Gourds are so versatile and there are so many different things that can be done with them that there is no way I can begin to cover them all. Below you will find links to information and tutorials dealing with different ways to craft with gourds.
There are a few basics to know though so I will cover those. First, start with a dry gourd. Different shapes will lend themselves to different projects so find a gourd that will be the best for the project you will be working on.
Next you will need to clean the gourd. Why do you need to clean it?
Because the dried mold and skin will flake off eventually if you try to paint over it.
So to clean you wet down the gourd and then scrub the skin and mold off. A copper scrubber works well, plus a knife and small wire brush for the stem. I have tried both Chore Boy brand and the cheaper off brands, but I like Chore Boy best. It doesn't fall apart like the cheaper brands do.
To wet the gourd you can just place it in a sink full of water and turn the gourd over a few times letting it soak for 1/2 hr or more depending on the skin.
Remember, cleaning is a messy job and you may not want to use the kitchen sink. I am lucky enough to have a laundry tub to use when cleaning in the house. If it's warm outside you may want to find a large tub to use or another method you can try on a nice sunny day is to put the gourd or gourds in a black plastic bag. Spray in some water and close it up. Let it sit in the sun for a couple of hours and then work on cleaning them. The secret is to get the skin good and soft. If you are having rainy weather or using a sprinkler to water the lawn, just place your gourd out in the lawn and let it get wet that way.
When the skin is softened it is time to clean your gourd. I like to use rubber gloves when I am doing this. I've talked to some people that have broken out in a rash because they were allergic to the moldy skin.
Take your scrubby and start rubbing all over the gourd. Use the wire brush on the stem and on the bottom where the blossom was. Sometimes you need to use a knife for stubborn areas. When everything is cleaned off let the gourd dry before working on it.
When going through the cleaning process you will sometimes find a gourd that has a soft spot. That means the shell is very thin in that area and may not be worth keeping. Sometimes parts of the gourd can be salvaged and used as pieces in other projects.
After reading this information, maybe you don't want the bother cleaning, and would like the convienience of a gourd ready to work on without the mess.
See my selection of ready to craft gourds:
I like to do woodburning on some of my gourds. You can check out some of the woodburning tools from Rockler Woodworking.
Here are a few gourd craft books.
Shop at My Amazon Store
Be sure and work safely with gourds.
Safe Gourd Crafting
Quikwood is a new product that I found out about this past summer. Now I've been having an easier time attaching gourds and gourd pieces together for my creations. Click on the picture to find out more details and how to purchase the product.
Gourd Craft Tutorials by Bonnie Gibson
Articles and Tutorials from Turtle Feathers
Do you also work with wood? Maybe you would enjoy a subscription to Woodworkers Journal"