Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gourd Chicken Coop for Fairy Gardens or a Child's Toy

It's been awhile since I posted a gourd product.  Admittedly, it's been a while since I made one.  But last week I had an old camp friend request a fairy house for her little girl's new fairy garden.  

So, I pulled a few gourds out of the bin, and while I was down in the damp darkness of the basement, I saw a smaller gourd sitting on the shelf.  This little gourd smiled at me and said, "You know what I am?  Look at all the fairy houses around me.  I'm not big enough to be a fairy house, but I'm perfect for a chicken coop!"

Yes, a chicken coop.  But for a fairy garden.  Now, Bug got a set of three fairy garden chickens the other week, so I thought I could make him a quick home for them while I worked on the fairy house (and another surprise I'm making for a friend's new baby).

But the gourd that told me it was a chicken coop was a little too big, and I know it's destined for greatness, so I didn't want to make it into a toy.  I do have a bucket full of little gourds, though, so I dug through those and found a perfect little coop.

After washing and sanding it, I used a hole saw to cut out the bottom.  I wanted it to be sturdy and have enough room for the three chickens to fit without falling over.  As you can see in the picture, this particular gourd was a bit thin and fragile.  But no worries!  I had a fix for that.  

At this point, I also cleaned the seeds out of the inside.

I drew a door over the cracked area.  Then I got the rooster and measured him against it.  It was wide enough, but he wouldn't have fit his head under.  So, I made the door taller.

Then I used my gourd saw to cut out the door.  I checked it again next to the rooster.  He fit!

The next step I did a bit out of order from my usual routine.  I used a tiny cleaning ball attached to my Dremel to clean the gunk off the inside.  This little ball also provides a rough sanding, so I used it to smooth the edges of the cut areas.  

Normally I would do this cleaning after cutting the hole in the bottom and cleaning out the seeds.  The fragility of the door area on this little one, however, had me being more cautious with the cracked area.

I decided to cut a little "vent" in the back so Bug's fairy chickens would have good air flow just like our real chickens outside.  I thought about painting it before I gave it to him, but I was too anxious.  I can paint it anytime, and I'd rather he pick the color(s).

This is also when I stiffened the gourd up a bit.  I painted wood glue on the inside surface, allowing it to soak in.  It fills the spaces in the porous interior, adding more stability.

So I gave it to him "raw."  He thought it was awesome!  He was so excited to show his little birds their new home, and he started playing with it right away.

He even broke out his Little People barn and set up an elaborate chicken mansion of sorts.  Notice how the hens are in the barn resting while the rooster stands guard.

Sharing the gourd and chicken love with my boy!

This post is part of the Clever Chicks Blog Hop on The Chicken Chick!