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Gourd Art

Martha Stewart Living, Volume 143 October 2005

These plants are easy to grow. As soon as the soil is warm, plant seeds near a trellis or fence, and let them go wild. Here, gourds have been coaxed to hang from horizontal supports, which ensures that their necks will grow straight. When the stems begin to change from green to yellow or brown, the fruits are ready for harvest.

Fresh-gourd displays should be temporary; place waxed paper or another protective covering underneath.

Tools And Materials
Gourd, paper, mask, keyhole saw, aquarium gravel or sand, hot-glue gun, lamp kit, wooden lamp base (optional), lampshade, self-adhesive felt pads

Gourd Lamp How-To
It's easy to make this with a kit that is usually used for turning a bottle into a lamp; the kit is available at most hardware and crafts stores. When sawing or drilling a gourd, always wear a paper mask for safety, and work in a well-ventilated area. Choose a gourd with a flat bottom and a shape that goes well with your lampshade.

1. With a keyhole saw, cut off the stem and save it. With the saw, carve a hole just wider than the diameter of the light-socket base in the top of the gourd; pour in gravel or sand to weight the gourd.

2. Place a dab of hot glue along the inner edge of the hole, and push in socket. If desired, attach gourd, using wood glue, to a standard wooden lamp base, available at hardware stores, or cut a piece of wood to fit underneath the gourd (we used a handsomely weathered piece of wood as the base).

3. Next, attach stem to lamp finial with hot glue. Attach harp to sides of socket, and screw in lightbulb; place shade on top.

4. Finish by attaching self-adhesive felt pads, to prevent scratches on your tabletop, to the bottom of the gourd or lamp base.

Gourd House-Number How-To
Decorated with a house number, an oval-shaped gourd stands next to two snake gourds and a caveman's club. Make or buy a stencil for the numbers, and paint them on with water-based acrylic paint. Drill holes in the back of any gourds placed outside, and pour in a bit of sand to keep them anchored on windy days.

Comments (10)

  • 8 Nov, 2009

    I find that if I scrub the gourd(I use a steel scrub pad) it leaves the gourd very clean and looking like wood. Its then ready to finish anyway you choose.

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    I believe that the remark about fresh gourds refers to a fall display. Always use something under fresh plants, to protect the surface. I once used preserved leaves scattered around a display, not realizing the glycerin would ruin the shelf finish. I suppose the person writing the lamp instructions assumed we would know enough to use a dried gourd.

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    I had 15 gourds from 2 plants. They were hung in a warm, dry place for about 6 - 8 months to make sure they were dry. To tell if they are dry, shake them, you can hear the seeds inside rattle. The last gourd had 163 seeds in it. I make bird houses from them by using a 1 1/2 inch holesaw for the [filtered word]. Cut a 3inch [filtered word] in the bottom to remove seeds. After sanding the outside, paint it with acrylic paint, spray it with a sealing spray. Rohslan

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    Hi akgary, I think to find out , whether it's empty or not, you can shake the gourd. You'll hear seeds shaking I think. I think to dry it, it'll take long time. Also you have to be careful. It could rot! So I'm not so sure why they'll even mention about fresh one to be used. Unless Martha explains how to dry it. I'm sure there are site that tells you how to do it. To me, I'd use gourd as a mold and use paper-mache to get that shape.

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    HOW do you make sure that the gourd is dry/empty inside? Fresh gourds are mentioned - but I would assume you would make a lamp from one that is dried.

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    Why make this with a fresh gourd? If a dried gourd is used the lamp would be permanant. I would recomend that a lamp kit with a center post be used insted of the bottle converter kit.

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    Why make this with a fresh gourd? If a dried gourd is used the lamp would be permanant. I would recomend that a lamp kit with a center post be used insted of the bottle converter kit.

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    Why make this with a fresh gourd? If a dried gourd is used the lamp would be permanant. I would recomend that a lamp kit with a center post be used insted of the bottle converter kit.

  • 3 Oct, 2008

    Why make this with a fresh gourd? If a dried gourd is used the lamp would be permanant. I would recomend that a lamp kit with a center post be used insted of the bottle converter kit.