Additional reporting by Cheryl Thompson
Take advantage of fall's harvest. From organically shaped birdhouses to accent lamps, there are lots of ways you can use gourds and pumpkins inside and outside your home.
Celebrate fall with great pumpkin and gourd DIY projects. Photo: Getty Images
Pumpkins and gourds: we carve, bake, and puree them and even toast their seeds for tasty snacks. But DIYers know that the fruits of fall have plenty of uses that go beyond the kitchen. So grab a basketful of yellow, green, orange and brown gourds from your local supermarket or farmer's market (there are an abundance this time of year) and think outside the, um, organically shaped vessel!
From birdhouses to serving bowls, there are many inventive ways to use pumpkins and gourds in and around the home. Celebrate the season with these great, inexpensive projects:
GOURD BIRDHOUSES AND ACCESSORIES
Pumpkins and gourds can be fashioned into all sorts of objects once hollowed out and dried. When properly coated with a preservative, gourds prove to be almost as tough as plywood and can can last up to 30 years. With this kind of durability, you can turn them into bird feeders, fun decorative accents, as well as real, functioning birdhouses for nesting yard birds like wrens. You'll first want to wash the gourd thoroughly to remove dirt and mildew, and wait for the surface to dry. The American Gourd Society suggests using acrylic paint and acrylic brushes.
GOURD LIGHTS, LAMPS AND LIGHTING
Here's a bright idea: turn a gourd into a chic accent lamp with a light kit available at most hardware and craft stores. With this kit, you can construct a traditional table lamp or shoot for a festive luminary. Go beyond the table and use gourds as hanging outdoor lights to illuminate the night sky. Simply cut a hole at the top and bottom of a gourd that's wide enough for a lightbulb and the bulb's socket to fit into via a globe light set.
PUMPKIN AND GOURD YARD DISPLAYS
For your fall front yard display, try making a pumpkin man or a gourd ghost. Celebrate the season with a festive autumn wreath by wiring miniature pumpkins into a round form and hanging on your front door. Cap the wreath with a black bow for a spooky accent or a burgundy sash for a decor piece that will last all season long.
Hollow out pumpkins for your own decorative gourd planters.
GOURD BOWLING PINS
Use white spray paint (and colored paint for the stripes) to turn 10 gourds into something they actually resemble quite clearly: a set of bowling pins. Grab a round gourd to use as a bowl; even a baseball or tennis ball with do.
PUMPKIN AND GOURD CANDLE HOLDER
Small pumpkins can easily be carved into simple candle holders for your Thanksgiving table. Combine a mix of gourd candle holders for an easy autumn display.
PUMPKIN AND GOURD VASES
Photo: Young House Love
Sculpt pumpkins and squashes into vases for your festive floral arrangements. Cut out the tops with a sharp knife and hollow out the insides for inexpensive, shapely vases.
PUMPKIN GOURD BOWLS
Fall will come and go, but make your seasonal pumpkin last forever in the form of chic dishware. Larger pumpkins can be hollowed out, dried, and used as serving bowls. You can carve and stain them for rustic autumn decor, or achieve a modern ceramic look with high-gloss paint. The gloss paint will help your bowls appear fresh and in-season all year long.
PUMPKIN AND GOURD CENTERPIECES FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Fall brides and groomsmay consider an autumn wedding with pumpkin decorations. Gourds can be used as colorful aisle markers and table centerpieces. Come Thanksgiving, make a great impact with easy-to-make pumpkin and gourd table arrangements. For creative floral displays, hot-glue yellow and orange mums all over pumpkins.
Photo: Young House Love
SPRAY-PAINTED PUMPKINS AND GOURDS
You don't have to be a carving expert to create a pumpkin masterpiece. Sky's the limit when it comes to painting pumpkins
for seasonal decorations. Spray paint
a mix of gourds in different shapes and sizes glossy white
, metallic gold or in glitter hues
to create a glamorous work of art. Use the gourds to decorate your table or as accent displays around the house.
GOURD FASHION AND MORE
Think you're a gifted gourd carver? Try some advanced projects, such as handcarved gourd shoes
or a handy gourd purse
. You can even fashion drums and shakers
for a homemade music session.
Carving Tools: A Thanksgiving Guide
Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Centerpieces (Shelterpop)
Corn Crafts for Your Table (Holidash)