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Embellished Gourd

Learn how to make this decorative gourd by using paint, feathers and beads to embellish it.

Project designed by Michelle Newman.

Materials and Tools:

cleaned gourd *
dust mask
protective gloves
safety glasses
bleach/water mixture
large spoon
2 strands braided sweet grass
keyhole saw
waxed linen thread
large-eye needle
3"-4" tassel
Krylon gold-leafing pen
FolkArt metallic paint: peridot #671
FolkArt Clearcote matte acrylic sealer
3/4"-1" One Stroke paintbrush
mini hot glue gun and glue sticks
assorted charms and beads
peacock feathers
vintage button

* Note: Exercise caution when working on dried gourds as they contain mold spores. If you have respiratory problems or asthma, consult your doctor first. Work in a well-ventilated area and don't inhale the dust from the gourds. Be sure to wear protective gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask when cleaning out and cutting the gourd!


1. Starting with a clean gourd, mark a line where to cut it open for the lid. Use a keyhole saw to slowly cut around mark on gourd and remove lid.

2. Be sure to wear protective gloves and a dust mask when cleaning out gourd. Use a large spoon to scoop out seeds and the inside. For extra protection, clean inside of gourd with diluted bleach and water.

3. Once dry, paint the surface of gourd with two coats of metallic peridot paint.

4. After the surface has dried, draw a random leaf pattern with the gold leafing pen.

5. Spray with a clear protective sealer.

6. Hot glue two strands of braided sweet grass onto the rim of the gourd, overlapping if necessary.

7. Poke evenly spaced holes with the awl around the gourd directly underneath the sweet grass trim.

8. Begin to bead at the center front of gourd (where the two sections of sweet grass meet). Tie a 'stopper' bead onto the tail of the waxed linen thread and thread through the first hole. Using the mini glue gun, secure the knot and the stopper bead from the inside of the gourd to stabilize it.

9. With the needle facing you, stack the leaf embellishment, the medium-sized bead and the small bead through the waxed thread in this exact order.

10. Run the needle back through the middle bead and the leaf charm to the inside of the gourd and secure with hot glue. Continue beading.

11. Once beading is complete all the way around the gourd, embellish with decorative stitches in between the beaded embellishments.

12. Hot glue a tassel to the back of the antique button and hot glue onto gourd.

13. Hot glue peacock feathers onto button back.

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