Making gourd ornaments is a fun and creative way to incorporate nature into your fall craft projects. Although this project does take a bit of artistic skill, you will be rewarded as the result is truly beautiful. A bowl of decorated gourds or a single, large gourd makes a striking center piece for your fall table. Smaller, “jewelry” gourds make excellent Christmas ornaments. Simply attach a wire hook to the stem. You could also hang them from a piece of string looped along the roof of your porch or strung between trees to liven up an outdoor sitting area. Decorated gourds also make wonderful, personalized gifts. This project is also suitable for children, provided an adult does the preparatory cleaning, sanding, and sealing.
You will need:
Gourds can be purchased already washed. If you’ve gotten pre-washed gourds, you can skip right to the sealing or drawing step.
However, if your gourd is not pre-washed, cleaning them is very easy. Mix together a bleach solution of one part bleach to ten parts water. Immerse the gourd in the solution and gently rub with the sponge. This will remove any dirt as well as mildew that may be on your gourd.
Using medium grade sandpaper, smooth the surface of the gourd. There will be many rough patches, but don’t be too much of a perfectionist here. You don’t want to sand so much that you break through the outer skin of the gourd. Blow or wipe away any accumulated dust.
If your finished product is going to be outdoors, on the porch or patio for example, you’ll want to make sure it’s prepared to weather the elements. If you’ll be keeping your gourd inside, you can skip this step. Pour some of the Thompson’s Water Seal into a disposable pan or bucket. Holding the gourd by its stem, immerse it fully in the sealer and gently spin it by the stem to ensure that all sides are fully coated. Keep it fully immersed for several minutes, continuing to spin it and move it through the solution. Lift it out of the sealer and let it drip for a minute or so. Hang it up by its stem over some old newspaper, to protect your floors. Leave it for a week or two to dry completely.
Once your gourd is dry, you can proceed to the decoration. Use a pencil to sketch flowers, pastoral scenes, or geometric designs on the surface of the gourd. If you make any mistakes, the eraser will work quite well on the gourd’s surface. When your outline is complete, use sharpie pens or colored pencils to color the picture or design. If you use pencils, you will notice that some uneven spots still remain, despite the sanding. Cut a cotton swab in half and use the cut edge to gently blend the pencil lines over these problem areas. You may wish to use a fine tipped black sharpie to outline your designs, but that’s a matter of personal preference.