How-To: Gourd Lanterns


CRAFT: Geek Crafts

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 article
About the Author:
Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod, a blog and bi-weekly podcast about making stuff. Her first book, Kanzashi In Bloom is currently out in bookstores.

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