Supplies: varying sizes of twigs, knife (we used a Swiss Army pocket knife), craft paint (I used red, yellow, blue, green), paintbrush, permanent marker
1. Use your pocket knife to carve a pointed "hat" at the top of one end of a twig. Just keep whittling away until you end up with a pointed triangle. It doesn't have to be super smooth. Our "hats" were approximately 1 inch tall.
2. Carve a rounded, flat "face" on one side of the twig. We varied the size of the faces on the different twigs, but the faces averaged about 1.25 inches tall x 1 inch wide.
3. This is what you end up with after steps 1 & 2... a pointed hat and a flat face.
4. Carve a rounded, flat area on the bottom part of the stick (just like the face, but in the opposite direction). This is where you will write the names of your plants, so if you have veggies with long names (like "cucumbers" or "strawberries" etc), make sure to use a few longer sticks and carve appropriately.
5. Here's what you end up with after all the carving is complete! Repeat steps 1-4 for all of your twigs.
6. A trio of gnomes ready to be painted (we later added a fourth; and will need a few more later).
7. Paint your gnomes' hats and beards in any color you desire! If you use all red hats/white beards, you will end up with Santa Claus look-a-likes. ;) We went for bright colors since they would be planted in the dark dirt.
8. Let dry completely. If your twigs don't stand up on their own, poke holes in the bottom of a cardboard box so they can dry without smearing paint.
9. After your twigs are completely dry, write the veggie names onto the bottom part of the twigs with a permanent marker. I don't like my handwriting enough to commit to this, so my husband wrote ours. Haha. No worries - if you mess up, you can always whittle away the top layer and start fresh.
10. Here's what you end up with!
Keep your gnome friends safe... because dogs don't know the difference between them and regular sticks. Mine required a little rescue action before planting.
11. Dig a small hole near the corresponding plant and enjoy your new garden friends.