Gourds come in two varieties, hard shelled and ornamental. The ornamental variety has soft skin, and it is embellished with bright autumn colors, textures, and beautiful designs. Hard-shelled gourds such as the bottle variety can be dried, cleaned out, and used for birdhouses, bowls, dishes, vases, and much more. They are handy containers provided by nature, and they are really very easy to transform into useful and decorative items. Use the following method to dry a bottle gourd. If desired, embellish it with paint or turn it into something handy. The options for decorating and using gourds are only limited by the imagination.
When to Pick a Gourd
Once the stem of a gourd is completely dried out and brown, it is ready to pick and dry for crafting. After fully cleaned and dried it can be saved for future use.
How to Remove the Outer Shell
The outer shell of a bottle gourd is extremely hard, and it must be removed. To remove the outer shell before attempting to dry it, wrap it in a towel or rag that has been soaked in a combination of warm water and pine cleaner or another liquid cleaning product. It will help soften the hard outer shell. It could soften overnight, or it could take a complete day to fully soften. After it is soft and pliable, it can be scraped off with a butter knife or a putty knife. Use any tool that seems to work well to get the job done.
Where to Dry a Prepared Bottle Gourd
Dry a prepared bottle gourd by hanging it in a location that is somewhat warm. An enclosed porch that receives plenty of warm sunlight is a good location. A warm garage is also a good place to dry a gourd. It will have to hang at least a week to fully dry.
How to Open and Clean a Dry Bottle Gourd
To open a dry bottle gourd neatly and cleanly, begin by drawing a line using a pencil. Create a starting line for cutting with a serrated knife, and carefully cut it open with a hacksaw. The inside will be filled with seeds and pulp. Remove the innards of the bottle gourd, and scrape out the inside with a large metal serving spoon to create a smooth surface. Strings and adhesions that will not come out can be soaked with warm water and scraped again.
To finish the bottle gourd, put on a pair of gloves, and use steel wool to give the interior a smooth finish. Allow the bottle gourd to continue to dry as long as necessary. Coat the exterior with varnish, paint and decorate it, or keep it natural.
How to Make the Interior of a Gourd Waterproof
A gourd that will be used as a planter or a vase can waterproofed on the inside as well as the outside. Melt a small block of paraffin, and pour it into the dry bottle gourd. Rotate the bottle gourd until the paraffin coats the entire inside. Once the paraffin is dry, the vessel will hold cool or room temperature water without melting away. Store a paraffin-lined bottle gourd in a cool dry location for best results and years of use.