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Design products like t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, mugs and mouse pads with your baskets on them. Copyright  Susi Nuss



Make A Gourd Birdhouse

Gourd Birdhouse Project  Susi Nuss 2000 - gourdbirdhouse.jpg (25226 bytes)

This gourd birdhouse garden accessory is both functional and good looking. Make it using your basketry skills, a gourd, pine needles and raffia. It certainly will function as a true birdhouse, but it can be a decorative accessory inside the house, or outside in the garden as well.

  • Gourd
  • Clear Sealer
  • " Dowel
  • Pine Needles
  • Raffia
  • Waxed Linen Thread
  • Wood Bead
Tools and Supplies
  • Sand Paper
  • Soap and Water
  • Nylon Abrasive Pad
  • Hand Drill
  • 1" Hole Saw
  • " Drill Bit
  • Long Screwdriver
  • Long Hemostat
  • Foam Paint Brush
  • Scissors
  • Wood Glue
  • Water Bucket
  • Large Tapestry Needle
  • Select a cured gourd with a pear shape.Plain birdhouse gourd. Photo Copyright Susi Nuss  2000, All Rights Reserved - plaingourd.jpg (7754 bytes)
  • Wash the outside of your gourd with soap and water to remove any grime or mold on the surface of the cured and dried gourd. Use the nylon scrubber to remove any stubborn stains.
  • Allow the surface of the gourd to dry.
  • Lightly sand any additional rough spots.
  • Wipe the gourd off with a soft cloth.
  • Select a surface of your gourd to serve as the doorway side.
  • Use the 1" hole saw in your hand drill to make an entry port into the front of the gourd several inches from the base of the gourd.
  • Remove the seeds and membranes from the inside of the gourd. Use the long screwdriver or other long implement to scrape the inside walls. Release the seeds and membranes from the interior walls of the gourd. The long hemostat can be used to grasp pieces that are out of reach.
  • Shake the loosened interior contents out the entry hole.
  • Retain the seeds to use for planting a new crop of gourds, if desired.
  • Use the " drill bit to drill several small drainage holes in the bottom of the gourd.
  • Use the " drill bit to drill another hole for the perch slightly below the entry port.
  • Drill two holes through opposite sides of the neck of the gourd for the hanging dowel.
  • Sand the edges of the entry hole and any other rough edges caused by the drilling process.
  • Insert the hanging dowel through the holes in the neck of the gourd.
  • Apply the clear sealer to the exterior of the gourd with a foam paint brush.
  • Allow to dry.
  • Soak your pine needles in warm water until they are flexible.
  • Dampen several strands of raffia to use for twining.
  • Twine a row of pine needles together at about their midpoints adding a single cluster of needles at a time. Keep the clustered ends all at the same distance from the twining. Twined Pine Needles For Gourd Birdhouse Roof - twinedpineneedle.jpg (10507 bytes)
  • Add more raffia as required by lapping the two pieces and using them as one until the new piece is secure.
  • Once you have a row twined together long enough to wind around the neck of the gourd two times, reverse the direction of twining and add several more rows of twining.
  • Trim any stray raffia ends left from the twining.
  • Apply the twined pine needles to the gourd, creating the effect of a thatched roof. Make the second layer a bit higher than the first to get a nice effect.
  • Stitch the ending of the raffia into the first row of pine needles to secure the layers and finish off the ends.
  • Stitch the roof to the hanging dowel on each side to secure it to the birdhouse.
  • Add a cord made from the waxed linen thread to the neck dowel.
  • Thread a large wooden bead onto the cord and slide it down towards the top of the roof.
  • Suspend your new birdhouse in your garden as a decorative accessory or hang it in a tree to await your new birdie tenants.

Additional Gourd Basketry

Susi Nuss - susisign1.gif (838 bytes)

Thanks to Doris Messick for providing the gourd for this project.

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