how to make swedish tomte nisse

How to make a Swedish Tomte

How to make Swedish Tomte 

Have you ever seen those cute little Scandi style gnomes that seem to be everywhere these days?  People are calling them Christmas Gonks quite a lot, but they are in fact Tomte, They are part of Scandinavian folklore and here I will tell you all about them and how you can make your own for a fraction of the cost of the ones I have seen for sale everywhere.


Make scandi style christmas nisse
How you can make your own Christmas Gnomes or Swedish Tomte Nisse

What are Swedish Tomte Nisse?

The Tomte Nisse are those cute Christmas Elves (not to be confused with the Elf on the shelf who I am not a big fan of) that you see in anything to do with Scandinavia at Christmas.  They are part of an ancient folklore tale of a mischievous sprite, but over time this has evolved to be the JuleNisse who is a friendly character not dissimilar to our Santa Claus who visits Scandinavian Children on Christmas Eve with toys and asks if there any good children in the house.  

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Why I love Swedish Tomte

As a young child I lived in Norway and we always the majority of our family’s Christmas traditions and Christmas decorations were bought in Bergen in Norway.  So we always had Swedish Tomte (well probably Norwegian Tomte actually) hanging from our Christmas Tree.  They have a special place in my heart as they just remind me of Christmas as a child.  Recently I went back to visit Bergen and bought a big JuleNisse, but he seemed lonely so I have been busy making him some friends…

Great Christmas Eve activity with the kids

If you do a Christmas Eve box making a Swedish Tomte could be a great addition and a lovely Christmas activity to do together as a family.  Both my 8 year old and my 6 year old were able to do the stitches required.  I didn’t let them loose with the hot glue gun of course, but that was my job.

How to make Swedish Tomte

I thought the easiest way to explain how to make a Swedish Tomte would be to show you so watch the below video and then head back here for the list of everything you need to get to make your Christmas Gnomes


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Making your own Scandi style Christmas Gnomes or Tomte Nisse is a lovely family activity and here I show you how

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Uses for a Swedish Tomte

  1. As a hanging Christmas Decoration.  If you make small ones you can stitch a ribbon loop into the back of his hat and then hang your Tomte from the tree
  2. As a festive doorstop.  I would probably stuff it with baking beads as they are heavier if I wanted to do this
  3. As a Christmas themed stuffed toy.  If giving this to my children I wouldn’t use a glue gunned bead as the nose in case this came off as it could be a choking hazard.  Instead just a felt nose would suffice
  4. As a table centre that it is just a little bit different.  You could use a few of the Swedish Tomte (smaller ones) around a candle (one in a glass jar will be necessary)
  5. In front of a fireplace.  That is where our little family of JuleNisse are hanging out


What you will need to make your own Christmas Gnomes / Tomte Nisse

A sheet of red felt

A sheet of Grey Felt

White and or red embroidery thread

A needle 


A hot glue gun

Stuffing – I bought a very cheap cushion and just pulled out some of the stuffing which was a lot cheaper than getting a big bag of toy stuffing

Rice or beads for weight

A round bead for the nose

White faux fur for the beard 

Sewing Stitch you need to know

The Blanket Stitch – this is the main stitch used when making a Swedish Tomte as it looks very decorative and is great for sealing in the stuffing.  If you don’t know how to do a blanket stitch Red Ted Art has a great video which shows you exactly how to do it.


Family Christmas Planner Printables

So that is it everything you need to know about how to make your own little family of Swedish Tomte for your home at Christmas.  They really do look so cute and the addition of felt gives that natural and soft feeling of warmth that we all love around Christmas time.

10 thoughts on “How to make a Swedish Tomte”

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  3. Oh wow, you learn something new every day! I hadn’t realised the traditions attached to Tomte Nisse. I had thought of them as sweet little decorations, but not little elves who are part of an ancient folklore tale. #DreamTeamLinky xx

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