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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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3 of 15 comments
  • Vina
    on Oct 1, 2018

    Just an FYI, your B option is butternut, and is definitely edible.

    • Alicia W
      on Oct 4, 2018

      Thanks Vina. You are correct; however, squash, gourds and pumpkins are all in the same family - Cucurbitacea - as I said above.

  • Louie Faye Schmidlin
    on Oct 1, 2018

    Yes, with real gourds. Those are squash. My husband has grown gourds for years. That is not gourds.

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