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Thread: Archive: "Important Tail Care & Maintenance"

  1. #1

    Archive: "Important Tail Care & Maintenance"

    This is an archived thread that was originally posted on mer.yuku.com, the predecessor to MerNetwork. For more information about mer.yuku.com, click here.

    Winged Mermaid

    Posts: 878
    06/24/10 19:24:16
    Recently I emailed Eric (the Mertailor) and asked him a few questions, and he was happy to help me out! He not only answered my questions but gave me important information on the care and maintenance of tails- not only his, but for all tails in general.
    Here are some fairly detailed descriptive things to consider when using your mermaid tail that EVERY tail maker seems to forget.

    1. First off, on every mermaid tail that allows the human heels to be seen is very delicate NO MATTER WHAT the material(s) are made from. The heel area on a mermaid tail is one of the most delicate parts on the entire suit. This is such an issue due to the fact that untrained individuals who purchase mermaid tails do not know how to use their upper body strength. Instead, they tend to use their heels and lower legs to lift themselves up to maneuver around. I cannot tell you how much I stress to all of my performers and models about this issue. One wrong, unsteady, quick, flimsy move will create wear and tear on the heal area of the tail. Latex, urethane, fabric, and spandex mermaid tails are more prone to this issue because the quality of material does not have much tear strength. Just because it does not have a high tolerance from tearing does not mean the tail is defective. Nor should the customer decide not to purchase a tail made from that type of material. Silicone, on the other hand is a much more stronger, durable, and resistible material which will take more of a beating when used correctly. One of the reasons is due to the fact that EVERYTHING in a silicone mermaid tail is 99% silicone. Even the coloring is silicone based. I have done it all and experimented with almost everything that has been done. I mainly only offer the lower cost items on out website due to the range of business I wish to attract. However, I will be updating our products pages with new items that have never for been seen during the summer months. Anyways, my point is that I cannot stress how much the heal area on any mermaid tail is the most DELICATE area.

    I apologize for getting off topic...

    The Best thing one can do is to learn how to use his or hers upper body strength instead of hopping, jumping, rolling, or scooting around on any surface. The best thing to do is to be carried around to where you need to go. Unfortunately, this is not always the way it works. Plus, mermaids and mermen are "water" creatures, but there is not always water or the correct inexpensive water viewing area for people to see you. If you had a team of people, lay a tarp down on the ground and have 2 people on each side of the tarp lift up and carry you to the spot you're needing to go. Myself, and a professional performer, when no one is around to help, I will sit on the floor, with my knees up in the air, feet on the ground. Then, I will proceed in picking my butt up and stretching frontwards or backwards carefully using my butt, heals, hands, and arms to move myself like an inch worm. Technically if you really want me to get into it, mermaids do not inch worm it, they pull themselves and crawl through the mud with their hands. If merfolk were real, they would be strong in their upper body out of the water and strong in their lower body below the water.

    2. When you are putting on your mermaid tail, always, always put it on on a soft surface. A soft yoga mat works the best. A large piece of spongy foam will do the job as well. If you are using a yoga mat, put a soft towel on top of it first.

    3. If you are doing a photo shoot on the rocks, put a towel down on the rocks underneath the heals. A piece of foam will work great for this issue. If you are not carefully, the paint, fabric, latex, silicone, what ever material will rip and tear in the heel, knee, and butt area. Unless the color is died/ mixed throughout the material, discoloration will occur. Take for exampled the sole of a tennis shoe. A completely black sole will wear down and dirty, but will always stay black.

    4. To retouch the color of the tails... I recommend to my customers the Createx airbrush paint that can be purchased at Michaels. It is a pretty good match to the colors which are used in my mermaid tail creations. This type of paint can be brushed on. However, this paint MUST be heat set with a VERY hot heat gun to cure the paint. Let dry for one hour before taking the heat gun to it. Do not poor the paint on either, brush it nicely. If you have to re-coat in an hour after it dries, then wait and do it correctly. Paint will eventually come off over time. Paint is permanent, but not forever. This should be expected with any custom painted product, unless porcelain, ceramics, or something along those lines. Even with something that has been cured in a kiln, can have discoloration overtime.

    5. Latex is more sticky than silicone, even when cured and painted. Always used baby powder or corn starch after the tail is completely dry on the outside of the tail to keep it from sticking.

