Hardshell Gourd Luminary

Introduction: Hardshell Gourd Luminary

Hello! I am excited to present my first instructable, the Gourd Luminary!  To make one of these, you will need the following:

One hardshell gourd
Electric saw
20 ga. beading wire
C7 light cord
Hole saw
Wood glue
A little imagination!

Wood stain or paint

Step 1: Step One: Gourd Selection and Preparation

Choose a firm, heavy-feeling gourd to work with. If the shell is too thin, the gourd is likely to crack as you work with it. If the gourd is dirty and/or still has the outer cuticle attached to it, wash it in hot soapy water. A steel pot scrubber will help remove dirt and debris. Allow the gourd to dry.

Step 2: Plan and Draw the Face!

Feel free to go crazy...try to stay within your limits, though. An elaborate face is kind of hard (but not impossible) to carve. For this lesson, we'll stick to a traditional Jack-o-Lantern face. Draw it on with a pencil.
**Tip*** When drawing with pencil on gourds, stray marks are easily removed with a Baby Wipe!

Step 3: Beginning to Carve!

With your drill and a bit that is large enough to accommodate your saw blade, carefully drill holes in each of the face pieces. Then, with your saw, carefully cut out the mouth only. I will explain why in the next step.

Step 4: Cleaning Out the Inside

This is the least fun part of the project. I use a Wire brush on a bit extender and my drill. You can use any number of other methods to work out the inner pulp. Do it carefully, it's easy to break a gourd at this stage. Cutting only the mouth lessens the chance of this happening. 

Step 5: Cut Out the Remaining Pieces and Sand

Once the gourd is hollowed out to your satisfaction, use your saw to carefully cut out the rest of the face. Sand all edges smooth.

Step 6: Add a Flourish!

Use the scrap of gourd that you cut out of the mouth section, and sketch out a leaf pattern. Cut it out and use your wood burner to add accents.

Step 7: Put It Together!

If your gourd still has its stem attached, well and good. If it has come loose or is missing altogether, drill a hole into the tip. Use woodglue to reattach the stem. If the stem is missing, substitute a small piece of tree branch or dowel for it. Drill a tiny hole through the stem and the leaf. Spiral a length of beading wire around a pencil and use it to connect the leaf and gourd!

Step 8: Light 'em Up!

Use your drill and hole saw to put a hole in the center of the back of the gourd. C7 light cords are usually used to light up little houses in Christmas Villages and things like that. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby usually have them. Insert the bulb though the back and you're done!

Step 9: End Result!

And that's it! These guys will last forever if they are handled carefully. Optionally, you can paint or stain them as you like. Happy Halloween!

***If you liked this craft, drop by the Speed Craft Contest and give me a vote. I'd love one of those 'Bot Shirts!

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    6 years ago on Step 2

    "Feel free to go crazy...try to stay within your limits". Which is it?