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This is your place to learn from each other and to share all of our knowledge in the art of gourding.

  • Acid
Acids weaken the cellulose in paper, which leads to its break down, causing discoloration & disintegration.
  • Appliqué
Paper Appliqué is when one piece of paper/ card shape is fastened onto another, with glue or stitching.
  • Antiquing
To antique something is to make it appear aged, most commonly done using inks.
  • Accent Beads
Accent beads are tiny beads to add depth and dimension to your work, fixed on with glue, also known as bitty beads or micro beads.
  • Altered
This is taking a normal product such as a book, domino, CD etc, and changing it by adding paint, stamped images, and embellishments etc.
  • Question:
What does Acid Free mean?
  • Answer:
(Oz) Acid Free refers to paper and other items that do not contain acids...

  • Brayer
A small hand roller used to spread ink thinly & evenly, available with different textures for patterned finishes.
  • Beadazzles
A brand name of embellishments that are a mixture of tiny microbeads and foil discs in various shades, attached with clear-drying glue, or tacky tape. They add depth and dimension to a project.
  • Beadlings
These are little shapes, flowers, animals, people etc that are made from knitting together tiny beads and wire to form the shapes, which can then be used as embellishments.
  • Beads
Come in hundreds of shapes sizes and colors, can be used to create beadlings (see above), jewelery or can be used as embellishments for your craft projects.
  • Bleach
Household bleach, when used carefully, can create beautiful pieces of artwork.
  • Blending
Often with inks or chalks, blending is the technique used to mix two colors together.
  • Buttons
Well we all know what they are, they can be used as a lovely embellishment &they come in thousands of shapes and colors.
  • Business License
  • Question:
Is there a requirement to have a business license to sell gourds on line or else where? 
  • Answer:
(Oz) Do you sell more than $12,000 worth of goods a year? If so you have to file taxes on that, if so you need a business license, more info here 
and here,
if you sell under that amount then no you don't need a business license.
  • Bur or Bit Cleaning
  • Question:
I was trying to work on a gourd today using several cutting bits on my Dremel. Within a short period of time, they became gummed up. Why is this happening and what can I do about it?

  • Answer:
Bonnie Gibson's web site (Bur Cleaning Info and Tips) There are different reasons why burs leave burn marks or don't cut well. If you know your bur is relatively new and not likely to be dull, then the cause is often a dirty or clogged bur. The easiest way to clean all types of burs is to get a small jar (baby food size is fine) and fill it with enough acetone to cover the bur cutting heads. Let the burs soak for a while, the acetone won't hurt them. This will loosen the resins that are clogging the cutting surfaces. After the burs are removed from the acetone, simply scrub them off with a toothbrush shaped brass brush. This should eliminate the majority of the debris. You can re-submerge and repeat if necessary. Carbide burs are much tougher and in a pinch they can even be flamed with a small propane torch to burn off the residue. Use caution when using this method; flame the bur while it is chucked into your tool, don't attempt to hold it with pliers (or your fingers!!!). Do NOT try this on steel burs. They will lose their temper and will not hold a sharp edge. If you are cleaning a mandrel mounted carbide bur, you must remove the small fiber washer before using the torch cleaning method.

  • Calligraphy
The art of writing in a beautiful, flowing script style, which is done properly using a  selection of specialist calligraphy pens and nibs.
  • Craft Knife
A basic tool for the craft box, your craft knife should be extremely sharp & the blades need to be changed regularly to ensure clean cuts for a professional finish.
  • Cutting Mat
For use with a craft knife, a crafter's cutting mat will protect your surfaces from cut marks. The self-healing properties of a good quality cutting mat allow them to last a long time, before finally falling apart.
  • Clay
There are many types of craft clays, which can be used for making embellishments, models etc. There are many moulds on the market that make it very easy to create intricate embellishments in very little time. Some clays like Fimo have to be baked to harden off, others like Makins clay will air dry. Both are great to work with.
  • Credit Card
Although not a craft item, old ones can be used as glue spreaders and without new ones, how many of us would really be able to carry on creating our masterpieces?!
  • Crafters Block
This is the time when you find yourself just staring at your craft materials with not a single idea in your head of what to create. It happens to us all & you will get through it by seeking inspiration from magazines, craft books or the Imag-e-nation website, which will provide you with loads of inspiration & information.
  • Copper Wire
Comes in all sorts of colors & thicknesses (gauges) and can be bought in sheet form. Use for threading beads, creating beadlings, or make it into shapes to embellish your craft projects.
  • Charms
In paper crafting terms, charms are usually metal or metal-effect and come in thousands of designs. They are usually attached to your craft projects with wire, thread, eyelets or brads.
  • Collage
A style which is often 'busy' with lots of mix and match images or materials within one project.
  • Couch
A primer coat or layer, as of paint. To embroider by laying thread flat on a surface and fastening it by stitches at regular intervals.
  • Candle Gourd
  • Question:
I am trying to make a "candle gourd". The gourd is dry, I sawed it in two, cleaned out the inner lining and filled it with soy wax. Everything seemed to be fine until the next morning when I seen the wax had cracked! Can you give me any ideas on how to make a gourd candle? Should I be using bees wax or paraffin? Does the inside need to be brushed with something before you add the wax?
  • Answer:
(Alana Riveira) – Gourds are flammable and will smolder for hours until they are nothing. (I have seen this happen) Using the wax method you are taking a chance that the wax may or may not be covering ALL of the gourds insides. If a breach in the wax happens the meat of the gourd will wick the oil into itself and could possibly make the whole gourd a potentially dangerous candle. The only “Safe” way to make a candle out of a gourd is to use Glass wick inserts, they have a flare at the top where the wicks flame is and a long tube that inserts into the gourd that holds the oil and the wick. The flare that sits on top of the gourd where the wick’s flame is keeps the flame safely away from the gourd.

Or, if it is a larger gourd, then a Candle Glass insert that is shaped like a drinking glass can be used to hold a tea candle, make sure it is taller than the rim of the gourd or flares to rest on the opening of the hole. Either way, the gourd needs to be stabilized so it will not accidentally get knocked over. This can be accomplished by screwing/gluing the gourd onto a base or making sure it has a large flat bottom and add weight to the gourd to inhibit rocking.

*  KEEP flame from the gourd.
*  NO gourd part to be over the flames heating area.
*  Keep the gourd steady so it won’t tip.
*  Also paint the inside where the gourd may get warm ONLY with Fire resistant paint like the spray paint that is sold for wood stoves, it comes in several colors and can be found at your local wood stove dealers. Other paints may release toxic odors.
  • Carving
  • Question:
How do I hold a gourd still when trying to carve on it?

  • Answer:

(Oz) There are a couple ways.

1. you can take a towel and roll it up length ways, then wrap it in a circle and overlap it, adjust to fit around the gourd.

2. Buy a piece of foam or Styrofoam  and cut a angled circle in the middle. Curve the inside cut (remember gourds are not flat). Depending on the size of the gourds you work on you can make different sizes to hold different size gourds. (Both of these methods can also be used while carving, painting and burning).

3. (Alana Riveira adds:) I hold my gourds in place with a strip of the thin rubber shelf liner that has a pattern of little square holes in it. I have one strip that lays across my lap and one that I place on the table in front of my dust collector. It works very well to keep the gourds from jumping out of my hands when I am carving or wood burning.


  • Answer:
(Tom Bloore, Illinois) I found using those rubber finger tips work great to grip on the smooth round surface of a gourd. I use them when ever tools are used, gives me a safe hold on the work piece. Found rubber finger tips at the office supply store.
  • Answer:
Stuart Dittbrenner & R.P. Myers GRIP-ALL JAWS SYSTEMS

  • Question:
What is Chip Carving?

