Fun with gourds: Luffa soap and Canteen gourds!

So, I just picked up a few sections of wooden lattice for my Luffa gourds.  I plan on growing those for crafts with my daughter, and to make exfoliating soap with it as well.  Some people use pumice or sand in their soaps, but over time they may end up clogging your drain.  So the biodegradable way to add exfoliants to your homemade soap is to use coconut hulk, coffee grounds, and Luffa.  I much prefer the Luffa over the others since if you cut the Luffa  as I will show you later in the post, nothing goes down the drain at all!  

The Luffa plant is a climbing vine.  It’s pretty vigorous, so I’ve been told not to plant them near trees, or you’ll have Luffa’s hanging 30 feet off the ground and it might be a bit hard to get them.  Also, watch out planting them near your house.  The one I experimented with last year ended up climbing my downspout all the way to the roof.  This year I’m using 4’x8′ wooden lattice sections.  They were on sale (yay!) for $7 at Lowes, and that’s pretty good.  I’m going to drive posts into the ground and then secure the lattice to the posts going 8′ high.  With 4 sections, I should be able to grow about 8 plants.  If you read my layout post from before, you’ll see how I am planning on planting them.  I’ll have pictures once I’ve planted them.  I also plan to plant some bottle gourds.  They make great birdhouses and also canteens.  You can use different kind of gourds, it’s really just up to your preferences.


For this post, I will show you the Luffa soap that I made, and will give you instructions on how to make canteen gourds.


Here is the Luffa soap:




As for the Canteen Gourd, here are some simple instructions, enjoy!


Canteen Gourd Instructions


  1. Choose a gourd for your water canteens craft
    When making any crafts with gourds, you need to decide what kind of gourds you should grow that would work best with your project. For water canteens, you need gourds with a somewhat evenly thick shell. For this project we recommend the Mexican Water Bottle Gourd, a Canteen Gourd or Chinese Bottle Gourd.
  2. When to harvest gourds
    Let your gourds grow all summer. Harvest the gourds directly after the first frost. The plant will be dead, but the gourds will still be green. Be sure to leave a few inches of stem on the each of the gourds.
  3. How to dry a gourd
    The best way how to dry a gourd is to place it somewhere dry and cool. Swab the outside of the gourds with a 10% bleach solution. This will help prevent rot. Then hang the gourd up somewhere cool, dry and well ventilated. You can either attach a string to the stem or you can place the gourd inside a piece of panty hose and hang the gourd in the hose. Check the gourd once a month till dry. When the gourd feels light and sounds hollow when tapped, it will be dry. This will take from 6 months to 2 years.
  4. How to clean a dried gourd
    Soak the gourds in a 10% bleach solution water for about 15 minutes. Then remove the gourds and use a scrubby pad to remove the soft outer layer of the gourds. When clean. Allow it to dry again.
  5. How put a hole in the gourd
    Choose a tapered cork for the top of your gourd water canteens. Trace around the smallest part of the cork at the top of the gourd. Use a small bit on a drill or dremel to pierce holes around the traced hole. Do not use large bits or you will break the gourd. Continue to drill small holes until you can break the cork opening out. Surround the cork with sandpaper and use the cork to sand the opening smooth.
  6. How to clean the inside of the gourd water canteens
    The inside of the gourd will be full of seeds and soft fibrous material. Use a long curved wand of some kind to break up this material and pull it out of the gourd. A metal coat hanger works well. This task may take some time. Once the gourd is relatively cleaned out, put a handful of sharp stones into the gourd and shake it around to loosen addition material.
  7. How to seal the gourd water canteens
    Melt beeswax and pour it into the water canteens. Swirl the beeswax around until the entire inside of the gourd is coated.

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