Gourd vines are nature’s container store.
Their beautiful fruits have been used for countless centuries as dippers, bird houses, storage boxes, hats, vases, eating bowls, musical instruments, candle holders, salt shakers and anything else you can imagine.
They also make an excellent base for holiday decorations.
With a trip to a farmer’s market (or a search online), you can find an abundance of dried gourds in lots of shapes.
For a special decorating project for Halloween or Christmas, start looking now to find dried bottle gourds with a round bottom and a tall thin top, gourds shaped like big peanuts or pumpkins, or even some the size and shape of eggs. These gourds, when dry, don’t have the colorful skins of smaller gourds, and they make a fantastic canvas for decorations.
Smaller gourds could be Christmas tree decorations while larger gourds could be display decorations like jack-o-lanterns.
Dried gourds have usually been drying for at least a year, sometimes two, and the exterior may be dirty or even molder. Spend a minute washing them with a copper scrubber. Once dry, you may also want to use a little sandpaper to smooth out the hard exterior.
Next, imagine what your gourd could become. Pumpkin-shaped gourds could become a long-lasting jack-o-lantern. A bottle gourd could become a santa with a tall hat, or a snowman, or a penguin.
Get inspiration for your gourd from Christmas cards or holiday napkins, for example.
Using acrylic paints, cover your gourd in a base coat and let dry. You can lightly sketch a design over the base coat with a pencil, then go in with brushes to paint in the details.
Once painted, cover with a clear topcoat to preserve the gourd — this is specially important if you want to display it outside.