How to Stain Gourds for Decoration

How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations

Learn how to stain gourds to add to your decorations for the fall season. One of the reasons I like using them is that the stained gourds can be used from the beginning of Fall all the way through Thanksgiving.

Drying Your Gourd

I buy gourds at our local pumpkin patch and use them as is to decorate for that season. Once it's time to pack up the fall decorations to get ready for Christmas, I put the gourd in a box and leave it in the garage. The one I'm going to show you the steps with, I actually forgot about until we were cleaning up the area! It has to dry out, and you'll know it's ready when you shake it and can hear the seeds inside. Be ready to wait for awhile! If you don't want to wait, there are places where you can buy pre-dried gourds.

Cleaning Your Gourd

The gourd is going to look really gross when it's done drying. Or it could just be mine, because I forgot about it! No matter what the condition, it needs to be cleaned before you begin staining.

How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations

1. Fill a sink with water and dish soap.

How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations

2. Use a clean cloth to gently rub the surface of the gourd. If there are spots of mold that don't want to come off, let it soak for a little bit.

 

How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations
How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations

 

3. Let it dry completely. I put mine out on my driveway in the sun.

How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations

If you want more details, I found a document from American Gourd Society (who knew?!).

Staining Your Gourd

This is the second gourd I have stained. I grabbed some stain thinking it was what I used before, and then realized after I was done that mine had two different finishes. Both of them are Minwax PolyShades stain and polyurethane mix, which saves time. You can see the picture below to compare the difference. The one on the left is Antique Walnut Satin in a spray can and left a more matte finish. On the right is Espresso Satin that you paint on, leaving a glossier finish. I used a sponge brush to apply it, and this was the easier one to apply. I like the one on the left; the rest of my family likes the one on the right!

How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations

1.Make sure to protect the surface you're working on.

2. Whichever method you use, spread the stain over the entire surface of your gourd.

3. Allow it to dry.

4. If you would like it to be darker, you can add more layers until you like the outcome. 

If you use a sponge brush, learn from my mistake: throw it away instead of trying to reuse it. I've tried to wash mine out before, and it stained my hands and the sink. You'd think I would understand it would do that from the name of the product!

This is what one of mine looks like as a decoration:

How to Stain Gourds | Step-by-Step Instructions to Stain Gourds | Fall or Autumn Decorations

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Erin

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