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Decorative Gourds and Squashes

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Decorative gourds have been around for years, but their photogenic nature (combined with DIY projects taking over the internet) is no doubt behind the explosion of beautiful, quirky, and all-around clever ways to decorate these symbols of autumn.

A Pinterest search for decorative gourds brings up a dizzying array of options, from kid-friendly to elaborate carvings that may be best left to the pros. We rounded up a few options that would make perfect Thanksgiving decor/centerpieces and are quite doable, but would make Martha Stewart proud.

If you’re really starting from scratch and need to prep fresh gourds for the process, this WikiHow article breaks down how to clean and dry them properly – though artificial works well for many of these options!

Paint-Free and Functional

These simple vases are from Midwest Living.

Cute tealight candle holders from Revel Blog.

Creative Uses of School Supplies

A Sharpie and some doodling skills are all you need for this idea from Rainbow Elephant.

Even without the paint, All In A Day’s thumbtack idea is so neat (and simple)!

Another great option with or without paint, by The Nest, using Washi tape (paper tape available in almost any colour or pattern).

Pretty Paint Options

The sophisticated colours of these chalk paint pumpkins from Perfectly Imperfect are beautiful! If you’re up for trying the gold-leaf look, this Redbook post breaks down the steps.

Prefer something a bit more modern? The bright dripping paint used by Midwest Living is unexpected and fun.

No Crafting Required

For a craft- (and mess-) free option, take a cue from The Gathering Place by placing a variety of gourds on candlesticks and cake stands.