Last year my older brother bought and painted several birdhouse gourds. It looked like fun and like something I could do, so when I saw some dried gourds for sale on craiglist I bought them. I gave him some and kept some for myself. Before you can paint gourds they have to cure over the winter. Then you have to soak them in water to loosen any remaining skin, and scrub them on the outside to remove the skin, dirt and mildew. I used a metal pan scrubby. It helps to add a little bleach to the soaking water to kill any remaining mildew. Then after they dry completely for a couple of days, you need to cut the hole and clean out all the seeds. I use a hole cutter that goes on the electric drill. It's a lot easier than trying to cut out a round hole with a craft knife or something. I have heard some people leave the seeds in and let the birds clean them out but I always remove them. I used a long screwdriver and ran it around inside the hole and then shook the gourd to dump the loose seeds out. Keep repeating this until you get most ofthe seeds and dried center out. You can plant the seeds to grow more gourds.
I decided to try and do something besides just paint them. On the one titled Little House I cut pinecones up and glued them on for shingles. The top part is supposed to be a brick chimney but it didn't turn out too well. I gave this one away last Christmas. For Here Kitty I took parts of other gourds and cut triangles for ears and glued them into notches on the head. It's one of my favorites. Dots has metallic paint which is fun. I'm actually using it outside and the dots shine in the sun. Violets is just simple and sweet with a couple of lady bugs on it and Africa was my idea of an ethnic look. I have more gourds so I'll have to think of some more ideas. Any suggestions?