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Gourd Lanterns

5 Materials
2 Hours

Over the years, I've carved pumpkins but I've never worked with gourds. While picking up gourds for another project, I really took the time to look at how beautiful they are and then idea hit me...

gourd lanterns

...what if I make lanterns using these beauties?

gourd lanterns

Step 1: Choose your gourd

A - this is a larger gourd with beautiful coloring

B - and I chose a much plainer gourd

A little fact - gourd and pumpkins are in the same family - Cucurbitacea - however, pumpkins can be eaten and gourd cannot be eaten. A squash is also in this family and they too can be eaten.

gourd lanterns

Step 2: Cut and clean the large gourds

1 - I used a serrated knife to cut a hole in the bottom

2 - As you can see, the inside is much like a pumpkin

3 - Using a large spoon and my hand, I cleaned the inside

4 - scraping away all of the "stuff" until it was clean

gourd lanterns

Step 2: Cut and clean the small gourds

1 - I used a serrated knife to cut a hole in the bottom

2 - the I scooped out the insides using a large spoon. You can see the insides are much denser than the other gourd

3 - Once the inside was clean, I cut off the top

4 - and I used a spoon and knife to cut away inside the top. The top didn't have any seeds and was "meatier".

5 - Once the top and bottom were clean I cut a hole through the middle inside

6 - I cut and scooped out the insides so you could see through the gourd

gourd lanterns

Step 3: Cleaning

1 - I filled a bucket with a gallon of water

2 - then added one cup of bleach

3 - I placed the gourds into the bucket and allowed them to soak about 10 minutes

4 - I removed them from the bucket and allowed them to dry

gourd lanterns

Step 4: Making the lantern - large gourd

For the first stripped gourd, I used a 1/2" drill bit and simply drilled random holes then I used a flat head screwdriver to clean the holes so there wasn't anything blocking them.

gourd lanterns

Since this was a new medium to me, I wanted to try staining the outside.

1 - I applied a walnut stain and allowed it to sit on the gourd about 2 minutes

2 - and then wiped it off. Not much of a difference.

gourd lanterns

For the other stripped gourd, I drew a design on the gourd and drilled holes using a smaller drill bit.

Then I used green craft paint and painted vines and leaves onto the gourd.

gourd lanterns

Step 4: Making the lantern - smaller gourd

I drew a free-hand design onto the gourd with a pencil

gourd lanterns

Then used two different size drill bit to follow the design

gourd lanterns

Step 5: Lights

For safety, I used battery operated tea lights in all the gourd lanterns.

gourd lanterns

I'm glad I experimented with gourds. They give a unique look to my fall decorations which I love.

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2 of 17 comments
  • Wxw
    on Oct 22, 2018

    Double duty for butternut squash . . . Butternut squash soup. So easy to make and great for a chilly fall dinner.

  • Mary
    on Nov 12, 2018

    Love it! I think that if I did this, it would never come out like yours... I might just try anyway!! Thank you!🦃

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