  • Answer:

(Internet Search) Here is a online lesson of what Chip Carving is by A. B. Amis

Here is another website with some useful info

This page has some carving patterns

  • Question:
What tools would you recommend for the novice carver?

  • Answer:
(Patty B) Several years ago A. B. Amis, who is a master carver, selected two chip carving tools for me. He felt they were sufficient for a novice carver. One was a straight handle 3/32" U Veiner, that at the time, cost $8.50 from Turtle Feathers. The other was 1/4" #9 with a rounded handle, also from Turtle Feathers, $12.50. I have taken a couple of classes in chip carving and find the geometry of it a challenge for me. Having a drafters compass is a big help. A. B. taught some classes at the Cherokee, N.C. gathering, but has not been attending the last couple of years. Classes are offered quite often at various gatherings. I love the looks of a finished carved gourd. I have always used a canteen gourd to work on, but any gourd that is not too thin should work.
  • Cleaning Gourds
  • Question:
(Dipper Gourd Question)  I have a special order from a Native American for a dipper gourd to be used as a ceremonial drinking gourd. I have cleaned out the bowl part of the gourd and need to find the best way to remove any bitterness so there will be a clean, fresh, natural taste to the water. Also, the handle is almost impossible to clean out. Any suggestions on cleaning up the inside of the handle? Or maybe the handle should be plugged so water does not enter it. If so, what would normally be used to plug it? I also need a suggestion for a "natural" way to preserve the outside because I will be doing some light woodburning and using some leather dyes for coloring the designs that have been requested. Any suggestions would be so helpful.
  • Answer:
Alana & Bob Riveira - When selecting a gourd for a dipper - select one that has no discolorations in the bowl (may be hinting of mold). Scrape and sand the bowl, clean out handle as good as possible. To remove the bitterness fill the dipper with water let sit for several hours, dump the water fill it up again sip some and taste. Keep doing this process until the bitterness goes away. I have tried this and it works. You can also speed up the process buy adding a "tad" bit of backing soda to the water each time it soaks to help speed up the sweetening process. Cut a cork to fit the area where the neck meets the bowl to plug the handle to help keep the handle dry. The gourd needs to be left natural - no finish so it can sweat and dry thoroughly, Do your art work only on the handle but you may carry only the Wood burning- no coloring onto the ladle if wanted, staying away from the area where the lips would be on the gourd - right and left handed drinkers.

Jim Martin - I had read on a web site or in one of the gourd groups that the best way was to fill with water and let set. You do this a few times or until the water comes out clear and tasteless. And, if I remember right, you can also use on the inside the type of finish you would use to seal a wooden salad bowl.

Kate Franchimon - I have made a few bowls that are being used for eating. I filled the bowls with water for 3 days. Then I emptied them and repeated the process. Then I took a sip. Did not taste great, so I did it again for 3 days. Tasted again and it was fine. I can't remember where I read this but it worked. I believe it is how the people of the past did it. I suggest a metal cloths hanger for the handle. Let me know how it turns out Kate

Patrick Loafman - If you soak and rinse the gourd out with water multiple times it supposed to get rid of the bitterness (some people add baking soda to the water). I've used walnut oil(any nut oil can be used because it won't go rancid, people use it to treat cutting boards) sometimes as a nontoxic treatment of the gourd inside and out when I make bowls to be used for food. It soaks up more on the inside than the outside and if you did it on the inside it should probably be rinsed afterwards to get rid of surface oil. As for the gourd neck, I'm not sure, you don't want any gourd dust/flakes getting into the drinking part. You might be able to plug it somehow using nontoxic water-based polyurethane?

Shannon Rowan - I have read that to get rid of bitterness you should fill with water and replace water every day until it does not taste bitter. Just thought I would throw that out there.

Caryn Nicolosi - Have you considered filling the handle with water and letting the gourd membranes soak and become mushy? I did this with a birdhouse gourd that had an inside as large and as hard as a rock. I filled it with water and let it set for a few days. The insides completely rinsed out with the pressure of water from a hose. I do not know much about eliminating bitterness out of a gourd. What did they do historically to use gourds as a drinking vessel? Did they use beeswax to coat the insides to help water proof the gourd? I would certainly like to know because my children have decorated canteen gourds and would like to use them. I hope you can find a solution.
  • Question:
I have one particular gourd that I am unable to get the black off ~ it is covered with black spots that seem to be a part of the skin of the gourd itself, NOT anything on top of the skin that could be scrubbed off. The black dots are very thick, covering the entire gourd. I re-soaked the gourd in a strong bleach solution, using hot water... I tried sanding the gourd ~ didn't help. I tried a paste of granulated dishwasher soap ~ no difference. Hopefully someone can give me the magic formula. (this is a fairly large gourd, and the project I had in mind did NOT include painting it, which I'm beginning to think may be my only option...)

  • Answer:
Barbara Olson - I use a paring knife holding it almost flat at the spot, slipping the knife under the skin. I have used a single bladed razor blade to if I need something sharper. Be careful. Hope I explained this correctly, and that it works.

Myrna Grigsby - Cut your losses and move on... that would be my solution.. sounds like you have tried everything else.

Mary (Greg K. Leiser Farms) - There are times when you'll get a gourd that will have deep black spots. It happens in the drying process, and what causes it is unknown. Mother Nature is in charge! Those black spots will go deep into the wall of the gourd and can't be cleaned. If you it cut open, you'll find that the black has penetrated clear through. No bleach, or cleaner will remove it no matter how hard you scrub. Greg, my husband and the farmer, suggest you paint a primer over the entire gourd to seal it, then paint.

Alana Riveira - I have encountered this situation several times and each time it was the same cause. The gourds had the dreaded Black fuzzy lung attacking mold in it that has penetrated its blackness thru the gourd meat and colored the outer skin with the black spots- large and small. I never have been able to lessen the darkness of the spots on the outside. WARNING -IF you do open this type of gourd up in any way you will need to kill the mold spores. Lysol makes a Mold and Mildew Killer that I use it can be found in most stores, Lysol Disinfectant Spray. Kills viruses, bacteria, mold and mildew, Kills 99.9% of germs in 30 seconds. There may be something better than this to use but so far this has served me well. I wear my canister style dust mask and open the gourd up in front of the dust collector. Being careful to not rush air into it and make the mold spores go flying around. IF the gourd is over ½ covered on the inside with the black mold I throw away the gourd. It is not worth my health to fight it. If I decide to try and save it; Holding the can of Lysol far enough away to not rush air into the gourd when spraying, I spray it heavily all around and into the lid, put the lid back on and let it sit overnight. The next day (wearing my Canister mask) I scrape out the insides into a bag and put it into the trash. Then I spray the gourd heavily again with the Lysol , put the lid on and again let it sit overnight. The third day I let it dry out. It is at this point where I decide if it is worth proceeding, if it is, I scrape and sand the inside and give it another good spray, spraying until the Lysol puddles. I roll this Lysol Puddle around several times and turn the gourd so the puddle is over the inside of the biggest dark spots and again let it soak and sit overnight. Then after letting it thoroughly dry, I craft the gourd. I have always wound up fully coloring the inside and outside to Hide the dark mold colorations.
  • Question:
Help~ I cleaned a gourd (Washington) and believe it or not, it's pretty thick..not as thick as Welburn's but every bit as thick as Wuertz'. stinks to high heaven..yow..  I cleaned the inside out today thinking that would help..I put a wood hardener in it, let it sit then spray painted it black, but man oh man, it still stinks..any suggestions???

