Braided Raffia Gourd Rim

gourd art by Lora S Irish

Basic techniques to Gourd Art by Lora S Irish

Gourd art is a favorite around the studio.  The wood-like properties and wonderful shapes of craft gourds make a perfect media for our patterns, line art, and craft patterns.  But before the brushes, paint, or colored pencils come out on the table I like to add my decorative rim edging to the cut gourd.  This step-by-step Autumn Bird Nest Gourd project focuses on a simple braided raffia rim that you can use for your gourd art.

Round Reed Rim Supplies
9″ diameter kettle gourd
craft knife or gourd saw
raffia – natural, yellow, orange, and green
electric drill and 1/8″ drill bit
large leather needle
mist bottle of water
hot glue gun and glue

Gourd Art by Lora S IrishThe technique that is demonstrated in this free online craft gourd project is usually worked using #1 or #2 round reed as a basket rim finish.   Round reed is available through any basket supply store as   You can see a reed rim in the photo to the right, Knitting Needle Gourd.  The Winter Rose pattern is from our Flower Pattern Package at

To make the photos for this project easier to follow I chose to work my Autumn Bird Nest rim using four colors of raffia.  You will be able to visually follow each raffia strand, by color, as we work the braid pattern.

Please use a dust mask and work in a well ventilated area while working the cutting, sanding, and drilling steps.

1.  Wash your gourd with soap and water to remove any dirt or mold left from the drying process.

2.  Note in the photo above that this gourd was cut on the side, not the top.  This allows the stem to become part of the final design. Lay the gourd on it’s side, resting on the stem.  Mark a pencil line 7″ from the table along the upper side – top side.

3.  Using a craft knife, bench knife, or gourd saw cut along the pencil line to make the opening in your gourd.  Remove the seeds and fibers, clean the inside walls of your gourd.

4.  Trim the cut edge of the opening using your craft knife.  With 220-grit sandpaper smooth the edge.

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