How to Make a Realistic Mermaid Tail

Written by michael cantrell
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How to Make a Realistic Mermaid Tail
Mermaids are mythical sea creatures. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Mermaids are mythical creatures that have been a big part of many stories and myths through out history. A mermaid is typically depicted as being half human and half fish. In popular art and myth the mermaid's tail allows her to swim with extreme speed and agility. Many people like to dress up as mermaids for Halloween parties or other types of events, and they often purchase expensive costumes. You can make your own mermaid tail at home with the right supplies.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Loose measuring tape
  • Scrap paper
  • Pencil
  • Long butcher paper
  • 3 yards thick, nylon-Lycra fabric (swimwear and dancewear material)
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Coloured thread
  • Monofin

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  1. 1

    Take measurements of the individual the tail is being made for. The person should have a relaxed posture with their heels together. Put the top of your measuring tape at the individual's waist. Measure and record the inches from the waist to the knees, and then record the measurement from the knees down to the person's ankles.

  2. 2

    Place the tape measure around the person's waist and wrap it. Record the measurement. Repeat this for the thick part of the thighs, around the knee area, the calves and the person's ankles.

  3. 3

    Take the measurements and put them down on a sheet of butcher paper as a series of dots. Use a pencil to connect all the dots you made on the paper. This creates a pattern for the mermaid tail. Use the measuring tape to measure the monofin piece. Place those measurements on the butcher paper, and connect the dots again with a pencil. Use scissors to cut out the pattern.

  4. 4

    Take a piece of fabric and fold it in half. The patterns on the sides need to be facing each other. Put the tail pattern on the piece of fabric. Use a piece of chalk to trace the pattern. Leave three inches of extra space as you make your way around the pattern. Use scissors to cut the tail shape out of the fabric.

  5. 5

    Thread your sewing machine and use a ¼ inch seam to sew around the entire mermaid tail pattern. Be sure not to sew the waist portion of the tail shut.

  6. 6

    Use scissors to cut down at least three inches on both of the tail's sides on the waist. Fold the fabric over an inch and use pins to secure the fabric in place. Use the sewing machine to sew around the bottom of the fold creating a waist band.

  7. 7

    Slide your hand inside the tail, and pull it right side out. Take the monofin, roll it up, and stick it into the bottom of the tail.

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