The man who lived in our house before us was a farmer through and through. He left us an orchard, and a huge wood shop (he used to make and sell cabinets), and a trash bag full of dried out “bird house” gourds…among other things. He used to wood burn images of hunting and animals and landscapes on them an sell them on the side. Now the left over plain ones are all mine to do whatever I want with them.
I had never worked with gourds before and I had never wood burned anything. As for wood burning, the concept seemed easy enough. As for the gourds, I just had no clue. Fortunately, the gourds had been dried out already (…for about a decade in my attic) but unfortunately for anyone who wants to do it on there own it doesn’t seem like a very fun process. ( http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetables/a/DryingGourds.htm )
Anyway, I decided I would try my hand at making a tutorial on what I did when I found my gourd.
What you need to recreate these steps is…
A dried gourd
medium grit sand paper (or sanding block)
pencil (or stamp with brown ink)
Cream and Charcoal colored paint
Wood burning tool and tips
Orange colored fine tip marker
Matte clear coat spray
I started by shoving an x-acto knife at the base of the cone part and cutting the entire top off at an angle. Inside was a gross, dry cobweb of that gunk that you find holding all the seeds together when you carve any pumpkin for Halloween. There was a bunch of seeds inside as well which I plan to plant. I don’t know if they’ll grow or not but I know several plants can remain in a dormant state for decades so we’ll see.
Anyway, after removing all the extra stuff, it looked a little like this.
I sanded down the inside so the veins weren’t so pronounced. I didn’t take a picture of it at the time but hopefully you can get the drift from this one.
I then drew a picture on the bottom that I wanted to wood burn into the gourd. I made a couple trial runs on the bottom and then I decided I wanted to paint the entire thing cream colored. I painted it and then I redrew my little flowers.
If you don’t want to draw your own image, you can stamp it on. I would use brown ink if you stamp though so it would look more like then burn in case you make a mistake.
After making sure my image was just the way I wanted it, I started wood burning. Let me tell you, a lot easier said than done. I think I screwed up a dozen times, but thankfully, you can’t really tell unless you look 🙂
After I finished wood burning the image on, I decided a little color would be nice. I colored in the petals with an orange fine tipped marker and I thought it looked awfully nice.
I then covered the entire thing with a matte clear coat.
Now comes the hard part – realizing when you’re actually done with a project. I liked the way it looked on the outside but the inside was still unfinished. So I painted the entire inside cream as well which was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. The inside of the shell was spongy and absorbed the paint which was really annoying. I ended up going through an entire bottle of paint on one little gourd! Then I thought I would add a little depth by painting the bottom of the inside a charcoal gray.
So looking at it from the front it looks like this.
I think I’m going to do one more thing to it before I’m done. I think I’ll add one blade of grass and a flower to the back, directly in the center, on the inside. I’ll color it orange as well so I think it’ll bring it all together well at the end.
Ta Da! This is the finished product. I think I like it 🙂
I hope you enjoyed!
For more ideas on what to do with any gourds you might come across try these links.
Gourd Candle Holder
World of Gourd Art