Instructables

How to Recycle a Coconut Shell into a Bowl

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Picture of How to Recycle a Coconut Shell into a Bowl
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This is my (very similar) take on goldenbacon's coconut bowl tutorial, the main differences being that I used waterproofing lacquer I made myself rather than a spray-on waterproofer, and that I went into far more detail about each of the steps. I also adapted a trick for getting the meat out of the coconut more easily.

This project was completed for an art class, but I hope everybody can get some use out of it!

Here is a list of the materials you will need::

For the bowl itself:

- one coconut

Tools:

- hammer
- hack saw
- box knife (or other sharp blade)
- chisel or spoon
- a substantial black marker
- a thick nail
- one sheet of sandpaper
- a bowl or jar
-a small (1 1/2 inch) paintbrush

For the finish/waterproofing:

- linseed oil
- mineral spirits
 
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Step 1: Drain your coconut.

Picture of Drain your coconut.
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The first task will be to punch a hole through the outside of the coconut to drain the fluid from inside of it. Initially, I tried to hammer the nail directly into the top of the coconut, where it had joined to its stem. As far as I can tell, this is impossible. Instead, I recommend placing the nail slightly to the side of the top of the coconut, where the shell is less dense. Depending on the width of the nail, the initial hole might not be large enough to drain more than a trickle of fluid; I ended up making three holes close to one another, and then breaking down the shell in between to create one large hole.

Once you've made a hole, place the coconut, drainage hole down, over a container whose mouth should be smaller than the circumfrence of the coconut. You can leave it to drain on its own, but I recommend shaking it from time to time to move the process along. You will know the coconut is completely drained when fluid stops trickling out, and when the coconut no longer makes a sloshing noise when you shake it.
Florentia942 years ago
does coconut oil work?
docron752 years ago
Nice looking project. One comment on oldorf's note.. Olive oil will turn rancid with time. I make wooden bowls, spoons, cutting boards, etc, and treat them with mineral oil. Use USP grade from the pharmacy. It is harmless, never spoils, and is easily recoated when it wears off. If the coconut shell is substantially nonporous, any of the common clear finishes will be fine. They are all food safe after they have cured - usually a week or so.
mouldclay2 years ago
yes i know !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
oldorf2 years ago
Well done - but poor coconut - you butchered it. I have got some ideas how to rescue the juice and meat. Every Coconut has three eyes on one of the ends - one of them is realy soft - so test them and poke a nail without much force through the weakest one. This will allow you to drain it completely. If the nut was fresh and has a lot of juice/milk, you can drink it - it is delicious.

The meat is a delicacy, so it should not be wasted or destroyed. SInce you need an intact half of the nut you can not use the easy method of opening it with a hammer. So use a clean saw. Once you have opened the nut take your time and cut the meet with a knife - then use a strong spoon to force it out of the shell. Skip the microwave unless you want cooked coconut meat. Wash the meat under running water and sample it...

If you have a disc sander you can trim the rim of the shell nicely with it. For a food safe finish I would entirely rely on Olive Oil - which makes it look and smell nice.

geardaddy2 years ago
Great instructable - the finished coconut looks terrific!

However before you go full Gilligan I urge you to consider a food-safe finish. "Boiled" linseed oil contains various drying chemicals that you definitely do not want to drink. Likewise I would never put mineral spirits into anything that I ever planned to eat or drink from.

Some food safe finishes include Beeswax, Mineral Oil, Walnut Oil, pure Tung Oil, raw Linseed oil, and Shellac. For the latter three you'll want to buy only the pure product, food grade and without additional chemicals - these can be hard to find but will be available from specialty woodworking shops, etc. The products that you'll find at your local hardware store will almost certainly not be something that you would want anywhere near your food.

The finished bowl looks amazing. Great tutorial. :)