    6. The latex mermaid tails should be rinsed out with fresh water after each use. Wash it out with a hose for about 5 minutes to make sure it has been washed out. You can take a very small amount of DAWN dish soap (A couple of drops) inside and out once in a while to clean it if necessary. I reccomened doing this after using the tail in saltwater. I recommend using a mixture of pure vinegar and water 50/50 mix when used in pool water (Chlorine). The vinigar will eat the chlorine keeping it from eating the fabric or the tail. Again, wash the inside of the tail with fresh water after you do this for about 5 minutes. This will get the mixture out of the tail/ fabric. This should always be done with spandex mermaid tails after use in swimming pools. Let sit in the mixture for about 10 minutes, then wash out with fresh water immediately. It keeps the spandex from discoloration and getting weak from the pool chemicals.

    7. When swimming in any body of water, ALWAYS use a floating device (Noodles work great or a Peterson tube). This is not always attractive. I would recommend to sit flat on pool steps, etc. If you stand on in your mermaid tail on the floor of a concrete pool, the heals COULD possibly get damaged if you are not careful. Even if you are very careful, damage could occur. The same can happen with the heels of the mermaid tail. If you are holding yourself on the edge of the pool with your knees hitting the sides, damage could occur. Once again, use your upper body strength, keeping your tail out, away from the wall. The same precautions should be practiced when posing in and on coral reefs or rocky edges.

    8. When you put on your mermaid tail, always pull GENTLY from the top and bottom pieces of the tail, not the seems. Seems are normally strong, but can tear and rip if pulled tightly over time.
    I hope this helps everyone! If you know of any other tips, feel free to post them below.

    Capt Nemo #1

    Posts: 573
    06/24/10 19:49:22
    For neoprene based tails, McNett wetsuit shampoo should help keep them clean. It's also good for spandex items.

    http://www.mcnett.com/Wet-Suit-Dry-S...mpoo-P239.aspx

    Marla #2

    Posts: 248
    06/25/10 06:04:18
    Winged Mermaid thank you so much for getting this info! It really does help as I swim in my pool all the time and had no idea how to stop the chlorine from eating away at the latex! I've also been using spray paint to touch up my tail for pictures, which works fine, but of course comes off after swimming in it... so the paint info is very helpful! Thank you again for getting this and thank you to Eric for providing it for us here on the forum!

    princesswizard #3

    Posts: 139
    07/26/10 11:50:42

    I just called Michaels and checked their website. There is no Createx paint carried there. They also don't sell heat guns. Any suggestions as to who else would sell these items? Joanns doesnt carry them either.

    Capt Nemo #4

    Posts: 573
    07/26/10 17:39:16
    Hobby Lobby has the Createx paint. For heat gun, try the local hardware store. They use them for paint stripping.

    princesswizard #5

    Posts: 139
    07/28/10 07:20:18
    Thanks Nemo! I went to the Hobby Lobby here and they didn't have the paint, but I did research Createx paint online. Which version would be best for a tail in your opinion? There were so many kinds! I went by JoAnn's to get some seashells and they did have the oil based sharpie pens that Jesse recommended could be used to touch up scuffs. It worked well

    Capt Nemo #6

    Posts: 573
    07/29/10 05:04:36
    The airbrush paints I bought were the Createx Pearlescent paint. That would probably match best to what Mertailor is using. They use a metalic powder mixed with the paint. My local Hobby Lobby has in stock, white, silver, gold, copper?, red, magenta, lime/yellow, green, blue, and purple.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    I just discovered that using a back brush (you know the ones you use in the tub or shower, soft bristles, long handle for reaching your back and shoulders?) is excellent for cleaning a latex tail without damaging the paint job great for removing sand and dirt and any FLAKEY paint

  3. #3
    i think i read somewhere that in order to put on a latex or silicon mermaid tail, you roll it down from the waist until you can easily reach into the monofin to put your feet in, then you roll it back up your legs and over your waist. is that good for the tail? it doesn't seem like it, but im pretty sure i read that on the mertailor's website, just wanted to know how you guys do it.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, that doesnt work for me, It's so tight by the time it gets to the ankles there's no way. So I put one leg in and get the foor strapped in, then put the other one in. I find if I roll it all done it ruins the tail yoo

  5. #5
    Yeah, rolling the tail down like that doesn't work so well for me either. Then again I have no strap on my monofin and the tail is TIGHT. Not looking forward to how to deal with the strap once I get my green tail de-virginised water wise :/

  6. #6
    This is a great site for the do's and don'ts of neoprene :3

    http://www.wetsuitmegastore.com/wets...care-tips.html

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  7. #7
    Thank you for that link, Aiera! This brings a few very important points up for neoprene or neoprene based tails.

