I was quite satisfied with the results of dyeing with tea. I brewed a strong batch of loose black tea (use plenty) in boiling water, let it cool, put skin in a large bowl and let it soak for 20-30 minutes. I believe I read that the tannins in tea help retain the color and may be preferable to coffee. I decided not to mess with alcohol or oil based substances. The resulting color seemed to complement the natural gourd color nicely. As for the inlay, I confess this was my first attempt and my 1st cut into the neck was done with some trepidation, but it all worked out using only exacto blades and a 1/2 inch chisel. We are mushroom hunters and my wife donated 2 of her decorative pins for the inlay. May I suggest that you consider some woodburning design for your gourd if possible. I think it would look awesome. Cheers.