I love crafting with gourds. Gourds can be turned into anything from birdhouses, to toys, lamps, purses, bowls, music instruments, to… you name it; the only limit is ones imagination. The neat thing about gourds is that three different people can look at the same good and see three or more different things it could be.
One of my favorite gourds to craft with is the siphon or dipper gourd. This is such a fun gourd to grow. If allowed to grow on the ground the long neck twists and turns into all kinds of shapes and directions. These I turn into whale or fish birdhouses.
On the other hand, if I grow the gourds over a trellis or fence and allow the gourds to hang, the neck is long and straight. I use these gourds for dippers and swan birdhouses.
Same gourd seeds with different results, depending upon how they are grown.
Growing gourds from seeds takes about 120 days or so. Then the gourds need to be completely dry which takes anywhere from a couple of months to almost a year, depending upon the size of the gourd, the weather, etc. Don’t cut the gourds before they are completely dry or they will rot.
Next is the dirty, nasty part of gourd crafting, cleaning the gourds. Some gourds dry pretty clean. Others look old, moldy and yucky. I don’t know how many people have told me they grew gourds, but the gourds turned moldy, so they threw them away. Stop!!!
If the gourds are hard they are good. Scrub the mold and dirt using a steel wool pad, detergent and a little bleach. Allow drying and they are ready for crafting. Visit the American Gourd Societies web page for safely precautions when working with gourds www.americangourdsociety.org.
To make a swan or whale birdhouse, cut a 1 ½ inch hole in the gourd for entrance to the birdhouse. I use to cut the hole by hand using a sharp knife or dremil tool. Now my husband uses a hole cutter on his drill. I position the hole where the mouth would be on a whale and about three inches from the bottom on the front for a swan.
Clean out the seeds and gourd guts. Using the point of a knife or drill add three small holes in the bottom to allow for drainage for the birdhouse.
I used acrylic paint. For the whale paint the area of the whales bottom white, allow to dry, and then give a second coat. When dry, paint the rest of the whale black. When dry spray on a coat of clear gloss acrylic or use a brush on sealer if desired.
To create a swan birdhouse gourd, paint the gourd white with acrylic paint. Paint the beak black. I like to decorate the swan with vines, leaves and flowers in pastel colors, but the swan could be left all white or decorated anyway you like. Finish with a coat of clear coat acrylic, either sprayed on or brushed on.When dry add black plastic eyes from the craft store and a leather lace for hanging.
Gourd birdhouse will last for years bringing smiles to you and a home to the birds.