Last month’s hedgehog watermelon carving went better than I expected, so I’ve decided to carve another slightly challenging (but more menacing) watermelon creature – the Tyrannosaurus rex. I should also admit that I chose this design because it allowed me to use the extra toothpicks and skewers I had left over from my hedgehog carving. Waste not, want not, right?
- 1 round seedless watermelon
- 1 medium-sized carving knife
- 1 channel knife (often found at the top of a vegetable peeler; if a channel knife is not available, the tip of a small paring knife will do)
- 20-30 toothpicks or shish kebab skewers to be used to represent teeth
Wash the watermelon and cut a quarter inch slice off the bottom to provide stability. Be careful not to cut too deeply into the red part of the watermelon. You’ll need the hollow watermelon to hold the good stuff once it’s all carved up.
Use a pen to sketch an open-mouth design and cut it out. Avoid carving too far back on the jaw – you’ll need to leave enough rind there to support the top of the head. I also left some of the watermelon flesh in the back of the head to provide support.
Pull away the cut-out mouth portion and remove the red watermelon flesh from the inside. Hollow out the top of the head first to make it lighter and reduce the risk of cracking the rind at the back of T-rex’s head. If you need to, insert a chunk of the removed rind into the mouth opening to provide support during this process.
Cut the eyebrows and nostrils from a piece of the removed rind. The eyebrows should be cut like crescent moons, and the nostrils are cut in the shapes of inverted teardrops. Use the channel knife or the tip of a small knife to create any desired details on the eyebrows and within the nostrils. I created detail in the nostrils, which you’ll see in the finished image below, but not on the eyebrows. Attach the eyebrows and nostrils to the head with toothpicks.
To make the eye holes, I used a small knife to cut a hole and wedged a rounded piece of watermelon in it to create the eye. For extra detail, I added a black seed to the eyeball (many seedless watermelon have at least a few black seeds).
Fill the T-rex head with chunks of watermelon and other mixed fruit (if desired). Place the cut off ends of shish kebab skewers in the mouth to create teeth. This also helps keep the fruit in the head.
CAUTION: Skewers can be very sharp! Make sure that guests, especially young ones, use a long-handled serving tool to avoid having hands come in contact with the sharp toothpicks. You may even wish to remove a section of the teeth prior to serving so the fruit can more easily be removed.