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Thread: Can you fuse bifins to make a unique monofin shape?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Can you fuse bifins to make a unique monofin shape?

    Hi friends!

    So I have about 5 years of costuming experience and have recently joined the mer community! I have an interesting project concept that I'd really like to work on, but since I'm not super knowledgeable on how monofins and propulsion work I figured I would come here for help.

    I'm sure a lot of you who are well versed in mythical creatures know what a selkie is, but for those that don't they are pretty similar to mermaids and mermen, with the exception of two things. One, they are seal based creatures, and two they are actually complete shape shifters that switch between human and seal form using a special seal skin. Also, as a side note, if you haven't read any of the myths I highly encourage it! They're really interesting.

    But it got me thinking. What if I made a mermaid tail based on a seal? And I saw a few other mers in the community take a crack at it (Definitely taking that tip of using crushed velvet btw. Genius.) But my biggest problem with the selkie tails I've seen is that they either use a monofin under the tailskin, or they use uncovered, independent bi fins.

    Which brings me to my question. Is it possible (and safe) to attempt to fuse two bifins at the ankles to give the illusion of two flippers, but the functionality of a monofin? I'm sure it won't be the strongest or fastest out there. Not by a long shot. But would it work at all? Would it be a possible swimming risk?

    Reference Pictures
    Fionna McDonald - Original Artist http://www.kateforsyth.com.au/kates-...-from-scotland (note: website owner is not the original artist.)

    https://www.deviantart.com/stressedj...ight-182730004



    Thanks in advance for the help!
    Last edited by MermaidFinley; 02-11-2019 at 06:33 AM.

  2. #2
    I have plans to design and have the skin printed custom, since I'm not a huge fan of the muddled and muted brown spot patterns I've seen velvet come in. I'm hoping to make large dramatic spots that are visible beneath the water as well as actual flipper patterns. We'll see where the project goes. I'm also considering adding some type of light polyester or using some sewing magic to effectively hide the blocky bi fin shape and make the flippers look a little chunkier. Though I worry about how much drag that might cause.

    Basically, I just wanted to experiment and see if a professional grade looking selkie tail is possible. If the experiment goes well I'd really like to sell them, considering there is more demand for them than I first thought but...baby steps lol

  3. #3
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod
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    I'm planning on making a series of mer animals like selkies, hippocampi, etc. I love seals! Cant wait to see your design!

    Wouldnt velvet get really heavy in the water?
    -Siren Gita
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    -rulesNazi

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  4. #4
    I don't think there is any reason to fuse them. Seals move their flippers independently to swim. If you use longer bifins (which are MUCH more challenging because of the weight of the water you are pushing) you will have more propulsion. A person with her legs together will still have to move her fins as one unit (dolphin kick) but can probably flap them independently on land, or slowly so they are not propelling her.

  5. #5
    Well that's my main concern. If your legs are fused together by the tail fabric having separate fins might make it a lot harder for swimmers to do the dolphin kick. It would also be a lot harder to make a skin that will allow you to flap them independently. I'm sure it can be done, I just worry about safety when using bi fins with your legs fused together. Especially in something like vinyl that won't stretch as easily.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SirenGita View Post
    I'm planning on making a series of mer animals like selkies, hippocampi, etc. I love seals! Cant wait to see your design!

    Wouldnt velvet get really heavy in the water?
    I worry about that too, but truthfully as long as it's a crushed vinyl and the material isn't too thick you should be alright. There's also ways to water-treat fabric so I could try that too with a few swatches and update you on how it goes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MermaidFinley View Post
    If your legs are fused together by the tail fabric having separate fins might make it a lot harder for swimmers to do the dolphin kick.
    no, why would it?
    You can dolphinkick with individual flippers, with or without tailskin. Or even without any flippers and tail.

    I would avoid fusing just the ankles though, it might put unexpected strain on you somewhere.
    Just use separate flippers with the tail and do the dolphinkick normally.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Echidna View Post
    no, why would it?
    You can dolphinkick with individual flippers, with or without tailskin. Or even without any flippers and tail.

    I would avoid fusing just the ankles though, it might put unexpected strain on you somewhere.
    Just use separate flippers with the tail and do the dolphinkick normally.
    I guess you're right. My concern is that you'd get tripped up in the tail skin if it had separate pockets for each flipper and didn't behave as a monofin. You'll have to forgive me, I'm really new at this lol. But I guess it really isn't any more dangerous than a monofin in a tail skin.

    I don't know how I'd work out a safety eject option though. Maybe a hidden zipper for each flipper?

  9. #9
    I've seen V-form monofins around too. The division is usually nicely rounded to reduce the risk of cracking. But they usually have pointed tips for each fluke. I was basically wondering if that could be done but have the tips be as blunt and flat as a flipper. Like, say it was a silicone mold that was designed that way as opposed to literally connecting bi fins. Would that work?

    I'm mostly asking out of curiosity at this point lol. Probably will go with plain bi fins. At least for a prototype.

  10. #10
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod
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    Do let me know how your experiments pan out excited to see what you come up with!
    -Siren Gita
    Blue ocean "siren"
    -rulesNazi

    User formerly known as derBears

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