Here are my birdhouse gourds. Each dried with a very interesting pattern. I decided not to paint them, but rather to leave them in their natural state. I had looked for stains that were non-toxic, but found none that I felt good about using. I think they will be much more enticing to birds if left natural. I will varnish each with a non-toxic, water-based varnish to protect them from the elements. Each has a perch beneath the front door hole, a small hole in the base for drainage and a dowel through the top that I will attach wire to for hanging. These will hang in the trees around the farmhouse. We have a wonderful population of birds that we regularly feed. They will be so happy to have new houses this Spring.