If you’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, H2O: Just Add Water, Fishtales, Aquamarine, or some of the most recent commercials, then you know that Mermaids are on the rise in film and television and creating your own fully functional tail is becoming a trend among the secret underground fantasy-world re-creators.
When I began my quest for good information on how to make a mermaid tail, It was difficult for me to find any good tutorials or helps on how to make a tail that looks authentic and can actually propel you through the water. Making a tail out of spandex fabric is easy but doesn’t look very realistic.
There are several companies and individuals who make Mermaid tails on order. They use latex and silicone to get an authentic, flexible tail. As I immersed myself in the mermaid world, I came up with a satisfying list of tutorials and sources to help create a unique, flexible, realistic-looking tail.
MERMAID TAIL TUTORIALS
- Missfit1023 has put together a step by step, readable guide on how to make a mer-tail that is very affordable. She uses neoprene as the base, latex from a hardware store, metal grating for scales, a silicone spray and an airbrush. The finished tail weighs around 45 pounds.
- Colt is another who created a readable tail tutorial. He uses spandex and a monofin which is cheap and easy to make. It works under water, but if you’re going for authenticity you may not like this one.
- Sasha (burnouthappy) has a mermaid tutorial video up on YouTube that is great for a simple, spandex tail. It doesn’t create a very realistic fish tale but it it simple and cheap. She does explain the measurements that you’ll need to create a tail pattern which is useful for any type of tail you want to make.
- Little Orca has a great tutorial that shows the intricacies of painting the fin. She uses lycra/nylon as her fabric. She also gets into some more detail as to how to sew extra fins onto the back or sides of the tail.
- FWMGirl88 has a video tutorial on using vinyl to create a mermaid tail. The first couple minutes are her talking about random stuff, so it’s safe to skip ahead to minute 2 to get the actual how to.
- Lilu has half a tutorial up on dance.net that uses spandex, silicone, and making your own plexiglas fin. As far as I know she has not put up the other half of the tutorial so you will either have to wait to learn the rest or make it up as you go. She does talk about using plexiglas to make your own fin which is a great idea. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see her partial tutorial.
- MRazzleDazzleEm explains her idea of using sheet rubber over the tip of a monofin to give the tail a feel for being one continuous piece as opposed to being able to “see” the monofin line through the fabric.
- eHow.com has a tutorial on making a mermaid tail completely out of liquid latex.
- Mermaid Star has a 14 part youtube series on sculpting, molding, and casting a mermaid tail and scales. It’s a little long, but she gives some great tips and does some beautiful work. I’ve liked to part 1 and from there you should be able to get the other videos.
- Mermaid Star does a bunch of other videos on various aspects of creating a mermaid tail. Check them out on her Youtube page Alexie Star
- Mermaid Shell Top Tutorial is a good base for creating your own shell look.
- By far the best resource for making a mermaid tail is Mernetwork. You can ask general or specific questions on how to make your own mermaid tail and get helps on materials best for tails.
- Visit The Mermaids and Mermen Costuming Forum for a larger and more active group of mer folk.
PROFESSIONAL MERMAID TAIL MAKERS
- MerFolkTails.com creates spandex tails.
- MermaidRentals.com both rents and sells tails made from a mix of urethane and latex. The rent shells, wigs, and other mer gear that you may need for a photo shoot or whatever.
- TheMertailor.com sells spandex, latex, or silicone tails that are gorgeous but pricey.
- Mike Van Daal from Flip-Tails.com makes custom latex tails. He has some lovely designs.
- Check out Mermaid Shelly if you want to buy a neoprene/silicone tail. You’ll have to contact her for pricing.