Intro: Build a Gourd Birdhouse
This gourd Birdhouse was inspired by an Instructable posted by Calischs. https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-Gourd-Birdhouses/ I was able to incorporate several ideas suggested by other Instructable users who commented on the original post. User Zacker suggested adding an overhang above the entrance hole, and Kozz recommended the use of a respirator during this project to avoid getting sick due to the dust.
I like gourd birdhouses. They are easy to make. They blend in well with the natural surroundings and the birds seem to like them. This is a natural and environmentally friendly project to make. Have fun, enjoy making the birdhouse and enjoy the birds it attracts. Please let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas or suggestions.
Step 1: Clean the Gourds
For this step you will need:
I grow the gourds in the summer and let them dry out over the winter and spring in a small outbuilding. Once they are dried out they look quite disgusting. They are covered with layers of moldy dry skin. I have a super easy way to clean them. I simply put them in a plastic crate and use the power washer to blast them clean. I use the crate, otherwise I would be chasing them around the yard. Make sure to use all safety precautions. If you do not have a power washer, you may be able to take them to your local car wash and clean them there. It only takes a couple of minutes to blast the mold and loose layers of skin off and you have all the natural colors and patterns of the gourds.
Step 2: Make the Entrance Hole
For this step you will need:
A washer or circle the size of your desired hole
A Dremel or rotary cutter tool with a drywall cutting bit and sanding drum.
Find a washer the size of your desired opening. For this project I used a 1 1/6 diameter washer. Locate your hole on the "Equator" of the gourd. if it is located too high, water might run into it and too low the baby birds might fall out. Trace around the washer to get the hole size. Use the rotary cutter to cut out the hole. I usually cut leaving a little bit of the line visible. Then I take a small sanding drum on the same tool to smooth the hole out to the desired size. After cutting the hole, use a long screwdriver to knock the bulk of the seeds and fibers out of the gourd. Some people recommend to leave a few seeds and pith inside for starter material to attract the birds.
Step 3: Add Ventilation AndDrainholes
Dremel or drill
Mark a few holes in the top of the gourd. Locate them so the rain will not run into them. Use a pencil to mark them first before drilling to make sure you are satisfied with their location. I typically place them under the "Equator" of the top bulge if there is one. (Depending on the gourd) Or you can drill them at an upwards angle. Place two holes in the top section directly across from each other. This is where the wire will be put through in order to hang the birdhouse. Place a few holes in the bottom in order to drain any water and provide for ventilation. All these holes are around 3/16".
Step 4: Make the Porch Roof
Cardboard (Cereal Box)
Dremel with a Drywall bit, Sanding Drum or file and Sandpaper
Start with a piece of cardboard and cut a pattern for the Porch Roof. I just keep trimming it until it fits snugly to the gourd and I am satisfied with how it looks. With a pencil, trace this pattern on to the extra gourd. I usually use a scrap gourd for this that is not good enough quality to build a birdhouse, but has some good sections in it. Cut this out with the drywall bit and carefully sand and smooth the edges until it fits tightly in position on the birdhouse. There should be no gaps where it matches up
Step 5: Prep for Gluing
Dremel with a sanding drum
The gourds have a bit of a waxy surface, and to get the glue to adhere well, the surface must be prepared. Put the Porch roof in the gourd and hold it in position. Trace a line across the top of the roof and mark its location. scuff the area right below this line about 1/4 inch wide. Yo do not want to dig into the gourd, all you want to do is remove a little of the surface layer.
Step 6: Add the Hanging Wire
24" of Galvanized wire (I used #14 gauge)
Put the wire through the holes you drilled directly across from each other on the top of the gourd. Bend a 1/2" piece of the wire at 90 degrees to keep it from pulling back through the hole (See picture #3) Then bend the rest of the wire straight up. Loop the end back through the holes to form a handle above the gourd. Bend another 1/2" piece of the wire to keep it from pulling back out. Then form the wire above the gourd into a nice looking handle from which to hang it in the trees or on a hook (See last picture)
Step 7: Glue on the Porch Roof
I put a generous bead of Goop Glue on the porch roof and glue it to the gourd. Make sure the porch roof is located on the area of the gourd that was scuffed a couple of steps ago. Goop glue is weatherproof, UV Resistant and very strong. I believe it will outlast the gourds. Let it dry overnight and it will be ready for use.
Step 8: Final Product
Now that your gourd birdhouse is finished it is time to hang in the trees. The last picture is of one that I made about 5 years ago. The birds have used every year. It has no additional finish or preservative on the gourd. These can last a long time and really dress up the yard. Good Luck and enjoy the project!