Gourds have a long history that dates back to several decades ago. Our ancestors used dried gourds for various purposes, such as drinking, cooking eating vessels. Thanks to their robust wooden structure that’s durable and long-lasting.
Gourds are closely linked to squash and pumpkins. This is because they all come from annual vines. However, most pumpkins and squash are edible, while only a limited type of gourds are edible. When it comes to ornamental gourds, they are usually dried and hardened for decoration purposes.
Apart from decoration, ornamental gourds can also be used for a variety of purposes, as we’re about to find out below:
1. Decoration Purposes
Of course, the first thing you can do with an ornamental gourd is decoration. Ornamental gourds make perfect décor items. After drying them, you can paint and wax them to your liking. Aside from using them during Halloween decorations, you can use ornamental gourds in wreaths and centerpieces.
Ensure to pick the right ornamental gourds if you want to put them in your wreath. Besides, you can also use ornamental gourds to decorate your patio in the fall. Place them beside your porch flower pots. If you want the best results, mix the gourds with natural elements to bring nature into your living room.
You can also become craftier during Thanksgiving by placing the decorative gourds in the middle of the table. Mix them with fresh flowers to create a soothing and welcoming ambiance.
2. Special Occasion Accents
Apart from being utilized for décor, decorative gourds can also be used as unique occasion accents. For instance, you can use them as place cards. Cut a thin line into the top of the ornamental gourd. Next, insert a place card in every cut and use them to label seating arrangements at a table.
Secondly, you can utilize them as escort cards. All you have to do is tie a card with visitors’ names and table numbers to the stem of the gourd.
Finally, you can also use ornamental gourds as favors. Paint every gourd with a peculiar design and color, and give them to visitors as they leave the event.
3. Hanging Baskets
Ornamental gourds may be famous for their decorative purpose, but their use doesn’t end there. They are also great when used as hanging baskets. This works perfectly for large ornamental gourds. But if they are small in size, you can use them as bowls for placing various items or even fruits.
Large decorative gourds can be hanged and flowers placed in them. However, medium-sized gourds that have been cut to form typical baskets or large bowls are ideal for putting in fruits, snacks, and even popcorn.
Make sure you design your baskets and bowls to be appealing and unique.
4. Kitchen Utensils
You may be wondering if I am going nuts. Yes, you can use ornamental gourds to create kitchen utensils! After all, ancient people used them for serving drinks and even food. To date, some tribes in Africa use gourds to take porridge and fermented milk.
Additionally, some ornamental gourds can be crafted to make spoons and ladles. This usually depends on the size and shape of the decorative gourd. If it’s small, then you can craft spoons out of it, but if it’s large, you can make ladles.
5. Gourds Birdhouse
As the name suggests, you can use ornamental gourds as birdhouses. They make fantastic birdhouses as they consist of the same texture and density as that of wood when dried properly. You have the choice of making practicable or decorative birdhouses from the gourds.
A birdhouse is created by boring a hole in the stem of the gourd to provide room for hanging a wire through it. You can design the birdhouse gourds according to your taste. Depending on the birds in your area, you can create a large or small nest that fits them perfectly. Color the house and hang it on a tree where the birds reside.
6. Bird Feeders
After creating a bird’s house, you can also use these gourds to create a bird’s feeder. Follow the same procedure but you can design them differently. Most people prefer making open bird feeders but you can also have an enclosed bird feeder with a small opening.
7. Gourd Candle/Decorative Gourd Lights
Last but not least, you can also use the gourd to light up your house. After drying the ornamental gourd, you can create a hollow at the top and fill it with wax. Next, put in a wick and enjoy the light that this masterpiece produces. These can also be great for candlelight dining.
Aside from candlelight dining, you can also light up your living room or bedroom by poking holes on the sides of the gourd using a sharp nail. Next, cut the top off and put a tea light inside. You will love the wow factor that this light will create.
How To Harvest And Dry Ornamental Gourds?
Before you can use the ornamental gourd for décor, make sure that they have dried properly for exceptional craft ideas.
Step 1: Start by harvesting your gourds when the stems start to turn brown and leaves on the vine are dead. Next, wash the gourd in warm soapy water. Afterward, dry and wipe them using a little alcohol. Ensure to get rid of damaged or immature fruit, as they are undesirable.
Step 2: Put the gourds in a properly ventilated place and away from direct sunlight for at least seven days. You will notice that the gourd’s skin will start to harden and change color. After a week, the outside of the gourd should be dry.
Step 3: Transfer the gourds to a dry and dark area to stay for at least six months. Put them on a vented or screen surface in a single layer and ensure they don’t touch one another. If you have not hanged the gourds, you will have to turn them so that they can receive ample airflow under and around them. Monitor your gourds every day and throw away those that start to rot or become soft.
Step 4: After six weeks, you should check the gourd. If it’s light, hard to touch, and you can hear seeds, know it’s ready. You can now go ahead and decorate it or use it for your intended purpose.
Ornamental gourds are an invaluable item to have in fall for decoration, but they can also be used for other purposes. This precious item can be used for special occasion accents, create birdhouse, design bird feeder, create gourd handle, hanging baskets, and even be used to craft kitchen utensils.
Make sure to dry the gourd properly so that it can last for a very long time. Also, color the gourds according to your home décor and theme for exceptional results. You can now use your ornamental gourd even after Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations.