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Thread: Morning!

  1. #1

    Morning!

    Morning all!
    You can just call me Finny.
    I had one or two aesthetic questions in the middle of the post I'd be curious to get people's opinions on, but I think I'm a bit of an oddball in the forum as my interest in mermaiding is mostly an interest in making tails - actually wearing them to be a mermaid is of less interest to me, and I'm awkward af so people coming up and being all 'woah' weirds me out hard core :P But I've always been drawn to making costumes and using my body as a canvas for displaying them.
    I recently got into making, shall we say 'other' silicone objects, and realized after a quick Google I have all the stuff to make tails. I have a feeling I'll just have to scratch the tail-making itch if I ever want to stop coming back and researching the idea every few days. Plus I'm going to Bermuda late next year, and dragging a 40lb silicone tail around with me in a suitcase seems like something hilariously inconvenient that would be right up my alley. I also happen to be a certified SCUBA diver, but haven't been diving in over 10 years :( Life and college and all that...

    Either way, I'm looking forward to lurking in the forum and posting a build thread if I ever get around to making a tail. The stickied threads are all super informative & useful and the build threads were pretty cool to poke through.

    I did have one question I was curious to get people's opinion's on - do you think silicone tails made with big sheets of scales or individual scales glued on look nicer in the end? Are there pros or cons of either for end use?

    I like the individual scales because it would save me lots of mold making materials, but half the reason I want to make a tail is to get cool, intricate designs on it, which would be much easier with a sheet mold of scales. Also assembly of scale sheets seems way less annoying :P My ultimate goals (if I make a tail) are to experiment with ways to build the color into the scales itself, rather than spraying it on after the fact, so that you could mistreat the tails a bit and the paint wouldn't peel off, and also maybe play around with designing the silicone to be thinner in certain areas around the fluke or extra fins so that they rip with time, as if the mermaid had seen some stuff in their day. Also maybe messing with built in design features that would allow some holes in the tail for breathability.
    Also lionfish.

    AND I think it would be interesting to build out some random 'extras' for the tail, like the semi-obligatory chest piece, and possibly some little prosthetics for the hand and arms as well. If anyone knows a silicone to skin glue that works under water, I'm open to suggestions XD

    Anywho, cheers all!

    p.s. For the record, I did read the thread about silicone tails probably being bad first tails :P Do or die! I really just want to make a tail and learning to swim it is kind of justification for doing that so I don't just have a random expensive tail in a closet for no reason hehe. And if I make a tail, take lots of precautions to ensure I don't drown myself :P I just don't start hobbies like a normal person. Cheers again!

  2. #2
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    Hello and welcome. If you can make things with silicone, you are sure to make a lot of friends around here...maybe even find customers. I like building things myself, but my field of expertise in that area is electronics (soldering), moderate woodworking, and very minor metal work.

    I once started my attempt at a silicone tail and was going to go the route of using individual scales pieced together one at a time. I did some metal work to make a few tools to assist, but hit the road block of "I don't feel like it right now." I will continue that project later. I have found instructions from different sources each talking about sheets or individual scales. My eyes were set on individual scales, but others here might have their own preference.

    As far as silicone tails being bad to start, that really only applies to swimming. You should start with a fabric tail first. I own one of each, so I can confirm that recommendation.

  3. #3
    Hello and welcome! I have never had or even seen a silicone tail in person so I can't speak to the durability or believably of sheets or individual scales. But I've started doing resin casting lately so I know a bit about molds. I think individual scales can end up being a lot bulkier and they take longer to cast pieces out of unless you make a lot of molds and even that takes a lot more time then doing one or two molds of sheets. It could be more difficult to sculpt intricate designs, but if you're really into the sculpting process that could be a lot of fun!

