Think of crafting with gourds, and probably the first thing that comes to mind is turning a dried gourd into a birdhouse. There's more to a gourd than that, however. Gourds are among nature's most intriguing and versatile craft materials, suitable for a wealth of potential projects, both practical and purely decorative. Go beyond the basic birdhouse and get creative with some fresh ideas for crafting with gourds.
Once the gourds have been harvested and dried, clean the outside surfaces thoroughly by soaking them for about 10 minutes in warm water, then scrubbing off the outer skin (along with any mold that may have grown there) with a metal pot-scrubber or a wire brush. Dip the cleaned gourds in a mild bleach solution and lay them out to dry in the sun. If you plan to expose the gourd's inner surface, you must clean it as well, by filling and soaking the cut gourd with warm water, then scraping out the inside with a sharp chisel, and finally sanding it smooth.
The basic power tools for cutting gourds include drills, hole saws, jigsaws and rotary craft tools (such as Dremel). A small craft knife with a sharp, serrated blade will also be useful for making initial cuts where saw blades can enter. If you are gourd crafting with children, make sure all of the cutting is done by adults who are experienced with these tools.
An interesting bowl or vase can be produced from a gourd of almost any size or shape. Cut a small opening at the top, then decorate the gourd's surface with acrylic paints, or try using decoupage medium to adorn the gourd with dried pressed flowers and leaves. If the gourd's natural shape suggests an animal, a human figure or maybe a snowman, let inspiration guide you to paint on the features and details you envision.