Introduction: How to Make a Mermaid Tail for Swimming

Picture of How to Make a Mermaid Tail for Swimming

Make a swimmable mermaid tail in three easy steps. You'll need pattern paper, swim fabric and elastic, and a monofin.

Step 1: Trace the Pattern

Picture of Trace the Pattern

Trace around the lower body from belly button level to toe tips. Use any paper large enough such as pattern paper, postal paper, or a cut-open paper bag.

Line up the monofin with the toe area and trace to complete the pattern.

Add 1 inch allowance around the trace line for a child or 2+ inches for an adult.

Step 2: Cut Out the Swim Tail

Picture of Cut Out the Swim Tail

Fold the fabric front sides together. Pin the pattern to the fabric. Cut out the pattern, adding room (about 2 inches) at the top for the elastic casing.

Step 3: Sew the Swim Tail

Picture of Sew the Swim Tail

Pin the two sides of fabric front sides together and sew around the sides and bottom edges.

Fold down the top and sew a casing for the elastic. Measure the elastic to fit snugly around the waist, insert into the casing, and finish.

Insert the monofin into the swim tail. It's ready for swimming.

Step 4: Safety Tips for Mermaid Style Swimming

Picture of Safety Tips for Mermaid Style Swimming

Use only with adult supervision. Always attend young or inexperienced swimmers.

Use core muscles to swim like a dolphin. Practice sweeping the tail forward to place the feet on the pool bottom to regain a standing position at any time.

The tail should slide on and off easily. Make the elastic tight enough to stay on, but loose enough to easily slide down to free the legs and feet.

Step 5: Video

Here you'll see my youngest daughter using her mermaid tail with a floating ring. She's older now and more experienced with her tail. However, with responsible supervision, even very young children can have fun being a mermaid.


JillMN (author)2017-07-29

Just wondering if you tried different materials other than the swimsuit material. The stretchy dance material looks so pretty & I want to try but I'm not sure how it will hold up in the water. Thanks in advance!

AuroraK1 (author)2016-03-29

About the sewing part, could it be done with a sewing machine or hand sewn? And how exactly do you sew in the elastic?

msaraann (author)AuroraK12016-09-12

Yes. Can be done with sewing machine. Fold down top of waist to make case for elastic. Sew around all but leave a small opening. Feed the elastic into the case thru the opening. Sew together ends of elastic ans sew opening closed.

JaimeW12 (author)2016-07-28

i bought my daughters fin at chapters

4Password (author)2013-08-18

We're did you get the fine

JaimeW12 (author)4Password2016-07-28

i bought my dsughters fin at chapters

JaimeW12 (author)4Password2016-07-28

i bought my dsughters fin at chapters

ajfonz (author)2015-07-12

I love this idea so I tried to make a tail for my daughter. I sewed the tail on both sides and the bottom like insturcted but when I tried to insert the monofin I could not get it in without tearing the fabric. Is there a trick to it? The fabric I used was stretchy swim suit fabric.

bryannae21 (author)ajfonz2016-03-03

dont sew the bottom all the way shut. only about 2 or 3 inches on each side

msaraann (author)ajfonz2015-07-26

I was able to fold the fin to slide it thru the waist opening.

zaragie17 (author)2015-09-05

wow amazing :)

fluffernutter 3605000 (author)2015-04-03

Can you make it with flippers?

Yes. Lay them out in place of the monofin.

Ok, thanks!

Mysterious_Gal (author)2015-02-15

OMG this is so cool I love sewing so I have to make one of these. (BEST IDEA EVER)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kletourneaux (author)2015-01-25

by the way my name is catrina what is yours :-)

msaraann (author)kletourneaux2015-02-13

I'm Sara : )

MelissaL6 (author)2015-01-20

This looks really great! Have you made one that is "walkable" - open on the end? Or do you have instructions on that variation?

msaraann (author)MelissaL62015-02-13

My kids sometimes take out the monofin and shuffle around. I haven't tried leaving the bottom open, but that would be easy enough. You just wouldn't sew it. Swim fabric doesn't fray, but you could hem or surge the edges if you wanted.

autumn11 (author)2015-01-19

how much are they because my daughter once one

msaraann (author)autumn112015-02-13

I've seen these tails listed for $100, but they're easy to make for much less. The monofin is the most expensive part at about $30.

fluffernutter 3605000 (author)2015-02-01

How mutch is the monofin? Where did you get the monofin?

