View Full Version : Starting a new tail -- first timer!

01-21-2012, 06:27 PM
Hi Mer-friends. Four weeks ago, I discovered this tutorial:http://missfit1023.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d3gomhcand I have been on a mission to UNDERSTAND the basics of amateur tailmaking. I decided this morning that I could only read for so many hours on the internet before I had to just get off the computer and try to make something.I've read ALL the warnings about using ALEX on tails, but the hard facts are that it works, if only for so long, and I probably do way worse things to my body than this. Taco Bell, for example. Haha.I'm going to post updates here as I go, not to teach anyone but just to inform. I feel like there isn't a tutorial that's in plain English with every tiny little step necessary out there, so a lot of this is guesswork, trial & error, ect.To start off, I got a little over a yard of neoprene and some heavy duty thread from Joann Fabric. It came out to about $17 with my 20% off entire purchase coupon!Will this be enough??! Who knows. I'm five feet short, not legally a midget but I'm pretty darn short. I bought all the turquoise neoprene they had. They also had this weird black disco colored stuff and raspberry. Originally I wanted a gold tail, but I decided that would be too difficult so I think I'm gonna do turquoise/blue with gold airbrushing detail.I bought four containers of ALEX PLUS at Home Depot and a caulking gun (all in the same aisle! awesome!) for about $12.I am going to Industrial Metal Supply in Irvine CA hopefully Monday morning to buy expanded metal grating, which Home Depot does NOT carry.Before I try to make a tail, I'm gonna cut a bit of neoprene and try out the ALEX to see how it works.I hope this works!

01-21-2012, 07:17 PM
Good luck! :)

01-21-2012, 07:40 PM
That's great that you're making a tail!

I feel like there isn't a tutorial that's in plain English with every tiny little step necessary out there, so a lot of this is guesswork, trial & error, ect.

Yeah, I think with a lot of crafts projects its hard to really communicate all the little details. If you have any questions or idea or anything I hope you share them with us.

To start off, I got a little over a yard of neoprene and some heavy duty thread from Joann Fabric. It came out to about $17 with my 20% off entire purchase coupon!

What are the dimensions and thinkness of the neoprene sheet you bought? If its only 36 inches long that doesn't sound like very much. I'm only a couple inches taller than you, and in my experience I use about 5 feet of fabric. The fin can make the tail a lot longer.

01-22-2012, 10:19 AM
Alex plus can take a really long time to dry depending on your climate FYI. I used it and after a month and a half it wasnt dry. So just be prepared that things may not finish in the same time you expect. Also, weary gloves- it's dangerous when it's not cured, and keep ventilation a priority :) It's nice that you linked her tutorial. I see a LOT of girls on DA using hers or Raven's tutorials trying to say they didn't and figured it out all by themselves. Kinda funny how no one figured it out ever until they posted tutorials... kinda a pet peeve of mine with a few deviantART mermaids ;) lol

01-23-2012, 12:53 AM
Alright, here are some photos from my start so far! I'm not going to try to act like I haven't already made too many mistakes.
FIRST MISTAKE: Not enough neoprene. About a foot ish too short :( I should have gone with the raspberry from the beginning. So yes, I've now spent a little under $60 just on neoprene.
SECOND MISTAKE: When swimming with my makeshift monofin, I didn't have goggles. I was also swimming in a relatively shallow pool. So yes, I chipped my tooth. Not terribly and THANK GOD I already have an appt tomorrow for a cleaning. hahaha.
THIRD MISTAKE: My makeshift monofin is too heavy. I have a few other ideas....but the one I made is just too heavy. Gonna try to make my own... with either lighter flippers or maybe try THIS tutorial! http://mernetwork.com/imgs/Titania_Monofin.pdf

So here are some photos of the mess so far :)

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747154109/" title="IMG_2005 by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7015/6747154109_d030fe4603.jpg" width="374" height="500" alt="too short"></a>
too short :(

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747120905/" title="IMG_1997 by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7172/6747120905_2530b873ac.jpg" width="500" height="374" alt="IMG_1997"></a>
testing ALEX PLUS & neoprene

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747216591/" title="04010EEC-DF79-475D-B131-57168DE8CC7C by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7017/6747216591_5766fde505.jpg" width="373" height="500" alt="04010EEC-DF79-475D-B131-57168DE8CC7C"></a>
makeshift monofin! just for testing/swimming purposes :) and yes I could swim in it! pretty heavy though

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747217715/" title="710869CA-5012-4576-AEC6-F59E4969722B by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7008/6747217715_5b534bbe1d.jpg" width="373" height="500" alt="710869CA-5012-4576-AEC6-F59E4969722B"></a>
my living room is turning in to a tailmaking room! sorry mom :P

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747217093/" title="29C45900-1B31-4275-8EB5-C0BF8A4801CF by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7003/6747217093_68eb1f15d5.jpg" width="500" height="373" alt="29C45900-1B31-4275-8EB5-C0BF8A4801CF"></a>
swimming swimming swimming in the monofin fin fin. AMAZED at how fast I could go! and how naturally it came!

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747233975/" title="photo 4 by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7019/6747233975_20e681da50.jpg" width="374" height="500" alt="photo 4"></a>
two new yards of neoprene! (it helps to have a happy, studly man to carry your purchases)

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747230409/" title="photo 3 by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7148/6747230409_ceccf34df9.jpg" width="374" height="500" alt="photo 3"></a>
$37.98, not TOO bad. bought from Joann!

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53323561@N02/6747226835/" title="photo 1 by lauranelson27, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7170/6747226835_58aa146716.jpg" width="374" height="500" alt="photo 1"></a>
trying more latex techniques (this would be on the fluke)

More photos to come! I'm about to go put latex on the tail right now :)

EDIT: WELL THAT DIDNT WORK. You can view photos on my flickr until I figure this out :(

02-20-2012, 11:41 PM
Been thinking about tail colors. I love the dark blue tails but I'm afraid it won't photograph well, so I'm leaning towards the opposite end of the spectrum. What do we think about a gold, white, and baby pink tail? Like the inside of a conch shell plus the gold? I definitely want gold in my tail somewhere...

02-20-2012, 11:42 PM
Also, have a real monofin now. haha. tail should be done within three weeks.

02-20-2012, 11:50 PM

Like these colors!! I even like the purple with it too but I'm not that good at painting hah

Mermaid Lorelei
02-21-2012, 12:37 AM
Ooh, liking the color choices for sure.

02-21-2012, 02:21 AM
Ooh, liking the color choices for sure.

Thaaaaank you! I don't see many white tails. Few gold too. I feel like I see a lot of orange and a lot of blue.

Mermaid Lorelei
02-21-2012, 10:58 AM
Blue, green, and orange seem to be everywhere, but it makes sense. Blue is the color of the ocean and usually the first color people think of. Green (ariel. yup.). And orange is thanks to the movie Splash.

That's my opinion at least. :P

Mermaid Saphira
02-21-2012, 07:19 PM
Your tail is gonna look great! I'm doing a gold tail right now! High five for unique mers :D

02-22-2012, 12:51 PM
Thanks!! It's the only color scheme that I don't have doubt that I'll love. I had like six others and I just kept changing my mind but this is the one, I just know it :)

I just found out if I finish my tail by Saturday, I can be in my amazing friend's short film!!! Ahh! Don't worry, it doesn't need to be water-ready, so I'm probably going to cheat somehow and then come back and finish it the right way when filming is done. Keep your fins crossed for me :)