Crafts With Gourds: How To Make Water Canteens From Dried Gourds

gourd canteen
Image by DJClaassen

By Heather Rhoades

Gourds are a fun plant to grow in your garden. Not only are the vines lovely, but you can you can make crafts with gourds as well. One very utilitarian craft you can make with gourds is water canteens.

How to Make a Gourd Canteen

So you’re ready to make crafts with gourds, now what? Get started with growing and making your own water canteen. Here is how you can do that:

  1. Choose a gourd for your water canteens craft - When making any crafts with gourds, you need to decide what kind of gourds you should grow that would work best with your project. For water canteens, you need gourds with a somewhat evenly thick shell. For this project we recommend the Mexican Water Bottle gourd, a Canteen gourd or Chinese Bottle gourd.
  2. When to harvest gourds - Let your gourds grow all summer. Harvest the gourds directly after the first frost. The plant will be dead, but the gourds will still be green. Be sure to leave a few inches of stem on the each of the gourds.
  3. How to dry a gourd - The best way in how to dry a gourd is to place it somewhere dry and cool. Swab the outside of the gourds with a 10% bleach solution. This will help prevent rot. Then hang the gourd up somewhere cool, dry and well ventilated. You can either attach a string to the stem or you can place the gourd inside a piece of panty hose and hang the gourd in the hose. Check the gourd once a month till dry. When the gourd feels light and sounds hollow when tapped, it will be dry. This will take from 6 months to 2 years.
  4. How to clean a dried gourd - Soak the gourds in a 10% bleach solution water for about 15 minutes. Then remove the gourds and use a scrubby pad to remove the soft outer layer of the gourds. When clean, allow it to dry again.
  5. How put a hole in the gourd - Choose a tapered cork for the top of your gourd water canteens. Trace around the smallest part of the cork at the top of the gourd. Use a small bit on a drill or dremel to pierce holes around the traced hole. Do not use large bits or you will break the gourd. Continue to drill small holes until you can break the cork opening out. Surround the cork with sandpaper and use the cork to sand the opening smooth.
  6. How to clean the inside of the gourd water canteens - The inside of the gourd will be full of seeds and soft fibrous material. Use a long curved wand of some kind to break up this material and pull it out of the gourd. A metal coat hanger works well. This task may take some time. Once the gourd is relatively cleaned out, put a handful of sharp stones into the gourd and shake it around to loosen addition material.
  7. How to seal the gourd water canteens – Melt beeswax and pour it into the water canteens. Swirl the beeswax around until the entire inside of the gourd is coated.

Now you have a finished set of gourd water canteens. This is just one of the many fun crafts with gourds that you can do. Birdhouses are another.

This article was last updated on

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