Monday, August 18, 2008

"Stained Gourds" -- A Fall Decorating Project

I don't know if you've seen gourds used in fall decorating projects, but I'd like to share with you the way I use them in mine. A couple of years ago I bought several dried gourds in various shapes and sizes at a yard sale. I took them home, wiped them off with damp paper towels, and then stained them with Minwax stain in several different finishes. I also used oil paints on some of them to add more color.

I was so pleased with the way they turned out and use them on my mantel for fall, along with vines, berries, and leaves ...

If you decide to try this project, be sure to select gourds with character, i.e., with lots of different colors and patterns. The more interesting they are in their natural state, the prettier they will be after they're stained.

The best thing about working with stain is that you really can't make a mistake. If one finish is too light, you can just go over it with a darker stain until the desired effect is achieved. Also, if the gourd has a lot of color and interesting patterns, you may want to just spray it with polyurethane to seal it and not stain it at all.

I use paper towels (be sure to wear gloves because the stains are oil-based), and just "dab or rub" the stains on the gourds.

This year, I wanted to do some for my mother and daughter, so I went to the local farmers' market and bought 14 gourds in various shapes and sizes. Here is what they looked like before I did anything to them ...

Today, my mother, daughter, granddaughter Avery, and I (that's four generations) had a good time staining the gourds. Even Avery, who is three, got in on the fun (notice her little mouth all drawn up like a bow with concentration) ...

We were happy with the way they turned out, and can't wait to decorate for fall with them ... What do you think?

While I had the stain out, I decided to "revive" this little fellow with a new coat of stain. He "lives" on a rock beside our waterfall, and he had faded from the sun, poor thing ...

Here he is after his revival ...
Doesn't he look happier?


16 comments:

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Janie,
Thanks for posting the directions to such a great project!

The gourds look great! And I love the way your little toad is revived!
Hope you have a wonderful day,
Diane

a day in the life of bella said...

That looks like a fun project to do, I love the pics of your family, how sweet...froggie looks great, too :)

Thanks for sharing that! I might try that with my boys this fall :)

Bella

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Looks like fun, Janie!

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your silk florals and your rooms, in your Saturday post. I use silk arrangements, also. Your home is gorgeous! I'm ready for fall decorating.

Have a wonderful week!

Cyndy said...

Your gourds turned out fabulous! And with four generations, what great memories!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this idea. I'm planning on trying this with my daughter and granddaughter.

Cyndy

Anonymous said...

hi- I just stumbled onto your sight and I LOVE your gourds. Can you use them for more than one year? How do you dry them out? Or does it just happen?
Thanks! Stephanie

Southern Lady said...

Anonymous ~~ Thank you for your note about my gourds post.

In answer to your questions:

Yes, you can use them year after year. I store mine in a large plastic bag in the attic and they look like new.

The gourds for sale at flea markets or farmers' markets are usually dried gourds, and I just clean them with a damp paper towel before staining them.

I appreciate your interest and would love to see yours if you decide to stain some.

Sincerely,

Janie

bj said...

Well, I am just beside myself to get some gourds and stain and make some fabulous decorations. Fall is my least favorite time of year and I have a hard time decorating for it as the colors aren't my favorite, either. HOWEVER, these would look great on my mantles, too.
Thanks, Janie...

Nancy said...

Good Evening Janie, THANK YOU for posting this...I will give this a try this year! Looks like a fun thing to do with children...I will have to ask my niece Emily, who is 3 1/2 to help me...Oh, what fun we will have.. thank you again!! Blessings to you, Nancy

nikkicrumpet said...

Well how clever...it's amazing how much prettier they look after the staining....I've never seen that done before....hmmm guess who is gonna go gourd shopping! Thanks for the inspiration as always!

Picket said...

Oh my word girl!!!! I love this project..I have got to try this!!! Love those pics of little Avery and your mom...thanks so much for such a great idea...I love Fall decorations so much and I love gourds!!!! Oh this is perfect!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Well isn't that just fantastic! As much as I hate to see the summer fly by, I loovvveeee the fall and all the fun autumn projects that come with it (like being able to bake again -- it's just too hot to turn that oven on!).

Mr. Frog also looks great after his facelift. :-)

StitchinByTheLake said...

What fun Janie. I wouldn't have thought of doing this but I'll be on the lookout for some so I can try it too. blessings, marlene

Screaming Meme said...

Wow! I love it!!! Great job! Your hired!

Luvin' Dixie said...

After seeing these fabulous gourds, I've spent HOURS looking for a source so I can do the same for my home! Finally found some in Lucedale, MS, so I'm on my way to buy gourds. And I love Mr. Frog, he's such a handsome fellow!

Anonymous said...

I love the gourds, after you stain them do you have to seal them with a sealer. If so, what is the best sealer? Thanks Michelle

Southern Lady said...

MICHELLE ...

Thanks for your note about my stained gourds.

The stain is really all the sealer you need (they will be shiny), but I have sprayed some of mine with a clear satin finish spray polyurethane and it works well and dries fast.

Good luck with yours if you decide to try some. Let me know how they turn out.

Sincerely,

Janie