Garden gnomes are the cute little guardian angels that watch over our homes. And sometimes they get a bit neglected.
In our case the poor fella was beaten up a bit by string trimming and the sun.
So today I’m going to share how you can fix any small holes or cracks and repaint your gnome so that it looks like new. These tips will also work with other garden decor that you’d like to repair.
Here are the supplies you need
- Hydraulic cement
- Margin trowel
- Great stuff
- Old towel
- Rust-Oleum Primer (spray)
- Hobby paint brushes
- Valspar paint samples
- Rust-Oleum Clear Coat (spray)
This is a pretty fun project and the kids can participate, too.
Let’s get to it
Before we get started let me introduce you to Hanz, he’s our garden gnome. Unfortunately, the turtle he’s riding is missing it’s right knee cap. Ouch!!
But this is an easy fix. If your gnome is hollow, fill in the hole with Great Stuff insulation foam. Make sure to wear gloves so that your hands don’t get sticky and place a towel on any surface you’d like to protect.
Allow the Great Stuff to completely dry and harden. This usually takes a good hour and it helps to keep the gnome out of the sun. You can trim the foam with a utility knife if it expanded too much. This is what I did with the foam that filled in the Turtle’s knee.
You can then mold hydraulic water stop cement with your hands to re-create missing pieces or fix cracks (again, wear gloves because the cement gets warm and could burn bare skin). This step takes a little artistic touch but you can do it. Hydraulic cement sets up within 5 minutes, which means you’ll have to work quickly.
Quikrete makes hydraulic cement in small buckets which you can find at Lowe’s or other home stores. This type of cement also comes in handy for fixing all sorts of things around the house, (e.g. where the hot water tank vents to your chimney or water lines that protrude through cinder block walls.)
After the cement has dried, prime your gnome with Rust-Oleum spray primer. Two coats are a good idea since there are many fine details to fill in. The primer will allow the top coat of paint to stick. Depending on the weather conditions your primer should be dry within 30 minutes.
While shopping at Lowe’s I found these great Valspar paint samples. They were only a few bucks each and a great fit for this project because of the wide selection of colors.The hobby brushes by Blue Hawk were in the same section as the paint samples — talk about convenience.
Here’s a PAINTING TIP: start painting at the top and work your way down. This helps with unwanted paint drips. In my case we painted the hat first. Next we painted the hair, face, and body, etc. You can paint the details like the eyes, mustache & beard, and buttons after all the major areas finish drying.
Once you’re done painting your gnome let it dry for a few hours. Then apply the Rust-Oleum protective clear coat. This stuff is awesome because it will protect your hard work from the harmful UV rays of the sun and add a gloss finish that makes the paint job pop. It’s an absolute must if you’re using indoor latex paint like I did. Hanz has been tanning in the sun for over 6 months and his skin tone still looks like new (eat your heart out Joan Rivers).
Oh, and remember how I said this was a kid friendly project? Well, if your kids don’t want to participate bribe them with a sleepover or trip to the movies. It worked for me. I do have some funny before and after photos of my daughter which crack me up.
Here’s a picture of the final product.
Hanz and his turtle (which we haven’t named yet, so I’m all ears) look pretty darn good. He went from looking tired and worn out to being rejuvenated in one day. Now that I think about it, Hanz got a gnome spa treatment. What kind of things need to be fixed in your garden? Let me know in the comment section and I’ll try to assist you with repair ideas.
Have a great day!