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Thread: Mermaid Lily's First Silicone Tail

  1. #1

    Mermaid Lily's First Silicone Tail

    I first decided I wanted to be a mermaid when I was three. It went a little something like this:

    Family friend: What do you want to be when you grow up?
    Me: A MERMAID!
    FF: But you have legs! How is that gonna work?
    Me: I'm going to Mermaid School!

    Unfortunately, much like Hogwarts, Mermaid School apparently forgot to send my acceptance letter, so I'm now taking matters into my own hands and making a tail! I am so excited! I've just placed an order for my clay today. And it's my birthday, so I've decided that this whole tail will be a very labor-intensive birthday present for myself!

    It's taken months of sketching but I've figured out what I want my fluke and fins to look like. Mostly I was inspired by bettas, as they're one of the only fishes that doesn't scare me (I have fish fear, which is kind of ironic in someone who's wanted to be a mermaid since I learned the word). I'm going to hold back the fluke sketches for now since I want it to be a surprise, but here are my ideas for side fins:



    You can ignore the little notes I've scrawled to myself on these, as I have pretty much no firm plans on where to put which fin. I like the idea of having the larger, fanlike ones on my hips, but I don't want my hips to look too big. I'm also thinking of making it a little longer and using it as a below-the-knee dorsal fin. The pointier fins will most likely be side fins at the ankle, but could also look cute at the waist.

    While I wait for my wax FX clay, I'm making prototype scales out of Sculpey. It's been a long time since I did any sculptural work (I got my MFA in painting, so most of my work has been 2 dimensional) so this will be good practice. I'm hoping to convert our spare bedroom into a silicone-friendly studio space, as my current painting space is in the garage - too cold and damp to make me feel safe about using silicone in there.

  2. #2
    Good luck with your project sounds cool. Happy Birthday!
    Last edited by Atlantisblue; 01-21-2015 at 04:05 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Euro Pod Talia's Avatar
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    Happy birthday, and good luck with your tail making!

  4. #4
    Member Pod of Cali QueenZero's Avatar
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    Happy birthday! And yay, new tailmaking thread for me to stalk, hah! The hip fins look great, and you are making me curious about the fluke. (Is that an appropriate emoji? It'll have to do.) Looking forward to progress pics!
    Cranky-pants octomaid, Molly Cephalee
    "That's CEPHIE to you, bud."


  5. #5
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Miyu's Avatar
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    Stalking this thread Happy birthday!

    ~Miyu the Rainforest Mermaid~

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Euro Pod Yulia's Avatar
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    Love those sidefins! This tail-journey is going to be an exciting one to follow! Happy birthday!

  7. #7
    The side fins are gorgeous! Good luck with the project and happy birthday :3

  8. #8
    I'm starting sculpting the fins today and as I look at my to-scale (har!) drawings I find myself seriously wondering... Just how big is TOO big for a fluke? Right now, mine is almost exactly 30" (76cm) which is well over half my height. That's measuring from where the scales will finish their V down the fluke. From the point where it joins the body at the top, it's closer to 36" (91.5cm) It means I won't have to trim down my monofin very much (Finis Competitor) except for some shaping but I'm concerned about how ungainly it would be on land. I've never seen a silicone tail in person so I don't know if this is a normal size or if I'll be the big-fluked weirdo in the pool...
    Last edited by Lily; 01-23-2015 at 08:08 PM.

  9. #9
    I have a 30" monofin, but I'm also 5'9".
    However, I do like having a big fin.
    Mermaid Enora

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Lily View Post
    I'm starting sculpting the fins today and as I look at my to-scale (har!) drawings I find myself seriously wondering... Just how big is TOO big for a fluke? Right now, mine is almost exactly 30" (76cm) which is well over half my height. That's measuring from where the scales will finish their V down the fluke. From the point where it joins the body at the top, it's closer to 36" (91.5cm) It means I won't have to trim down my monofin very much (Finis Competitor) except for some shaping but I'm concerned about how ungainly it would be on land. I've never seen a silicone tail in person so I don't know if this is a normal size or if I'll be the big-fluked weirdo in the pool...
    That pun is hilarious! And big flukes look super cool! I'm really excited to see how this goes for you!
    I lost my heart to the Ocean
    and with it, a piece of my
    soul
    https://instagram.com/mermaid_nerida/


  11. #11
    I like big flukes and I cannot lie
    You other merfolk can't deny
    That when a mer swims in with an itty bitty waist and a big fin in your face you go
    SPLASH
    Wanna swim up quick
    Cause you notice that fluke was thick
    Deep in the sea she's floating
    Distractin' dudes who're boating
    Oh baby can I splash beside ya
    And take your picture
    My home pod tried warn me
    But them fins you got
    Make the sea so stormy!

    I've seen 'em splashing
    Like a fish on land, I'm thrashing
    She's wet! I regret
    That I don't have that set

    I'm tired of magazines
    Saying small fins are the thing
    Ask the average mer, she'll say with a grin,
    "She gotta pack much fin!"

    So Merfolk (yeah) Merfolk (yeah)
    Has your tail got the fins?
    Well flap it, flap it, flap it, flap it, flap them healthy fins
    Baby got fluke!

