Guide to Making Gourd Bird Feeders and Masks

Bird Feeders

Making bird feeders from gourds offers the added joy of bird watching as the birds gather about your creation to feed on seed. To make bird feeders, I often use the larger bushel gourds, as they are big enough to carve in the holes for perching and feeding, and they also allow you to make an easy-to-remove top for cleaning out or refilling the bird feeder.

Initially, to make a bird feeder you will follow the steps that you use to create a bowl with a top on it, to include the cleaning out and sanding after you remove the top.

� Draw your line for your top far enough down to ensure that the opening you leave is wide enough to make cleaning out or refilling the bird feeder an easy task.
� As with the top for a bowl, use your woodcarving knife with the U-veiner blade to make two sets of holes.
� The first set of holes should be parallel to each other, one hole in the lid, and the hole in the base.
� Thread a piece of leather lace through the hole on the bird feeder top and through the base, and knot both ends on the inside. Make the lace long enough to ensure that the attached top can completely close.
âÂ?¢ The second set of holes is used for hanging the bird feeder. Again, the holes should be on opposite sides of each other, on the gourd’s base.
� Thread lace through each of these holes also, and knot it at an appropriate length for hanging, ensuring that the knots are on the inside of the base.

NOTE: You might want to drill the two sets of holes, but then wait until you finish decorating the bird feeder to attach the leather lace, as it will be in your way.

You will also need to trace onto your gourd the openings that you want to carve out to make the perches or feeding holes. Make these holes wide enough for a variety of birds, yet small enough to prove scavenging attempts by squirrels and bigger birds futile. Again, you are ready to decorate a lovely addition to any porch or tree limb.

Masks

Depending on the shape you want your mask to have, you might want to use one of the rounder gourds, or one of the more oblong ones. In your search, you might find other types of gourds that better meet your mask needs, and I recommend that you always follow your own vision.

To make a mask–

� Cut the gourd in half vertically, as you can make two masks from one gourd. If you use a round gourd, you can simply cut it in half and then gut it. If you use an oblong gourd, you can remove the long-necked top and then split the bottom round portion in two.
� Now, the true fun begins! Design the faces that you want to reveal and watch them come to life as you carve them.
âÂ?¢ You can use your wood burner to accent the carvings, or for added design. You might even want to use other materials — feathers, beads, paints.
âÂ?¢ Cut two holes into the mask’s corners using the woodcarving knife with the U-veiner blade to make the mask usable as a wall hanging or even as a truly wearable mask.
� Thread leather lace of the length you desire through the holes, and tie a knot at each end, on the inside of the mask.

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