How to Make a Gourd Rattle
Making a gourd rattle is fun. You can use it as an instrument, give it as a gift to a child or paint it with beautiful colors to use as a decoration. There are several steps to making a quality gourd rattle.
Things You'll Need
- Scoop to clean out gourd
- Wooden dowel
- White glue
- Gourd seeds or pebbles
- Paint or lacquer
Cut the gourd from the vine when the shell has hardened. This is generally around the time of the first frost. The rind of the gourd will be hard when it is ripe. Do not let it freeze and thaw repeatedly, as gourds are sensitive to this.
Purchase gourds at farmer's markets or grocery stores, if not home grown. If you live in a rural area you will often see road-side stands selling gourds, pumpkins and other garden produce and there are many farms also sell produce. Gourds are a common commodity in the fall, as there is a high demand for them as a Thanksgiving decoration.
Cut off the small end of the gourd and scrape out the inside thoroughly with a butter knife or spoon, keeping the seeds to use for the rattle. It is important to scrape all of the membrane from the inside to speed the drying process and avoid the growth of molds and fungi.
Dry the gourd by placing in an area that is warm with good air circulation. If the gourd is not too large or thick-skinned, it should dry by Christmas. You can also dry the gourd in the oven at a low, constant temperature to speed the process.
Place the dried seeds back in the gourd or use a small handful of pebbles or beans. You can experiment with the different materials and amounts to get the rattling sound you want, or make a variety of gourd rattles with different sounds.
Buy or make a dowel you can use as a handle. It must fit neatly into the hole in the gourd. Push the dowel all the way through the gourd, and then glue in place with white glue. If the stem is long enough and shaped like a handle, this may be used, but be sure you dry it with the gourd and seeds.
Mix a white glue and sawdust paste and fashion a collar where the dowel joins the gourd. Let the glue dry and then sand the dried paste until the dowel blends smoothly with the gourd.
Paint your gourd in brilliant colors and patterns or lacquer for a beautiful, natural look. If you decide to paint the gourd, you may want to sand the shell to make it smoother, but the scratches will show through the lacquer if you decide on the natural-looking finish.