    I was also SCUBA certified over 10 years ago and one of my goals for 2021 is to get re-certified and start diving regularly again. I'd also love a silicone tail someday so...if you want a swimmer guinea pig to actually water test any of your tails, I'd be happy to get one of your first few attempts at a prototype rate :P

    K is absolutely right - making stuff out of silicone will make you many fast friends! And accessories are always great; I've seen some super cool silicone arm bracers and I would personally love a set of webbed gloves out of silicone. Another thing we don't discuss much int he mer community are weight belts. I'd love to see silicone weights that could help with buoyancy! Just some extra ideas to throw your way. Good luck and have fun on your journey!
    The Magical Mystical MerFanc
    A Welsh Lake Monster with control of weather, water and water creatures.
    Resident sea monster, best friend of sharks and ducks, lover of the Deep Ocean.
    Known on all other social media as theAfanc

  4. #4
    Thanks for the thoughts guys! I was looking into getting a fabric tail to practice with before going full silicone if I can find a pool/rec center that will allow them. There's a pool at the college I teach at, but I'm not sure if they allow faculty to use it or how I'd feel if a student found me 'in the wild' swimming around with a tail XD

    I was looking into doing webbed gloves - it seems like a fun thing to do since I'm also interested in vfx makeup. And yeah - weight belts are the bane of my existence. When I used to go diving, I couldn't get them tight enough around my waist and I literally had them fall off several times and I'd find them tangled around my ankles and it was a whole process to try and get them back on with all the scuba gear on.... But I sink without gear so I'm hoping that won't be an issue with a tail? I've heard varying accounts of them making people float to sinking them, so live and learn I suppose :P But I bet you could make 'skins' for weight belts that would look like some kind of mer-pouch thing and use a less industrial looking strap for them. It wouldn't look like part of the tail necessarily, but it at least wouldn't look like bricks of lead around your waist?

    I know... more about molds than I wanted to when I started my other projects... I favor using a urethane rubber that works with the platinum cure silicone from smoothon (tested for my other project and it def works). It's more expensive than the traditional plaster, but it should last forever and be easier to clean the clay out of. Also less fragile. Plus I already have it floating around because it's what I normally make mold stuffs out of. Added benefit - you don't need mold release when working with silicone, which is why I chose it in the first place.

    If the tail isn't a catastrophy, I had considered selling parts/kits so people could make their own if they wanted to. Like I could have a bunch of 'scale packs' and people could pick their colors and such and just pay per scale for whatever they wanted so they wouldn't need to cast their own.

    I also had the aweful idea last night to make a tail that looks like bok choy...

  5. #5
    I was also considering trying to make thinner scales that are each reinforced with power mesh so the overall tail didn't get super chunky and there'd be ample material left over to connect stuff together (I've had issues with delamination in the past and I'm paranoid now).

    Another thing I thought might be fun/weird is to design a tail that's meant to be broken/injured/scuffed. Like if you chipped off the outer layer of paint, it would go down to the color of a scar or something weird so it would look like battle scars. Or gluing fluke/fin pieces together with red/blood colored silicone so if they tore (and I think they could look cool torn) they would have the subtle look of skin if you looked closely, or possibly scatter light in an interesting way.

    One other thing I like about individual scales is that you can do designs that wouldn't be possible with a sheet, like adding little dangly/hairy bits on each scale that would all waive around when they got in the water. Seems like a fun thing to play around with one day.

    I was doing some tail design sketches yesterday and forgot I have a really hard time visualizing stuff before actually starting projects, which is always a challenge for me when I do stuff like this...

  6. #6
    Granted I was about 15 when I was getting certified for the first time, but without a weight belt I couldn't even get below the surface. I was one buoyant mf and that belt is what allowed me to dive at all. one dive I forgot it so my teacher and partner/dad just started shoving rocks in every pocket and crevice they could find >.<

    Getting a fabric tail is a good idea for sure. But having a cheap fabric skin isn't much different in anything other then appearance, to just swimming with a good monofin. So my suggestion would be to get a good quality fin like a Finis Rapid/Wave or a Linden and swim around in that. And if any students find you, you don't have to be a merperson, you can tell them you are practicing or training for freedives. They likely wont know what that is enough to even question it.