  • Answer:
Oz - Before the wood hardener and paint you should have mixed a solution of water and vinegar and filled the inside of the gourd, let it sit for a little bit and dump it out. Vinegar is a natural cleaner.

Patty Burke - I had a whole lot of gourds that had been chewed by rats...some even had nesting material in them. Someone, and I am thinking it was Gloria Deterick, suggested soaking the gourd in salt water. I filled a trash can with water, added two boxes of regular salt (not iodized, although I don't know that it would make a difference) and submerged the gourds for a couple of days. It seemed to do the trick. Since you have sealed it already I'm not sure if this would still work. If it can kill rat urine odor it should work on just about anything! Have you cut any of the other gourds? Do they smell bad too? Talk to me about using wood hardener.

Charlotte Masi - Yeah, I have a suggestion ... throw it out!

Alana Riveira - I think you sprayed it too early. Get the stink out first – then hardener and spray. SOMETHING is/has caused the smell and it has to be killed/cured, now you have locked in what ever is causing the smell and it may decay after time. I use heavy scraping then Lysol Spray 99% mold and mildew killer - soak the insides and cover with plastic or its lid for 24 hours. Let dry, then repeat with a light scrape or sand and another heavy coat of Lysol spray. . If the gourd still stinks let it air out preferably in a shed or out building (not the house or garage incase it is mold) for several days or weeks, then try a spray of Febreez. I have found this works but don’t expect a quick fix. Some I have had to let air out for several months. In 4 years I have only had to throw away 2 gourds because the stink wouldn’t come out.

Alice Pawlowski - I have a helpful tip in cleaning gourds especially AZ gourds. Your gourds out there have a terrible white skin that is the hardest to get scrubbed off, I tried this and it works wonderfully! Take a bounce fabric sheet, get it wet, rub it until your sheet gets kind of creamy then wipe it on your gourd. I sometimes even lay it on the tough white film, wrap it in a towel, wait a while & then scrub with a copper scouring pad. Wala, a nice clean gourd without too much work. You can also try filling a tub with hot water and adding a few bounce sheets, this works if you need to clean more than one at a time. You can also use Downy, but I don't find the results are as good or easy.
  • Copyright Law
  • Question:
How does the copyright law work? 
  • Answer:
(Oz) Go here, look under FAQ

  • Dauber
A round miniature stamp pad which can be dabbed onto a stamp to apply ink.
  • Decorative & tole painting
Creative use of paint to decorate items for the home (also known as Folk Art).
  • Découpage
Dating back to the Victorian era, this is the craft of cutting out motifs from paper and gluing them to a surface to create a three dimensional, layered effect. Often finished with layers of varnish to give a smooth finish.
  • Degradation
The breaking down, or changing of appearance, of materials from their original state. The term is typically used in crafts to refer to paper or photographs yellowing and becoming brittle or when varnish or a coating becomes old and starts to crack or yellow.
  • Distressing
The process of intentionally creating scratches, dents and ‘wear and tear’ to mimic the characteristics of aged paper, wood etc. Common tools include sandpaper and inks.
  • Dye
A dye is a natural or synthetic substance used to color something. Dyes are usually used in an aqueous solution, which will work on all porous surfaces. They are most often used to color materials and fabrics. To apply a stain, dye, or other liquid to alter the color of a gourd. Also a liquid used to permanently change the color of a material.
  • Dye-based inks
Water-based, washable inks that are permanent once applied on papers. Dye-based inks stamp well, dry quickly and are suitable for coated papers. However, they fade with time, they dry too quickly for embossing.

  • Embellishment
Anything that will add to, or enhance, your project (e.g. brads, eyelets, fibers, charms).
  • Emboss
To create a raised design.
  • Embossing pens
Pens containing embossing ink which are useful for writing titles, outlining, drawing, spot embossing and fine stencil work.
  • Embossing powder
Clear or colored powder which is sprinkled, then heated to create a raised image.
  • Enamel paint
There are lots of different types of enamel paint that dry to a hard, usually glossy finish.
  • Encaustic (wax) painting
A painting technique which combines color pigment with hot wax and resin. This mixture of materials is applied in its semi-liquid form to a panel or other support as paint, and then fused to the surface with heat (using an iron or similar).
  • Epoxy
A plastic coating applied to the surface of a sticker, metal accent or other, which may look like enameling and creates a raised effect. Epoxy is a two part chemical when mixed gives a short use time before hardening.

  • Embellishing
  • Question:
Where can I find cheap embellishments or what can I use?

  • Answer:
(Patty B) I haunt the garage sales, thrift stores, craft sales, etc. for any kind of junk jewelry, beads, pods, horns and antlers, basket material...anything that I think I can couch or glue on a gourd. Usually I will tear a piece of jewelry or beading apart and use pieces of it. If you have the big southern pine cones they can be torn apart and the individual petals(?) used as trim. I have used pieces of thin broken gourd in a mosaic effect. Shells or small sea glass pieces, or stones & beads can be attached the same way. Sand can be sprinkled over a thinned glue base for texture, or spray stone. Some times I can find items in the notion dept. of the fabric store that can be added as trim. I also watch for candle holders or other bases that I can set my finished gourd on. It shows the gourd to a better advantage than just sitting flat on a shelf.

  • Fade resistant
A quality of a product that means it is more likely to remain vivid in colour and true to its original pigment.
  • Faux
Faux is a French word used to describe something which has been made to resemble something else. The original French word means ‘false’, ‘fake’, ‘imitation’ or ‘artificial’.
  • Felt-tip pen
A pen with a dense, shaped fiber point. Ink is drawn from inside the pen by a wick. Felt-tip pens were first used in commercial and graphic arts, but became popular for general writing during the 1970s. They are less popular now, perhaps because the points wear rapidly and the ink is prone to evaporate.
  • Fiber
A fancy thread used to decorate gourds.
  • Filigree
Lace-like ornamental work of fine gold or silver wire. With gourds is the intricate cutting of different shaped holes through the gourd.
  • Fimo
Fimo is a soft modeling material which stays soft and pliable until baked to permanent hardness in a home oven.
  • Fine & chisel pens
Pens used for lettering. A fine-tip pen measures 0.5mm at the tip and a chisel measures 6.0mm.
  • Fixative
A fixative makes something permanent. It is sprayed over work to prevent smearing and to help charcoal, graphite, pastels etc adhere.
  • Focal point
The element of a design, layout or image to which the eye is naturally drawn.
  • Foils
Metallic colored foils that can be applied to gourds using glue. The result is a shiny raised finish.
  • Font
The style of a typeface; thousands of different fonts are available in word processing programs, on CDs, and for download on the internet.
  • Forum
An online community where you can share ideas and chat. There are loads of craft-related forums you can visit to brush up on your craft knowledge, share your creations, and meet like-minded crafters.

If you did not find an answer to your question here, a great resource for up to date information is the "Gourd Art Enthusiasts" website. It's free, it's constantly updated and it's spam free. There is a member section.  A photo section with over 9500 pictures. A extensive forum section (lots of questions and answers to almost any subject). An events section and a live chat area to gab or ask questions. Click here to check it out
  • Fringe
A decorative edge or hem.
  • Finishes
  • Question:
I would like to sand a gourd to make it looks like glass or that's its been polished to a shine, What grit do I start with ??? I used a wet/dry and a 220 grit, doesn't look like anything is happening, do I just keep on going ? do I need to buff ? or will it start to shine once I finish with all the sanding ?

