Introduction: The Mysterious World of Banana Carving

About: Where there's a will, there's a way! Never give up, never give in...BE the good you want to see in the world. :)


There. I said it. But it's true.

I have never done banana carving before, nor banana peel drawing/tattooing (such as this awesome 'Ible by DIY Hacks and How Tos).

But, no joke, I had a sudden thought come to my mind recently while pondering what to make for the Tiny Contest. Without any previous research on the matter, this thought came to me: what about "the ancient art of banana carving?" And I sat there like, "Is that even a thing?"

Round up the research!

Is it ancient? No, I think only recent times and Pinterest have made banana carving a thing (please do correct me in the comments if I'm wrong -- I'd love to hear the history!), but it still intrigued me.

What exactly is this all about? Is it difficult? Can I do it? And, most importantly, can I make it look good?

So without further adieu, let's jump into it! If nothing else, it should be a whole lotta laughs. :D


All you need to complete this project is:

  • A banana
  • A pin or needle
  • A cuttingboard
  • An inspiration photo (or as DIY Hacks uses it for, "a stencil")
  • OPTIONAL: a toothpick (for size variation)
  • OPTIONAL: a sharp, pointed-end knife (for cutting out banana chunks)

Step 1: Workspace

To further prove I have no idea what I'm doing, I made this crazy little workspace (since it was nighttime, with literally only a couple hours before the contest closes--procrastinate much!?--I need a good lighting situation). So, I used two 6 foot tall floor lamps lying on their sides, and a little bedside lamp with it's shade off sitting above the project.

Gotta do whatchya gotta do...WE PRESS ON...

Step 2: Tweety Bird Take 1

So, for some reason I have a natural tendency to go big or go home! What's the craziest, hardest, most challenging thing I can do?


This drove me to start my first ever banana carving experience with a cool looking Tweety Bird sitting in the middle of a hallowed out banana, with a decorated two sides (front and back) of the banana peel exterior.

Will this be a fail? We'll have to wait and see...

Step 3: Drawing Tweety's Cage

Begin drawing Tweety's cage, following the outline of the inspirational photo.

OK, so far so good.

What I learned is you will make a series of dots pretty close together by poking the pin into the banana peel over and over and over. When the air touches this "wound" to the banana peel, it will oxidize and turn brown. Pretty cool, huh!?

Step 4: Filling It In

To fill in a space, the best way is to simply put a whole bunch of little dots all really close together and it gives a larger browned/blackened area. There's other ways to fill in areas, but I will note those when I use them later.

Continue on with the cage...

Step 5: Draw & Peel

Outline a couple wires for the bird cage (leaving a bigger opening between them for Tweety to be seen through), and peel out the sections you want as open space in-between the wires.

To accomplish peeling, it's easiest if you use the pin to kind of "saw" through the peel fully in places it may still cling to the rest of itself, and then push the peel (that's to be cut out) up with the end of the needle so you can get your fingers in there. Pull away the peel slowly as not to damage your need-to-stay-in areas.

SAVE THE BANANA PEEL CUTOUTS!!! You will need them later!

Step 6: Cut...CAREFULLY

Using the optional knife (you can continue using the pin/needle if you prefer, but it's faster with a little knife), carefully and slowly cut out the inside chunk of banana. Only cut down as far as the opposite side's peel (DO NOT cut through the peel on the other side!)

And, of course, waste not want not. Don't forget to eat the delicious "waste!"

Step 7: Repeat

Push your pin along the inner edge of the cage front so that it pierces through the backside. Make a few dots or lines outlining the inside of the cage.

Flip the banana over to reveal the starting lines you made (as reference points).

Basically create a mirrored image of the front cage lines and gaps on the back side. This will make it look like the cage continues around the backside when it's done, making it look more realistic (question mark?...Maybe the word would be "3D"?).

Step 8: Scrape It Clean

Scrape the inside of the walls clean from banana gut debris. Use your pin to accomplish this.

It's looking wonky, but it's coming along!

Step 9: Carving Tweety

Ahh, the cherry on top of the perfect banana sundae! The star attraction -- TWEETY BIRD!

I was so excited to get to this point! I was pleased with being able to figure out the how-to's up to this point of my first go-around (and I noticed that Tweety inside the banana was most definitely carved from a peel), and I thought my newfound skills would be accentuated in the form of an epic little Tweety Bird.

But no, oh no! Well, I'm truly getting ahead of myself...let's watch the progression first...

Step 10: Following the Inspiration Photo

Follow the lines of the inspiration photo to draw out an adorable, tiny Tweety Bird!

Awww....isn't he so cute!?

CAREFULLY and RIDICULOUSLY GENTLY pop out the banana peel inside parts to give him a definitive shape.

I was really quite proud of myself at this point...Tweety was looking SO good!

But happened...