    I know there are a few places you can get individual scales and whole sheets and flukes to put the tail together yourself. I'm not sure how much interest there is in something like that but it's worth a shot to find out!


    I LOVE the idea of a tail that shows it's wear. I'm all about costume weathering and the fabric tails I have have a lot of scuffs around the tips of the fluke. They are just fuzzy and sad rather then scared and cool. I think it'd be a ton of extra work and I'm not sure how many other merfolk would think it's cool if their tail scars and bleeds but at least it could look on purpose instead of just old.
    The Magical Mystical MerFanc
    A Welsh Lake Monster with control of weather, water and water creatures.
    Resident sea monster, best friend of sharks and ducks, lover of the Deep Ocean.
    Known on all other social media as theAfanc

  7. #7
    I feel like the scuffs might only look cool if you like... sliced into the thick part on the fluke and took a chunk out of it, but who knows... Depending on how I did it, it would actually be not super much extra work - maybe an extra hour or two overall? I was thinking of hand painting the details/colors onto each scale before casting it so the color is embedded into the silicone (unlike airbrushing) and theoretically wouldn't come off as easily. After that it's just pouring the backer color. I'm sure I'll hate myself for it, but what's the point of doing something if you don't make it super over complex XD

    I'm also hell bent on putting those little clear fins a lot of fish have on the tale. I like the idea of playing with transparency a lot. I'm sure those would get ripped to shreds since I couldn't use a power mesh in them, but perhaps some other really low key fabric just for structure...

    I could also assemble the tails, but I like low effort things where possible, so if people just want flappy fluke halves I can roll up in a tube and send them, I'm more than happy to oblige XD

    So do you think there's a point to a little fabric fin at all, or would you suggest just grabbing a finis or other ocean-suitable monofin (because I want to take this in the ocean eventually) and using that. My thought was practice with monofin only, then fabric or neoprene tail, then full silicone. I also thought of just tying my legs together with some straps or whatever (same effect without the extra money for a fabric tail since I don't really care about the fabric tails?) but I feel like the life guards would throw a fit if they saw me tying myself up before getting in the pool... somehow just looks worse than using a tail?

    Oof to the rocks instead of a weight belt @_@ that seems really annoying.

    Also some really terrible early concept sketches I'll probably get rid of entirely, but I have them so yay? https://www.instagram.com/p/CCqxQMED-3z/

  8. #8
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    So I have a question on something on your original post...

    Quote Originally Posted by Finny View Post
    I recently got into making, shall we say 'other' silicone objects, and realized after a quick Google I have all the stuff to make tails.
    Can you share pictures of your other work, or are they too adult rated for that?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by K Swim View Post
    Can you share pictures of your other work, or are they too adult rated for that?
    They're literal adult toys, so I'm not going to throw them up here publicly :P I do make some pretty benign flans and noodle squishies and such though. Here's a picture of the noodle master: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA2badKD0Li/ though it's nothing super interesting.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Finny View Post
    So do you think there's a point to a little fabric fin at all, or would you suggest just grabbing a finis or other ocean-suitable monofin (because I want to take this in the ocean eventually) and using that. My thought was practice with monofin only, then fabric or neoprene tail, then full silicone. I also thought of just tying my legs together with some straps or whatever (same effect without the extra money for a fabric tail since I don't really care about the fabric tails?) but I feel like the life guards would throw a fit if they saw me tying myself up before getting in the pool... somehow just looks worse than using a tail?

    Also some really terrible early concept sketches I'll probably get rid of entirely, but I have them so yay? https://www.instagram.com/p/CCqxQMED-3z/
    I think those designs look great!!

