Sunday, July 8, 2012

First Gourd Project

'Sending a special wink to Linda Ashmore !  *WINK*  ;-)  Click HERE for her website.  Her gourds are awesome!  To read the post about Linda's class, click THERE .

So this is my first gourd project without an instructor. YIKES!  Things actually turned out very well though! 

Let's begin with a "before and after" comparison.  Clean gourds on the left, decorated gourds on the right!  Yay me!

They have to be cleaned first.  This is how gourds look after being dried.  They have mildew and dried gunky stuff on them.  This is what gives them an interesting "patina" though.  Here is a pile of small gourds dumped in my sink waiting to be scrubbed.  'Kinda icky, huh?  

After scrubbing, but still wet, here's how they look.  'Not so bad.  I like how similar they are to wood.

A kitchen brush and one of those copper wire scrubber things worked well for me.  I just squirted hand soap on them and started cleaning.  Some of the gourds cleaned very easily while others took some effort.  It seems to help to dampen them and let them sit for a little while before attempting to scrub them. 

Here is the basket of small clean gourds ready for me to begin.  Oh, my!  At this point, I need courage! 

For my first project, I really just wanted to see how they responded to one coat of leather dye.  Hobby Lobby only had two colors the day I was there, so I grabbed one of each.  "Desert Tan" and "Acorn Brown". 

Handsome Husband had a can of polyurethane left over from one his projects, so I grabbed that, too! 

It was pretty simple, really.  I just smoothed on the leather dye, then rubbed it around the gourd, working pretty quickly.  The gourds seem to really grab it.  Once the dye was dry, I stepped outside and gave them a quick zap of poly. 

The gourds that had a lot of warts were just sprayed with the poly.  I wasn't sure I could get the dye around them very well.  I think they are actually my favorites, though.  I love seeing all the color variants. 

Here they are on my black coffee table, ready to hop back in the basket.  I love how each one takes on the color slightly differently.  I am really drawn to the speckles and flaws.   

You can probably tell the group on the upper left side have Desert Sand leather dye on them.  The upper right side is Acorn Brown and the ones along the front only have polyurethane. 

All together in the basket... 

I paired them with my gourd made from Linda Ashmore's Class  at  Ozark Folkways  along with a wonderful picture book about chickens.  It is "The Illustrated Guide to Chickens" by Celia Lewis.  If you love chickens, consider adding this book to your coffee table! 

Whew!  The first gourd project on my own is under my belt.  It was easier than expected and loads of fun.  I think I'll go find the wood burner and scrub another gourd.  Who knows what will happen after that! 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the joy!    ;-)  -Marci


  1. Great job, Marci! They make a really nice arrangement with the 3 colors. (warty gourds will take the dye pretty well. Just rub with the cloth like we did in class. The "warts" will make some nice subtle shades of color ). Please post on my FB page and tell about them. I'm really proud of you for getting your first solo project done. There's no stopping you now!

  2. Hi, Linda! Thank you for visiting! Gourds are my new crafty addiction! They are so much fun. Thanks for the tip about the "warts". I'll try that next time. BTW... This has been posted on your FB page. ;-) -Marci

  3. Hi, Shannah! Thank you! This project was loads of fun! -Marci

  4. Can you only use them decoratively?

    I found this through Thriving on Thursdays. I have linked in bacon and scrambled egg rolls. Have a great week.

  5. Oh wow- this is really cool! I've never seen anyone do this before. They look really pretty together in the basket.

  6. Hi, Carole! I love "Thriving on Thursdays", too! I'll have to check out your recipe. Thank you for sharing it! -Marci

  7. Hello, Brooke! Thank you for visiting my blog! I only know how to use them decoratively, however they have been used in so many different ways through out time. I'll have to experiment and let you know! -Marci

  8. I have painted gourds since 1980 in a hundred different ways, but have never used leather dye. How creative! I will warn you working with gourds can be addicting. Just wait until you start cutting them. Came over from Ladybird Lane.
    Distressed Donna Down Home

  9. Hi, Donna! Thanks for the warning. I can definitely see the chance for addiction! Gourds are so much fun!! -Marci

  10. Wow, never would have thought to dye gourds but I love it!

    1. Thank you, Becky! Linda is a total genius with gourds. I am taking another class from her in November. 'Can't wait! -Marci

  11. Great job - they're beautiful. Thanks for linking up at the fall harvest link up!

  12. Good to learn about this technique, Thanks.


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