Junie's Place: How To Do Gourds (Part One)

Monday, August 28, 2006

How To Do Gourds (Part One)

How To Do Gourds! (Part One)

My blogging friend, Skye, has shown interest in my gourds and asked if I could give some tips on how I work with them.

I will try to put together some information that might be helpful in making pretty gourd art!
I hope others of you find it interesting too!


First things first:

In the past I have grown some gourds but find we do not have the ideal climate or soil for growing them. I bought most of my gourds that I used from a grower in Alabama!

Gourds grow on a vine. There are many types and I have worked with a lot of different kinds. (I will show examples of some of them) I have used small ornamental gourds (the kind you can buy around Thanksgiving) and the bigger ones of many shapes.

The gourds have to be picked when mature and be allowed to dry out, completely, until the seeds rattle inside. This process takes several months!

Gourds can be bought cleaned and ready to use, however, most of the ones I’ve used were dried but not cleaned and ready to use!
(lol- guess I just like to do things the hard way!)

To prepare a gourd, for wood burning-carving or painting, the outside of the gourd must be cleaned and scraped to make a smooth surface.

Step one:

I drape the gourd in rags soaked in white vinegar. This loosens the residue that covers the hard surface of the gourd. This process takes time (sometimes hours) and all the surface of the gourd will have to be covered.

Step two:

After the vinegar has softened the covering I take a small paring knife and scrape the whole gourd, small areas at a time, until the entire covering residue is removed. The gourd can be rinsed with running water, but I never immerse in water. I do this work at my kitchen sink. ( hope you have a disposal, as this can damage the plumbing, otherwise)

Step three:

The gourd must be allowed to dry at least a day, before you can begin your painting, wood burning or carving!

Step four:

After the cleaning of the outside of your gourd, and after it’s dry, you may discover some spots need a little light sanding. If so, use fine sandpaper until you have the smoothness you want.

… to be continued…



At 3:23 PM , Blogger Tammy said...

there are so many creative ways to use gourds...yours is the prettiest...what my late father in law used to do is bring them home from Alabama and drill a hole and string them up on a long line for bird houses...my Hubby's aunt would stand outside after the evening meal and with a chaw of 'bacer in her jaw she would "talk" to the birds...one time one of them got her good (ya know what I mean?) and she laughs about it still!!

At 3:25 PM , Blogger Tammy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:41 PM , Blogger JunieRose2005 said...


I've seen them used a lot in Alabama-and other southern states- on very high poles with crossbars, sometimes, 3 or 4 bars....with a bunch of the gourds together, in rows! These are used for Martin bird houses! The gourds are usually just left natural or painted white (Martins, apparently, are very social birds and like those high-rise housing projects...with all their friends and cousins close by! :)

LOL- I am having fun, digging back into my Gourd Days! In fact, still have a lot of the things I made-and of course-PICTURES!

Lol- enjoyed that story too- of yer husband's aunt!

Junie ( remembering the Gourdy Days!)

At 4:22 PM , Blogger Joy Des Jardins said...

Those gourds might be a lot of work Junie...but the end product is worth it. They are so beautiful. You really have a knack. I just love those Santas...and you have SO many of them. I know you do all kinds...not just Santas. You have spent a lot of hours on these projects, but they are something you have forever and can share with your family and friends. You are very talented Junie....

At 5:49 PM , Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

Thanks, Joy,

I'm happy you like my gourds! I don't have near all of those santas in that are in that latest picture. A lot were made for gifts and a lot were sold....But I DO have enough left (of my gourds and other craft santas) to make it Merry around here at Christmas!

I want to finish this little series of posts because Skye was interested in the process I went through in doing the gourds... so there will be a few more posts and pics about this.(Then I may open a blog just for crafts!...Move all these posts ther-and, hopefully, add to it in the future with new stuff!)

lol- I tell you, one could never get rich making santas- but it was a lot of fun!! (the other things too!)

...The santas, though, were very special to me!
It makes me feel happy, around the holidays,thinking of all the places my santas are doing their little bit in bringing cheer to the homes where they reside! :)Some of my Christmas stuff reaches as far as Virginia, NY, Maine-and all through the south.


At 10:01 PM , Blogger Skye said...

Oh, yay!!!!!

Thank you, Junie!!! :) :) I didn't know you sold your santas too, but I was going to suggest that you SHOULD!

Thanks for doing this. I'm sure other people besides me are interested. That's a great idea to make a separate crafts blog, too!

At 10:11 PM , Blogger JunieRose2005 said...


I don't even MAKE them anymore! But it's been kinda fun talking about all of it again- and posting some pics

More to come!


At 12:29 AM , Blogger Granny said...

I envy you your talent and imagination.

Can't believe I've fallen so far behind on reading your posts but I'm caught up for now.

I like Sarah too. I subscribe to a music service called Rhapsody and it's wonderful.

I wrote one of those vanishing posts once. It's like the fish who got away. The more times I tell the story, the more fantastic that post was (lol).

Take care,


At 12:11 PM , Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

Hi Ann,

Glad you're getting caught up with me!

As for my crafts I think it was more due to a lot of time on my hands, rather than a lot of talent. :)



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