Surely, pride does come before the fall!

Step 11: ¡Ay, Caramba!

Houston, we have a MAJOR problem!

That's when I accidentally pulled off Tweety's little arm with the inside peel that I was removing!!!!


And it all just went downhill from there!

Upon trying to remove my one-armed Tweety from the rest of the peel, I did exactly that, removed only Tweety from the peel and nothing else. So long little swing!

Ai yi yi!!!!

I attempted to stage him inside the banana cage anyways..... Yeah....Well, there's that....

Step 12: Trying....Again...

So I decided not to give up on this great start to what could be an epic Tweety Bird Banana carving....

I took another little cutout piece of peel and this time decided to make a cut out swing outline first. That way I could simply design Tweety inside of it and it should be good to go.

And that's where that idea ended. I made his "little" head WAY to big and couldn't really fit the rest of him on the swing. And didn't really want to push the envelope of trying to carve him out of the peel again, since that makes him ultra fragile (I chickened out, OK!?)

I did manage to pin him (sort of) into the banana cage (I hadn't yet figured out how the artist behind the inspirational photo had inserted Tweety Bird in there), but though he was in the right position this time, he um, looked um, yeah, like that. Not terrible, but definitely not what I'm going for.

So, C'est la vie! Moving on....

Step 13: Goodbye

Goodbye my little Tweety Birds!

Hello, yummy snack!

Step 14: A Fresh Idea

I looked for a different inspirational photo this time, maybe something more, you know, DOABLE.

I stumbled across artist (I think it's the same one as the person who made the last photo I tried) who carved Michelangelo's, "The Creation of Adam" hands into a banana and its peel.

OK, this looks promising!

Let's try it!

Step 15: Start With Hand Numero Uno

I used my pin (in the same way as before) to "draw" the first hand, the hand of Adam.

I'm not particularly great at drawing hands as it is. All of my hands tend to look the same kind of way: mostly bubbly fingers attached to the base of the drawing's arm. In addition to this fun fact, drawing a realistic looking hand ON A BANANA definitely is a challenge! The curves of the banana, the variations in texture as you move across the peel, etc make work with.

Yes, its coming right along. So far it looks like a...three fingered...BLOB...

But we shall prevail! I'm determined to get this banana carving thing right!

Step 16: Intermission

I stopped right there in the hand drawing activity to make some cuts in the banana at important locations for removing the peel at the end. To reiterate: DO NOT remove the peel now, this will be done at the end.

Using the pin, slice one side lengthwise where the bottom of the hands will rest. Slice the opposite side lengthwise at the head of the banana (that would divide the banana in half). And cut around the top of the banana.

Step 17: Make Cutouts at Convenient Stops

Along the way of "drawing" the hands, if there is anywhere that needs cutting out, do it NOW (when you reach that area, before you close it in with the rest of the finger, or wherever it is). See, I got smarter here. That way, when the peel comes off in the end, you won't pull through the fingers to get to those hard-to-reach spots.

And, yes, I know Adam has a ginormous thumb!

Step 18: Outlining God's Hand

OK, this isn't really God's hand. But it is supposed to represent that in the original artwork.

Simply follow the inspirational picture for the basic idea of the hand.

Step 19: Add Shading

This time, to add the shading, I used hatching to make this type of shading.

Hatching is simply using parallel lines instead of dots.

Follow the inspirational picture for placement of the hatching.

Step 20: Peel It!

Carefully (I do say that a lot in this Instructable, don't I?) peel away the entire peel, front and back, of the banana.

Where the head of the banana is (you know the part apes hold when eating bananas), this will probably come off when you remove the peel. Just save it for taking photos of your work at the end because it makes it look more like a, well, banana that way!

Step 21: Finishing Touches

I used the pin to etch some circular lines in a target shape around the banana (I think the artist in my inspirational photo used that design to make a focal point of where the fingers almost touch, almost like a ripple effect).

And that's it! HOORAY!

I can do this thing after all! And so can you!

Phew, it was a learning curve, that's for sure, but overall it was a "simple" process (as in "not complex") even though it wasn't technically "easy" (as in "I can't screw it up"). But it was fun! And it makes for a bit of extra impressiveness and unique self-expression. Because why should fruit be boring???

You could use this technique for fun appetizers, or for a birthday party, or holiday. Or you could become a genuine banana carving artist and sell photos of your work! The sky's the limit!

POSSIBLE PRESERVATION TIPS: If you want to preserve the banana art (since it's already been cut), the first thing that pops up on Google repeatedly is drenching it in lemon juice. If you don't plan to eat it, maybe hairspray would work, or ModPodge? But I haven't tried these approaches so I cannot fully endorse them. Let me know if you find something that works!

Thanks for going on this journey with me while I explored the mysterious (and not-so-mysterious-now) world of banana carving!



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