  • Answer:
(Bonnie Gibson) I start with 120 grit, then progress through probably 3 finer grits, finishing with 400 or even finer. I finish by buffing the gourd with a polishing compound on a large cloth buffing wheel on a bench grinder. It's a very labor intensive process. Softer gourds won't ever look as good as hard gourds. California gourds are soft.
  • Food Safe Gourd
  • Question:
I would love to use some of my gourds as food and beverage containers. Is this safe? How do I make them safe to eat and drink from?
  • Answer:
We have had a few people that have used this in their gourds, all natural product  This can be found at Target if I am not mistaken.
  • Food Safe Gourd - Yerba Mate
  • Question:
How do I cure a gourd that I will be using as a Yerba Mate?
  • Answer:
Yerba Mate Curing

To "cure" your mate: Amargo (style) [...means "bitter"; The most typical drinking method.]

To cure a gourd for drinking mate amargo...

· First wash your gourd with hot water (no soap) and remove any loose interior of the gourd with a spoon. [These gourds are a natural product and may contain dried pulp--but this curing process will help clean the gourd--and inhibit mold growth as well.]
· Do not remove the inner hard "stem" from the flower end of the interior of the gourd--this could result in a greater liklihood of seepage.
· Fill completely with new or spent yerba. We now have free yerba for curing--available in our MATES category listing.
· Fill to the top with hot water and let sit for an entire day.
· Clean out as described above.
· Repeat these steps two more times, clean out the yerba, let dry completely, and your gourd will be infused with flavor and ready to use!

Dulce (style)

[...or "sweet" mate--an optional method.]

To cure a gourd for drinking mate dulce cure as above, then...

· Wet the inside of the mate first with hot water.
· Pour in sugar so that it sticks to the insides of the mate gourd.
· Into this place one burning ember of charcoal and rapidly shake it around so as to "carmelize" the interior in all parts!
· The flavor will endure for an entire mate drinking session. Recharge your mate in this manner as often as you like.

  • Gel Pens
Pens that are filled with a gel ink, often metallic or lustrous, some are scented ( but this fades quickly) can create beautiful effects, and relatively inexpensive.
  • Glitter
Glitter has come a long way from the good old days, although you can still have large flake clumpy glitter, you can now purchase ultra fine glitter in both opaque and transparent colors. The glitter if used with a clear dry glue can create beautiful and vibrant projects.
  • Glue
These are now hundreds of glues on the market, wet glues such as glue stick, UHU, PVA, etc and also dry glues such as Xyron, Herma, Studio Tac, you can get glues on runners, and glue dots of all shapes and sizes.  play around with different types and see which ones you prefer to work with.
  • Glaze
This is a finish given to a project to create a shiny look or to seal a project. Some glazes such a diamond glaze will also act as an adhesive.
  • Gilding
The addition of a metallic finish to give a project a metallic look, gild can be pure metal or faux metal.
  • Gold leaf
Sheets of very fine pure gold that is stuck on a project to give a luxurious finish.
  • Gourd
(noun) 1: any of a family (Cucurbitaceae, the gourd family) of chiefly herbaceous tendril-bearing vines including the cucumber, melon, squash, and pumpkin. 2: the fruit of a gourd : pepo; especially : any of various hard-rinded inedible fruits of plants of two genera (Lagenaria and Cucurbita) often used for ornament or for vessels and utensils.
  • Gourd Head
(noun) 1. A person who is obsessed with gourds. 2. Out of one's gourd also off one's gourd : crazy
  • Gourdistry
(Noun) gourd - ist - ry : A person who performs their artistic magic on the blank canvass of a naturally grown gourd.
  • Gems
Can be real or imitation, and can be used to create jewelery or adorn hand made projects.
  • Glue Dots
As you'd expect, dots of glue! Glue dots come in various sizes from tiny to large pop up dots for 3D work.
  • Glue
  • Question:
I have a glue problem. I have been trying to attach a string of filigree beads, strung on a fishing line type material. If I use a glue gun it melts the line. I tried super glue but that didn't seem to work. I finally used a little dab of Gorilla Glue, but it doesn't look as good as I would like. The surface of the gourd is painted in a semi gloss.
  • Answer:
(Myrna) Before you begin to glue a strand of beads or other embellishments, use your Dremel tool to "carve" out the line where you are going to lay your strand. Then, take your craft glue (one that dries clear like the Bob Smith Glue) and take a Q-tip or toothpick and add the glue to the carved out line. Make sure not to put too much glue in, because when you lay your strand down it will "push" the glue up. Work small areas, alternating the glue with the beads. The Wuertz Farm Gourd Festival, "Running of the Gourds" there is a vendor there that sells little tiny bottles to put your glue in and it has a very very fine tip for just this purpose.
  • Question:
Bonnie Gibson - Tucson, Arizona, Author: "Gourds: Southwestern Techniques & Projects from Simple to Sophisticated")  I use two different glues, depending on the size of the stone. For heishi and small stones, I use Insta-cure gap filling super glue. For larger or heavy stones, I use a combination of Weldbond and Insta-cure. Weldbond looks like heavy white glue but has the strength of epoxy. It is designed to hold dissimilar objects together. The Insta-cure works like a clamp to hold the pieces firmly together while the Weldbond dries. I put the Weldbond on most of the stone and then dots of the Insta-cure around the edges. You can get Weldbond at some hardware stores and I've started seeing it in a few craft stores as well. I have the Insta-cure on the tools page of my website, but any good brand of *gap-filling* super glue (not the thin super glue like you get at the hardware or grocery store) will work.
  • Gourds
  • Question:
When selecting a gourd, is there a way to know if it is a "thick" gourd or not?

  • Answer:
To learn how to determine gourd thickness watch this video from California Gourds not to be confused with the California Gourd Society (Thanks Mary).



  • Question:

How do I strengthen a thin shelled gourd?
  • Answer:
(Dynva) To strengthen a thin shelled gourd: Petrifier is a thin runny solution you apply to a thin gourd to harden it and make it sturdy. I bought PC-Petrifier at Ace Hardware. They also carry Petrifier at Lowe's and places like that. It's about $5 a bottle but looks like it will go a long way.
  • Growing
  • Question:
I was asked this question by a lady from California. What gourd grows or has the fastest seed to maturity rate?

  • Answer:
Our member Jeanie Dixon has already answered this question on one of her webpage's,

  • Question:
For the first time, I am going to attempt to grow cannonball gourds in my garden.  I have a 7 ft. fence that I would like the vines to climb.  I am worried, that if the vines climbed the fence; deer and elk would pull the vines through the fence and eat it up.  Do you know if these animals like the leaves of the gourd plant? Thank you very much, Janet, Brinnon, WA
  • Answer:
(Jim Martin) Don't know about the deer and elk eating the vines but cannonballs have a much smaller lighter-weight stem that most gourds and they tend to come off easily.  Don't remember seeing any of the tentacles for climbing on my cannonballs last year so don't think you will have much luck with them climbing a fence.  Not all gourds are climbers.

