August 28, 2014
Thanks for stopping by during your busy day! I like to keep things short and sweet so you can learn a little something then get back to life. Hope you enjoy!
This tutorial will walk you through the steps to create a simple and lovely bowl made from a gourd.
Step 1: Gather materials. To begin, you will need a gourd, wash basin with soap/water, scrubber, a little elbow grease, and some good music. After you have cleaned the gourd’s exterior, you will need a saw, variety of scoopers (be resourceful- spoons, pumpkin cleaners, etc.), dust mask, and sandpaper. Once it is cut and the interior is cleaned, be creative with how you decorate your bowl, any number of materials may be used. Or, if you prefer, you can leave it just as it is and it will look great. Whatever you decide, you will need to seal it. I use Krylon’s Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze because it dries fast, is simple to apply, coats evenly, and adds a great luster. Ok, let’s get going!
Step 2: Clean the gourd’s exterior. Fill a wash basin with water with a little soap and bleach. A gourd is covered in all sorts of molds (this is totally normal! some look pretty gnarly- be not afraid!), so the bleach will disinfect the surface preventing mold from growing in the future. Steel wool, metal kitchen scrubbers and the like are imperative to the cleaning process. Remember, elbow grease was on the supplies list- I never said this would be easy. Clean the surface until all visible signs of mold are gone. If some spots are stubborn, grab a knife and gently scrape it off then scrub again. Once it is free of foreign debris, set it out to dry.
Wash and scrub gourds in water with soap and bleach. Exterior should be free from any white film or other foreign debris. Warts and mold scars are a natural part of the gourd’s surface, don’t bother removing these. The 2 here are ready to dry.
Set out to air dry. Surface will appear dull and no moisture should be felt.
Step 3: Begin the Brainstorm! While the gourd dries, take the moment to gain inspiration and develop ideas for what you want your finished product to look like, or at least how you will cut it in the next phase. Search online, thumb books, look around your backyard– flashes of innovation surround you!
Step 4: Draw where the hole will be onto the gourd. A simple way to draw this is to make a compass using a string and pencil. Holding the string at the top (or bottom) and drawing an equidistant line gives a nice round line that is more or less level to the bottom. I usually go around 3 times then assume an average line.
Step 5: Cut the gourd along the line you just drew. An amazing woman by the name of Elaine taught me the art of gourd crafts while under the awful siege of cancer. After she passed, her husband kindly lent me her supplies to use. In that arsenal, was a handheld jigsaw that makes this step a dream. Thank you Elaine and Bill for your generosity, sharing a great many gifts with me! On former projects, I used a hacksaw, so that is an option if power tools aren’t available to you.
Here is that beauty of a saw plus a dust mask. Gourds produce lots of fine dust when sawed and sanded. Protect yourself!
To start, use a flathead screwdriver or some sharp object laying around to poke a hole to start off. Dried gourds are hard like wood, so go slow and be patient while cutting. If you still have that good music, now is great time to crank it. Keep the top and the seeds as they can be used in a number of ways for other projects down the road. Or, depending on where you live, plant them and produce your own crop! A tool that I think works wonders for this step is a craft knife often found with potting tools. A gourd is not flat, so having a curved tool is critical in getting all the fibers out. Spoons, pumpkin scoops (if they’re sharp enough), sharp rocks, the list goes on- just look around and start scraping!
Step 6: Clean it out! Keep the top and the seeds as they can be used in a number of ways for other projects down the road. Or, depending on where you live, plant them and produce your own crop! A tool that I think works wonders for this step is a craft knife often found with potting tools. A gourd is not flat, so having a curved tool is critical in getting all the fibers out. Spoons, pumpkin scoops (if they’re sharp enough), sharp rocks, the list goes on- just look around and start scraping!
Step 7: Smooth the interior with sandpaper. After you’ve scraped out the innards, keep that dust mask on and get to sanding. Sand until you are content with the smoothness of the inside and the finish is suitable for the bowls purpose. If you plan on painting the interior, it doesn’t need to be too perfect.
Step 8: Paint interior. For this tutorial, I painted the interior with black acrylic paint because that’s what I had on my shelf beside me and black gives the gourd a finished look while covering all flaws. If you have black spray paint and a precise hand, you can paint the inside that way. (Note- these paints are not suitable for food!)
Step 9: Decorate exterior. After the interior is dry, decorate the exterior. There are endless possibilities for this step! I’ve chosen Adirondack alcohol inks by Ranger. These are vibrant, easy to apply, quick to dry, and build-able in color. In addition, they can be used with pyrography, under wax, under acrylics, etc.
Use a cheapo cosmetic sponge, cotton swab, or thin felt stamping thing to apply. Always use a tray underneath! Squirt ink onto pad then start applying in circlar motions going round and round until you are content with the color and texture.
Step 10: Seal it using the Kyrlon shown here or some other glaze. You must seal both the exterior and the interior. Spray the interior with a few coats, then after it has dried completely , spray the exterior with a few coats.
Step 11: Sit back and admire your beautiful creation!!
I decided to give mine a little more spunk by weaving the rim with some hemp, thread and buttons I had on hand. (See closeup photo below.)
I hate to rush the seasons (or rush anything for that matter), but when my Glads and Rudbeckia are blooming, I’ve got fresh made gourd crafts and a wool infinity scarf (yellow/green plaid in basket above), I HAVE to decorate!! The braided basket and gourd garland is courtesy of Elaine, that wonderful individual I mentioned a moment ago.
Here is a closeup shot of the weave with buttons as well as a basket that I cut and burned yesterday using a feather motif. I have found that gourd crafting is often very traditional, which isn’t really my flavor, so embellishing with buttons and the like gives this a more modern appeal.
Gourd art aside – Congratulations and Thank You for being the original, inspired individual you were made to be! I encourage you to keep going, growing, and moving in the direction your dreams pull you- even if it is different than the direction your boss, mother or anybody else tells you to go.
Stop by again soon for a tutorial to learn from and share. Also, to encourage you to ” Practice an art, no matter how well or badly, as a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.” Yes, for Heaven’s sake!
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