Apple Gourd Birdhouse

By  Linda Hollander 

It's back-to-school time! A hollow gourd not only creates a lovely home for a sweet bird, but also is a fantastic gift for your child's teacher. Paint this apple gourd to look lifelike, with added clay leaves and critters.

  • Apple Gourd Birdhouse


  • Pumpkin Hollow Gourds apple gourd, 7”
  • Polyform Sculpey Premo! Clay: White
  • Brown leather shoelace, 12” length


  • Loew-Cornell Brushes: Glaze/Wash Series 7550 1”; Liner Series 7350 10/0; Golden Taklon Shader Series 7300 #6, 12; Angular Shader Series 8400 1/2”; Round Series 7000 #1; White Bristle Fan Series 32 #4; Oval Mop Series 275 1/2”
  • Drill with small bit
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet and oven
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paints: Autumn Red, Black Plum, Foliage Green, Hauser Medium Green, Lamp Black, Limeade, Sable Brown, Slate Gray, Titanium (Snow) White, Tuscan Red
  • DecoArt: Brush n Blend, Multi-Purpose Sealer, Americana Acrylic Sealer/Finisher Matte, DuraClear Matte Varnish
  • Eclectic Products E6000 Adhesive

Basic Supplies

  • stylus, sandpaper, old toothbrush, cardstock, transfer paper, scissors, toothpick, craft knife, clay-dedicated rolling pin, three metal custard cups (for baking)

Pattern - Apple Gourd Birdhouse


  • 1. Birdhouse is 7".
  • Birdhouse Project Steps

  • 1. Print out full-size patterns. Transfer leaf pattern onto cardstock scrap.
  • 2. Condition clay and roll into three 1-1/2" balls for leaves. Use clay-dedicated rolling pin to flatten clay into smooth 1/8"-thick sheet. Position leaf pattern over clay; use craft knife to cut out leaves. Carefully lift leaves from surface; smooth edges with fingers. Use craft knife to indent center vein. Invert custard cups on parchment-lined baking sheet; lay leaves over cups, creating curved shapes.
  • 3. For ladybug, roll pea-sized ball for body; press bottom of ball flat. Roll small ball for head; press onto body. For caterpillar perch, roll 1/2" ball and form into 2-1/2"-long log with one end skinnier than other end. Insert toothpick into narrow end on caterpillar. Roll two small balls; press gently onto head (eyes). Bend caterpillar into "s"-shape. Use craft knife to make indentations along top of caterpillar.
  • 4. Position ladybug and caterpillar perch on parchment-lined baking sheet with leaves. Follow manufacturer's instructions to bake clay items in oven. Let cool.
  • 5. Drill 1" hole just below center on front of gourd. Drill smaller hole (large enough for toothpick perch) 3/4" below 1" hole.
  • 6. Apply multi-purpose sealer on all areas of gourd. Let dry. Basecoat gourd Slate Gray. Let dry. Basecoat gourd Tuscan Red. Let dry thoroughly.
  • 7. Use wash brush to quickly cover top half of gourd with Brush n Blend. Load wet fan brush with Black Plum; stroke from stem area downward making streaks that fade toward widest part of apple. Let dry. Repeat on bottom half. Let dry.
  • 8. Use wash brush to apply Brush n Blend to center 1/3 of gourd. Use dirty brush and Autumn Red to highlight center of apple, feathering highlights toward shaded area.
  • 9. Thin Autumn Red with water to consistency of heavy cream. Load old toothbrush or spatter tool and spatter apple randomly.
  • 10. Use Burnt Umber to base apple stem. Let dry. Use #12 shader and touch of Sable Brown to drybrush stem for texture.
  • 11. Basecoat both sides of leaves (2:1) mixture Foliage Green + Limeade. Use 1/2" angular shader and Hauser Medium Green to float shading on either side of center vein; mop to soften. Float touches of Limeade on outer edges of leaves. Use liner brush and thinned Hauser Medium Green to paint vein lines. Thin Hauser Medium Green to consistency of heavy cream; load old toothbrush or spatter tool and spatter leaves.
  • 12. Use Tuscan Red to basecoat ladybug's body. Use Lamp Black to basecoat head and add spots on body. Use stylus to dip-dot eyes Titanium White. Let dry. Use Lamp Black to dip-dot pupils.
  • 13. For hanger, cut 12" leather shoelace length; secure around base of stem. Tie off ends to form loop. Pull knot tight; cut off excess lace.
  • 14. Arrange leaves on top of apple; glue in place. Glue ladybug on one leaf. Paint exposed part of caterpillar perch toothpick Lamp Black. Let dry. Apply glue to end of toothpick; insert into hole.
  • 15. For indoor use, spray entire piece with acrylic sealer. For outdoor use, apply duraclear varnish with brush. Let dry.