Easy St. Patrick’s Day Gnome Painting Tutorial with Template
In this easy step-by-step painting tutorial, learn how to paint a St. Patrick’s Day Gnome using acrylic paints. I even have a free printable template, so you don’t have to draw a thing!
I have painted this lucky guy a few times now, and it is always fun! There are just so many ways to customize it! This lesson walks you through a pretty simple version which leaves you lots of room to get creative.
Grab your kids, grandkids, or throw a fun girls’ night and have fun adding a cute saying, rainbow, a pot of gold, or all three to this St. Patricks’ Day craft project.
There is nothing neat or perfect about the painting style, so let loose and have fun together!
- 11×14 canvas or canvas board
- Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint in Pumpkin Orange, Sunkissed Peach
- Craft Smart acrylic paint in Turquoise, Apple Tart
- DecoArt Acrylic Craft Paint in Sour Apple, Black, White, Festive Green, Metalic Gold
- Large Round Brush
- Detail Brush Set
- Acrylic Paint Pens in Black and White
- Metallic Gold Paint Pen
- St. Patrick’s Day Gnome template
Trace the Template
Begin with tracing your gnome onto your painting surface. Grab the St. Patrick’s Day Gnome template HERE. If you print it off on a standard 8.5×11 sheet, it will fit an 11×14 canvas with lots of space for all those extra additions you might add.
Use graphite paper to transfer an outline onto the surface. You don’t have to be exact since the paint will be covering it. I go more in-depth on how to do this HERE.
Then draw over your outline with Sharpie so the lines don’t get lost as we start painting.
Paint the Background
The first thing to paint is the background. Any large brush will do as long as you can load it up with enough paint, so it glides nicely during your application and fills all those grooves in the canvas.
When painting, bring your paint right up to the black outline. I admit I don’t like it to look like the color just stops right at the line and overlap it a little, but try not to be too messy. In the next step, I will show you how to cover the overlap.
I chose to use a white and turquoise blue blend to paint my sky. I like the texture created when I load my brush with two colors. You want some variation.
Like the sky, I grab two greens to blend together on the canvas for my grassy ground.
Once I had a base layer on, I decided to blend in dark green towards the bottom and under the gnome as a shadow. I made sure the first coat of paints was all still wet so I could blend a smooth transition. It didn’t take much paint to make a difference.
Don’t be afraid to play with your colors, and blend and mix right on your canvas. It’s much more fun to look at with all the variations of color in it than just a solid color.
Be creative and make it your own.
My sky needed a second coat of paint. I kind of had that feeling when I was applying the first layer. But, in contrast to my suggestion for blending paint colors on your canvas, you have to use thin coats of paint when trying to get opaque coverage. If you keep adding more and more paint all at once, you will end up with a gloppy mess.
How to Paint the Gnome
Now we get to paint this lucky fellow!
The first thing we want to do is paint the whole interior of the gnome design white. Just a quick, thin coat. Even if you overlapped the outline with your background colors, you should still be able to see the line. Fix those lines with your white paint.
Once that is dry, we can add some color!
I painted my gnome with an orange beard, a green coat, and a striped stocking cap. You can paint yours with any colors your heart desires. I think it would be so cute to line a few gnomes up on a large canvas and paint them all with different shades of beard and outfits.
I began by painting the body a vibrant kelly green with a small to medium brush, dipping into my darkest green to create shadows.
To get those smooth lines around the edge, make sure you have enough paint on your brush and press it into the canvas so that it comes up to the outline, then pull along the line.
I don’t want to paint the beard or hands just yet because they are too close to the wet paint, so we need to jump around to another green section, the hat.
I don’t want his outfit to be all one color, and I decided to use a dark green as the base color on the stocking cap. After I have the whole hat covered, I add a little bit of light green on one side for some highlights and darkened the area where the hat folds with a touch of black.
Then I painted the puffball gold!
While that dries, fill in the nose and hands with a skin tone. I love how the gnome nose peeks out from the hat!
Now it’s time to paint the beard. I filled mine in with a true vibrant orange. And because I had some gold paint on my plate, I mixed a little in for the luster of copper. Then, I used white paint feathered in for the hairlike texture.
How to Paint Stripes on the Stocking Cap
Just like everything else, it is up to you if you want to add stripes to your St. Patrick’s Day Gnome’s cap. It looks great as is and could be adorable with spots too.
When painting stripes on the hat, remember you don’t want them to be perfect. Fabric has lots of movement to it, and if you make your stripes totally smooth and straight, it will look odd.
I am using the thickness of one single brushstroke as the thickness of my stripe and just eyeballing the distance between each. Move kind of quickly and bow up in the center, following a similar curve of the hat’s brim. As you work your way up, the lines become less curved. Then, place them at a bit of an angle for the area that is flopped over.
Paint the Shamrock
Next, paint a thin layer of green covering the shamrock. The leaves overlap the gnome and will take more than one layer.
Don’t forget the stem! I used a darker green to paint it and to create some texture on the leaves.
The shamrock has a super simple shape with heart-shaped petals if you want to sketch one yourself. You could easily modify it to make a lucky four-leaf clover!
After the base coat is dry, add another thin layer to your clover, using all your greens to blend in shadows and highlights.
Painting the Flowers
While you are bouncing around your painting and waiting for the layers of paint to dry, you can add some vibrant flowers in the grass or any other fun additions.
I used hot pink and a small round brush to paint my flowers. My technical term for the technique I use for these is “smooshing.” 😂
Load your brush up with paint, press the bristles into the canvas, and just smoosh it around a bit. The key here to have variation in sizes and spacing of the flowers.
Some should be smaller, some bigger, and not look like a pattern. If it is starting to look like a pattern, go in there and switch it up.
They can cluster and overlap- the variation gives your painting interest.
At first, these flowers may look like a hot mess, but you have to trust the process.
Move quickly, so you don’t overthink it too much.
Because we are layering pink over the green, the areas with less coverage, you see that darkness coming through. Those areas will act as our shadows!
Then, mix in some orange and white to create coral-colored blends in a few flowers.
Finally, add a spot of white or black to a few of the centers. And just like that, your gnome is in a field of poppies!
Add Accent Lines
Now it’s time for some of my favorite finishing details- accent lines. I use them in many of my paintings. I like to use acrylic paint pens, but you could also create them with a fine detail brush and a very light hand.
If you are using paint pens, make sure whatever you are drawing on is completely dry, or you will ruin your tip.
I went all out and used white, black, and gold acrylic paint pens to make accent marks all around my St. Patrick’s Day gnome painting.
I like to add the black outline around where my sketch was because it adds movement. It kind of just makes the whole image come off the page more.
When doing so, I am not worried about it being perfect. They don’t need to be connected. Just sketch-like lines.
Then I add the white and gold to make highlights and add a bit of pizazz in the stripes of the stocking cap.
Watch Christie’s Full St. Patrick’s Day Gnome Painting Tutorial
Just play around. If you are not happy with something, you can always go back and paint over it. Anything can be fixed!
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