Turkey Gourd Shelf Sitter

By  Linda Hollander 

size: 12"x15"

  • Turkey Gourd Shelf Sitter


  • Pumpkin Hollow Gourds pear-shaped gourd, 9”
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paints: Cocoa, Espresso, Heritage Brick, Lamp Black, Milk Chocolate, Sand, Spicy Mustard, Warm White
  • Polyform Sculpey White Clay
  • Corn husks or textured paper
  • Canvas Corp. Natural Jute Rope, 1/4”-wide, 7” lengths, two


  • Loew-Cornell Golden Taklon paintbrushes: Series 595 Liner 10/0; Series 150 Shader #4, 10; Series 160 Angular Shader 1/2”; Series 250 Round #0, 3
  • Polyform: Translucent Liquid Sculpey, Essential Tool Kit
  • DecoArt: Multi-Purpose Sealer, Americana Matte Sealer/Finisher
  • Royal Pottery Sponge
  • Power drill and 1/8” bit
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet and oven
  • Adhesives: tacky glue, hot glue gun and sticks

Basic Supplies

  • cardstock scraps, stylus, old toothbrush or spatter tool, scissors, iron, spray starch, clear tape, pencil

Pattern - Turkey Gourd Shelf Sitter

  • Note
  • 1. If gourd is not pre-cleaned, soak in warm water for 15 minutes and use plastic kitchen scrubber to remove mold and dirt. Allow gourd to dry thoroughly. Gourd may be sanded to remove imperfections but wear mask as dust is toxic.
  • Turkey
  • 1. Print out patterns. Transfer patterns onto cardstock and cut out. Sort through corn husks for the longest and sturdiest husks. Use iron on medium setting and spray starch to flatten and stiffen husks. Position tail feather pattern on top of husks and trace around edges with pencil. Cut out feathers using scissors.
  • 2. Apply multi-purpose sealer on gourd. Use pencil to mark placement of legs; drill two holes slightly smaller than width of jute rope on markings. (Note: Gourds can crack if excessive pressure is applied to surface. To repair cracks, apply glue or wood filler and let dry.) Use pottery sponge to basecoat entire gourd Cocoa; let dry. Use pencil to draw teardrop-shaped area for belly. Use #10 shader and (2:1) mixture Sand + Cocoa to basecoat belly; repeat until opaque. Use water to thin Milk Chocolate to heavy cream consistency; load toothbrush or spatter tool with thinned paint and spatter belly and tail feathers. Thin Espresso and spatter Cocoa areas on body. Use 1/2" angular shader and Espresso to float shading around edges of belly.
  • 3. Condition clay and roll into two 1" balls. Use clay roller to flatten clay to 1/4" thickness. Position wing pattern on clay and use clay knife to cut out two shapes. Use needle end pointer to divide three wing tips on each wing; soften edges with fingers. Lift wings off surface and apply small amount of Liquid Sculpey on back side; press wings on body.
  • 4. Roll 1/3" ball and flatten slightly to form diamond-shaped beak. Use stylus to make nostril indents. Apply small amount of Liquid Sculpey on back side; press beak on face. Roll 1/2" ball and form into 2"-long log with one end slightly thinner than other. Flatten thicker end for the wattle and press thin end over beak; press onto face. Roll two pea-sized balls for eyes. Flatten eyes slightly and use clay needle tool to make eyelids; press on face.
  • 5. Cut two 7" lengths of jute rope for legs. Tie knots on center of lengths for knees. Wrap clear tape around each end. Use scissors to trim one end to 1/3". Roll two 1/4" clay balls and form into cylindrical shapes for ankles. Insert blunt point tool into top of each ankle to form hole large enough for jute rope to fit through. Roll two 1/3" clay balls and press into oval shapes for feet. Use needle end pointer to separate three toes and add details across each toe.
  • 6. Follow manufacturer's instructions to bake gourd and feet on parchment-lined baking sheet in oven. Let cool.
  • 7. (Note: Use appropriate-size brush to paint facial features.) Use Cocoa to basecoat eyelids and wings and Warm White to basecoat eyes. Use Espresso to paint irises and Lamp Black to paint pupils. Use stylus to add Warm White highlight dots on pupils. Use Heritage Brick to paint wattle. Use (2:1) mixture Sand + Cocoa to add highlights. Use Spicy Mustard to basecoat beak and feet. Basecoat stripes on wingtips Espresso, Heritage Brick, and (2:1) mixture Sand + Cocoa. Use Milk Chocolate to float shading around facial features and on bottom side of wings. Use (2:1) mixture Sand + Cocoa to float highlight along top edge of wings. Let dry. Spray all painted areas and tail feathers with matte sealer.
  • 8. Spot glue each ankle with tacky glue and insert short end of jute rope through hole. Spot glue each drilled hole and insert other end of jute rope into gourd. Let dry. Center and adhere tail feathers on back of body using hot glue.