My latest project turned out fairly well. It involves making gourds into Christmas tree ornaments, for indoor or outdoor trees. It's a fairly simple project. If you'd like to try your hand at gourd-craft, here's how I did it.
You'll need a gourd, a pencil, a small paintbrush, and paint. Also a woodburner, a jump-ring, jewelry glue, and spray-on clearcoat, all optional.
1. Clean the gourd well, scrubbing with a stiff brush or steel wool. You'll need to remove the natural waxy coating so the paint will stick. As they cure, gourds get this ugly black stuff that looks awful, but most of it scrubs away. If it leaves a few stains, that's okay. It adds character. Now let it dry.
2. Mark your design with a pencil. I freehanded this one, but there are lots of poinsettia clipart designs on the internet.
3. Use a woodburner and go over all the lines. Add veins to the leaves and petals. My woodburner cost around twelve dollars. This step is entirely optional, but I like the way it looks.
4. Paint. Because I wanted the woodburned lines to show through, I thinned the acrylic paint with water to create sort of a transparent wash. If you decided to skip the woodburning, you'll want to use paint at full strength so it's opaque. If you use the opaque method, let the paint dry and then paint veins onto the leaves and dots in the center.
Here I used ivy green for the leaves, and red for the flower, and yellow-green for the center.
5. Glue a jump-ring on top so you can hang it on the tree. Jewelry Goop works well, and you can get the rings cheap in the bead department of the craft store. I tried screwing a tiny screw-eye in, but the stem end of a gourd is surprisingly hard. The glued-on ring works well. Or you could just glue a ribbon to the top.
6. Let dry, and spray with a gloss clear-coat if desired. I recommend it. It protects the paint, darkens the gourd to a nice leathery finish, and makes the whole thing shine.
7. Thread a ribbon through the jump-ring, and there you have it: a Christmas gourd ornament.
Are you working on any crafts for the holidays?