Here's what I do, and haven't had problems with the deer since. It won't stop the squirrels from stealing the gourds though. The deer used to lay down and sleep in my field. I have my husband pee in a jar and I funnel it into the spray bottle and spray the area outside where I do not want the deer to go. Deer do not like the smell of humans. So what I really am doing is marking the gourd patch as human territory. You could also just pour the urine on the ground making a line the deer will not cross. Good luck. Cynthia Gowin
  • Question:
How do you grow gourds? by Shari Morley and Mary Shinn

  • Answer:
Buy special seed. Start transplants April 15th (FFA)Select/prepare/ground ( I grow on sand) about 2 acres. Transplant early/mid May (1500)Water (center pivot) Fertilize (15/15/15)Weed for 30-45 days, then plant take over. Pollination (lots of boys) (females only at night). Frost kills vines hopefully not until Mid October. Dry in field over winter, get moldy, will freeze, sometimes cut and windrow. Harvest March 15th or so when we need to be in the field and bin. Clean by soaking outer skin with water and remove with brush. Gourds are now ready for sale or crafting

(Bernie Lancaster) - When I was at the Wertz show this year, I asked the man who had the long dipper gourds how he got them so straight and how he had some that were twisted and he said--nylons.  As soon as they get a bulb of fist size, he puts a nylon (preferably long or tall I guess) and as it grows the nylon stretches out.  To twist them, he ties a nylon strip every so many inches and twists, then when it grows to the next increment (say six or eight inches) he repeats the process, twisting in the opposite direction.  Must watch them daily as they grow so rapidly at that stage. He was from Alabama so I guess they don't have much to do down there, but watch their gourds grow.

(Carolyn Wiley, Orcas Island) - Hello, I have to say it can be tricky to grow gourds here. I did it once (on Orcas Island, north enough to make it difficult). I was living in a valley that had great sun. I started the plants indoors, around March?, and when they came up they went in a sunny window. If the day was warm I would take them outside until it cooled. Back and forth, more and more outside. That went on for a few weeks or so. Then I planted them in raised beds, in pretty good soil, with compost. I put bales of hay in a horseshoe pattern around some. But by that time they were up and running all over the raised beds and really didn't need it. Then in the fall I really piled up the hay bales so they could continue growing as long as possible. Finally I had to harvest them green as they would have rotted, so in they came. I put them off the ground, not touching each other, on newspaper on shelves in a dark mechanical room that was warm from the heater. Probably would have been even better if the shelves were wire. They need air circulation. I lost maybe 1/3 as they just were not mature enough, but had at least 60 or so gourds that successfully made it. I must say that they were not as thick walled as some you can buy, but I sure had fun, waiting to see what size, shapes, and "designs" were imprinted on the gourds. If you have enough sun, I highly recommend trying it.

(Sharon Watson, Wenatchee) - I live in Wenatchee and I have had good luck with growing gourds that I have started in the peat pots then put into the dirt. Also have used seeds I got out of gourds that were frozen and been sitting in the gourds for years, that I was told would NOT grown plus some seeds that didn't come up the year I planted them but the next year. I plant them in the ground when the frost has passed and ground is starting to warm, above 40*. I have raised beds and mix in coffee grounds (free from star bucks) and a good fertilizer. I let some gourds grow on the ground and some I have growing up a large ladder. I also pinch off the main vine when it gets long so that the side shoots, where the females grown off of, get stronger and have more blossoms. I have left some gourds on the vine and picked most of the others and left then outside in the elements, I have to pick my gourds by the end of Oct. as I go south for the winter. When I get back home in April I will see how they did, I was told the little ones will shrivel up if left outside in the winter. So again will see how they did. Some of the gourds have had a waxy skin on them that is very hard to get off. This spring will be planting Apple seed gourds, that I was told are hard to grow, so will keep you posted.

  • Question:
For the first time, I am going to attempt to grow cannonball gourds in my garden. I have a 7 ft. fence that I would like the vines to climb. I am worried, that if the vines climbed the fence; deer and elk would pull the vines through the fence and eat it up. Do you know if these animals like the leaves of the gourd plant? Janet Nunamacher, Brinnon, WA
  • Comment:
Hello All...I am a total novice grower!! I live in Point Roberts, WA which is similar in climate to Vancouver, BC. It's always a toss up as to whether or not we have a nice hot summer. We are still getting occasional very light frost but have had 3 weeks of pretty nice days. Last year I tried growing a couple of plants and didn't have much success. Everything else in the garden is budding and showing new growth, so I was anxious to get gourds in the ground! This year I bought one of those 4 tier mini greenhouses, soaked my seeds overnight, clipped the "wings" and planted them in peat pellets. I placed them in the mini greenhouse then moved that over a heater vent in the floor. They sprouted beautifully. About 2 weeks ago I planted them outside and they already have their first "real" leaves. I prepared the ground by mixing in aged horse manure and wood ash from the fireplace. I dug a small hole for each peat pellet, put a toilet paper tube (I've been saving them all winter!) over the pellet to help the leggy sprouts to stand up. I have also been saving clear plastic water bottles, juice bottles and plastic milk jugs all winter...I cut off the bottoms and put one over each plant as a "greenhouse" and haven't lost a single plant! I didn't expect such a good germination rate or for all of them to survive out in the cold so I think I may regret starting 100 assorted gourd seeds! I think I have 7 or 8 varieties. When they get too big for their bottle greenhouses. ..I contacted a place that sells water in refillable 5 gallon bottles. They are saving the damaged ones for me and will sell them for a nominal price. I don't mind paying a bit for them as I'll use them over and over each year. We'll see how it goes, but I had to be creative to try to extend our growing season!! Cross your fingers!!! Debbie K. Point Roberts, WA

  • Heat Tool or Gun

A craft tool that blows out heat in a controlled manner, built specifically for crafting purposes. For heat embossing, this is the only tool for the job, although you can sometimes use a very high-power hair dryer.
  • Heat Embossing
The creation of raised shiny (often metallic) surfaces on your project using embossing powder and a heat tool.

  • Inlace
1. to interlace; intertwine: to enlace strands of rope.
2. to bind or encircle with or as with a lace or cord: Vines enlaced the tree.
  • Inset
A piece of material set into a gourd, usually as an ornamental panel.

  • Jewels
Can be precious, semi precious or faux. Used in numerous ways such as jewelry making and other embellishments. Attached using wire, or adhesives.
  • Jelly Roll Pens
These are a trade name for a particular brand of gel pens.
  • Jewelry Gourd
  • Question:
Does anyone know a good source for the mini gourd AKA Jewelry Gourd or Mini Spinners? They are less than 2 inches in height and width. The ones that I have were purchased at the Indiana Gourd Show about 3 years ago. There is a decorative artist who is interested in designing packets for these little jewels.
  • Answer:
(Oz) Have you looked at Welburn Farms? They always have a huge selection of all types of gourds. Here is the link for Jewelry Gourds

(Oz) Go to our Gourd Growers page, I have bought Jewelry gourds from Tonnemaker Hill Farm, Sonia Tonnemaker, - 9098 Dodson Rd. S, Royal City, WA 99357, 509-346-9706,

  • Keepsake
Is just that i.e. something you keep, lot's of projects are made as keepsakes.

  • Lace
Fabric lace can be incorporated into your designs for an elegant look, there also lots of makes of paper lace, and faux lace available to add interest to your projects.
  • Light box
a small box or platform with a work surface, illuminated from below – useful for embossing and filling in color, particularly with glass paints.
  • Lacquer
Usually used to give gloss, most common lacquers are the Sakura crystal lacquers that give a glossy embossed 3D look to a project, and come in clear or colored.
  • Le Plumes
Short for Marvy le plumes, these are water based coloring pens of a very high quality.

