How to Prepare Gourds to Make Birdhouses

Overview

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Cut a circle measuring approximately 3 inches in diameter in the center of the dried gourd.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

Allow the gourd an additional three to four weeks to sit and cure outdoors.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not attempt to use a fresh gourd. Cutting into a fresh gourd before drying it causes it to decompose. It is necessary to prepare the gourd appropriately before making birdhouses or other crafts.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruning Sheers
  • Cardboard box
  • Sharp paring knife

References

  • Wayne's Word: The Wild and Wonderful World of Gourds
  • Purdue University: Out of Your Gourd!
  • Amish Gourds: Drying Gourds
  • Cornell University: Gourd Growing, Preparation and Drying
  • Ohio State University: Growing and Curing Gourds in the Home Garden
Keywords: gourd crafts, gourd birdhouse, preparing gourd

About this Author

Chelsea Hoffman is a professional freelance writer with works published both on the Web and in print. She currently resides in Las Vegas. The author of the new series of horror novellas, titled "Fear Chronicles," Hoffman's work can also be found on environmental websites like Dobegreen.com, where she helps spread environmental awareness with her mighty pen.