Ornamental gourds are perfect decorations from early autumn all the way until Thanksgiving. Gourds are simple to grow and are fun to use for crafts as long as you prepare them correctly. Here are tips on how to dry gourds and decorate them to enjoy this time next year.
Dry the Gourd
The first step to using a gourd as part of your autumn decor is to prepare it by drying. Make sure you harvest your gourds before the first frost to ensure they’ll have good color and will dry correctly.
To start, wash the gourds in soapy water. After toweling them off, use rubbing alcohol on the outside to enhance the drying process. Store the gourds away from direct sunlight for a week. The outsides will be dry and hard at that point. To finish the drying process, store the gourds in a cool, dark area for six months. Rotate them every few weeks or hang them to make sure they dry completely without rotting.
It’s best to dry several at once so you can throw away any that rot or discolor in the process. If you see any moss, wipe it off with a dry cloth.
You’ll know the drying process is finished when the gourd is light, hard, and you can hear the seeds rattle inside.
Once the gourd is dry, you can use it however you like. Some people just use them as centerpieces or as part of a cornucopia to keep things simple, while other people like to do more involved projects.
Hardened gourds do well as simple decorations with a few adjustments to the outside. Some people paint the gourd in one color, while others add designs to make the gourd resemble a character such as a ghost or a scarecrow. Another idea is to use hot glue to attach yarn to create a warm, comfortable fall look. Small gourds can be attached to a wreath or a garland without decorating the gourd itself.
You can also cut the gourd open for other projects. You can slice off the top to insert a tea light inside or cut out a larger hole in the side to create a birdhouse.
Once you have your gourds prepared, let your imagination run wild to create whatever crafts you want for your fall decorations.