  • Magic Motifs
Magic motifs are flat glue dots in various shapes and sizes, you adhere them to your project, and can then stick glitter, foil, micro beads etc to them.
  • Mosaic
Usually made of small ceramic tiles of various colors put together to form a pattern of picture, this art can be replicated using squares or shards of gourd.
  • Metallic thread
Useful as an embellishment, or to fasten items such as tags to your projects.
  • Mask
A paper that filters out dust particles from sanding or cutting on gourds.
  • Metal embellishments
These encompass, metal charms, eyelets, brads, charms, etc,
  • Microbeadz
Another trade name for tiny hole-less beads that are stuck onto a project with clear glue or tacky tape.
  • Monochromatic Color Scheme
Different values (shades) of the same color.
  • Marquetry
Decorative patterns formed when thin layers of wood (and sometimes other materials such as gourd) are inlaid onto a surface, to create a design (Sizzix is great for this)
  • Materials
  • Question:
Do you know how to preserve pine needles ? I heard that glycerin is the thing to use but, I can't find a recipe. Do You know where I might be able to find one?
  • Answer:
This page also applies to pine needles

Stacy Annon - According to Judy Mofield Mallow, author of Pine Needle Basketry, she freezes the pine needles for a few days to kill any bugs then stores them in cardboard boxes in a cool dry place. She says they will last for years this way. For finished pieces She uses shellac or a coat of melted paraffin and beeswax.

Shawna Stout - On page 89 of “Beyond the Basics, Gourd Art” “Prepare the pine needles. Whether they are purchased or picked up in the backyard, Lee prepares them the same way: Spread them on a baking sheet and swish them in a solution of hot water and bleach (1:10) for approximately 10 minutes. “This will take care of any mold, mildew, or forest bugaboos that are in the needles,” Lee says. Rinse the needles completely, then do a final rinse in warm water and fabric softener to make the needles more pliable. Remove caps (fascicles) when the needles are wet, using fingernails or a dull knife. Spread the wet needles on newspaper and allow them to dry, Gather them with the blunt ends together and tie them in bundles to keep them straight ant ready to use.”

Corky Savoie - In answer to the question of how to preserve pine needles I assume that they are using them in the creation of a basket or to edge a gourd. Shellac has been used for many years, but it can discolor dyed needles, thread and such. It will help to stiffen and preserve the coils. Be sure to use fresh shellac as it doesn't have a very long shelf life. If it isn't dry to the next day it probably is old, but you can coat it with another coat of fresh shellac and that will save the project. A better way (I think) is to use beeswax. It provides a protective, gloss free alternative to shellac and won't discolor needles, threads, etc. Here's how: preheat oven to 150 -200 degrees, line a baking pan with foil. Melt one part paraffin to 2 parts beeswax in a double boiler. Dab the mixture all over your pine needles which is on the foil coated pan. A foam brush is great for this as you can throw it away after wards. It will become very ugly and you will wonder what in the world did you do that for???? Place the thing on the pan in the oven and watch carefully (do not leave it for even a Minute!). It should take 5 - 10 minutes for all the wax to be absorbed into the pine needle coils. Remove from oven and place on piece of wax paper or clean foil to dry and harden. I hope this info helps.

Patty Burke - I've never known of pine needles to persevered. I just bundle them and store them in bundles in a basket in my craft closet. When I am ready to use them I rinse them in warm to hot water & wrap them in a damp towel. If they seem too dry for my purpose I suppose I would put them in a tray of luke warm water until they were as flexible as I wanted. I have used Glycerin in preserving leaves. It does darken the plant material. I'm not sure if the pine needles would retain an oily feeling. Glycerin can be purchased at a pharmacy. Even with very dry wheat that I use for wheat weaving I've never used Glycerin. If the pine needles you have are a season old and very dry from lying on the ground for some time they make take more soaking. I have a book on pine needle basketry by Judy Mallow, who does not suggest using Glycerin. If you gather green needles, they need to dry in a dark place and be turned every other day or so until they are dry at which time they can be bundled, with the cap end left in tack until ready to use.

  • Nib
The burning tip on the end of a wood burner. On cheap burners they are made from brass. Expensive burners they are made from nichrome.

  • Ornare
A method of embossing and pricking to produce intricate designs resembling lace.
  • Outline stickers
Also known as Peel Offs, they come in various forms: text or picture, gold, silver, black, white, colored, holographic etc and are a quick and easy way of embellishing or creating a project.
  • Origami
The ancient art of folding paper into recognizable shapes – fiddly but effective.

  • Pencils
Useful in both normal and colored varieties for marking and filling in color.
  • Paint
Comes in various guises – acrylic, 3D, metallic, glass, watercolor etc and can be used to create many different effects on many different materials.
  • Pegs
  • and
  • mini pegs
Can be used to hold items together, to attach items to your project or just as decoration.
  • Positioning/ planning
An important part of crafting – make sure you plan the elements of your project before you start. A pencil mark can be erased, a cut or burn mark cannot. Better to get it right before you stick something together with a permanent adhesive.
  • Pipe cleaners
Great as embellishments, particularly for young children to work with.
  • Polymer Clay
A modeling compound made primarily of plastic materials that is finished by baking at low temperatures.
  • Painting
  • Question:
What is the rule when using oil and acrylic?

  • Answer:
The rule of thumb is "Fat Over Lean - Never Lean Over Fat"  Oil paint is the "Fat" and Acrylic paint is the "Lean" so you can get away with painting oils over an acrylic basecoat but if you paint acrylic paint over oils, the acrylics could crack later on.  That being said, I am not sure about the oil pencils, they may have less "Fat" in them so I am hoping they will be ok.
  • Patching
  • Question:
I patched a rat eaten gourd with wood filler and gave the entire gourd one coat of spray paint....but the patch is very evident. Any suggestions on how to make the patch less noticeable?
  • Answer:
(Alana Riveira) - If the patch is noticeable due to the color difference then your only option is to paint. A good paint style would be to mottle by sponge painting with several layers of different colors. That would allow the original color mismatch to “hide/blend.” If it is due to it being sunken or raised then sanding until edges are flush is the option.

  • Photo's (taking gourd pictures)
  • Question:
Anyone have any tips on taking pictures of gourds?
  • Answer:
Here is a really good article on how to take pictures of your gourds:

Light Cube or Picture Box - Stacy sent me this and I ordered one. It is only $60 and doesn't come with lights (which you don't always need anyway -- I already have the lights from a smaller version of a light tent). Thought I would share this with you in case you wanted one yourself, dynvaa 36 inch light cube:
  • Pricing
  • Question:
How does one go about pricing their finished gourd projects?

  • Answer:

(Oz) I charge by the hour, but sometimes that is on a floating scale, it really depends on how much detail that I am putting into that gourd, shadow box, or whatever I'm building. Example: if your doing something that you know is only going to take a few hours it's ok to set a price. If your doing a piece that you know will take you 10 to 15 hours by all means charge by the hour. Charge what you think your time is worth and factor in the market that you will sell to:

$10.00 hr  X  10 Hours  = $100.00

$15.00 hr  X  10 Hours  = $150.00

$20.00 hr  X  10 Hours  = $200.00

There are other factors that go along with pricing your work. What and where is your market? Are you in an poor or rich neighborhood - this effects your asking price also. Are you in a market where art is everywhere or are you trying to sell in a market where people are saying "what the heck is a gourd" this effects your asking price again.


  • Pyrography / Woodburning
  • Question:
What type of woodburner should I buy?

  • Answer:
(Oz) This is a personal choice. For years I used the cheap craft burners that can be bought at most major stores ($12 to $20). I still use them to this day. As you get better and want to refine your burning detail you can move up to the hobby burners ($100 to $250).
  • Question:
What are the differences between the cheap and expensive burners?

  • Answer:

(Oz) I am going to answer this question with side by side comparison answers (Pros & Cons).

1. The cheap burners only have one heat setting (hot). The expensive burning systems have adjustable heat settings from mild to hot (this will give you different burning shades).

