Montag, 20. Februar 2017

Felt-Covered Birdhouse Gourds

A little over a week ago we went to a craft party with some friends. The craft we chose may seem a bit odd, but it was fun.  One friend had boxes of birdhouse gourds she had grown and had never gotten around to doing anything with them.  Another friend new how to cover them in wool and felt it.  I have seen these really beautifully done.  With thick wool, they are actually suitable to hang outside as wool felt is somewhat weather-proof.

 The gourds had holes in them, but we had to use tools to reach in the holes and get all the seeds out and clean out the insides.  When they were empty, we layered wool all over the outside and held it in place with mod podge or twine.  I didn't realize at first how much wool we actually needed to put on because it shrinks down a lot.  So the kids' gourds didn't really have enough at first and I found myself layering on more wool halfway through the felting process.

(Just a note: in the background of the above photo you can see a broken "bushel" gourd full of white wool.)

Then came the tedious part... lots of rubbing.  We dipped them in hot, soapy water and then "massaged" the wool for about a hundred years until it shrunk down and felted together.  It really tightened up a lot (if it was thickly layered enough) and made a thick covering.

The kids definitely got impatient with this part.  I helped them finish because their attention spans are just a little low for this kind of project.

The above photo shows some of the other gourds done at the party.  Sorry for the poor lighting, but you can somewhat see the fun colors.

Above are the gourds that the kids and I made.  I had to glue the felt down in a few spots on the kids' gourds because they rubbed the felt right off in a few places.

This last one is the one I did by myself after helping the kids.  Rather inexpert, and still too thin on the wool, but a fun first try!

I had never worked with wool before, but this was a really fun and interesting project.  It makes me want to get a supply of colored wool and play with it...

On a slightly different note, here are a couple of "artsy" photos I took with my phone at church yesterday.

The main part of the church is about 150 years old and suffering from structural problems that have caused water damage on the interior.  Heartbreaking, but it makes for some interesting texture.


  1. Wow! Cool project! And all that wool. Isn't that (much) wool very pricey? Glad you all had fun doing something very different.

  2. What an interesting project! I'd never actually heard of felting gourds before...

    And your artsy pictures are lovely. :)

  3. Agreed: what an interesting project. Do we assume that somebody had not only homegrown gourds to spare, but also wool? Those pieces seem quite large.
    Will you hang them up for birds? I would be very interested in hearing what birds use them. Studies do show birds have preferences, maybe for wool decor, too.
    I like your artsy photos. Isn't it often true that sad situations often provoke the best art? I do hope your church gets the repairs it needs before it rots though. It has lovely windows.

    1. I doubt I will hang them outside... I don't think they are thickly felted enough to actually stand up to weather. I know someone who has quite a few in her garden, though. Not clear on how the birds feel about them, however. The kids want to enter theirs in the fair this year, so I will put them away for that.

      The church is hopefully getting some repairs... always a shortage of money and manpower, but they are working on it. I don't know if it will be usable again anytime soon. Right now we use the addition and have the old part closed off.

  4. The gourd birdhouses are very creative, and looked like they were lots of fun to make.
    I am sorry about your church.