Festive Gourd Ornaments and Baubles

I am having way too much fun playing with gourds and I just have to share!

      - I decorated the two larger gourds in the background last winter and I have enjoyed them so much I decided to make a couple tiny ornaments using the same designs.

       - I had one little gourd that just begged and begged to be a snowman! 

       - During the past year, I tried my hand at drying  a bunch of those colorful, knobby, little gourds we see in every fall produce display.  And I found a very simple way to make them very festive!

Decorating gourdsis a great project for kids.  Artistic children get especially engrossed in drawing designs and pictures on their gourds.

So... just how did I get from these cute little jewelry gourds...


to these tree ornaments?

Here's how to decorate a gourd ornament using Sharpie pens.

1. If you don't have gourds on hand, I have provided, at the end of this post, several links to farms who will be happy to ship you some! 

Note:  I  used a tiny little jewelry gourd to make the poinsettia ornament. (I put a quarter in my treasure chest of jewelry gourds so you could see how little they are.) 

The ornament decorated with flowers and the snowman below are made from small gourds measuring 3" x 3" .

2. I ordered cleaned gourds, but if you wish to spend a little less money and clean your own, gourd cleaning instructions can be found in Diane's tutorial written for Craftstylish.

3. Draw your design on the gourd surface with pencil.  The pencil lines will erase easily if you need to make changes.

4. Using Sharpie pens, color in your design. 

I like to finish my designs with a very thin, black sharpie, but that it optional.

Note:  Drawing on gourd surfaces with Sharpie pens seems to be an activity enjoyed by almost everyone - young or old, boy or girl!  I hosted a gourd decoration class during the Harvest Festival at the Pumpkin Patch over Labor Day.  I provided cleaned gourds and a bunch of washable felt pens.  It was very obvious that everyone who came to play really enjoyed the experience.  (And of course the one thing I forgot was a camera!  Next year!)


Please note the information in the comments below regarding sealing with acrylic spray to avoid the possibility of your art work "melting".



Here's how to decorate a gourd ornament using colored pencils

1. For the flowers I use Berol Prismacolor pencils.  I think most color pencils will work.

2. Again, draw your design with a regular pencil and then begin filling in with color.

3.  Because the gourd surface is uneven and is covered with tiny pores and pits, the pencil color does not lay down smoothly.  I cut a Q-tip in half and use the cut edges to blend the pencil lines together.

Since my design is influenced by the beautiful flowers painted on platters and vases in Mexico, it was necessary for me to also blend colors together.

Before blending -

and after blending!

4.  I find that this particular design seems to look better if I outline it with a thin Sharpie.  Notice that I used the same Sharpie to add a few stems.

In case you wish to duplicate the design, here are views of the other sides!

Here is my little snowman ornament!

Acrylic paints work great on cleaned gourds.  I used three coats to achieve an evenly white surface.

The hat is a bit of red paint edged with fleece.  To create the tassel, I painted the stem and then dangled a couple little pompoms from the tip.

I can't help but smile back at him every time I walk by!

Out of nowhere I got the impulse to spray paint the knobby gourds I purchased last fall and dried over the winter. 

Ever since they finished drying out in May, I have been trying to figure out what to do with them.  I used them in a fall basket, but really missed the original bright colors.

I haven't quite decided just how to use these during the holidays, but I just love how beautiful they are!  Any shape gourd would look festive spray painted in silver or gold.

Here are the promised links to gourd farms.  Have fun!

Welburn Gourd Farm: Organic gourds grown in California

Amish Gourds: from Pennsylvania Durch Country

Martha's Gourds: delivers nearly flawless gourds

Northern Dipper: Canadian Gourd Suppliers

Check out every site because the all have great gourd decorating ideas and tips.

And here is a great gourd shape identification chart provided by Amish Gourds.


Thank you for your helpful

Thank you for your helpful information and photos. Most of all for sharing. Some people don't want to share their knowledge. Would you mind sharing the exact brand of sealant you use on your gourds?

I hope to make some next week and help my niece earn extra money.


I use Americana Acrylic

I use Americana Acrylic Sealer/Finisher by DecoArt.  Mod Podge also make s good one.

As stated below in comments - several light coats is the key to preventing runs.  It is recommended in the instruction on the can - several light coats - and beware to anyone who sprays on too heavy a coat!! Not always pretty!!!


Hi! I am just wondering if

Hi! I am just wondering if you put any sort of sealant on your sharpie designed gourds? I do gourd art and make ornaments out of the tiny spinner gourds but tend to have issues with the sharpies running when I add a protective spray or brush-on lacquer of any sort. Any help is get appreciated! :)

Here is my answer to your

Here is my answer to your question! 

First of all, when sealing sharpie or other markers I do not recommend brushing on lacquer.

I too have experienced watching my beautiful design "melt"!    Heather over at Craftfail featured one of the biggest messes here.

The big secret in using the acrylic spray sealers over sharpie ink is to spray very thin coats - most especially the first two.  If you get too heavy handed with the spray as I have often done, disaster can strike! 

Also, holding the can too close to the object can be a problem as well - especially when spraying a heavy coat.

I have never had a problem if I spray a very light coat from about 12" or so away from the object.  Two or three light coats to set the seal.  Be sure to let the surface dry completely between sprays.  Then, if you want to begin building up a heavier application, you can without causing the melting effect!

These are beautiful. It

These are beautiful. It reminds me of some beautiful chintz fabric my mother used to make bows out of.

Roanoke, VA

Love these gourds and have

Love these gourds and have always wanted to make some. I will be linking back.

these are beautiful. We live

these are beautiful. We live right by Welburn, and are very fond of gourd art. Could you please tell me how you dry the small knobby gourds?
thanks for sharing!

First of all, let it be known

First of all, let it be known that I am no expert in the process of drying gourds!  I simply decided to give it a try last fall. 

Basically I just laid my gourds on a pizza tray (holes on the surface for air to flow).  Mesh or screen wire would work too.  Air flow is important.

Since you live in a drier climate - you should have good success.

Because we live in a wet climate, I kept mine in the garage most of the winter and then outside on the covered porch for the spring - occasionally turning them.

They get really, really gross looking while the skin rots away with the help of some nefarious looking molds!  But by April or May, they become light as a feather and you can see that the skin is gone leaving the hard, tan shell - with some mold that must be cleaned off with a brush under running water.

I took the precaution of not breathing or handling the moldy surface.  Only two gourds didn't make it through the process.

Thanks for asking - I hope this helps.

Wow! Beautiful flowers on

Wow! Beautiful flowers on those gourds. Really makes me want to do one myself!

Whoa...these are made

Whoa...these are made entirely of WOW. I love them! Talk about an heirloom. Thanks so much for this, I'll be linking.

Gorgeous! We would love to do

Gorgeous! We would love to do this. Those are the cutest little gourds. I've never seen them that small.


Oh my God Pam these are

Oh my God Pam these are great!I have no idea if I can do these but,they're on the liist for 2010.

Oh Pam - they're beautiful.

Oh Pam - they're beautiful. You are so talented!!

These are such fun. Blending

These are such fun. Blending the Fall bounty of gourds with the December holidays seems just right to me. I am never quite ready to let go of Autumn, so to carry it through onto my Christmas tree is a great idea. The blending of colors you achieved on the colored pencil gourd is my favorite here.
P.S. would you sparkly silver gourds look good tucked in a wreath?

FANTASTIC! and more

FANTASTIC! and more fantastic! Just what we had talked about a long time ago. I am bookmarking this page for when I get back to Wis.