2. The cheap burners use brass tips that are screwed into the end of the burner handle. The expensive burning pens use nichrome tips. Some pens you can replace just the tips (these are ok) others you have to buy the pen with the tip welded (these are best).

3. The cheap burners handle to tip is about 2" (this means your hand is about three inches away from what your burning on). The expensive burners the blade length is about an inch, this means your hand is closer to what your burning. What's this mean you ask? Take a pen or pencil write your normal way (holding close to the paper) for an hour or two. Then take your pen or pencil and hold it about three inches higher and try writing for an hour or two. Take into account that your pen or pencil is not producing heat. Your hand gets a workout trying to burn when its higher off the material.

4. The handle of the cheap burners are fairly thick and have a metal heat dissipating ring between the handle and the metal tip shaft (don't touch this ring or the shaft because they are freaking hot). The burning pens are thinner like a fat pencil. They have a metal handle but you can buy foam handle covers for .35 cents.

5. The cheap burners have limited number of tips (nibs) around 10 to 15, you can modify these brass tips with a metal file so you have some custom tips. The expensive burners you can order a multitude of tips from skinny, fat, shading, knife blade, there are so many to choose from.

6. In conclusion, depending on if you really like Pyrography invest in a nice burning system. If your just burning a few lines here and there then a cheap burner is the way to go.


  • Question:
Why does the burner seem to cool off while I am burning?

  • Answer:
(Oz) If you have a fan blowing the smoke away while your burning, turn the fan so it's not blowing on the burner itself. The cool air will make the heat of the blade fluctuate in temperature. The same thing can happen just by breathing on the burner while your working.

  • Question:
Is there a way to vent smoke away from me while burning my gourd?

  • Answer:
(Oz) Yes, follow this link to see a economical venting system

If you did not find an answer to your question here, a great resource for up to date information is the "Gourd Art Enthusiasts" website. It's free, it's constantly updated and it's spam free. There is a member section.  A photo section with over 9500 pictures. A extensive forum section (lots of questions and answers to almost any subject). An events section and a live chat area to gab or ask questions. Click here to check it out

  • Ribbons
Ribbons, both wide and narrow can be used to decorate and embellish your craft project (see also weaving)
  • Ruler
You will undoubtedly need a ruler for measuring on your project (a clear plastic ruler would be ideal for this), but a sturdy metal ruler will prove essential for use with a craft knife for accurate cutting.

  • Secondary Colors
Colors created by blending primary colors. Orange, green and violet are the secondary colors created b mixing a combination of red, yellow and blue. (see color wheel)
  • Self adhesive
Many products can be bought which already have adhesive on one side for ease of use – such as foam sheets and acetate.
  • Sponging
The transfer of ink, paint or dye to a gourd using a small sponge (usually a cosmetic or craft sponge) in place of a brush. The ink is applied to the sponge and then the sponge is dabbed/tapped lightly onto a gourd leaving a series of small dots. A sponge with many holes, squeezed tightly while sponging, will produce a beautiful lacy effect.
  • Spall
(spal) - To break into small pieces; to splinter.
  • Sequins
Used as embellishments, or in making jewellery for that extra bit of glitz.
  • Safety
  • Question:
Should I wear a mask when working on my gourds?

  • Answer:
(Oz) Yes, Yes, and Yes. When gourds dry out they form a mold on the outer shell. Most gourds are cleaned when you buy them but some are not. Not all of the mold spores come off in the cleaning process. When you start sanding and cutting into the gourd it releases those mold spores and as we all know mold spores can be very bad for you. Especially those people with breathing problems already. Please read this article on gourd safety

  • Question:
How can I clean my gourds so there safe?

  • Answer:

(Oz) If your just cleaning a clean gourd mix a tablespoon of bleach into 2 quarts of water and wipe the gourd off with a clean rag dipped in the bleach solution. If your cleaning a uncleaned gourd fill a large 5 gallon bucket with water and add 1 cup of bleach. Scrub the gourd with a METAL scouring pad to remove all the mold underwater, the water will trap the mold spores so they are not floating in the air. When done scrubbing the gourd rinse with clean water and let dry outside.

(Alana Riveira adds:) On the Gourd Patch this has been brought up many times and it has been suggested that when using a "metal" scrubber it should always be the "COPPER" kind. The other metals have more of a tendency to leave scratches behind. Also, when using bleaches on the gourd, you should finish by using a wash of 1/2 water to 1/2 white vinegar or a wipe of pure white vinegar to help neutralize the bleaching action. It is thought that the bleach if left on, will in time make the gourd shells weaker (especially the thinner shells) and possibly hasten color fading.

(Jim Martin adds:) When cleaning your gourds, don't place them in the sun to dry after washing. On a thick-shelled gourd, the air and moisture inside the gourd can expand and cause the gourd to crack being as the air can't escape very fast. Not usually as much of a problem with thin shelled gourds. Wearing rubber gloves is a good idea too. Let the gourds soak for 15 minutes or so, gourds float so place a wet towel over the top of the gourds to keep them uniformly wet or you will be able to clean one side and then have to wait for the other side to soften up to be cleaned.

(Shari Morley's husband Max adds:) thought I'd share one way she cleans the gourds. After they have dried she uses our short wand power washer to blast the dried skin off the shell. Scrubbing after that is minimal and the skins dry and bows away from the washing area. Max


  • Stippling
  • Stipple/ stippling
Using a short bristled brush (stippling brush) this is the art of applying small amounts of paint or ink in short strokes or dots. Stippling can also be done with a fine tip wood burner to create different shades and sizes of burn marks.
  • Question:
What is Stippling?
  • Answer:
(Oz) to paint, engrave, burn, or draw by means of dots or small touches.

  • Tracing
The simple traditional way of transferring images from one place to another. Tracing paper can also be used as a ‘paper’ on your project.
  • Threading
Not just for jewelry, but you can thread all kids of beads and buttons to make unusual and unique embellishments.
  • Tweezers
Very handy when using peel offs and stickers, as well as for handling small fiddly and delicate embellishments.
  • Tools
  • Question:
I am intimidated and very inadequate with my tools, especially my saw. I need a tool type lesson, in person. Cutting a gourd is still my biggest nemesis As I like doing mostly baskets the cutting is the big challenge for me.

  • Answer:
(Alana Riveira) When using a Power Saw on a gourd;  Wear a dust mask! Place a rubber strip under the gourd. I either hold the gourd in my lap on a rubber strip locked between my knees or on a rubber strip on table in front of my dust filter. Hold the gourd tightly. Start the saw ONLY after the blade is fully imbedded into the gourd. It is best to have a foot pedal control for the saw and rotate the gourd into the saw. GO SLOW AND LET THE SAW DO THE WORK. Keep the saw on the gourd surface at all times to eliminate any bouncing of the saw, which may damage the gourd or break the saw blade. Stop the saw (turn power off) when you need to turn the gourd towards you to keep the cutting area in view. Don't - Leave the gourd in one place and push your saw around it with your hand, quickly the cutting area will not be visible and your hand will be in an awkward position and you will not have a solid or steady control of the saw.
  • Treatments
  • Question:
I have several tins of Gilders Paste that are dried and no longer a paste. Can these be reconstituted. Can the finish be sprayed with a clear finish

