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Decoupage Gourd Birdhouses February 19, 2012

I have boxes and boxes of gourds in my garage that are constantly getting moved from here to there. Due to their constant movement (and the fact that hubby likes to see how far he can toss the boxes), the gourds have gotten pretty banged up. I usually wood burn on the gourds, but couldn’t now. Trying to use what I have, I searched for a way to disguise the bumps and bruises my precious gourds had endured. I came across this technique used on pumpkins from an issue of Country Living, October 2011 and applied it to my gourds. The technique was so simple that my 5 year-old did most of the work.

You will need:

  • Clean gourd
  • Sand paper or fine steel wool
  • Patterned tissue paper
  • Acrylic paint to match the background of the tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes
  • Decoupage medium (Mod Podge®)
  • Clear exterior sealer (we used a water-based poly-acrylic)
  • Wire, rope, leather strips, string for hanger.


  1. Clean and sand gourd, let dry.
  2. Drill an entrance hole on the gourd for the bird. If you need instructions on how to harvest, clean and prep your gourd, check out the Birds & Blooms website: This link also discusses how to prime gourds and has the proper dimensions and placement for the entrance holes for specific birds. I should have followed these steps, but I didn’t. I was pressed for time, it was 2 days before Christmas break – hubby drilled the entrance hole (I couldn’t even tell you what size it was), we did not make drainage holes nor did we prime it. (Naughty momma).
  3. Paint the gourd with the acrylic paint that matches the background of the tissue paper, let dry.
  4. Cut out the patterns on your tissue paper. Leave the background color. I let my 5 year old cut out the designs. It didn’t matter if the cuts were perfect because the background of the tissue paper is the same color that we painted the gourd, it blended well. We found that really sharp scissors cut the tissue paper easier (don’t give the sharp scissors to the kids).
  5. Decoupage the tissue pieces on to the gourd. We tried to have the pattern pieces not touch.
  6. Let the gourd dry and coat with clear poly (we used a water-based poly-acrylic because we were working with other water-based products – the acrylic paint and Mod Podge).
  7. Wrap wire around stem for a hanger or drill 2 holes at top to run rope or string through (if you don’t have a stem).

Here’s another tissue paper gourd birdhouse idea.

  1. Clean gourd and drill entrance hole.
  2. Cut square pieces of tissue paper (the 5 year-old loved doing that).
  3. Decoupage tissue pieces onto gourd, covering entire gourd. Let dry.
  4. Coat with clear poly.
  5. Drilled two holes at top to string leather strip through for a hanger. Kids put beads on the leather strip.

Just think of all the other items you could apply this technique to: wooden boxes, frames, furniture, etc. You could take an ordinary cardboard box or a Pringles® can, use this technique and turn it into one chic storage piece . . . hhmm, I see another blog idea.

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