As Graduation party and BBQ season is upon us, I thought this would be a fitting DIY. All you need are sharp things and a lot of fruit (one of the fruits being, obviously, a watermelon).
Think of the admiring oohs and ahhs you will receive as your guests marvel at your craftsmanship, your creativity, your prowess with fruit. The respect you will earn will be well worth the few times you almost cut your fingers off (Just kidding. This is not that dangerous if you are careful AND DO NOT let your children do this. Please don’t sue me.)
What you’ll need:
Watermelon, oval shaped and preferably with a kind of flat side (if there isn’t a flat side, cut one with a knife)
Knives: I used an Xacto Knife, a steak knife, and a really big knife (technical term)
Ribbon or string
Pencil (I used a sharpie, but would recommend something less visible/more washable)
Scooping tools: I used a couple cookie dough scoops, a ladle, and a spatula thing we use for cleaning out pumpkins on Halloween
A bunch of your favorite fruit for the salad inside
Safety precautions before we loose fingers and limbs: This project involves knives and the slipperiest fruit ever. It’s very easy to let your knife slip while you’re cutting, and as I’m sure you know, that would suck. Always cut away from you, and keep the surface that you’re cutting as dry as you can by periodically wiping it down with a washcloth or paper towels.
Mark the center of your watermelon with your pencil or marker. Draw your basket handles about half an inch on either side of that point down the the middle of the melon. Be as precise about this as you want, no judgement for laser precision or rustic elegance.
Take the string or ribbon, and wrap it around the watermelon to get an even line around the middle. For this step, it’s helpful to have a second person, but you can also use tape to hold the string or ribbon in place. You could also do this step first so that you know exactly where your handle will end, but again, either way works. Trace the top of the string.
Use your Xacto knife to cut on the lines you’ve traced (both the handle and the middle). I found this made it easier to hack into it with a bigger knife later. Once that’s done, take out your giant knife (or really whichever size you’re comfortable with), and cut on either side of your handle all the way down to your middle side.
I found it was much easier to cut either half into quarter chunks and pull those out. Be careful when cutting along the middle…it’s hard to keep it level.
Scoop out the watermelon, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh. You can cube the pieces you just pulled out to add to your fruit salad, and you can ball the rest of the melon if you’re skilled in that area. We had very little success melon-balling, so we just hollowed it out and turned the melon into smoothies, instead.
As you can see, we could still see the Sharpie marks, so I sort of peeled them off with the Xacto knife. Of course, if you learn from my mistakes, you won’t have to do this and your basket will have nice clean edges. And BAM, fill it with your favorite fruit salad and impress your family, friends, and strange acquaintances you’re not entirely sure that you invited.
Happy basket carving!