The monofin costs about $30. You can find it on Amazon or through the FINIS website.

kletourneaux (author)2015-01-25

hi there I'm 10 and my mom is going to make my tail from your video

mermaidHannah (author)2014-12-10

I'm making this tail with your tutorial and i think it will work great! One question, where did you get your fabric?

msaraann (author)mermaidHannah2014-12-14

I found swim fabric on ebay.

Coolcat35521 (author)2014-11-27


tryphaena.jakomis (author)2014-10-19

hi, video is ace looks easy enough {she says full of optimism } thanks for doing it ,material bought,, fin arrived today template done , keep your fingers crossed for me

tryphaena.jakomis (author)2014-10-19

hi, video is ace looks easy enough {she says full of optimism } thanks for doing it ,material bought,, fin arrived today template done , keep your fingers crossed for me

tryphaena.jakomis (author)2014-10-19

hi, video is ace looks easy enough {she says full of optimism } thanks for doing it ,material bought,, fin arrived today template done , keep your fingers crossed for me

leda.kliesing (author)2014-08-28

is the body all one piece or are the fins separate for easy on and off?

msaraann (author)leda.kliesing2014-08-30

It's all one piece. Pulls on like pants.

Mike9Nina (author)2014-08-20

I MADE IT on Monday night! My daughter's birthday was Tuesday. It was so simple to make... thanks to your detailed instructions. Thanks so much. I ended up using the scrap pieces along with an old swimsuit to make a matching top for her. Huge success! Really easy to make and at least 1/2 the cost of the websites selling these retails.

4Password (author)2013-08-18

I mean tail

msaraann (author)4Password2013-08-21

I got the fin thru Amazon. It's made by a company called FINIS. They have a website too. You can find the FINIS mermaid monofins at many online stores. Just search for mermaid tail or monofin.

vacroom (author)2013-07-15

We're do you get the tail part

msaraann (author)vacroom2013-07-16

I found several on or you could go to the FINIS website. You can go to a search engine and search for FINIS mermaid monofin. You'll find it for sale at many places.

bratybrat11 (author)2013-07-08

Is their an easier way?

msaraann (author)bratybrat112013-07-08

You could buy a pattern. Child sizes: Size 8-10. Size 5-7.

hanna maaj piccio (author)2012-04-18

this idea is amazing i could do it myself anyway.

i want to make my own mermaid tail because i am totally obsessed with mermaid especially h20


msaraann (author)2010-07-20
Greetings everyone. I'm the one who put up this DIY mermaid tail. Similar tails are available commercially (I'm not affiliated with the company). (Check out for videos of children swimming underwater mermaid-style in mermaid tails--Very cool!)

Some people allow fear to guide them, while others primarily follow joy. I try to live somewhere in between. Getting in the water with this mermaid tail (and any pool or water use, really), certainly warrants caution and care. My young daughters and I have had a lot of fun learning and experimenting with this style of swimming.

There's also a video series on Youtube, "The Secret Life of a Mermaid," which features girls wearing mermaid swimming tails. Check it out for more ideas on swimming with these tails.

where can you but a mermaid tail that is already made?

Here are a couple of places:

vallee33 (author)msaraann2012-04-17

Also it's a new place $100 for adult tails with monofin

kiara barlet (author)msaraann2010-07-26

i would love to have a tail

vallee33 (author)kiara barlet2012-04-17

try they have them for $100.00 for adults

jessiehughes (author)2012-02-02

Can u pladvise where you get the fin from ie. the bottom bit you put your feet in. Thanks.Jessie

msaraann (author)jessiehughes2012-02-02

Hi Jessie. I ordered directly from the manufacturer, FINIS I've also seen the mermaid monofin on Amazon and other swim outlet websites.

randomstar11 (author)2011-12-24

can you do it without the monofin

msaraann (author)randomstar112011-12-30

I've heard of similar tails using regular flippers, but it wouldn't swim quite the same way.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an unschooling mom of three girls, author of 'Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning,' 'The Unschooling Happiness Project,' and 'memoirs of a strange little ... More »
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