Make Easy Fall Themed Pinatas using Gourds

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I just had to try this out to see if it would work!

I have been thinking for some time that gourds would make the greatest "ready-made" pinata forms! And, you know what? It turns out they do!! No paste and layers of newspaper strips and drying and more strips..... None of that yucky stuff!

When I fished the gourd under all this orange tissue paper out of the gourd bin the whole bottom was rotted and crumbly. But it is my favorite gourd shape and it was nice and big so I took it home and cut away all the bad bottom parts. It had great potential to be a squash shaped pinata!

Ghost Pinata made from a gourd!

Say hello to my not quite finished not so scary ghost pinata made from a fish or club gourd.

The Pumpkin Patch always has a bunch of these in their gourd bins but I have been stumped about what to do with them.

And then one day a light went off in one of those dusty corners of my brain and I thought - GHOST - of course!

Amish Gourds is a great place to order gourds if you can't get your hands on them locally. I especially appreciate that they make their gourds available individually so that you don't have to purchase a whole box. And they are already clean!

Just look at all the cool shapes they have to offer!

My personal favorites are Martin (kettle) gourds, Tobacco Box gourds and Copper Canyon Canteens because the make great boxes - and I just plain love the shape. But check out these cool warty gourds! Just in time for Halloween! And these are pretty cool too - they are called Apple gourds.

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Making a Pinata using a gourd is very, very easy.

You just want to make sure you don't get a really hard shelled gourd. Both of the gourds used in these pinatas were easily cut using a fine blade pumpkin carving saw that you can find in any pumpkin carving kit now showing up in markets everywhere!

You will find instructions for cleaning, cutting and preparing gourds here.

And instructions for turning a gourd into a pinata below!

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Once the outside of your gourd is cleaned, cut a fairly large hole in the bottom or the side, depending on the shape. Remove the seeds and dried pulp from the inside. I like to scrape down the inside walls with a spoon to remove loose material and then wash with water and let dry.

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Fill the cavity with your favorite candies but be sure to only use wrapped candy in your gourd pinata.

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Smear regular Mod Podge (or white glue or wheat paste) on the outer surface of the gourd and the outer surface of the piece that was cut from the gourd. Just don't let it drip on the candy!

Place the cut out piece back into place and immediately cover the cutting seam with newspaper.

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Apply another coat of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the newspaper. Let dry and add another coat if you like. I didn't seem to need the second coat of Mod Podge.

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While the Mod Podge dries, prepare tissue or crepe paper strips in the colors of your choice.

Cut your paper into 2" wide strips. I like to stack several sheets to make cutting faster.

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Now cut each strip into 2" squares.

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Cut each square making cuts about every 3/16" from the bottom edge to within 1/2" inch of the top edge. Again, cutting several layers at the same time makes cutting go much faster.

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Starting at the bottom of the Pinata, smear Mod Podge over about a 2" wide strip all around the gourd and begin attaching your tissue strips placing them so that the ruffle edge is toward the bottom and the straight, uncut edge is toward the top of the pinata.

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Continue applying Mod Podge and paper strips, working from bottom to top, until the gourd is completely covered.

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Embellish as desired! I happened to have saved a bit of paper covered wire that was originally used in packing my Christmas Tree. It worked perfectly as tendrils for the squash and the antennae for a Wooly Worm (the pinata you see me building here.

Easy isn't it? Have fun!

Addendum! I just received a comment from Sarah asking "do they still break easily when you hit them?"

Other than having dropped a few and watched them crack and break, I have to admit, I actually have never attempted whacking one with a stick! I have just assumed the gourds would meet a fate similar to that of being dropped!

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So in the interest of finding out, I whacked one of my old wannabe bird houses. One whack and success!

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Does the added coat of Mod Podge make a difference? Nope!  Three whacks this time using a 1/2" thick stick.

I think the cut out actually weakens the gourd enough to make it break fairly easily. And if you will note - I do suggest not using the thick, hard shelled gourds for this project.

And I found that the gourd pinata broke cleanly - no shattering. I like that in a pinata!

Thank you so much Sarah for your great question.

Some time ago, I designed these very tiny pinatas to be used as an Advent Calendar.  But I am thinking they would be great made with small gourds!  Much less trouble to make and very light weight!  What do you think?

Never thought of doing

Never thought of doing anything like this with gourds (and I used to co-edit a magazine about gourd art/crafting)! The ones I bought from a gourd farm south of Temecula, Ca are very thick, so they wouldn't break when hit with a stick, and most wouldn't break when dropped, but they could always be sawed in a way that looks like "breakage". How fun! I think I'll make a Halloween version! :)

Hey Kat!  We must be on the

Hey Kat!  We must be on the same wave lenght!  Once I finished the wooly worm, I thought - what is wrong with me?  These club gourds are a natural for ghost pinatas!  What took me so long to realize it!? I am so making one for Halloween.  I hope you will share what you come up with!

And your idea to saw a "break line" in the really hard gourds is brilliant!

How awesome is this? I love

How awesome is this? I love that you took the time to "whack" them and see how they'd break. That's what ya call "complete tutorializing!" :-)

Wow Diane!  I am going to

Wow Diane!  I am going to take this comment as an A+++ from my blogging teacher!

Pam, this is so creative! I

Pam, this is so creative! I would never have thought to use a gourd for a piñata. I don't have a reason to make one, but if I ever do, I'll definitely use your method.

Oh, it's so good to be back

Oh, it's so good to be back here! I've missed so much! I love these gourds. I have a small pile of them in the garage that I was hoping to make into a few birdhouses and a scoop or two... for birdseed. I love the idea of the pinata. So clever!

Last season at the apple orchard was the first time I had seen those warty gourds. The ones they have are called Knuckleheads and Lunch Ladies (something like that). They are HUGE and covered in warts - I am absolutely crazy over those! They kind of look like they are bubbling over in warts. :)

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful summer. I'm looking forward to catching up with you again.

Love this idea - now I just

Love this idea - now I just need to work out where i can buy similarly sized gourds in the UK!

That is so cool Pam! Gourds

That is so cool Pam! Gourds are so amazing! I got to hit a pinata last week. I whacked it thee times and ... nothing! The cardboard gave out thuds and thumps but nothing. I think the crack from a gourd would be so fun! I'll be linking to this.

Wow! Amazing! :)

Wow! Amazing! :)

Oooh, my mum has been

Oooh, my mum has been hassling me to make a pinata for our cub scout group for ages but I must admit I've been putting it off as all the papier mache bores me to tears. Now this is a pinata idea I can get going with - thanks Pam!

do they still break easily

do they still break easily when you hit them? Seems like it'd be a little harder.

Yes Sarah, they do break very

Yes Sarah, they do break very easily!  I tested them out the minute I saw your question and posted a little Addendum as a demonstration in case others have the same question.

Thank you so much for asking such a great question.

And yes, I really did whack my wooly worm!  But how else would I find out?  All in the interest of science!

I love the look of gourds

I love the look of gourds when they've been painted. The paint always looks so vibrant on them! I never thought of them for pinatas. This is a great idea.

These look amazing! I bet

These look amazing! I bet they burst open with a very satisfying *CrUnCh* when whacked just right!

Oh come on, Sarah!  Why

Oh come on, Sarah!  Why resist?  You know you want to play with gourds again! And these are much easier than the mini's!

You, my Dear, are an

You, my Dear, are an enabler!! :)

Fighting to resist the

Fighting to resist the gourds.... did it once before when you posted about mini gourds... must... not... click!!!

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