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How to Make Apple Gourd Birdhouses

Apple image by palmer530 from Fotolia.com

Having birdhouses in a garden setting outside your home is a natural way to bring colorful birds and songbirds to your yard. To make the birdhouse even more appealing many times gardeners will grow gourds and turn them into birdhouses over the winter months. While birdhouse gourds are often used, another gourd variety which works well is the apple gourd, and what better way to make apple gourd birdhouses than to paint the birdhouse to look like an apple as well.

Shake your gourd to make sure it is fully dry inside by listening for the seeds inside to rattle. This should usually be about three months after harvesting. Measure up from the base of your gourd by 3 inches. Above the 3 inches draw a circle roughly 1-1/2 inches in diameter.

Cut out the circle with a craft knife with as clean lines as possible, so there aren’t jagged edges around the hole. Shake out the seeds of the gourd through the hole, and use a grapefruit spoon to pull some of the pulp out as well. Pulp left inside the gourd will be turned into nesting material, so pulling out everything isn’t necessary.

Drill four evenly spaced holes into the bottom of your gourd and one more placed 1/2 inch below the opening hole. Drill a final hole just behind the stem at the top of the gourd, and put the eye screw through this hole. Apply glue to the screw eye, if needed, to make it secure, and let the glue dry.

Wipe down the entire outer surface of the gourd with a damp sponge or cloth to remove dust, dirt or moldy looking areas. Let the gourd dry fully before painting with a coat of apple-red-colored paint. Allow the red to dry for two to four hours before putting on a second coat and letting it dry as well.

Paint the stem of the gourd brown, as well as the screw eye, if desired. Paint green leaves, if desired, on the top of the gourd. Add brown details of veining to the leaves down the center to make it look more realistic. Cut your dowel rod to only 2 to 3 inches long, and paint it brown or red and let dry.

Add glue to one end of the dowel rod and slip it into the hole just below the opening of the birdhouse to form a perch. The dowel rod only needs to insert into the birdhouse by a 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Let the glue dry.

Slip a length of wire or leather cording through the eye screw to hang the birdhouse up outside, or inside for decorative purposes. If you are going to use the birdhouse outdoors, spray the finished gourd with a clear acrylic spray to protect your paint and preserve the gourd.

Tip

If the bowl end of the spoon doesn’t fit through your hole, turn the spoon around and use the handle to remove some of the pulp.

You can store the seeds you remove from the gourd for planting the following year.

To create unique looking apples, use faux finishing techniques when applying your second coat of red. This can include adding flecks of green, spots of brown or adding in large portions of lime green, depending on the type of apple you want the birdhouse to look like.

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