Spandex swim material
Fabric Measuring Tape
1 Box of 100% Clear Silicone Caulk Waterproof (GE or DAP brands)
Ultra Fine Glitter
MonoFin (I used a Mahina Merfin)
Plastic Putty Knife Small
Elastic Waist Binding 1" width
Leftover fabric or Plastic Shopping Bags A LOT!
Step 1: Measuring for Tail.
The first thing you will want to do is measure for your tail.
You will need masking tape, pen, fabric measuring tape, and a helper.
The first step is placing a strip of masking tape starting one inch above belly button to the tip of your toes (toes pointed).Tape should be placed in front following curves of your leg. Than use the masking tape to mark measuring points at two inch intervals from the top of the tape to the end. You will use this to record your bodies measurements to be transferred to the fabric. After you mark the tape you will than have your helper measure your bodies circumference and document on the corresping marks on tape. You will want to divide each measurement by 2 and document next to the original measurement on the tape. Transfer tape to fabric and use the new "half" measurements ( to make your body outline connect the dots and you have a chalk body out line.
SAVE YOUR MASKING TAPE WITH MEASUREMENTS. CUT OUT TWO FABRIC PIECE EACH SHOULD MEASURE HALF OF THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTED MEASUREMENTS ON TAPE.
( I recommend putting on the monofin and laying inside your fabric outline before cutting it out. Than having your helper draw another chalk outline making sure measurements match up. This will also ensure enough fabric left at the bottom to make the fluke of the tail.)
Refer to picture.
Step 2: Making Your Body Cast
Needed Items:Black Heavy Duty Garbage Bag, Plastic Wrap, Packing Tape, Scissors, Tape with measurements, Leftover fabric or Plastic shopping bags to use for stuffing.
The first thing you will want to do is step into the garbage bag and bring all the way up to waist and hold while someone tapes around ankles, knees, hips, and above belly button. Than have your helper start wrapping plastic wrap around legs starting at the tip of your toes (which should be pointed) and moving up you will want to do approximately 3-4 layers of plastic wrap. Wrap should be done snuggly but not so tight to cause discomfort or cut of circulation.
When that is complete you will than have your helper use the packing tape to tape over all the plastic wrap again Starting at the toes moving up you will want another 3/4 layers. To remove yourself from the form cut straight down from belly button to knees and wiggle lower legs out.
At this point you will want to stuff the toes and lower half of legs with your stuffing material of choice. Stop when you reach the beginning of the center cut. Tape the rest of the form together by bringing edges together and securing with packing tape. Continue to stuff form until form it is solid through-out, seat top with tape.
You will use this form later on in the tutorial.
(USE THE MEASURING TAPE TO VERIFY MEASUREMENTS TO ENSURE BODY FORM MATCHES)
Step 3: Decorating and Assembling You Tail
Items Needed: Silicone Caulk, Ultra Fine glitter, Plastic Knife, Sewing Machine, Elastic for Waist
Use the silicone as a thin layer like glue by spreading it with the plastic knife into your design choice. Sprinkle Glitter over and allow to dry. After your design is finish you will Sew in the elastic waist.
Waist: First step measure amount of elastic needed for waist. Lay both pieced next to each other finished side down. Pin in elastic waist than sew. you will want to fold the waist over twice towards you and sew another seam.
Sewing body: After waist is in you will fold the piece together matching them up with the design on the inside. Sew the outline of the tail leaving the waist open and the very bottom up. HERE COMES THE FUN PART!
Turn the tail right side out and TRY ON!
Step 4: Silicone Base Layer
Items Needed: 100% Clear Silicone Caul, Plastic Putty Knife small, Body Form, Caulk Gun
Place your tail over the body form, using the silicone calk and plastic putty knife spread a THIN layer over the entire tail. Let each side cure for at least four hours or until fully dry. You will want to repeat this step one more time. Make sure to pull dry silicone off of putty knife before each new side otherwise your tail will not be smooth for the scales. When spreading Silicone over bottom fin fabric make sure you place Monofin in thru the bottom of the tail. This will stretch the fabric into the correct shape for the silicone. You will want to spread the silicone over the entire fabric even the extra after the mono fin stops.
Step 5: Making the Dorsal Fin
You can make additional fins using your leftover spandex material.
This will be a condensed how to here. Draw your design on fabric, cover entire fabric with thin coat of caulk on each side. If you want to add glitter do so at this point! than cover each side with one more thin coat of caulk. After fully cured cut out fin leaving enough extra fabric on connection side to sew unto tail.
You will need to sew these on by hand before you do the Scales if you do not want extra fins move to next step.
Step 6: Scaling Your Tail
Needed items: Silicone Caulk,Putty Knife
working in quarters on each side spread a thick layer of caulk in small patches and draw in your scales.To draw on scales use the edge of the plastic putty knife making a loop movement across work top to bottom making smaller loops as you go. Let fully cure overnight before moving to the back side and repeating. If you added extra fins this process will seal in the sewn edges.
Step 7: Finishing the Fluke
To finish off the fluke use your scissors to trim the extra fabric off the bottom using your merfin as a guide leave at least a one inch over hang. Sew the bottom together a quarter way in from each side. these will make small pockets that your merfin will slip in.
Refer to picture
Place velcro in the center of the bottom opening you will use this to hold the fabric together in the middle around the merfin.
Step 8: YOUR TAILIS COMPLETE
SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!!!!!
These tails are swimmable and great as a photo prop. However there are safety concerns and things to take into consideration before placing a tail on a child or wearing one yourself. Please make sure you know how to dolphin kick and have experience swimming in a mono fin. NEVER SWIM ALONE! This is a one piece tale which is more difficult to remove than a fabric tale it is also impossible to walk or hop in this tale as out of water it adds approximately 20lbs. If you will be using this tale only for photos no mono fin is needed and the bottom can be sewn completely shut.