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Make gnome house from cardboard and craft clay: simple instructions for a cool DIY Christmas decoration

Whether you spent a lot of time on grandma and grandpa’s farm in childhood or just know the atmosphere from movies, bringing this charm into Advent and Christmas creates a special nostalgia. We’re sure you know what we mean. If you also love this style and want to bring it into your decor, one of the ways you can do that is by making a cute Secret Santa house. We’ll show you a cool tutorial!

Make a house for gnomes from different materials

Christmas house for gnomes with fireplace in a wooden box

After the Scandinavian gnomes have conquered just about every home in recent years, so now come their houses. And to build such a little house yourself, you can use a variety of materials – from building kits for dollhouses to cardboard and clay pots. So, depending on how much time you want to invest and can, you are spoiled for choice.

Another variant is also to just make a Secret Santa door, hang or lean it on a wall and design the area in front of it, as the front garden, so to speak. Clotheslines with Secret Santa clothes, a small table with chairs, small fir trees and deer and much more. We’ll show you some inspiration.

Craft instructions for the house with cardboard, plastic bottle and craft clay.

Wichtelhaus tinker from a shoe box - simple instructions

  • Cardboard box + extra cardboard
  • plastic bottle
  • self-drying craft clay
  • Popsicle sticks for a door
  • hot glue
  • string of lights
  • toothpicks or shish kebab skewers
  • Artificial moss or other material for the roof
  • Acrylic paint for the house facade

Make the house out of a small cardboard box by cutting out a large square piece on one side for the door. You can easily craft this from popsicle sticks, as we will show you below. Add a window or two as well.

Make a house for gnomes out of cardboard - cut out the door and make a hole for the tower

The roof: from another piece of cardboard, make a simple roof. It should be longer than the house so that it overhangs. At any point, fold the cardboard roof for the top of the roof.

Optionally, you can add a tower using a bottle as in the example. If you want to do that, you still need to cut a hole in the roof no larger than the circumference of the plastic bottle. Attach the roof with a cardboard triangle that represents the gable. In the example, a jagged edge was cut because a string of lights illuminates the house, making the light visible. Don’t glue it together yet if you want to build the tower too!

You craft the tower by cutting off the top third of the bottle and sticking it through the prepared hole from below. Now you can glue the roof onto the house.

Make the house with craft clay and windows from toothpicks


Now add the details. Create the windows with the help of the toothpicks, while you glue the tower with the craft clay, adding some windows as well. The plastic of the bottle remains visible and takes the role of window panes, through which later the light of the fairy lights will also be visible. From the roof you can hang a few icicles, forming them from the hot glue. Then you can paint the clay and create the roof with artificial moss or other material.

Turning a shoebox with a lid into a winter house for gnomes

From the lid of the box you can make the foundation with terrace for the gnome house.

Build Secret Santa door from popsicle sticks

Craft door for gnome house with popsicle sticks and paint


If you don’t have a ready-made door like the one in the example, you can easily build one yourself from popsicle sticks. Below we show you an example. Your version does not necessarily have to be pointed like a house, but can also be rectangular. The only important thing is that it is not smaller than the opening provided for it in the box.

Paint the door in the desired colors and glue it to the opening in the house.

Coat rack for gnomes with clothes made of felt.

Accessories for the Wichtelhaus tinker - clothesline with clothes from felt

From skewers of shish kebab, buttons, string and felt promptly create a clothes rack with clothes that you can use as decoration for the gnome house. Cut the skewers to the same length and glue them to the buttons so that they can stand well. Now tie string between both sticks. Then cut out tops, pants, socks and Secret Santa hats from the felt. You can cut out templates from paper beforehand. Then glue the linens in place with hot glue or use mini clothespins.

Craft Secret Santa house – Decorate the house

Idea with sticks and small fir trees as winter decoration

Around the house you can now, as already mentioned, put various decorations. For a snowy landscape you can use absorbent cotton or white fabric, on which you can then put a few mini needle trees. You can also add a ladder made of sticks or a sled, as well as deer, a rocking chair and, and, and… Or how about spreading a little artificial snow and creating shoe prints in it?

Doll house accessories can be used for the elf house

There are many accessories for dollhouses that you can also use when making a Secret Santa house.