    -Never leave your tail out in the sun! Not even to dry! Do not store in direct sunlight!
    -Never leave your tail in a hot car or trunk, or other hot area such as a storage shed.
    -Never use or submerge your tail in warm or hot water (no hot tubs!).
    -Never store your tail where it is under constant stress (like on a hanger, where the monofin will stress the folded hanging area). Best thing is to store it flat.
    -
    Don't wait until tomorrow. Be sure to rinse your tail with fresh, cool water and let it dry ASAP.

    Also I know latex degrades via UV rays too, so no leaving or storing in sun goes for those as well, and double for latex coated neoprene tails!

  8. #8
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    vinegar in a spray bottle with water (add peppermint extract to keep the smell away) or even a small amount of bleach mixed with water in a spray bottle sprayed inside should help with mildew etc. I also put my tail on an indoor clothing drying rack, so it's all flat on to top, then push a stand up osculating fan to the waist so it blows air all the way through (you'll see the fluke bulge up with air to know the air is going all the way through) to help dry. I think using a hair dryer can melt things and doesnt work as well. The fan air is more even.

    If youre maintaining your tail with alex it can take FOREVER to dry. I filled my tips of my fluke again, and flattened it out, and left it for a month and a half (about 45-50 days) and even though it seemed perfect and solid when I went swimming it all came out in a big (toxic) white cloud in the water which left me feeling heart broken not only for the tail but the environment. I would only do that kind of maintenance when you dont have anything planned for your tail for a while.

  9. #9
    When touching up paint, Eric says to use a heat gun? Will a blowdrier work?
    ~A mermaid found a swimming lad, picked him for her own, pressed her body to his body,and made the sea their home~

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Odette View Post
    When touching up paint, Eric says to use a heat gun? Will a blowdrier work?
    Doubtful. Craft heat guns (what most people tend to use) have a heat range between 482°F (250°C) and 662°F (350°C). With a hair drier burns happen at 140º or higher, so they are lower than that. I know it's another expense, but if you have a tail that needs to be heat set and needs repairs, it's an investment. I got one of THESE from Michaels using a 40% off coupon so the expense wasn't bad.

  11. #11
    This is helpful info thanks!

  12. #12
    This might be a stupid question... But can I hang a silicone tail in my closet with those hangers from like Abercrombie that clamp the tail? Or would that be bad...?
    Mermaids have more fun

  13. #13
    You won't want to use clamps on silicone. It would be better to make a rack to drape it on or lay it flat.
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  14. #14
    Correct! It even says on the Merbellas Care Sheet to NEVER clamp the tail, especially for hanging it up.

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    honestly, you don't need to hang a silicone tail to dry it, you can wipe it clean inside with a towel.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Pod of Cali spottedcatfish's Avatar
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    So for drying a neoprene tail, is is good to leave it laying flat on a drying rack outside in a shaded area, and do not hang it up to dry, as it can stretch? Is this right?

  17. #17
    Thank you!!!
    Last edited by Mermaid Allie; 01-17-2013 at 10:40 PM. Reason: im a blonde
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  18. #18
    Cool, thanks for posting this!
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  19. #19
    I have a spandex/performance wear fabric tail and have the constant problem of the tips of my fin getting worn and tearing the fabric because of the concrete pool I practice in. I don't rest on the tips or drag my tail, but it does happen sometimes by accident. Is there anything, like a stiffener or something, that can help protect this fabric to make it tougher?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Winged Mermaid View Post
    Thank you for that link, Aiera! This brings a few very important points up for neoprene or neoprene based tails.

    -Never leave your tail out in the sun! Not even to dry! Do not store in direct sunlight!
    -Never leave your tail in a hot car or trunk, or other hot area such as a storage shed.
    -Never use or submerge your tail in warm or hot water (no hot tubs!).
    -Never store your tail where it is under constant stress (like on a hanger, where the monofin will stress the folded hanging area). Best thing is to store it flat.
    -
    Don't wait until tomorrow. Be sure to rinse your tail with fresh, cool water and let it dry ASAP.

    Also I know latex degrades via UV rays too, so no leaving or storing in sun goes for those as well, and double for latex coated neoprene tails!

    I built a drying rack for my tail so that it hangs with the fluke upright and the body hanging towards the floor. It works really well for drying because the body naturally hangs open so the air can get all the way up inside of it. I've been storing it on the rack too, just noticing your suggestion about not storing a tail where is is under constant stress or hanging. Is this because the weight could eventually stretch the silicone around the ankles?

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