Gourd purses are becoming all the fashion rage. This confirms what I say all the time, “There isn’t anything that can’t be made from a gourd”. The first gourd purses that came to my attention several years ago came from Peru. These purses are crafted from the wonderful thick gourds that grow in warm climates like Peru.
The Peruvians have a very distinctive style when it comes to decorating their gourds, be it purses, bowls or Christmas ornaments. The gourd design is burned into the gourd and then painted with leather stain, usually in browns and black. The designs are often of birds and animals such as owls, frogs, birds and bees. To see a Gourd Purse from Peru go to www.oneworldprojects.com.
To make a one of a kind gourd purse for yourself or for a gift you will need:
One hard shell canteen gourd. Canteen gourds can be found at the local farmer’s market or ordered from a gourd grower online. Visit www.americangourdsociety.org for a list of gourd growers in your area.
Leather stain in your choice of colors and a leather strap and leather scraps will also be needed. Leather stain and straps can be found in craft shops that carry leather crafting supplies. Leather stain can be found at a shoe repair shop and leather strapping can be found at tack shops or anywhere riding equipment is sold. Leather stain and straps may also be ordered online at www.shoeshineexpress.com.
A finish of some sort will be needed to coat the gourd purse. Choose a clear coat spray or brush on finish from the hardware store. Also at the hardware store purchase grommets and a grommet tool to attach the grommets to the gourd.
To close the purse I use Velcro glued onto the gourd with contact cement.
Begin by marking the gourd into thirds with a pencil. Cut the gourd using a dremil tool all the way around on the top 1/3 mark. You should have 2 pieces, one piece 1/3 and the second piece 2/3 in size. The smaller 1/3 size will be the top of the purse.
Clean out the gourd to remove all seeds and gourd “guts”. Paint the outside using leather stain in the desired design. When dry spray or brush on clear coat varnish to seal the design.
Next using a piece of leather scrap attach the leather as a hinge to the back of the purse using four grommets. Measure the leather strap to the size strap that fits comfortably
on your shoulder and attach the ends to the purse using the grommets. Glue on the Velcro closer and allow to dry overnight.
The gourd purse is ready to go out on the town or to be given as a gift.