Humans have used dried gourds for bird houses for centuries. When you make your gourd bird house, choose a bottle gourd, which has an elongated shape that is excellent for bird houses. Make sure your gourd is dried and completely cleaned before you begin constructing your bird house. Shake the gourd vigorously to check; if you hear the seeds rattling inside, then it is completely dried. Including additional drying time for the preservative and paint, you should be able to complete this affordable gourd bird house within approximately one week.
Make the entrance for your gourd bird house. Hold the gourd upright, noting where the body of the gourd curves out the furthest. Using a keyhole saw or pocketknife, carefully make a circular hole in this location, making sure the hole faces straight out. Adjust the size of the hole based on the kind of bird you're making the house for. According to Amish Gourds, the diameter of the hole can be as small as 1 1/8 inches for chickadees and as large as 2 1/2 inches for flickers.
Soak the gourd in a dishpan full of warm water for three to six hours to let the seeds and pith soften and loosen from the sides. Use a long-handled spoon to scoop out the loose seeds and softened pith, scraping the insides carefully. You don't have to get all of the loose bits, but try to get as much as you can.
Make ventilation and hanging holes in your gourd. Using a 3/8-inch drill bit, drill four holes in the top of your gourd approximately 1 to 2 inches from the center of your gourd's stem. Locate the holes at equal distances from each other.
Make drainage holes in your gourd. Using the same 3/8-inch drill bit, make six to eight holes in the bottom of the gourd to allow for drainage from the bird house.
Place the gourd in wood preservative for approximately 15 minutes. Remove and let it hang-dry for three to four days.
Paint the gourd using an oil-based paint so it won't flake off when hanging outside, exposed to the elements. Use a small paintbrush to apply at least two coats of paint. Amish Gourds suggests that you paint using white or light pastel colors in order to help repel heat during the hot summer months. When the paint is dried, check to make sure the drainage holes aren't clogged.
Thread thin wire through two of the holes in the top of the gourd so you can hang it outside for birds to live in. The remaining two holes will serve for ventilation. When you hang your gourd bird house, make sure it's at the right height for the bird species that you constructed it for.