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Friday, October 23, 2015

dried to perfection

For all of you that inquired about my pictures of dried gourds...
It's as easy as can be!
I've written magazine articles and blog posts about this before but I had so many messages that I thought I would share it again.
The very best way to dry gourds is to actually allow them to dry on the vine before picking them. However, most of us buy precious little bundles of gourds for fall decorating. 

Once I have fully enjoyed my gourds in their fresh state, I look for just the right time to dry them. Sometimes they will begin to dry on their own. Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from moisture. The idea is to keep them from rotting. They will become lighter in weight and you might be able to hear the seeds begin to rattle as the drying process begins.
To encourage drying, I will punch holes in the bottom by tapping a nail into the skin with a hammer. Then the gourds can be hung in a warm dry place. Be sure to place a drip pan under the gourds.
If I am trying to hurry the process along, I will place the partially dried gourds (with holes in the bottom) onto a parchment covered cookie sheet in the oven on low. Then allow the gourds to slowly dehydrate.
You will know the gourds are dry when the shell is hard and you can rattle the seeds within.
Once the gourds are completely dry, I will gently sand the surface with a piece of steel wool. Wipe clean then paint. I have used everything from spray paint to house paint. Matte finishes work best. Once dry, gently sand the finish for a distressed look.
Even though I do like a white palette, I will still mix my "whites" by painting the gourds in different shades.

Paint them to match your décor...any color!

It's amazing how much the detail shows up
once they are dried and painted!

I like to pepper them throughout my home and tuck in bits of dried flowers like these amazing green hydrangeas...

I really hope you like the idea!
Keep in mind that you will be working with natural materials and results will vary. I have had gourds dry very well while others simply rot or fall apart. Experiment with different varieties. I like this project so much that I photographed these same gourds for Flea Market Décor magazine's 2015 fall issue...

Some of my dried gourds are 10 to 15 years old now. I am careful to keep them away from moisture and I always store them in a cool dry place. I'll be excited to hear if anyone tries this project!
It's a lot of fun...

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