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Jul 3, 2008

Carve a Watermelon Swan

A perfect center piece for an informal luncheon, or on a buffet table would be this Swan filled with fresh melons and grapes. Tea sandwiches, coffee and assorted cheeses would compliment the centerpiece.

Purchase a watermelon, in any shape you would prefer to see on the table.
Cut a thin slice from the bottom so that it will sit steady and not wobble over.
Draw the outlines for the swan as shown in the pattern image.
Use a sharp knife or decorating tool to cut along the lines of the pattern. Cut all the way through the rind when cutting the top portion that will be cut away.
Use care to leave the beak attached to the feathers for stability.
Use a knife to hollow out an eye.
Remove the top section by first cutting it into quarters.
Hollow the melon and trim the features so they are not too thick. Use a melon baller to remove the remaining melon.
Fill with approximately 1 cup of fruit salad, depending on the size of the melon. Serve any remaining fruit salad in another bowl or another carved watermelon.

* Have the whole watermelon at room temperature when you carve. The cuts will be easier to make when the watermelon is not cold. You can chill the watermelon in the refrigerator after cutting and before serving.
* Cut a small, thin, flat piece from the bottom of the watermelon before carving. This will make a flat base, making the watermelon more stable when carving.
* Draw the design on the watermelon rind with a fine/medium point waterproof marker or a sharp pencil before you cut.
* After you’ve drawn the design on the rind, insert toothpicks in key places to use as guides for your cuts.
* Use a sharp knife with a pointed tip – the sharper the knife, the easier and cleaner the cuts will be. Be careful!
* Consider using a channel knife for certain cuts and to hollow out larger areas.
* For better grip and to help protect your hands, use a fresh, new thick pair of gardening gloves with gripper palms.
* Choose a flat working surface on a solid base.
* For more detailed designs, draw a template first on a sheet of white paper with a marker or pencil. When finished, transfer the image to the watermelon surface by taping the paper to the melon and tracing along the design’s lines with a pencil, making the design right on the watermelon surface. Also, for more control, you might consider drilling a hole and using a coping saw to cut the rind.
* When attaching cut pieces on the watermelon to make your design, use round toothpicks or skewers. Flat toothpicks will often break due to weight of the piece or the thickness of the rind.
* Be creative and have fun!

* Watermelon
* Melon baller
* Knife
* Pencil