Make a Garden Twine Dispenser from a Gourd

By Published On: June 18th, 20245.3 min readCategories: Garden, Projects

Here’s a really simple but useful garden twine dispenser made from a gourd

I don’t know about you, but I go through a lot of garden twine. Between trellising, staking, and general tying back of various plants, veggies and vines, I can easily go through 1,000 feet of twine in a season.

As twine goes, I use jute or sisal, which are both cheap, strong and biodegradable. The problem is these natural twines have lots of stiff, poky threads that will snag one another and tangle if you don’t have a good way of preventing it.

You could buy a string dispenser which will feed out the twine without getting tangled, but a) they’re generally not very well suited for being left outside in the weather, and b) you have to spend money to get one.

I’m practical as well as cheap, so rather than buying a twine dispenser, I made one from nothing more than an old birdhouse gourd, a stick, and some twine. The dispenser has been helping me in the garden for the better part of five years now, so I thought I’d share how to make one with you.

Here’s what you’ll need:


  • A gourd (I used a birdhouse gourd, but any dry gourd large enough to hold a spool of twine will work
  • A stick or small dowel
  • Spool or ball of twine
  • A small piece of wire (optional, but I find it more convenient than using a twine loop of the hanger)


  • Pencil
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Small saw (or serrated knife) for cutting the gourd
  • Scissors or knife

Making the twine dispenser

Step 1 – cut your gourd in half and remove the seeds

A gourd cut in half to reveal the seeds

Cut the gourd in half and remove the seeds

Mark where you’re going to cut your gourd in half with a pencil. You want the bottom half to be about 1/2 to 2/3rds the height of a spool of twine laying on its side.

Then, using your saw, cut the gourd in half and remove the seeds.

Step 2 – make the hinge to join the top and bottom of your gourd

A gourd with a swivel hinge made from twine

The hinge made from twine

Match up your two gourd halves and use your pencil to draw two parallel lines about 1 inch long across your cut (these are so you can line up your hinge). Then, drill two holes at the top of the lines in the top half of the gourd, and two holes at the bottom of the lines in the bottom of the gourd.

Cut a piece of twine about 8 inches long. From the inside of the gourd, feed one end of the twine through the inside top left hole you just drilled, and the other end on the twine through the top right hole. Pull both ends of the twine from the outside of the gourd until it’s snug on the inside.

Then, feed both ends of the twine into the holes in the bottom and back inside the gourd. Pull the twine until its snug, but not tight (you need enough slack to allow the gourd to swing open). Tie off both ends of the twine on the inside of the gourd.

Step 3 – make the closure

The loop and stick closure closeup

Close your gourd and turn it so the hinge you made with the twine is at the back.

On the front of the gourd, use your pencil to make two marks side-by-side about 1/2 to 1-inch apart about 1/2-inch above the cut in the top half of the gourd. This will be where you drill the holes to make the loop closure.

Then, about ½-inch below the cut in the bottom half of the gourd, make another mark that lines up in the center between the side-by-side marks in the top. This will be where you drill the hole for your stick that becomes the hook for the loop above.

Drill the two holes in the top half, and the hole in the bottom half.

In the bottom half, feed your stick into the hole (it should be snug), and leave about ¾-to-1-inch of stick protruding from the outside of the gourd.

Then, cut a length of twine about 6-inches long and feed both ends from the inside of the gourd through the holes in the top half.

Close the gourd, loop both ends of the twine under the stick and tie them together to close the loop and finish your closure.

Step 4 – Drill a hole in the top to feed the twine

Drill a hole in the top of the gourd directly above the closure you just made. If necessary, use your pencil to enlarge it a bit so the twine will feed through smoothly.

Twine fed through the top hole

Then, swing the gourd open and place a spool of twine on its side in the lower half. Using a finger, fish the end of the twine from the center of the spool (not the outside!), pull it out, and feed it through the hole you just drilled in the top.

Step 5 – Add a wire hanger and (optional) drain holes

Drill a small hole in the stem (or top) of your gourd and feed a piece of wire through it to make a hanger (if you don’t have wire, you can make a twine loop as a hanger instead). Tie it off to make sure it’s secure.

The bottom of a gourd with four drain holes drilled in it

Drain holes drilled in the bottom

If you plan on leaving your twine dispenser outside, it’s helpful to drill a few holes in the bottom of the gourd so that any water that might get in can drain out.


The gourd will be just fine without any sort of finish, but if you’d like to make it a little more colorful or water resistant, feel free to rub it with linseed oil, an oil-based stain, or a soft wax.

That’s it! You now have a fully functional twine dispenser. Enjoy!

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About the Author

author avatar
Sage Osterfeld
I’m just a guy with nearly an acre of dirt, a nice little mid-century ranch house and a near-perfect climate. But in my mind I’m a landscaper survivalist craftsman chef naturalist with a barbeque the size of a VW and my own cable TV show. I like to write about the stuff I build, grow and see here at Sage's Acre.

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