Instructables

Need a mermaid costume with the fishtail made from paper plates.

Want to make a mermaid tail of paper plates. Saw it in a magazine...the plates were cut in half and overlaid so the scalloped edges made the "scales" .  Don't know if the tail should be constructed first then attached to the rest of the costume - which I haven't figured out yet either but am thinking either a long dress or a leotard top and tights, seashell "bra", Lady Godiva wig, seahorse earrings, etc. -  or if each plate should be attached right to the costume. Separate tail seems easier and to make and easier to get around in. Should they be stapled? Sewn together? Maybe a little of both! Has anyone made such a thing or have ideas on how to do it? Never too soon to start building that next Halloween costume. Many thanks!


msmakadoo (author) 4 years ago
Thanks for the input. I like the craft felt suggestion, much more flexible. The Simmons boot gives a good good idea to cut the scales "picket fence style", as the maker says, then attach the rows of scales together into a kind of skirt, either sewed to a fabric base or somehow attached all to each other, fitting the waist and tightly around the back, opening around the knees in front but down to the ground in back. .... Maybe a paper plate prototype first. The red cup lobster is amazing! Some ideas there I might incorporate too. Fun. 
I've never tried paper plate mermaid tails, but I did make Gene Simmons' scaly boots for my kid last Halloween. I used craft felt and just sewed it onto a denim backing. Worked very well, if I do say so myself. I highly recommned the craft felt approach.
I would be a little nervous about using paper plates, as I suspect they won't be very durable. Might be a good idea to reinforce the back of the plate with a strip of duct tape, and use paper brads to hold the scales together. Staples would work too, except that you'd get no flex at all so they'd be more likely to tear out, I think.
I'd go with a understructure of some kind, rather than relying solely on the scales to support each other. Whether this understructure is a skirt-like device, or just a few strips of duct tape to tie the whole thing together, you'll be much more mobile (and able to easily take it off to visit the powder room).
Or you could do what this guy did...