To chip carve a gourd, use a clean gourd, carving tools of various sizes, an alcohol-based leather dye and a tape measure. Create a basic pattern idea for the gourd before making the first cut.
- Dye the gourd
Soak the gourd in a dark leather dye until it turns the desired color, usually a deep brown. Let it dry.
- Measure the gourd
Draw a line around the widest part of the gourd. Measure this line, and split it into equal increments of vertical lines. The fewer vertical lines the widest section has, the larger the carving pattern will be. For small, intricate patterns, split it into many evenly-spaced vertical lines. Continue this vertical pattern throughout the gourd.
- Carve the first pattern
Starting from the widest line, chip carve the pattern. To carve, point the end of the tool away from your body, and make a sharp stop cut. Gently rock the tool up and down until the chip pops out. Start the next stop cut on the opposite side of the first cut, alternating left and right until the widest line's pattern is finished.
- Carve the other patterns
Begin the next set of cuts directly above the widest horizontal line, creating each pattern inside of the drawn vertical lines. Once this is finished, create another set directly underneath the widest horizontal line. Continue alternating sets until the entire gourd is complete.