First you will want to soak your dried gourd in hot, soapy water for about 15 minutes. It's a little difficult because they are hollow and do not like to stay under the water, so just give it a spin every few minutes so that all sides are soaked.
Once soaked the outer layer will be a bit slimy. It's now time to scrub your gourd in the water with fine steel wool to remove the outer layer of skin and mold. Rinse it well and let it dry completely before moving on.
Next you will need to determine the size of the hole that you want to drill for the bird that you will be housing. I found this table to be very helpful and we drilled a 2 inch entrance hole for our house finch family.
You will also want to make a few small drainage holes in the bottom.
Once you have your hole drilled you will have something like the image below...ruff, and full of seeds and dried gourd.
Dump out the contents of your gourd...use a spoon to clean out the interior. Then just take sandpaper and smooth around the hole. Wipe your gourd off before moving on.
If you want to draw or paint a design on your gourd now is the time to do it. I, however, am lacking in the skills of painting and did not feel compelled to design the outside of the gourd, maybe next time. After adding your design you will then need to seal it with a wood preservative. You can use some of the "new to the market" low-emitting or low-VOC stains that are now available. Like this or this...and that would be super eco-friendly and great for your feathery friends. But I found these little samples of Olympic deck, fence and siding stain at the home improvement store and they were only .75 cents...soooo I saved some monies but I was not so eco-friendly. Sorry but I think the birdies will be just as happy. Anywho...the wood preservative comes in many a color, including clear.
I only used 1 of these teensy packets to completely paint this gourd with a few coats. I squeezed it all into a lid and used a sponge brush to coat the gourd, letting it dry between coats. If I would have planned better I would have hung the gourd somewhere and then painted it, but instead I had to paint the bottom once the top was dried, and to do that I just stuck the neck of the gourd down into the umbrella hole in the middle of our outdoor table.
Give your gourd a few coats of sealer for protection against the elements. Let it dry for several hours, read the instructions on your sealer's package for the specifics. Once it's dry take an eye screw and screw it directly into the top on your gourd's stem. If you have a longer stem and want to keep it, just drill a hole in the side of the fattest part of the stem and run some string or fishing line for hanging.
Then just find a place to hang and there you go! We hung ours under the deck, result = the awful image below. But we get a lot of wind...hence the repair marks on the right (your right) side of the gourd. I left it to dry on the table and the wind blew it off and well...I had to do what I could to salvage it. I was sad. But it worked. Yah for Gorilla Glue and sandpaper. =D Be wary of hanging it anywhere that the wind could blow it into something...you wouldn't want to damage your gourd.
After your feathered friends are finished using their house you will want to clean it out and store it for the winter. Don't forget to put out a feeder and bird bath for your new neighbors!
Happy Crafting! ♥