Carving Gourds

By G.K. Bayne

People have been carving gourds for thousands of years. They're used for water dippers and bowls and birdhouses and feeders. Many gourds carry the nickname of their use on the seed packets, such as dipper gourds and birdhouse gourds. Carving them can be an inexpensive way to generate gifts for people or birds.

Determine the best use of the selected gourd. Round gourds make the best bowls or baskets, while goose neck gourds are perfect for birdhouses and feeders.

Draw the desired pattern on the bowl with a pencil. Leave enough of the gourd intact for strength and stability.

Use the dremel tool with a round saw attachment to cut through the gourd following the pattern you have drawn. For simple bowls, simply cutting a "ball" gourd in half is all that is needed. You can then use other attachments in your dremel kit to scallop the edges or otherwise decorate the bowl.

Shake out any seeds from inside the gourd. If you will be using the gourd as a bowl or vase, scrape out the inside of the gourd until smooth.

Decorate the carved gourd using craft paint, if desired.

Apply several layers of polyurethane on the gourd if it will be used outside or hold liquids.

Tip

Depending on your skill, a gourd can become a work of art.
If a dremel tool isn’t available, you can use a drill and a flexible saw blade, like those used in a scroll saw, to carve the gourd. First make holes around the pattern using the drill, insert the saw blade and work around the design.