It’s been a little while since Lily’s Luau, but I saved one of my best projects for last – the Watermelon Shark Fruit Tray. I was very proud of how this turned out and it looked great on the table, but there is a whole backstory to how Stuart the Shark came about. (We spent so much time with him and I was insistent that my older daughter handle him so gently between our house and the party venue, that she gave him a name.)
One of my very first blog posts was on a baby shower for a friend’s daughter that featured a watermelon elephant fruit tray. That post is one of my most popular ever and that pin is my most repinned on Pinterest. As much as I would like to take credit for that cute creation, the truth is I chickened out and handed my friend a whole watermelon, a knife and a picture. I was just too intimidated to do it. She worked her magic and it came out adorable. So when Lily’s Luau came around, I knew I wanted to give the old watermelon carving a try myself.
I loved the idea of the fruit shark however, it was a little challenging to find a great watermelon in the middle of February. Most of the examples I saw online were made with more oblong shaped watermelons, but I had to figure out how to do it with a perfectly round one. This actually made Stuart a little more on the sweet end of the spectrum than the scary, and that was perfectly fine a 10-year-old’s party.
How to bring the Watermelon Shark to life:
- Determine the bottom of your watermelon and cut it diagonally such that the sharks head looks like it’s coming out of the water at an angle. Do not discard any pieces-you’ll need those later for the fin.
- Determine where the mouth will be, and draw a wedge shape. You’re going to be cutting that section away so it’s totally fine to draw directly on watermelon to guide you. Remove that section and scoop out the watermelon meat. I did not completely clean my watermelon out as I have seen some people do because I knew I was going to be transporting the shark and I wanted to give it a little more stability than you would get from a completely hollow watermelon shell. It also left a shelf of sorts which worked well for adding fruit inside the mouth.
- Use a paring knife or X-Acto blade to remove just the outer green part of the rind approximately 1 inch all the way around the mouth opening. You will have a very gummy shark at this point.
- Cut triangles out of the gum section creating teeth.
- Cut gills in the side of the shark. Again you are just removing the green outer layer of the rind. Technically sharks have 5-7 sets of gills, but I only had room (and patience) for 2 on each side.
- Determine exactly where you want your eyes, and remember they should be more to the side of the head and not directly in front. Use toothpicks to attach the berries to the rind. I realized after I took pictures that I should have trimmed the toothpicks so they would not be visible from the inside.
- Use a piece out of the rind you removed either for the bottom or the mouth, and fashion it into a fin to be added to the back of the neck. Be sure that you cut a curve into the side that will be attached to make sure that it matches the curve at the back of the neck so it will fit snugly. Use toothpicks to secure.
- Pile mixed fruit of your choice into the mouth and/or around the shark in the surrounding container if you choose. Another option would be to surround the shark in blue Jello creating a water effect.
So Stuart the Watermelon Skark wraps up on the series on Lily’s Luau. For a complete look at the whole party, see this post.
We enjoyed this indoor luau so much, we may do a version 2 in the summer by an outdoor pool.
Stay humble, work hard, be kind.