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How can I Dry Gourds?

Diana Bocco
By
Updated Jan 31, 2024
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Gourds are used often in crafts and decorating because of their strong consistence and unique visual appeal. They can be put on display as soon as they are picked up, and they will last for months without any additional help from you. If you want to do something more, however, you can turn them into interesting decorations by drying them. Once dried, gourds can be used in artistic displays to make bowls, birdhouses, and table decorations.

If you have decided to dry a gourd, keep in mind that the process with take six months to a year, depending on its size. If you are working on a project that requires dry gourds, you will either need to buy them already dried at a craft store, or postpone the craft until the materials are ready.

Before drying gourds, wash them with a mix of water and bleach to get rid of any bacteria or fungus that can destroy the plant later on. If you have the opportunity of hanging them from the stem, do so, as this will prevent rotten spots on the base. If hanging them is not possible, place them on a wooden board and remember to turn them frequently so all areas are exposed to air circulation. Always keep gourds in a well ventilated area so any excess moisture can dissipate. To test if they are dried, shake them gently — if you can hear the seeds inside, they're ready. Be gentle with the gourds as they are drying, since they become fragile and prone to soft spots.

After the gourds have dried, they will become hard on the outside and ready to be cut, carved, stained, or painted. You can even wash them or brush them often to remove any superficial dust without being afraid of damaging them, although you should be careful not to damage the decoration. Many people like to use them to make birdhouses and feeders, as they resist all types of weather once dried. To make a basic bird feeder, simply cut a hole on the side of the gourd and fill it with seeds before hanging it out on a tree.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.
Discussion Comments
By anon971462 — On Sep 26, 2014

@anon28244 - A pumpkin shell doesn't dry out; it just rots, so it wouldn't be feasible to do this for a birdhouse, unless you wanted to make a temporary display. Wish it would work, that would be really nice.

By Mykol — On Oct 16, 2012

One year I planted some gourd seeds with the hopes of drying the gourds and using them for some different crafts. I didn't get nearly as many gourds as I was hoping for. This might have been a good thing, because I got busy and never dried them.

I ended up just using them as they were for fall decorations. They lasted like this for a couple of months, but then they started to rot. I have always been fascinated with some of the gourd art I have seen at difference craft fairs and art stands.

Some of the gourds I have seen painted are quite elaborate and very well done. I don't have that much talent, but thought it would be a fun project to do with my kids. I might try planting them again, or I may just buy some that somebody else has planted and go from there.

Drying gourds isn't really a hard or complicated process, it just takes a little bit of time and patience.

By andee — On Oct 15, 2012

My mom has some dried gourd birdhouses than she bought at a craft sale. These are painted gourds with different designs on them, but it doesn't seem like the birds are that attracted to them. They seem to prefer the old wooden birdhouse that has been nailed to the tree for many years over the dried gourds.

By golf07 — On Oct 14, 2012

@anon28244-- I have never tried this using a pumpkin but don't know why it wouldn't work. It would be interesting to try this with a small pumpkin and see if it works the same. You really wouldn't be out much to at least give it a try.

I have a friend who raises her own gourds and she uses them for crafts and to give as gifts to people. I have a dried gourd that has a beautiful flower arrangement in it that I have hanging on my wall.

By anon47986 — On Oct 08, 2009

This has been very helpful. It's hard to find straight-forward directions. Thank you!

By anon28244 — On Mar 13, 2009

Can this be repeated for a pumpkin? I'd like to make a birdhouse from a pumpkin.

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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