How to Make Gourd Art
Simple gourd project doubles as a basket and bird feeder. Find out how to make your own with these simple instructions.
By Linda Lancaster, Ada, Oklahoma
Wow! Welcome to the wonderful world of gourds.
That was my response when I first started looking into the process of transforming gourds into art. With dozens of available designs and entire books dedicated to gourd art, I knew I was onto something good.
Right away, I decided to create a basket out of a dried gourd that my friend gave me, but I couldn't find any instructions. I decided to come up with a design of my own, using a wood-burning technique. (You could also paint your design in a similar fashion.)
Now, my finished gourd doubles as a decorative basket or a bird feeder. And best of all, the entire project cost me nothing!
Tools and Materials
- Masking tape
- Dremel tool
- Stain, varnish or paint
- Wood-burning tool (around $25 if you don't have one)
- Determine how high up the side of the gourd you want to make the basket rim, then place masking tape around the circumference.
- Use a long strip of masking tape to divide the gourd in half vertically. Start on one side of the gourd at the rim line and go down to the bottom and up the other side. Repeat on the other side.
- Use shorter strips of tape to fill in areas. You only need to go from the rim line to the bottom of the gourd. (You might have some overlap at the bottom of the gourd. This didn't affect my basket because I didn't continue the pattern all the way to the bottom.)
- Add horizontal lines to simulate a weave. Use short pieces of tape and encircle the gourd.
- Now you're ready to burn your design. The wood burner will burn through the tape and into the gourd. (If you choose to paint the weave pattern instead, simply place your tape farther apart so you can paint between the lines.) Burn (or paint) the weave pattern over the entire taped area.
- Remove the tape, and add any additional designs you like. (I found that darkening the corners of each square added depth to the weave.)
- Now you're ready to finish your piece. Tape off the handle and use a Dremel or similar tool to cut out the handle and top rim of the basket.
- Remove the seeds and dried membranes from inside the gourd.
- Sand the insides of the gourd.
- Stain, varnish or paint. (I used a wood stain.)