How to Make Hanging Gourd Lamps

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Gourd lamps provide unusual lighting and create interest as home decor. Lamp project designs can be simple or complicated, but they are fun to execute, even if you have no artistic ability. Lamp shapes can be chosen from a vast array of gourds. Gourds come in gooseneck, kettle and bottleneck shapes and more. The first gourd lamp you make should use a gourd that is easy to handle so you don't struggle with the overall project. Ready-cleaned gourds make the work easier for you. While a bit more expensive, they save time and effort.

Things You'll Need

  • Gourd
  • E14 light fittings
  • Light bulb less than 25 watts
  • Paint brushes (optional)
  • Stain (optional)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Varnish (water-based acrylic)
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Clean cloth
  • Saw
  • Wooden spoon

Preparation

  • Cut a round section from the bottom of the gourd large enough for your hand to fit inside. Clean the seeds from the gourd using a wooden spoon and discard them. Drill a 1/4-inch hole through the top of the gourd for the wiring. Wipe the gourd to remove any lingering dirt or dust, using a clean cloth.

  • Paint or stain the gourd using your choice of colors. Let it dry and transfer or draw a design onto the gourd. To transfer the design, you can use a pencil to color the reverse side of the pattern and then apply the design to the gourd surface by turning the design to the right side and drawing over the lines with pencil.

  • Drill holes into the gourd following your pattern using a variety of drill bits. Larger bits mean larger holes, resulting in more light filtering through the hole. By varying the bit sizes, you can achieve more interest in the lamp design and control the amount of light you will have. Wipe any drill dust from the surface when you are finished.

  • Varnish the gourd once the design is complete. Apply two or three coats of acrylic varnish and let each coat dry before applying the next.

  • Thread the light fittings through the top of the gourd and attach the light fixture to it. Screw the bulb in place. Add a hook to the ceiling or wall and wind the cord around it to suspend the lamp from the end.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hand paint the entire gourd before drilling holes
  • Instead of drilling, use a utility knife to create your design.
  • Gourd lights should never be allowed to burn more than eight hours continually.

References

  • Gourds for All Seasons, Vol. 3; Sue Hollon; 2000
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