The gourd family of plants comprises of hundreds of vining plants that produce fruits such as pumpkins, loofah, or hard-shelled ornamentals. Hard-shelled ornamental varieties are often dried and hollowed out for crafts such as centerpieces, seasonal displays, and outdoor birdhouses for wild birds that thrive in your region. Preparing a gourd to make a birdhouse provides you with a simple project that provides you with the materials needed to make decorative habitats for finches, sparrows, and other small feathered guests.
Clip a gourd from the vine leaving approximately 2 inches of the stem intact. Make a clean cut, making sure not to pinch or twist the vine. Pinching or twisting the vine constricts the porous fibers within the stem, which hinders the gourd's ability to dry. Cutting the stem too short can have the same effect.
Set the gourd in a cardboard box on your front porch or other outdoor area. The thick skin of the gourd allows it to sit safely exposed to outdoor elements, as long as the skin is not punctured or lacerated.
Allow the gourd up to six months to dry thoroughly. Smaller gourds can take less time. To help the drying process along, tilt the gourd upside down, so the stem is at the bottom of the gourd instead of the top.
Cut a circle measuring approximately 3 inches in diameter in the center of the dried gourd.
Shake the gourd and allow the dried insides to fall out of it. If necessary, scrape the insides out with your fingers, making sure not to break the gourd.
Allow the gourd an additional three to four weeks to sit and cure outdoors.