A watermelon carved to look like a pirate ship makes a charming and refreshing addition to the spread at a summertime cookout or pirate-themed birthday party. This project requires an oblong watermelon to achieve the elongated shape of a ship. Use this work of art as a vessel for serving the watermelon and other fruity treasures like cantaloupe, berries, and grapes.

Things You'll Need

Shave a long, thin strip of rind from the bottom of the watermelon, making the bottom flat so it doesn’t roll. Avoid cutting too much of the rind—you don’t want to expose the red inner flesh or you’ll end up with a mess of watermelon juice.

Draw the basic outline of the pirate ship on the outside of the watermelon with a permanent marker or sharp pencil. Starting about 1 inch down from the top of the watermelon, draw a horizontal line extending about 1/3 of the watermelon length. From the end point, draw a vertical line down 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Draw a horizontal line extending the remaining 2/3 of the watermelon length, bringing it around the other side of the watermelon so the two sides match.

Carve the watermelon with a long, sharp knife along your marker or pencil lines to form the basic shape. Make the cuts as clean as possible, using a sawing motion when needed. A smaller precision knife, such as one used for pumpkin carving, comes in handy for cutting corners and fine design details.

Scoop out the red watermelon flesh with a melon baller, place the melon balls in a bowl, and refrigerate. Cut melon balls from the other half of the watermelon. Scrape off any excess red flesh from the cut pieces, leaving only white and green rind. Reserve the large rind pieces to make accessories for the ship.

Cut four sails from the large pieces of rind you reserved from the other watermelon half. Cut the sails in the shape of a square with curves on two opposite sides to give the look of a sail blowing in the breeze. Cut two of the sails slightly smaller than the other two. Carve off the green rind layer with a channel knife to make the sails white. This V-shaped knife cuts the rind in thin strips. Alternatively, you can carve stripes to make green-and-white-striped sails.

Push a bamboo skewer up through the bottom and out the top of one of the larger sails, leaving the centers of the sail unattached. Slide it down to leave room for the smaller sail. Push the smaller sail onto the skewers on top of the larger sail. Bend the rinds slightly on the skewers if you really want to give the look of wind-puffed sails. Repeat with the other two sails on a separate bamboo skewer. (The skewers must be long enough to fit two sails and reach to the bottom of the ship.)

Push the opposite end of the bamboo skewers into the bottom of the watermelon pirate ship to stand the sailsupright. Fill in the ship with the watermelon balls and your choice of other fruit. The fruit can be used as treasure for the ship, but also helps hold the skewers in place.

Push a toothpick or bamboo skewer horizontally into the ship’s bow, pointing forward, to act as the pirate ship’s bowsprit, if desired. You can tie thread or other fine string from the bowsprit to the bamboo skewer masts just as you’d see on a real ship.

Cut out a rectangle shape from the extra rind pieces. Draw a sigil such as a skull and crossbones on the flag with a pencil; carve out the design with a channel knife. Push the flag onto a bamboo skewer and insert the skewer into the fruit.

Draw several small circles in a row down the length of the ship. Carve these down to the white of the rind with a channel knife. This step is optional, but the additional embellishment gives the suggestion of cannon holes or portholes on a ship. You can cut holes all the way through the rind, if desired, but you’ll end up with leaking juice if you use the watermelon to hold a fruit salad.