Finishes/Sealers for use on Gourd Projects
The E-mailbox at the AGS
website gets lots of questions! In one week recently we got four questions
about products to use as finishes/sealers on gourd projects. The e-mails
mentioned variations on the problems below, and then asked what other crafters/artists
use on gourds. (If you would like to add your comments, please
|>I have been painting
[birdhouses] with acrylic paints and then sealing with several coats of
sealer. After one winter out they are fading and the poly is peeling.
>I have been sealing my
gourd art with Laqueur and am finding that after a few months, the
finish begins to lift off.
Our readers answer:
For painting gourds for exterior
use, I suggest a high gloss oil based paint. -- Linda L.
I live in a valley in rural
Pennsylvania and I don't recommend leaving gourds outside during the months
where freezing is possible. My bird houses and feeders are painted
with acrylics and coated with 3 coats of Delta Ceramcoat Gloss Exterior/Interior
varnish. It is about 0.88 for a 2oz bottle and I get it in Walmart.
The first coat soaks in, but the next two coats go on easily and the luster
is wonderful! It makes the colors of the paints and the gourd markings
just pop out. I only hang gourd houses or feeders where there is
good air circulation and where they won't be constantly bumped and scratched
by branches. This prevents the sealer from being scratched or chipped
and water cannot get in to cause problems. I have had no problem with peeling,
rot, mold, or fading of colors and my gourds were out from April through
September this year. I too give buyers a paper with "how to care
for the gourd instructions" and I haven't had any problems yet. Hope
this helps people. Cathy from Pennsylvania
I live in oregon where it rains
all winter and I use minwax indoor/outdoor helman par urethane clear gloss
and it coates great. it protects from sunlight rain/moisture and temperature
change that gourd is protected like fort knoxx. It needs to be because
I use acrylic paint on my birdhouse gourds. I also drill holes in the bottom
of my gourds so if any moisture does get in it will drain out the bottom.
Hope that helps. monica
If your birdhouse is going to
be used outdoors, try using Spar Varnish on them instead of a water-based
sealer. The Spar Varnish is meant for outdoor use and is pretty tough.
If you are in a location with severe winters, though, it is a good idea
to take the birdhouse down and rehang it in the spring. Hope this helps.
I live in the mountains of North Carolina. I have left some birdhouses
out all year -- and they stand up fine. -- Claire in NC
I have had the same problems
with birdhouses --- I now no longer paint my birdhouses at all or if I
do, I warn the purchaser that they probably will not stay pristine if used
outside in this climate---I now burn designs and seal with either mineral
oil or wax (Johnson's Paste Wax usually, sometimes shoe polish wax).
Both must be renewed in the spring---but obviously they do not peel off.
-- Gail in IL
Gail, I do the same thing. Woodburn
then two coats of paste wax, I put a handout in each explaining how to
care for it, re waxing after a rain etc., I couldn't find anything that
would stand up, the painted ones were a mess after one season. -- Rhoda,
I found a sealer to use on outdoor
gourds, it is made by Minwax and it is called "Outdoor Clear Shield".
It says it has "advanced ultraviolet absorber" I don't know about
how that works but I have tested a piece of burned gourd, half with and
half with out. It has been outside for about 6 months now and the coated
part is holding up very well, the uncoated portion has faded substantially.
-- Jenn in PA
I too had problems with the
regular poly peeling. It didn't matter what was under it. from the bare
gourd to acrylic paint. It peeled all over. I now use a Water based Spar
finish on my outdoor gourds. (SeaFin AquaSpar) It was kinda hard
to find and is expensive, but it works wonderfully! I haven't had a single
problem with it and we have weeks of rain then HOT weather to contend with.
Like now, it was in the 90's for a week then overnight it dropped down
to being in the 60's. It is holding up great so far. I also take my outdoor
gourds in for the winter and advise others to do the same. So I'm not sure
how it would hold up under Winter outdoor conditions. One more note. I
was told repeatedly that any of the "oil" (or whatever) based spars will
yellow. The waterbased ones won't. --TC in Oregon
Jo Sonja's Polyurethane varnish
is a heavy duty varnish with great durability. It has a urethane
resin that gives strong resilience for protecting your projects.
It works great gourd art. Unlike other brands you only need 2 coats on
most projects, dries clear, will not crack or turn yellow. Best stored
and used between 65-80 degrees. Water based and non-toxic, contains
low VOC's. Can be used with a sponge, brush or spray gun. I
recommend dabbing it on with a foam wedge. Clean up with soap and