Gourd craft styles run the gamut from painted birdhouses to embellished art pieces to intricate wood-burned scenes. There is something for everyone and for all skill levels. The gourd shapes themselves often inspire the type of artistic choice for painting or embellishment. Gourd harvests come in the spring after gourds have been dried and cured over winter. Some major gourd suppliers have a yearly farm festival to sell supplies and gourds of all sizes and shapes. There are several types of craft supplies to choose from to create beautiful gourd art.
Hand carving tools are palm-held tools about 6 inches long with cutting edges of various sizes and shapes. Gourd cutting is easily done by pushing the tool forward with a gentle rocking motion. Small, round birdhouse hole saws are also available in several sizes. Birdhouses made from gourds are especially popular and many suppliers sell birdhouse kits.
Wood-burning tools are used to create realistic scenes on gourds as well as decorative embellishments. Simple hand-held, pen-style burning tools are a good way to get started. There are also several styles of high-speed drills available from gourd craft suppliers.They have pen tip nibs in sizes from 3/32 of an inch to 1/8 inch as well as all size carving bits. Some wood burning tools can reach 2,000 degrees F and should be used with the utmost care.
Painting gourds is a simple way to embellish. Some gourd artists cover the entire gourd with a sturdy outdoor latex base coat before painting designs. Birdhouses have to withstand winter weather, so you need to treat them accordingly. The Amish Gourd website reminds crafters that purple Martin birds are attracted to light-colored birdhouses. Decorative scenes can be painted on gourds using acrylic colors. They are available at all major craft supply stores.