Things You'll Need
- 2-3 gourds
- Fine sandpaper
- Scrubbing brush
- Lukewarm water
- Knife or pumpkin carving tool
- Wooden dowel
- Gold spray paint
- Elmer’s glue
- Tea candle (optional)
Are you looking for something fun to do with your kids this fall? Gourd fairy houses make great garden decorations, especially for Halloween. Plus, gourd carving will get you in shape for pumpkin carving early. So head to your nearest farm or pumpkin seller’s and pick out a few crazy shapes that appeal to you and your kids, and then you can get started.
If your gourd has any black mold on it, soak it for a few minutes in lukewarm water. Then, with the scrubbing brush, wash away the mold until there are no more dark clumps on your gourd’s surface.
Using the fine sandpaper, sand down any blemishes or irregularities on the surface of your gourd. Be careful if you are using bumpy gourds such as the bitter gourd—you don’t want to sand down the natural contours of your gourd, you just want to smooth out any irregular patches.
Design your fairy house. Using a marker, draw on the surface of the gourd where you’ll want the windows and door to go. You might want to stand your gourd on a flat surface as you do this so you can see how your gourd will naturally stand once it is finished. You don't want to end up with a door on the ceiling, for example.
Using the knife or pumpkin carving tool, cut a small opening in the top of the gourd. You will need to be able to put the wooden dowel down this opening to remove the pulp from the gourd. If possible, cut it wide enough to fit your hand inside. But with some thinner or bottle-top gourds this might not be possible. If you have a thick-skinned gourd, you might need to use a handsaw.
Using the wooden dowel, scrape the inside of the gourd clean. Discard the pulp and seeds.
Replace the top of the gourd and cut out the windows and doors you have marked on the front of it. If your gourd is thick-skinned, and you have an unwieldy handsaw, you could skip this step.
Your gourd is ready to be decorated. Paint or embellish as desired. Here are some suggestions you might want to try: Cover the entire gourd in gold spray paint. Then, with the sandpaper, sand away patches of the paint, until only a faint shimmer is left in patches over the gourd. This will give your gourd a more magical look. Paint the Elmer’s glue around the windows and door frames, then sprinkle with glitter for a sparkling entryway to your fairy’s home. If subtle isn't your thing, use the paint to make a uniquely colored plant. A fairy would certainly want to live in a neon blue or bright pink gourd.
Once you have finished decorating, you might want to place a light inside your fairy’s new house. If you can do so safely, slide the tea candle into the bottom of the gourd and light it whenever desired. Your fairy’s fanciful new home is complete.
If you don't want to waste your gourd seeds, you can make an easy snack by putting the seeds on a flat oven sheet and baking them for a few minutes. Make sure the type of gourd you purchased is edible by humans before you try this.
Be careful when working with knives, carving implements and handsaws. Also use caution whenever lighting candles. Always blow out the tea light before you go to sleep at night, or whenever it will be in the house unattended.
- If you don't want to waste your gourd seeds, you can make an easy snack by putting the seeds on a flat oven sheet and baking them for a few minutes. Make sure the type of gourd you purchased is edible by humans before you try this.
- Be careful when working with knives, carving implements and handsaws. Also use caution whenever lighting candles. Always blow out the tea light before you go to sleep at night, or whenever it will be in the house unattended.
Ellen Goodlett has been a writer since 1999. Her work has been published in the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" and "Nimbus" magazine. Goodlett holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and languages from Bryn Mawr College.