Garden fairy home
Carving a fairy or gnome house from vegetables is easy!
Use these ideas to design and make your own version of a garden gnome or fairy house for a summer craft idea or for Halloween fun.
The picture you see here has a garden gnome house that has been carved out of a golden beet. All photos copyright Elyn MacInnis.
Small gnome homes - This one is a red pepper!
Red peppers are so easy to carve. This one took a few minutes.
Some things to think about with a red pepper house:
It is very small, so if you add a fairy or gnome figurine it should be a miniature one.
If you want to put a light in it, you should prepare a battery lit one, otherwise the pepper will cook and fall down.
You can perch the pepper on top of a bowl or glass that has a light in it, even a small flashlight, and hide the glass with cloth or an object. This way it looks lit up without being in danger of cooking. The red pepper home here was on a glass table with a flashlight pointing up through the pepper from underneath. This is our garden gnome's home from July 2013.
The Golden Beet Gnome house
Making a house from a Golden Beet is not as easy as making one from a pepper. With this one you have to cut the larger end of the beet off a little, so you can get inside the beet with scrapers and knives to hollow it out. Hollowing out a beet is hard, so parents should be prepared to help with the carving. It is more difficult that a pumpkin. Notice the rounded windows and door. Those curves make the beet more charming.
I found my mini garden gnomes at a Joanne Fabrics store on sale towards the end of the spring last year. But this year I didn't see any. After looking around, I finally found these pot plant clingers, who would do well as gnomes for your garden.
There are 12 in this set, and they are in all sorts of different poses. All small enough to fit into vegetables, this set will be a good idea if you want to try making your own gnome or fairy houses. The hanging ones can be used in interesting poses hanging onto the vegetables, stems, or vines.
Painting your own is always fun. That way you can have a bright pink one if you like... Kids like to do their own decorating, so this might be a good choice if you have children working on the project.
Any vegetable is fair game for a gnome house
The gnome I took to the supermarket told me his favorite house was made from a rutabaga. I used to tell my daughters when they were little that if they didn't eat their vegetables I would make rutabaga for dinner. It has that sort of name! But rutabagas make a lovely garden gnome house, and it lasts a long time since the vegetable is so sturdy.
Sturdy vegetables are harder to carve. Make sure you don't cut yourself and go slowly. This sweet gnome loved his rutabaga house and liked to wave from the window. Do you see the fairy coming down to visit him from the upper left corner?
Cutting tools make carving a lot easier
Have you ever tried to carve a pumpkin and found that it was tough going? It's true. Carving vegetables isn't that easy, and the thicker the skin, the harder it is. With the right tools, carving is easier, and you don't make as many mistakes or cut too far or miss out on detail.
Mr. Rutabaga Garden Gnome close up
The history of vegetable carving
Many years ago, before anyone ever thought of carving a pumpkin, they were carving turnips, rutabagas, and other hard vegetables in Ireland.
Before candles were common, many many years ago in Ireland, people carved turnips on All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) and lit them with embers from the fire in the stove, leaving a shining lantern that was thought to ward off evil spirits. Whether you carve a scary face or just a sweet gnome or fairy house, you are participating in a custom that has hundreds of years of tradition behind it. Think about that!
Do you have a favorite gnome joke?
The picture is my favorite - do you get it? It is a song...
Okay - I will tell you. Most people know it:
Gnome, gnome on the range!