To paint a gourd, wash the gourd with diluted bleach, and scrub the exterior with steel wool. Allow the gourd to dry. Draw the desired design onto the gourd with a pencil, and paint the design onto the gourd with acrylic paint. When painting the gourd a solid color, apply the paint in sections to prevent smudging, and allow each section of the gourd to dry before painting the next section. Seal the gourd with acrylic gloss.
To turn the gourd into a birdhouse or vase, cut a hole in the gourd, and remove the materials inside the gourd. Soak the inside of the gourd with diluted bleach for five minutes, and allow the gourd to dry before painting it.
To trace a pattern on the gourd, draw the major components of the pattern on paper, trace the pattern onto plastic wrap with a marker, and wrap carbon paper and the plastic wrap around the gourd. Trace over the pattern on the plastic to transfer it to the gourd. Use the pattern as a guide to paint the gourd.
When painting a solid-color gourd, apply several coats of acrylic paint to reach the desired color, allowing the paint to dry between each coat. Seal the gourd with clear sealant after painting it. Allow the sealant to dry before using the gourd.