First find a clean dry gourd at your local craft store or farm (dried gourds ready for artwork may also be found on eBay).
I had a gourd in my stash from some well-intended shopping trip about 4 years ago. Took me long enough to get around to this project, huh? I’m going to count it as one of my “Finish What You Have” efforts as sponsored on the Turkey Feathers blog.
If you have a garden, you could grow and dry your own but I don’t. There are beautiful pictures of home-grown gourds at Homespun Living.
Once you have your gourd, wipe it off to remove any residual dust from the drying process. If there are any rough spots, you can very lightly sand over it with a fine-grain bit of sanding paper. Otherwise, the gourd is ready to paint.
Dream up an idea, trace a page from a coloring book, draw swirls, circles, or whatever makes you happy. Take into consideration the shape of your gourd. Some gourds are short and squat while some are tall and lean—kind of reminds me of Jack Spratt and his wife in the nursery rhyme.
Draw the design free hand or trace using graphite paper. I chose a southwestern turtle design.
I selected metallic acrylic paints because the colors glow and used a paintbrush designed for working with fast-drying acrylic paints. The painting process itself was fun and rather relaxing. Once dry (which doesn’t take long at all), I sprayed it with a clear acrylic sealer. You can also rub a bit of stain all over your gourd to give it an antiqued look before sealing it.
The turtle looked lonely to me so I dug out a hunk of that fuzzy string stuff for which I cannot remember the name and tied a big chunk of it on the stem of my gourd. Yep, that helped—a bit of dimensional texture against the smooth skin of the gourd.
I love my happy autumn turtle!
Decorating Gourds: Carving, Burning, Painting by Sue Waters
Gourd Fun for Everyone by Sammie Crawford