Give a Gnome Some Class




About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

Gifts are given with the best intentions. Someone you know is sure that what they're giving you is just what will make you oh so happy. They know you so well that it'll what you never knew you always wanted. And then they give you a garden gnome.

OK, OK, it's a garden gnome ha ha. It's so ironic, right? But fortunately there is one thing that makes kitschy gifts like this so much better: white spraypaint.

Trust me, it works unbelievably well and soon you'll have your own recontextualized art piece of your very own.

This Instructable was brought to you by Krylon

Step 1: Problem: Gnome

Huzzah! It's a gnome. In my super quick and informal poll of a few people, nobody fessed up to ever wanting to buy one of these. My guess is that it's often a gag gift with a few folks who are brave enough and confident enough to buy them on their own. If that includes you, then my hat off to you for following your own desires.

As for me, I tried placing the gnome around the house or in the garden and it just didn't work. Each spot looked wrong to me. So the only thing to do was to update the gnome.

Step 2: White Is Arty

Seeing a statue that has just one color allows you to appreciate its form. It removes it from a regular reproduction and you can appreciate the texture and shape of it. We've all seen many Greek statues that are pretty much just white statues and have all thought that this was because the Greeks were on such a higher level. They wouldn't want colorful and gaudy statues. They appreciated the purity of line and the reproduction of the human form, right?

Well, that turned out to betotally wrong, but the impression is still there.

A similar rule applies to photography. Take a photo of the ocean in color and it's a dull shot. Make ti a black & white photo and suddenly it's worth of being framed and put up over a couch.

So what can we take away from this? We need to paint it white. You could try black, too, if you want, but then people will think you're a bit morbid. Which is great if that's your goal and would be a great tool for how to Make a Gnome Gothy.

Step 3: Paint!

Beyond the gnome, all you need here is a tarp and some spraypaint. Here, I'm using Krylon Fusion white. Apply light coats and let it dry a bit between each coat to avoid drips and bubbles.

As always with spraypaint, do it in a well-ventilated area.

Step 4: Place Your Gnome Withe Pride

Now your gnome has a new look and is more suitable for putting up in a visible, maybe even prominent, spot in your home. If anyone asks you about it, here are a few phrases you can use:

"Yes, the white really makes you appreciate the gnome in a new way."
"I find that with white paint on it it truly recontextualizes the classic garden gnome, giving it a new life."
"It's a ghost gnome. It's gentle gaze protects me."



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    10 Discussions


    I love gnomes, could you tell me where you have purchased your please I'm desperate. If you prefer, you can deposit the money into your bank account and you send me? Thank -Herick.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    No offense intended to anyone, anywhere; but I love gnomes and anticipate getting each new one I can. If everyone doesn't want theirs, could they please send them right along to me. :D Sadly, I made this same offer for school cafeteria meatloaf as a kid in the 1970's. And fruitcake in the 1990's. What is wrong with me?

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I paint miniatures (mostly 25mm fantasy) and when I saw you "priming" your gnome, I got all excited. I thought you were going to repaint him in some classic fantasy/fairytale/period garb. Then I realized.....he was already painted that way before your white transformation. I can see how he would now fit into a neo-classic modern decor. Well done!
    The spray paint you used most likely has a sheen to it which will protect it from dirt and grime and will aid in cleaning him, if the need arises. If you used a matte white, it would be a good idea to use a clear coat over it to preserve the wonderful whiteness.
    I'm thinking Over-sized Gnome chess set. Just need to find some other models for the ranks.
    Again, well done!

    1 reply
    fungus amungusOckham

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's right, it's a glossy white so no need for clear coat. Finished very quickly this way.

    Here's a good instructable for gnome mods.

    Would also love to see an instructable about miniature painting. Sure some others would as well.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    now i have a new go to gift! i usually just give remote controlled cars when i don't know what to get someone...i this will be cheaper! (who doesn't like a remote controlled car?) hooray for Arty Farty Gnome!