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How to carve coconut shells

Updated November 21, 2016

You may have seen carved coconuts resembling human faces or animals and wondered if you could achieve the same results at home. Well, the process of carving coconut shells is not complicated, but it does require a great deal of practice and skill to render intricate designs because coconut shells are extremely hard and difficult to cut. Look for coconuts with firm shells free of cracks and purchase a few extras to practice your techniques.

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  1. Drill a hole through one of the eyes of the coconut with a 3/8-inch drill bit. Coconuts generally have three eyes, or round depressions, grouped close together at one end of the fruit.

  2. Pour the water out of the coconut through the hole and place the coconut in a warm, sunny place to dry for several days or weeks. The flesh inside the coconut will dry and become flaky and brittle during this time. You can speed up the process by baking the coconut in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, but this may crack the shell.

  3. Cut the top or bottom of the coconut off with a bandsaw or a power saw to reveal the interior of the coconut. You may want to cut off the area where you drilled a hole earlier.

  4. Scoop out the flesh of the coconut with a chisel. It should be dry and easy to remove. Do not eat the flesh from your coconut because it will have rotted or moulded during the drying process.

  5. Draw your design on the outside of the coconut with a grease pencil.

  6. Carve away the outside of the coconut with a hand-held rotary tool equipped with a carving or cutting bit. The coconut shell will become harder and more difficult to cut the closer you get to the centre of the coconut. Work slowly and chip away a bit of the shell at a time until you are satisfied with your design.

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Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Band-saw
  • Chisel
  • Grease pencil
  • Hand-held rotary tool
  • Carving bit

About the Author

Kittie McCoy has been a freelance writer since 2008. She is also a part-time personal trainer and licensed entertainer in Las Vegas. She enjoys sharing her love of physical fitness and experience in the entertainment industry via her writing.

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