Making Gourd Birdhouses takes some patience but can be well worth the time and effort. Probably one of the oldest types of birdhouses known.
In this article, we offer a step-by-step guide to get you on the road to making birdhouses out of a natural gourd.
We've also provided links to growing your gourds as well as links to some of our visitor's works.
You'll find them at the end of the article. Take some time to check them out for some different ideas.
Harvest a hard-shell gourd when the vine has withered. Be careful to leave the stem attached.
It's best to cut the stem with pruning shears so you don't bruise it.
Hang it in a sunny spot or put it on newspaper in a warm and dry place for 3 - 6 months.
If it is lying on a flat surface, be sure to turn it frequently. A proper size gourd for birdhouses has a diameter of about 8 to 13 inches.
Wash thoroughly in water, rinse in a solution of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water, and dry with a towel.
As it dries, it will begin to mold. This is a natural part of the drying process.
If dried indoors, it will grow more mold and should be frequently wiped clean with the bleach solution.
When making gourd birdhouses discard any that becomes soft or wrinkled. To check if it is dry, give it a good shake - if the seeds rattle, you can begin making your birdhouse.
Soak the gourd for 15 minutes in hot soapy water, and then scrape with a dull knife to remove the outer skin and mold.
Scrub in the water with fine steel wool. Rinse it well and allow it to dry thoroughly.
To locate the bird's entrance hole, hold it by its stem between your index finger and thumb and let it hang.
Mark a center point along the outermost part of the curve so the hole faces straight out. Not toward the sky or the ground.
The entrance hole can be drilled with the proper-size hole saw or by using a keyhole saw.
It's important when making gourd birdhouses that you wear a facemask, as the dust is a caustic substance.
Drill 2 sets of holes about 2 inches from the neck for hanging and ventilation.
Also, drill 2 or more 1/4-inch holes in the bottom for drainage. Drill the size hole necessary to encourage the birds you want to attract.
Remove the seeds and membrane of the gourd through the entrance hole with a long-handled metal spoon, screwdriver, or a wire coat hanger.
Dip the whole thing in a wood preservative for 15 minutes, weighing it down with a brick. Then remove it and hang it up to dry for several days.
Sand the gourd smooth and paint with an oil-based primer. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
Paint the house with exterior enamel paint (do not use water-based latex paint as it will peel) Apply 2 coats.
You can decorate it any way you like and hang it in the proper place to attract the birds you want.
For proper entrance hole sizes, please see our section on Building Birdhouses, where we have a chart available based on species of bird.
For other ideas and crafts, you can make, check out this Gourd Craft Ideas Book.
|Birds and Blooms||Pioneer Woman||People Magazine||First For Women|