How to Make Vases Out of Gourds

Tips to DIY the Perfect Fall Centerpiece

melanie berliet and gourd vases

The Spruce / Candace Madonna

The holidays are a great excuse to unleash your inner decorator and designer. With such an emphasis on those big sit-down meals (you know, the ones where you're crowded around a table that comfortably seats four but is somehow accommodating you, your distant cousins, and their respective clans), a gorgeous tablescape is a must. But what do you do if all the available decor options are so been-there-done-that? The Spruce has a genius, easy, and unique solution for you: Make flower vases out of your gourds.

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Turn Gourds Into the Prettiest Autumn Vases

While we love the idea of using a gourd vase as the centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table, you can also display handiwork on your mantel or on your front porch steps.

Choosing Your Gourd

There are so many gourd varieties and nearly all of them can pull double duty as a vase: butternut squash, acorn squash, sugar pumpkins, ghost pumpkins, and more.

Before you buy your gourd, think about how tall you want your centerpiece to be. A butternut squash, for example, is perfect for long-stemmed blooms, whereas an acorn squash is a better fit for a more low profile arrangement.

What You'll Need

materials needed for making a gourd vase
 The Spruce

Tools

  • Paring knife
  • Serrated knife
  • Cutting board
  • Spoon or ice cream scoop
  • Glass vase (optional)

Materials

  • Gourd
  • Fresh or dried flowers

Here's How to Do It

  1. Slice the Top

    slicing the top off of a gourd
    The Spruce 

    Use your knife to cut a hole in the top of your gourd. Cut around the stem to create a wide opening.

    Tip

    If your gourd is unable to sit upright—and instead wobbles or falls over—use a paring knife to level the gourd's bottom.

  2. Hollow out the Gourd

    hollowing out the inside of a gourd
     The Spruce

    Next, you'll hollow out your gourd using a spoon. For tougher gourds, like butternut squash, an ice cream scoop will help make the job go more quickly.

    Tip

    Pumpkin seeds make a great snack! Save the seeds for roasting later.

  3. Add Vase and Water

    adding vase and water to a gourd
     The Spruce

    While you can pour water directly into the gourd, your arrangement will last longer if you place a glass inside. Vases, water glasses, and shot glasses all work well.

  4. Arrange Flowers

    adding flowers to the gourd vase
     The Spruce

Now for the fun part! It's time to arrange your flowers. Add your desired dried or fresh flowers to the gourd vase, starting with the flower that will serve as the bouquet's focal point and working from there, adding additional flowers until arrangement feels complete.

Tips for Keeping Your Gourd Fresh

Just like a carved pumpkin, a cut gourd will rot more quickly than one that is uncut. We recommend creating your gourd arrangements the night before your dinner. While we don't recommend keeping your autumnal vase for more than a few days, there are a few things you can do to ensure it doesn't prematurely rot.

a gourd vase used as a centerpiece
The Spruce 

Clean and Sanitize the Gourd

A cut gourd is susceptible to mold and bacteria. To help combat this, you can cleaning the inside of the gourd with a bleach/water solution (use one teaspoon of bleach per one quart of water). Then, let it fully dry before adding flowers.

Apply Petroleum Jelly to the Carved Edges

Petroleum jelly helps seal the gourd, to protect it from bacteria and retain moisture. (When gourds are too dry, they shrivel and rot.) Apply the jelly in a thin layer after you've cleaned and sanitized your gourd.

Keep Your Gourd Cool

If you don't plan to display your gourd right away, keep it in the fridge with plastic wrap pulled tightly over the exposed edges to avoid browning.