The Art of Gourds

Learn how you can make unique and beautiful craft projects, such as flowerpots and bowls, using gourds as your material.

| Fall 2019


Gourds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are perfect for creating decorative projects, such as birdhouses, bowls, flowerpots, and more. These fruits are first classified by the name of their general shape, such as kettle, canteen, gooseneck, and egg, and then by their size. A note may also be added as to whether a gourd is thick-walled, blemished, or has coloration variations on the outer shell. Gourds are measured by height, diameter, and circumference, with the diameter and circumference always being the widest part. For example, a kettle gourd might be noted as being 9 inches in height, 6 inches in diameter, and 19 inches in circumference.

No gourd is absolutely perfect, but working with the peculiarities is part of the fun of gourd art. In fact, projects like the following flowerpot are a great way to use blemished, scarred, and distorted gourds.

Preparing a Gourd

Gourds grow with a natural waxy covering that protects the shell and seeds from water during winter. As the gourd dries, this waxy covering begins to develop a layer of mold that consumes it, exposing the wood-like shell to the elements. The shell can now crack, break, rot, and open, releasing the seeds in the spring. The inside of the gourd can also contain mold and dust.

Any type of mold or fine dust can be hazardous to humans if inhaled, so you should always wear a dust mask while you’re cleaning gourds. Latex gloves should also be warn to protect your skin from coming in direct contact with dust and mold. And you should always clean and sand gourds in a well-ventilated area.

To clean and prepare a gourd, you’ll need the following:



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