Watermelon Carving Basics: Sunflowers!




About: I’m a pastry chef from Colorado with a love for cake making and animals! And all things crafty!

So I have this recently new hobby of mine, watermelon carving, that I am just having a blast with. So much so that I've purchased myself a fancy set to carve with. But before the set, I was having fun experimenting and creating carvings with nothing but a paring knife and a watermelon. I noticed that Instructables lacked Instructables on watermelon carving centerpieces, finding only a couple. So I decided to show some things I learned and create one for anyone looking to wow some of their friends and families at the next BBQ or party! This Instructable will center around showing you how to carve sunflowers into a watermelon. Hope you enjoy!

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Step 1: Supplies!

You'll need:
One watermelon
Paring knife
Medium circle cookie cutter

Step 2: Let's Begin!

Start by using your paring knife to trace a circle on the side of the watermelon you want to carve. Once you have cut out a circle template to follow, use the paring knife to peel away the green part of the watermelon rind, leaving the white fleshy part exposed.

Note: Save some of the bigger pieces of green that you peel off. Those will be needed down the line!

Step 3: Clean It Up!

After peeling away the green bits, you'll see that there are darker parts of the rind that you might have missed due to uneven cutting. No problem, just grab the paring knife and clean it up by peeling away as much of the greenish coloring as possible until only white rind is showing. It doesn't have to be perfect though so don't spend hours on it or you'll end up carving away all the white part and hit the fruit instead!

Step 4: Make Some Leaves!

So remember those green parts I had you save! Grab those and cut out a few leaves. (I made 4 total) Then carve out some detail and put those aside again for later. At this point you can dispose of all the rest of the unwanted rind.

Step 5: Making a Plaque for Text! (Optional)

Now this part is optional. I did this for the fun of adding text later, but you can leave this out and just carve a bunch of flowers on your watermelon instead.
I traced out the shape with the paring knife. Then I went back and dug out the outline of the shape to make it pop out more.

Step 6: Starting the Flowers!

To start the sunflower, grab your circle cookie cutter and press it gently into the watermelon, no more than 1/3 of the cookie cutter in. You aren't cutting out shapes, just making an outline to follow.
After you cut the circle, use the paring knife to cut a ring around the circle and carve out some of the watermelon around it, making it appear more 3D.

Step 7: Crosshatching!

Trim some of the edge of the circle off to round it. Then use your paring knife to make diagonal and horizontal cuts, giving the circle crosshatching.

Step 8: Petals!

After you have finished the crosshatching, cut a row of petals out around the circle.

Step 9: Depth!

Next, cut into the gap between each petal at an angle and pull the piece of that gap out. This will open up a bit of the watermelon flesh giving it color and depth. Repeat this with each gap between the petals.

Step 10: Petal Detail!

Use the tip of the paring knife to cut out little triangles from each petal, giving it a more detailed, colorful look.

Step 11: Flower Growth!

After your first row of petals is compete, begin a second row by cutting new petals out in between each of the petals of the first row. Use both the previous steps to cut the gaps out as well as the triangles in each petal. Continue adding rows of petals until you are satisfied with the size of the flower you are working on.

Step 12: Finishing the Flower!

When you have made the flower as big as you want it, finish it by cutting a small circle around the flower at an angle. This will give the flower a finished look that will pop!

Continue making multiple flowers all over the watermelon using this method.

Step 13: Text! (Optional)

With all the flowers completed, move to the plaque you have made for the text. (If you chose to!)
First use the tip of the paring knife to lightly sketch out the lettering.
Then go back over it and cut deeper into the flesh, carving bits out.

Step 14: Adding the Leaves!

When you have completed carving the watermelon to your liking, take your knife and cut slits into the side of the watermelon where you want the leaves to be placed.
Take the finished leaves from earlier and simply slide them into the slits you cut for them.

Step 15: All Done!

With the leaves added to your watermelon, you are now done! Show it off to friends and family, then the sad, but yummy ending: Slice it up and eat it! Mmmm, delicious artwork.

I also included a few photos of other watermelons I have carved. If this Instructables hits it off well and there is interest for it, I will be happy to create more showing other methods such as how to carve the roses seen in my other photos and other things!

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    19 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'ible, well done!
    I do pumpkins, and normally get some "time off" because pumpkins cease to be available for a good part of the year... but I was recently roped into carving a watermelon or two and it's clear that the season has expanded: Three colors! How cool is that?

    2 replies

    It's funny because I usually carve melons but have been asked if I also carve pumpkins. Sort of the opposite of you. I've never really carved pumpkins other than the regular Halloween jack-o-lanterns. I imagine it's more difficult with pumpkin flesh being tough as opposed to the easier to cut watermelon flesh! I'll have to give it a go this fall though!

    Hah! Funny indeed.

    Actually I've found that most pumpkins behave quite a lot like the outer rind of the watermelon, so relief sculpting them is quite similar. You can definitely use the same tools and skills. But with a pumpkin you've only got a couple of inches of thickness to work with, whereas a watermelon just gets redder (and more fragile) as you go farther in. Pumpkins take the prize for a longer shelf life after carving and less sticky guts, but no pumpkin can beat the built-in drama of opposing color that comes with a watermelon.

    Lately I've been thinking about combining them: maybe a gross red watermelon brain inside one of the icky critters I tend to carve? Eww, that's really disgusting... let's all do it!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome! Part of the beauty of it, like a sand painting or an ice scupture, is that it will be around for only a little while. I voted for you.

    1 reply

    Yeah, I agree! Everyone always feels bad destroying them to eat them, but I don't mind. The fun was in the enjoyment of making it and people admiring it.
    Thanks so much for the vote, it's appreciated!


    Thanks! It was a tough one, due to the different levels and detail using only a paring knife, but I had fun with it.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I voted for you on the "Play With Your Food" contest. I think yours is the best one because (1) it fits the theme of the contest, I think, better than something you might find in a recipe, (2) you put all of the steps together, and I feel like I know exactly how to do this, (3) the sunflower design looks easy to do (no art-degree or gifted artistic ability required), yet the effect looks absolutely fantastic, and (4) at least for me, it is something that based on what you said I actually want to try.

    1 reply

    6 years ago

    You should definitely do the Legend of Zelda tutorial.

    1 reply

    I'll have to see, it's a more intermediate one with the detail, but maybe later down the line I'll get one posted!


    6 years ago

    This is a really fantastic Instructable. And your timing is perfect too... I have a garden full of watermelons. I now realize they were waiting to be carved into works of art. Very, very well done!!!

    1 reply

    Thanks! I hope you have fun with it. The way I'm burning through watermelons, I should consider planting them in my garden!