It was recently my birthday, and we hosted a small party at our place for some family and friends to get together. Well, really my wife hosted it and I generally just did what she wanted me to do. That included making a table centrepiece. The only difference is this wasn’t just a decoration, it was functional too!

Here’s the finished product.

We saw a picture of it on Facebook somewhere, and she decided we needed to try making one. She found instructions, and we attempted it.

Start by selecting a large watermelon. You don’t have to go too big, but certainly big enough to be able to carve it. Decide which end of it you want to use as the mouth, then cut off the other end so when the cut side is down it looks like it’s jumping out of the water.

I then drew a dashed line approximately where I wanted the mouth to be. If your carving skills are well honed, you don’t really need this step. I certainly did! Once you’ve made that cut, remove the wedge and save it for later.

Next you want to score the melon rind about an inch outside the mouth opening. Don’t cut too deep or you may mess up the mouth. For this part, I used a utility knife, one of those ones where you snap off a blade section whenever it starts to get dull. The idea behind this is you can set the amount of exposed blade to be the perfect depth for scoring.

Once the rind is scored use a small knife to remove just the outer rind and leave the white part in tact. Here I ended up using a small Swiss Army knife, since the blade was really sharp and it was very easy to maneuver in the shark mouth.

Take a knife, spoon, melon baller, or whatever you want to cut out the flesh of the watermelon. I dumped those pieces into a bowl for later use.

Take a paring knife and cut out little wedges to form the teeth. You can be as precise as you want to go for a perfectly uniform look, or just cut away and have fun with it.

We used 2 black olives for the eyes. I carved a small recess in the rind and snapped a toothpick in half to secure the olive.

With one of the leftover pieces, I cut a small wedge to make a dorsal fin for the shark and secured it with toothpicks.

For presentation, we used an aluminum platter from one of those veggie and dip party trays. You can wrap a plate or platter with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Place the shark in the middle. We used 2 packages of blue Jell-o for the water. Just prepare those according to the directions on the package. Break up the Jell-o into chunks and spread around the outside. We filled the mouth of the shark with chunks of the reserved watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and grapes. We also bought some gummy fish and spread those around on the tray, before putting the Jell-o on.

All said and done, it was probably about $20 worth of supplies and an hour and a half to make if you include carving and cutting all the other fruit. Was it fun to make? Sure was! We’d definitely do it again for the next party we host, or attend. It got nothing but compliments from the guests, and the kids loved the fruit salad.

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