Flashback: Gourd Lanterns

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Flashback: Gourd Lanterns

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By Diane Gilleland

Hard-shell gourds, sometimes called calabash gourds, are some of the world’s first cultivated plants. They are harvested from their vines in the fall and then air-dried for several months. When a gourd is fully dry inside and out, it forms a woody shell that can be cut with simple tools.

Cultures all over the world fashion hard-shell gourds into vessels or musical instruments. Here, we’ve turned them into festive outdoor lanterns, using a drill to create patterns for light to shine through.

Note: This project is fairly messy, making it a good outdoor build.


Hard-shell gourd A good source online is Welburn Gourd Farm.
Mineral oil
Scrubbing sponge
String of Christmas lights
Surgical mask
Large spoon
Handheld drill with various drill bits

Pumpkin-carving tool kit like those found at Yankee Harvest
Small paring knife

Go to MAKE: Projects for the full step-by-step tutorial.

About the Author:


Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod, a blog about making stuff. She is the author of Kanzashi In Bloom and co-author of Quilting Happiness.

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley. https://www.redhandledscissors.com

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