Decorating for the Artistic Soul

How to Dry Gourds for Using with Art

Posted on: October 2, 2008

We’re pulling up an old post from last year because it was such a popular one. We thought it might be a good idea to refresh it here for those of you just visiting us this year. It’s great for the new fall season and can help with your fall decorating ideas.

Fresh Gourds

When it comes to gourd art, many people ask how they can dry out their own gourds for making beautiful hand-crafted designs. If you do not grow your own gourds and would rather skip the drying phase and get right to decorating and designing, you can purchase already dried gourds. There are many great locations to purchase these already dried and prepared gourds and you can be well on your way to creating gourd art in no time at all.

However, if you grow your own gourds or if you’d like to try your hand at drying them yourself, here are some tips for you to follow. Remember that the most important tip for drying your own gourds is not to rush it. It’s very important that you let nature run its natural course and dry the gourds. You should never dry to scrape them or do anything to try to force them to dry sooner.

1. When you harvest the gourds is important. Get them when they are ripe at the end of season and when the stem has turned brown. Keep some of the stem on the gourd when you harvest it (1-3 inches, depending on size of the gourd).

2. Gently remove any dirt or soil that is on the gourd. You don’t have to scrub the soil away; just gently shake off the excess.

3. Use a rubber band or string to attach to the stem so that you can hang the gourd for drying. Find a dark, well-ventilated area to hang your gourds to dry. A garage or a basement usually works well.

4. Check in on your gourds often. If mold develops on the skin of the gourd, you will need to remove it. (You can remove the mold gently with a 10% solution of bleach).

5. When you check in on the gourds, you should tap them gently with your hand to judge how they are drying. Once they are dry to the touch and make a hollow sound, they are ready to use for art.

6. You only need to check on your gourds about once a month. It can take 2-4 months for your gourds to dry out depending on the conditions where they are and the type of gourd.

7. When your gourds are dry and you are ready to use them you can paint them with a layer of varnish or paste wax if you want to preserve the finish.

8. Begin decorating!

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