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"Tips" are little tricks to help with gourd crafting -- and "tutorials" are step-by-step" projects. Special thanks to all who have sent information for this page!
  • pine needles:Here's a tip that was written up in the Golden Gourd, the California Gourd Society newsletter.  I believe the tip was sent by Judy Arledge. Anyway, she said two of her students told her about it.  This is to make dark brown and very flexible pine needles.  They baked their pine needles in a 350 oven for 3 hours in a mixture of 1 cup glycerin and 2 cups water, I a heavy-duty foil boat inside a second pan to catch any drippings. After the 3 hours, they let the pine needles just sit in the mixture overnight, then rinsed them the next day. The color is dark mahogany and the needles are very flexible.  Sounds a lot like the fuming process without the fumes. I'm going to give both processes a try and compare results (soon as I get some needles.) --Darlene Propp (California)

  • tracing patterns: If you are tracing a pattern, use the Reynolds Press 'n Seal Plastic Wrap. You can trace your pattern without harming the pattern and the press and seal of the wrap conforms to the round gourd. -- Sandra - GA 

  • I made a fanny pack type purse from a canteen gourd.  I cut a small lid off the top to get the most use of the inside.  I used a wax resist method to make a band of patchwork color across the gourd, under the lid area. I hinged on the lid with leather lacing. I dyed the gourd inside and out with honey colored dye. The other colors in the wax resist area were oxblood, brick, russet and cordovan.  I coiled sea grass around the top of the purse and the lid. I made a couple of slits in the back of the purse and put a gold braided belt through it. For the closure, I drilled a hole where the blossom end was, put a brass filigree metal disc over that, and sewed a decorative bead through it, with a smaller bead on the inside to anchor it.  I put a brass tassle on a piece of brass wire in the lid, so it could close and the tassle would hang over the bead in the front of the purse.  Voila! Fanny pack. I got lots of nice comments on it when I wore it.  Somehow, over time, the front bead broke off - I think the waxed linen thread I sewed it with just wasn't strong enough. Okay, I thought, I'll just sew another bead in there. BUT - I had glued in the smaller bead on the inside with crazy glue to make sure it wouldn't come out.  And it WON'T!  So now I don't know how to fix the closure. Sigh.  --Darlene Propp (California)