I think gourds are so neat! They start out as a squash and end up being like a wooden vessel that can be painted, woodburned, incised, beaded, etc... I decided to try doing a Thanksgiving Centerpiece gourd project this year with my elementary school students. I had taken a gourd making workshop about 18 years ago so I had a little bit of background knowledge.
Since I want to embellish the gourds with some twine, string, raffia or beads I need to figure out a way to open the gourd with a saw. Many websites recommend a jigsaw or x acto knife, but I tried the jigsaw and it was difficult to get a nice round opening. So I thought maybe a hole saw that goes on a drill might work. It worked very nicely and I zipped through making the openings in the top.
As you can see the hole saw makes a nice uniform and smooth hole in the top. I pulled the dried insides of the gourd out of mine, but left it inside the ones I'm using to teach the project. The students can remove it if they want to - but they might want to take the seeds out and plant some gourds of their own!
OK - so the next step is to decorate the gourd. I really like wood burning personally, however I don't feel like that's the best option for young students. I went to the craft store and purchased some leaf stencils and metallic acrylic paint. Using a "dauber" which is a little sponge on a handle I stenciled leaves around the gourd.
The final touch is to thread some twine through the drilled holes and add some fabric leaves and wooden beads.