painting should be no different.  So squirt out a pool of the main color onto a paper plate and then add several drops of another color; like a different shade of the same color. But don't mix the colors up. Just let them form a swirl. Using a craft brush, start painting the bead and make sure you follow the contours of the beard.

Step 5: Painting- Step 2 (skin)

To paint the gnombie's skin, use a crackling medium to create a zombie-like effect.  Crackling medium is used as a three coat process.  The final paint layer cracks as it dries exposing the base layer of paint.  Normally it's used for country-style crafts to make surfaces look aged.

Paint all of the exposed skin with a swirl of red, green, blue...whatever.  Find the grossest color combinations you can.  These colors are going to show through the cracks in the skin. Once the first coat dries apply a coat of the crackle medium. Don't apply it evenly because the thickly-applied parts will create a thicker crack and the light coats will create a more subtle crack. Let the crackle medium air dry to a tack...not completely. Then immediately start painting the final coat.  The final coat should be a sickly-looking flesh tone. Mix in some blue, green, and grey into flesh colored paint.  Then watch in awe as the flesh color cracks and reveals a gross veiny looking zombie skin. 

Step 6: Painting- Step 3 (everything Else)

Paint the gnombie's clothes and accessories as colorfully as you please. But for the love of God don't use your blood-red for anything other than blood.  Get nuts with the colors.  Unlike real life it doesn't matter if the belt clashes with shoes.

Step 7: Blood and Details

Paint all of the blood and gore areas with the blood-red paint.  You can be very thick here; load the brush up with paint and slather it on there nice and thick.  Make you you get some splatter on other parts of the gnombie too. It's expected that gnombies are messy eaters.

Paint the eye balls white but don't add irises or pupils. This makes them look soul-less.

Step 8: Sealing

After all of the paint has dried.  Spray the enter gnombie with several coats of clear spray paint.  This will help it stand up to the outdoors.  Allow it to dry after each coat.  At least 3 coats would be my recommendation.

Step 9: Extra Credit

If you really wanted to get nuts with it, you could add some accessories or put stuff in the gnome's hands.  It's really easy to drill into the ceramic.  Just use a masonry drill bit on a drill or Dremel and gently drill into the ceramic.  You'll come up with your own but here are some ideas to get you started:
  1. The old "arrow-through-the-head" schtick.  It was hilarious when Steve Martin did and it will be awesome on our gnombie too.  If you have a sleeping gnombie, drill a hole in its head and make the hole look like a wound using some Bondo.  Then glue some feathers (found at the craft store or on the side of the road) to some wooden skewers to make arrows.  Stick the skewer in the gnome's hole and voila, you've got a slain gnombie.
  2.  Put a weapon in a gnombie slayer's hand.  If you drill a hole through a gnome's hand and stick something through the hole, it looks like he's holding something.  Look around the house. What would a gnome use to defend itself against the littlest undead? How about a spoon? Or a fork?
  3. Signs: when it's the end of the world people find comfort in displaying signs. Cut a piece of cardboard and glue on a stick. Grab a Sharpie and spill your guts. If you were among the last humans on the planet, what clever slogan would you want to cram down people's throats?
  4. Make a Protagonist: The world needs a hero. Save one of those gnomes to create a kick-ass gnombie slayer.  Equip him/fer with all the requisite gnombie-slaying gear like crossbows, guns, and pitchforks.
Now that you have assembled your gnobie hoard, place them around your yard to keep the neighborhood cats out (that won't work, by the way).
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