How to Craft with Gourdscomments (14) October 29th, 2014
Gourds for crafting are called "hard-shell gourds." They're green in the field, but after harvest, they slowly dry out, leaving a woody shell and lots of crafting possibilities. You can often find them at farmer's markets in early fall or online from retailers such as Welburn Gourd Farm or Amish Gourds.
Here's a rundown on gourd crafting, courtesy of my mom, Pam Harris.
What you'll need:
- Hard-shell gourd
- Large bucket of water
- Scrub sponge
- Pencil with eraser
- Pumpkin-carving saw
- Small paring knife with a sharp point
- Garden gloves
- Dust or surgical mask
- Embellishment materials (discussed below)
Choosing a Gourd
Select your gourd based on a shape that is pleasing to you or that will work well for the project you have planned. For instance, a very round gourd with a flat bottom will be more stable as a flower vase than a tall, thin gourd would be.
Look for cracks in the gourd's surface. Although a cracked gourd could be used for a project where you will be cutting out the cracked portion, it's usually better to start with a gourd that is free of cracks, as the area around the crack is very delicate.
Sometimes a gourd will have a "mouse hole" in it. If I like the shape of the gourd and the hole is in a "convenient" place, I will go ahead and use it for a project.
Don't let the surface mold and grime affect your decision in selecting a gourd. The mud, grime, and mold that accumulated during the drying process can usually be easily removed.
Cleaning a Gourd
This is a simple process. Just soak the gourd in water for about 10 minutes, then scrub it with a heavy-duty scrub sponge (I use Scotch Brite, which has a nice, rough surface).
Most gourds can be cleaned in less than 10 minutes. Some areas of mold and dirt will come right off with light rubbing; others will take a little more effort. After cleaning, allow the gourd to dry for about 30 minutes.
Some gourds will have natural discoloration that appears in a random, uneven pattern. This can't be removed-it's best to consider it part of the natural beauty of the gourd.
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