You know how the rhyme goes: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a watermelon baby carriage. Or something like that.
I became an aunt two months ago. But before that exciting day, I helped to plan my sister’s baby shower. It was a pretty nice party, and I have to give credit to my mom and longtime friend Sarah, who allowed us to have the shindig in her beautiful home. My mom did a great job of finding tips and suggestions, including one for a neat way to serve fruit salad: in a watermelon carved to look like a baby carriage.
I felt a little intimidated by the project, but I thought that the two of us together would be able to pull it off (and if we couldn’t, we could just put the fruit salad in a bowl and pretend we never even tried the thing).
First, you’ll want to find a watermelon with a flat side that can be the bottom so it won’t roll as much.
It would probably also be a good idea to get one that isn’t too long so that way it is easier to scoop fruit out of. Clean off the outside of the watermelon.
Next, you’ll need to cut out a quarter of the watermelon – halfway longways and halfway wideways. My mom had the genius idea of using pumpkin-carving tools, which made it super easy. The serrated knife broke through the rind into the fruit without any trouble.
Then you want to remove the quarter of the watermelon you just cut out.
Next, scoop out the melon as you would normally do – though it is a little trickier to carve the fruit out of half of the watermelon. Get all the fruit out of the part you cut away, but do not discard that rind. You’ll need it in just a moment.
My mom found it easier to kind of cut slices within the melon to get it out, but that might have been because our watermelon was super, super juicy. Super juicy watermelons are delicious, but for this project it proved to be quite drippy as well.
After you’ve hollowed out the watermelon, you need to create a handle for the carriage. I didn’t get a photo of cutting out the handle (because I only have two hands, you know?). Some of the books and blog posts we read had recommended having the handle be at least an inch wide on all sides so that it was sturdy. I tried to keep in mind having it five inches wide at the top (where you would put your hands on a carriage) and three inches wide on the bottom. I kind of just winged it, tracing an outline with the pumpkin-carving knife and then just cutting. You’ll be able to see my work in the photos below.
Then comes the more difficult part: Attaching the handle to the watermelon. We used toothpicks, but they were breaking and getting soggy. My mom somehow finagled them into place. I’m sure there is a gadget or a doohickey that will work better than the toothpicks. Maybe plastic toothpicks – the kind that are shaped like swords.
See how the handle is curved? It’s wider at the top than at the bottom, and I just cut out the middle. It wasn’t terribly hard to do, but you only get one shot at it (unless you bought a second watermelon).
We waited to attach the handle until we got to the party location. This whole project would probably be easiest to do on location – so as not to break the carriage in transport – but if that’s not possible, do all your fruit prep and carriage carving before heading to the party site.
The watermelon will need to sit on a dish that can catch all the juice from the fruit. For it to do that, you’ll also need to poke holes into the bottom of the carriage for the juice to leak out. Strategically put the holes where you would see wheels on the carriage. We also lined the dish with lettuce, which looks like grass AND hides the fruit juice. Now the body of the carriage is ready.
Next, you’ll want to attach the handle. After the handle come the wheels. We used four slices of orange, four slices of lemon and four grapes to create the effect of wheels. With your trusty toothpick (or whatever better doohickey you have), layer the wheels with a slice of orange against the melon, then a slice of lemon, then a grape to cover the tip of the toothpick (or whatever … ours didn’t quite work out that way because we struggled to get the fruit to stick on).
Then add the fruit, and a spoon for serving.
Several of the party-goers complimented the carriage, and the mother-to-be loved it. My biggest regret is that I forgot to embellish the top of the carriage. I found several photos online of curvy designs and had wanted to do my own, but it slipped my mind in the rush to get everything together. It would have been a nice touch, but I’m definitely pleased with the way it came out. If I throw another summertime baby shower, the watermelon baby carriage fruit bowl will be on my list.
The watermelon part of the process probably took about an hour total for the two of us to do, but you’ll also need to add in time for the fruit prep. We had additional containers of fruit ready to refill the carriage when it got low.
What’s a baby shower project that you’ve done? How did it turn out?