    ... I'm not sure if I'm more proud or more ashamed of that...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    I'm totally learning that for karaoke night!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Ilyena's Avatar
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    That is gold
    When Fantasy is Reality

    Links: ^_^
    >
    Mermaid Ilyena >Adelaide Mermaids
    >
    Hippocampus Creations >Etsy


  14. #14
    Thanks! Maybe I missed my calling as the next Weird Al...

    Spent the last day sculpting the fan side fins!



    Used a slightly softer clay than I will be using for the fluke, since I wanted these to be pretty thin. The flat bits you see there are going to be used to attach them to the tail (or cut off altogether, it sort of depends how assembly goes).
    Last edited by Lily; 01-25-2015 at 04:05 AM.

  15. #15
    Moderator Pod of Cali Mermaid Wesley's Avatar
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    Awesome!


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  16. #16
    Junior Member Euro Pod MermaidRiver's Avatar
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    Love those fins and love the song!


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  17. #17
    UGH! I am so frustrated right now! I sculpted the side fins using Prima Plastilina (which is like sculpting with heaven, IMHO) while waiting for my Monster Clay to arrive, which I intended to use for the fluke and scales. It finally gets here and I am beginning to think I got a bad batch! I posted this in the tailmaking questions board but I'll post it here too:

    I was so excited to get this clay since everyone here seems to use it, but frankly I am finding it impossible to work with. When I first opened the tubs, I noticed there was a layer of what looked like unmixed wax on the top (translucent, almost like parafin), which I thought was weird. I tried digging some out of the tub with one of my sculpting tools (since I started bleeding after trying to dig a bit out with my nails, not fun) and couldn't get the tool to make more than a dent. So I decided to try softening it in the oven according to the directions on the package. It said that after 45 minutes at 165F, the whole tub should be melted. Tried that. The edges were melted and the top layer was kinda soft but about 1inch down the clay was still completely solid and COLD. So I tried an hour at 200, the maximum temp they recommend. Same issue - melted edges, cold and solid in the middle. I can get it to soften up a little bit with a blow dryer, enough that I can sort of scrape it around with my tools, but actually SCULPTING with this stuff seems pretty much out of the question.

    I've worked with some hard clays before but nothing like this. It also feels really weird, grainy and almost dry, which is not what the product description leads me to believe is normal.

    Composed entirely of non-toxic, food grade components, Monster Clay® has an ultra smooth formulation that features a low melt temperature and a low tack feel that will not stick to tools or fingers. Monster Clay has high plasticity and has a unique elastic quality much like soft taffy when warm. At average room temperature Monster is firm enough to capture even the finest details and can be re-used and re-melted indefinitely. Monster Clay melts easily to a pourable consistency and is great for making copies of life casts where changes are needed.
    It's definitely not melting at low temp, and it IS sticking to my tools and fingers. When warm, it's more like canned frosting than taffy, and has never gotten pourable no matter how much I heat it up.

    Has anyone else encountered these problems? Did I get a bad batch or am I doing something wrong?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Leira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily View Post
    UGH! I am so frustrated right now! I sculpted the side fins using Prima Plastilina (which is like sculpting with heaven, IMHO) while waiting for my Monster Clay to arrive, which I intended to use for the fluke and scales. It finally gets here and I am beginning to think I got a bad batch! I posted this in the tailmaking questions board but I'll post it here too:

    I was so excited to get this clay since everyone here seems to use it, but frankly I am finding it impossible to work with. When I first opened the tubs, I noticed there was a layer of what looked like unmixed wax on the top (translucent, almost like parafin), which I thought was weird. I tried digging some out of the tub with one of my sculpting tools (since I started bleeding after trying to dig a bit out with my nails, not fun) and couldn't get the tool to make more than a dent. So I decided to try softening it in the oven according to the directions on the package. It said that after 45 minutes at 165F, the whole tub should be melted. Tried that. The edges were melted and the top layer was kinda soft but about 1inch down the clay was still completely solid and COLD. So I tried an hour at 200, the maximum temp they recommend. Same issue - melted edges, cold and solid in the middle. I can get it to soften up a little bit with a blow dryer, enough that I can sort of scrape it around with my tools, but actually SCULPTING with this stuff seems pretty much out of the question.

    I've worked with some hard clays before but nothing like this. It also feels really weird, grainy and almost dry, which is not what the product description leads me to believe is normal.



    It's definitely not melting at low temp, and it IS sticking to my tools and fingers. When warm, it's more like canned frosting than taffy, and has never gotten pourable no matter how much I heat it up.

    Has anyone else encountered these problems? Did I get a bad batch or am I doing something wrong?

    Must be a bad batch, nothing like that usually, feels smooth and melts like chocolate, when heated in the oven it melts quickly in the centre

  19. #19
    Moderator Pod of Cali Mermaid Wesley's Avatar
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    Nope. Not normal at all. Mine is hard, but it isn't grainy at all. Try microwaving it. It's faster but a little dangerous so keep your hands a away from the clay, poke it with a stick. If you can melt it to liquid it might fix it idk


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  20. #20
    I've contacted both MM and the Amazon vendor from whom I bought it, and I'll be getting a refund for the clay. (I would gladly return it but it's stuck pretty hard to my project board and I can't pry it off ). I guess I'll go get more of the Prima I used for the small fins... but I'm worried about it melting when I make molds. My mold stuff should be here any day now so I'll be doing a small test to make sure everything works okay.

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