Picture of Painted Gourds
 My local pumpkin patch sells not only pumpkins and squash during the fall season, they also have mountains of dried gourds in a variety of shaped and sizes. These gourds cost from 75 cents to 7 dollars each.
 So back in October I filled my wheelbarrow with a pumpkin or two and a slew of gourds for painting. Gourds may be spherical, peanut-shaped, pointy, etc. I try to choose a variety of shapes and sizes. Pick up a gourd and look at it. Does its shape suggest anything? A snowman, Santa, elf? Maybe a jack-o-lantern, a piece of fruit, or a bird. 

Make sure the gourd is sound - no cracks or holes. I've been told that generally a gourd with lots of seeds inside has thicker, stronger walls. If it's going to need to stand up, make sure that it does. (You may want to make some hanging ones, too. The crook-necked ones are great for that.) Sometimes a wobbler can be sanded a bit on the bottom to stand better. Sometimes you just need to shake it and move the seeds inside to make it stand up.
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Step 1: Clean the gourds

Picture of Clean the gourds
The gourds have been outdoors drying for a year or so. They are gray and dirty.
Once I get them home, I brush them off, then sand with 150 grit, or whatever sandpaper I have on hand. Then I give them a good rubdown to remove loose dirt and sanding residue. 
Jerryfs4 years ago
These are AWESOME! I do gourd crafting for festivals and am starting a blogsite dedicated to that as well. I would be extremely gratfull if you allowed me to add your site as another resource for my readers!
mcorbin (author)  Jerryfs4 years ago
Thank you for your nice comment! You may certainly use my instructable. These were the first gourds I painted, and I really enjoyed it. I have just cleaned a new batch of gourds, and can't wait to try out my new Dremel tool on them!

Any tips for keeping them from cracking when I cut into them?
All of them are so cute! Sweethearts!
mcorbin (author) 5 years ago
 thanks. The penguins turned out to be the most popular, and were the first to be given away.
Wow, those look great! I like the penguin in the middle.