  • Answer:
(David Wareham, AS&P Distribution) - Gilders Paste is formulated to become dry and hard for a durable wax finish, but also having the flexibility to be reconstituted or rejuvenated by adding a few drops of white spirits like paint thinner, mineral spirits or turpentine and mix in. Any one the spirits will work. We suggest mixing in a very small amount of thinner to one area in the tin and gradually adding more thinner until you get the consistency that you want. One very nice feature about the Gilders Paste becoming firm or hard is that you can dry brush with it on one side and have other areas in the tin like a cream or paint. By using the lid as a palette, you can make your own stains and washes by adding more paint thinner and when you are done add it to the tin for another day, no waste. By all means, if you or anyone has questions regarding Gilders Paste ask the manufacture at, on the web at frequently asked questions (FAQ) and tips and techniques or call us at 800-825-0029 and we would be glad to help.
  • Twisting Wire for Gourd Handles
  • Question:
I love your site, so much information here!!!! I need help please. I want to make handles for small and large Gourds that are two pieces of wire twisted together, but I have no idea what gauge would make a nice sturdy handle. I want them to be black and where would I go to possibly purchase such wire? Thank You so much for your time, I truly appreciate it! A " Thank You " could never be enough with all the information you supplied me with. I have learned a lot about wire and its gauge, size and kinds. I appreciate all the great information and it will truly help me in my projects ! I can't wait to work on my Gourd with a handle!!

  • Answer:
Gauge is the diameter of the wire; the higher the gauge number the smaller the wire diameter. Example: 0000 is about 1/2 in diameter while 40 gauge is a little thicker than a hair. Common gauges and diameters are as follows:


Gauge No.




Gauge No.







































































































































0000 through 9 gauge
are used for inside and outside electrical (service wire and the large wire that's on utility poles)
10 through 20 gauge are your standard wire sizes for car wires, speaker wire, extension cords, etc
21 through 40 gauge are very small wires for jewelry, older electronics, wire art, etc

Fence Wire is made of steel, will be a silver in color, strong and tough (tough to bend) will not bend if handled roughly. Thick but not too thick.
Electrical Wire will be a copper color (somewhat easy to bend).
Trailer Wire is usually aluminum and will be a dull silver color (bends too easy, really soft metal).

You probably want to use a fence wire or large electrical house wire which is 10 to 15 gauge. For a two wire twist not knowing how long you want the handle here is an example: Cut a piece of wire 6ft long, bend in half, as you start twisting, the wire length will shorten from 3ft (1/2 the bend) by two to five inches depending on how many times you twist the wire. Remember this though, the more you twist the harder it will be to twist the wire. As for twisting the wire, do you have access to a bench vice? Put the ends in the vice, put a large screwdriver at the bend and start twisting. If you don't have a vice get two screwdriver and vice grips and have someone help you twist. Also, as your twisting the wire you will want to pull it at the same time or the wire will try to curl into a twisted ball.

As for the color, most uncoated solid wire comes the color of the metal.   My suggestion would be to twist the wire first then bend it into the handle shape you want for the handle. Take the bend wire outside and spray it with a flat black spray paint. If you spray it before bending it the paint will crack off where it bends.

As for where to find wire, for fence wire try a farm supply company and ask for Fence wire it's made of steel. Or go to a Home hardware store and ask for a large size SOLID Strand electrical wire. I suggest this type as the copper will be easier to twist than a steel fence wire. If they don't have solid wire without a casing go ahead and get the solid wire with the casing on it. It's fairly easy to strip the plastic casing of with a box cutter or utility knife. Both places should sell the wire by the foot.



  • Watercolor pencils
Can be used as normal coloring pencils, and can also be blended with water and a brush to give a watercolor paint effect. You can also use a wet paintbrush directly onto the point of the pencil to transfer color.
  • Weaving
Weave ribbons, fibers or strips of leather for a wonderful effect.
  • Workshop
A class usually held in a group either in real life or online and taught by an expert. Participants will gain knowledge in one particular craft, or several different techniques.
  • Wax
Used in Encaustic art to create paintings from melted wax.
  • Windrow
a row or line of hay raked together to dry before being raked into heaps. any similar row, as of sheaves of grain, made for the purpose of drying.
  • Wire
Use wire for threading beads, jewelry, embellishments.
  Gourd Water Bottle Sealer
  • Question:
Have some bottle gourds and want to use as a canteen. Was told to seal inside with wax. Can I use soy wax as a sealer? Or should I use paraffin wax instead?
  • Answer:
Drill a sizeable hole in the side Make the hole the size of the cork you intend to use.( I have found a 3/4 in. hole is adequate for a small bottle). This is achieved by sawing (use a fine tooth saw such as a hacksaw ) the top off about 1/2 in. down. The tobacco box can have a smaller 5/8 inch hole drilled in its side for the cork.

With the hole made, you take whatever is necessary to scrape out the seeds and fluff. Spoons work well, just don't damage the opening so the cork will not make a tight seal. Next, get a few handfuls of gravel, the sharper the better ( don't use sand or very fine gravel which could stick inside). Pour them into the gourd and shake for a few minutes then pour out. This may have to be done a few times. This gets the fluff out.

Now we are ready to make the canteen capable of holding liquid without it tasting like swamp sludge. In this procedure I use paraffin wax and a heat source. As you all should know paraffin is extremely flammable and it can be dangerous if used carelessly so I'm not responsible if you flame your gourd, kitty (which may not be a bad thing) or your humble abode in this next step.

I use pure canning paraffin as opposed to beeswax because beeswax can make the water sort of taste well, like beeswax. Gourds I have waxed with this method have held out over the years with its original application, however the larger, more often used storage bottles I usually rewax every few years until they get too heavy from all the wax coatings.

The initial waxing is the most important since this can never be undone or redone. So take care - be careful - take your time and you will have success. I use an electric stove and oven in this process so there is no open flame. If you choose to do this on a gas stove it could be dangerous, so please take care. Get your gourd, a coffee can and a cork that fits the gourd. Also, some towels or rags to handle the hot gourd will be necessary. I set my oven on 250-275 degrees and place the dry and cleaned gourd on the middle rack. Then I take a coffee can which is clean and bend a spout in its side to use as a pouring aid. In this can I carefully melt down two hunks or slabs of wax. When melting wax watch it carefully. Melt at low heat and just as the last solid bit disappears it is ready. If you leave wax to heat too long you may lose track of how hot it is getting and it could burst into flames. As soon at the last traces of wax just disappear in the can take it off the heat.

From here on in this must be done quickly and without hesitation to achieve the initial coating in the gourd. The gourd is removed from the oven and quickly you will pour the melted wax inside it (not near a source of flame). Put the cork in the hole and start vigorously shaking it for a few minutes until the liquid wax starts to "feel different" as it starts to solidify. Then quickly take out the cork and pour the excess back into the can. Set the gourd aside to cool slowly. Don't touch until fully cool. If you did this initial step correctly all of the pores inside the gourd, including whatever fluff remained, are encapsulated in wax. You can do up to two more applications of wax but do not put the gourd back in the oven because you will undo all your hard work. Just melt the wax in the can as before and pour in the gourd, shake vigorously and pour out. Let the gourd cool thoroughly each time; otherwise, you will remove the previous wax. All you need now is a new clean cork and a method of carrying it and you have a fine water container. I never used this type of container for liquor because they may adversely affect the wax.



  • Zig
A brand of water-based marker
  • Zig Glue
A brand of glue pens that come in several different applicator sizes.

If you did not find an answer to your question here, a great resource for up to date information is the "Gourd Art Enthusiasts" website. It's free, it's constantly updated and it's spam free.

There is a member section.  A photo section with over 9500 pictures. A extensive forum section (lots of questions and answers to almost any subject). An events section and a live chat area to gab or ask questions. Click here to check it out


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