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.
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.
Remove the top and use a stick to break up and loosen the material inside. Turn the gourd over and shake out the seeds.
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.
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.
Use a paring knife to scrape any excess wax off the lip of the bottle and check the cork for fit.
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!