How to Make a Bottle Gourd Water Bottle

Last spring I planted a bottle gourd seeds (Amazon affiliate link) with the hopes that my first attempt would yield fruits that I could make into a water bottle. I was inspired by the bottles depicted in old Chinese paintings and after some research it looked like a manageable project, so here’s what I did.

Make sure your gourd is completely dry. After the growing season I left my gourds in the elements to cure and dry all winter. When they’re ready they should feel light and when shaken the seeds should rattle. If the gourd has a layer of black mold, gently scrub it with a stainless-steel scrubber (Amazon affiliate link) dipped in gallon of warm water with a tablespoon of bleach. Allow the gourd to air-dry for a couple of hours before proceeding to the next steps.

Scrubbing mold off a bottle gourd with steel wool.

On the top of the gourd use a pencil to trace around the cork. This will assure that your opening will not be too large. Use a small-toothed saw to cut along the line.

Sawing the top off a dried bottle gourd.

Remove the top and use a stick to break up and loosen the material inside. Turn the gourd over and shake out the seeds.

Using a stick to clean out a dried bottle gourd.
Seeds from the inside of a dried bottle gourd.
Don’t they kinda look like frogs? You can save them and grow more next year.

After you get most of the material out, add a handful of small stones and swirl them around. Keep shaking the gourd until it is completely free of seeds and dried material.

Placing stones inside of a dried bottle gourd.

Gently melt 8 ounces/225 grams of beeswax in a heat-proof container placed in a saucepan with a few inches of water. Carefully pour the melted beeswax into the cleaned out gourd and rotate the gourd to coat the inside with wax. Pour the excess wax out into another container and repeat 2-3 more times until sealed and completely coated.

Pouring melted beeswax into a dried bottle gourd.
Pouring wax out of a bottle gourd.

Use a paring knife to scrape any excess wax off the lip of the bottle and check the cork for fit.

Polishing a bottle gourd with food-safe mineral oil and beeswax.

Rub the outside of the gourd with food-safe mineral oil or a thin layer of beeswax and polished to a semi-matte sheen. Finished!

Green bottle gourds hanging from a trellis.
My gourds growing in the garden.

23 thoughts on “How to Make a Bottle Gourd Water Bottle”

  1. Hi Emmy. It’s gourd to be here entering a contest. Thank you for the wonderful content.

  2. Kelly Gelwicks

    Hi Emmy! I love this post..I don’t think I’ve ever been to this blog so I’m excited to catch up and hopefully win some seeds 😊

  3. I was hoping to see if I can make a DIY birdhouse with the bottle gourd seeds after they have dried. I’d be interesting if I can make that happen.

  4. Sergio Espinoza

    Wooow you are Emmazing 🙂 id love to see be a winner and see my own bottle gourd growth, keeping faboulus

  5. Patricia Zamora-Sanchez

    This is a fantastic idea!! I would love to win and get some seeds so I can grow them with my siblings!!

  6. Hi Emmy I watched your videos of growing gourds and would love to win some seeds please

  7. After all those videos I’ve watched, I wasn’t aware you had a blog!! (I’ll blame it on menopause brain.) I’m so pleased to have another avenue to enjoy your work. You rock!

  8. Kathleen Adams

    Did I read there’s a chance to win seeds? I suddenly feel the need to make these!!

  9. This is amazing!!! I would love win some seeds to be able to try this with my two young daughters .

  10. Hi Emmy, my 6 year old boy encouraged me to enter this giveaway. We both watch your videos Together and he asks me daily “did Emmy post anything today”? Thanks for these lovely posts

  11. After the scrape of the insides and the pebble shake, I noticed that you did not dry the inside portion. I think a drying step is needed – by sun drying or a few days in a very low oven, followed by the beeswax multiple lining?

  12. hi, i loved the post. iam from INDIA.
    In the old days in India, people used to carry water like this. Can a project like this be done as a business in India?

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