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 : Decorating the Gourd Shell - Pyrography and Leather Dye :

Let us assume you have already obtained your gourds, and if you need to clean one or more, you can refer to the gourd cleaning steps for the red gourd shakere project. I've found that adding a little bleach makes the gourd cleaning a bit faster, and gives a lighter colored surface with fewer mottles. If you are looking for mottles, leave it out but it can be useful.

The next part is the pyrography, or using the woodburner to make the design. Here is my woodburner. I've somewhere lost all the tips except the one shown, which is meant to create hard lines. wood burning tool
I drew the design onto the gourd and commenced. In the first pic you can see the pencil marks for the leopard's tail and the tail partially completed.
woodburning the gourd - leopard tail
Then I moved on to the eyes. Because they are small round circles and this particular head for my pyrography tool wants to cut straight lines, this bit was difficult. When I say cut, I mean cut, you should sharpen your tool with a file and should press to get it into the burn for a wider, more distinct line.
pyrography, carving the leopard eyes
Continue working on your design, keep a pencil handy, handling the gourd tends to rub off the graphite. To make the spots, I used the edge of the wood burning tool's head, making a longer scorch mark for the spots. continuing wood burning of the design onto the gourd
Here is a closeup of the spots
closeup view of the leopard spots
Now would be a good time to feed the ancestors. Of course, there is never a bad time to feed the ancestors, but particularly for projects with some dimension of magic intended, it is a good idea. Need to know more about feeding the ancestors? Please consult Mambo Racine.
it is good to feed the ancestors
Next, when the pyrography is completed, color your gourd (some color it before pyrography). I used washes of red and yellow leather dye (I think my yellow is actually suede dye). It required several washes to get the color I was looking for. The underside was left uncolored, as with actual leopards. =P

the leopard is colored
Next, I cut off the handle end to be able to our in the rattle's contents. The mallets I was also making are visible. I used a dremel tool with a cutting attachment to cut off the handle end.

handle cut off with a dremel tool
Now if you look at it this way, it is a leopard.

gourd as a leopard
But if you look at it this way, it looks more like a lady (or maybe a chicken) Especially if you envision the hat I will use for the end.

gourd as a leopard

Ready for the next step in the Leopard Gourd Rattle project?

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