    Yes, I can't imagine they'd be to thrilled with you siptieing your legs together and jumping in a pool XD I would really just suggest getting the better quality fin from the go if you are confident this is something you want to do. It is suggested as the safest option to progress int he way you stated but it doesn't sound to me like you really plan to swim much at all, more designing. So other then getting a fin to design a fluke around or to understand the shape and feel of the swimming motion for better construction and design, I really don't think you'd benefit much from having a fabric or neoprene tail. And honestly, I was able to fit my mermaid linden fluke into the cheap tailskin I purchased on wish. It stretched and messed with the colour of the screen print but it did fit. And again, if you want someone else to water test some tails I gochu :P
    The Magical Mystical MerFanc
    A Welsh Lake Monster with control of weather, water and water creatures.
    Resident sea monster, best friend of sharks and ducks, lover of the Deep Ocean.
    Known on all other social media as theAfanc

  11. #11
    Thanks
    Functionally I'm not sure what the difference between a silicone tail and rope would be, but like... someone just casually tying themselves up with rope by the side of a pool just screams for trouble...

    I do plan on at least trying to use the silicone tail in the ocean (since I'm going to Bermuda next year) but who knows - I might get really into swimming around and being a weirdo... I have too many ideas for creepy/evil looking tail designs XD I suppose I could always find a clean public lake somewhere that isn't freezing and tie my legs together there - that's probably better than a pool anyway... But life guards... I'm gonna just be one of those weird people who goes straight for silicone, I can feel it.

    I did this sketch thing earlier: https://www.instagram.com/p/CCrf-bxD_g0/
    And I kind of like how ripped up the tail is... Not sure how catastrophically awful it would be to swim in though... I was thinking some of the holes might reduce the drag a bit but who knows! Seems like it would also get ripped to shreds, but I think that's kind of cool too... Like seeing if I can reinforce it so I can control where & how it rips to an extent.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Finny View Post
    Thanks
    Functionally I'm not sure what the difference between a silicone tail and rope would be, but like... someone just casually tying themselves up with rope by the side of a pool just screams for trouble...

    I do plan on at least trying to use the silicone tail in the ocean (since I'm going to Bermuda next year) but who knows - I might get really into swimming around and being a weirdo... I have too many ideas for creepy/evil looking tail designs XD I suppose I could always find a clean public lake somewhere that isn't freezing and tie my legs together there - that's probably better than a pool anyway... But life guards... I'm gonna just be one of those weird people who goes straight for silicone, I can feel it.

    I did this sketch thing earlier: https://www.instagram.com/p/CCrf-bxD_g0/
    And I kind of like how ripped up the tail is... Not sure how catastrophically awful it would be to swim in though... I was thinking some of the holes might reduce the drag a bit but who knows! Seems like it would also get ripped to shreds, but I think that's kind of cool too... Like seeing if I can reinforce it so I can control where & how it rips to an extent.
    Oh woww, I love the designs. The ripped effect really gives it that cool look hahaha. You should post more designs, I would love to see them!

  13. #13
    As far as I can think of, the holes would be like using split fins. it would let some of the water through meaning it wouldn't create as much push. But if the holes are only through the silicone (ie at the ends of the tails) and not through the bulk of the fluke where the monofin is nested, I don't think it should effect things too much.

    The major differences between swimming with a tail and swimming with binds around your knees would be the drag. You are going to get a lot more drag with a fabric tail (or any tail) because of the extra resistance. Just having ties would allow all the freemoving water to continue to flow between your thighs and calves meaning you wont meet as much trouble or need as much strength.
    The Magical Mystical MerFanc
    A Welsh Lake Monster with control of weather, water and water creatures.
    Resident sea monster, best friend of sharks and ducks, lover of the Deep Ocean.
    Known on all other social media as theAfanc

  14. #14
    Time to shove my legs into some extra large tights XD That's what I was wondering though. I might just grab the finis and then sew myself a really crappy tail from scrap fabric (of which I have plenty) that I can use to test drag. I should make it out of demin just to be weird...

    But I was planning on NOT hacking up the monofin - I was just going to basically build a solid fluke part around the fin itself and then extend it aggressively with ripped area in the hopes it would be result in a large/creepy looking tail that wouldn't create too much drag.

    I was thinking of getting the finis rapid (competitor would be cool but it's half the price of the silicone which I can't quite justify). But from what I've read, it seems like people use the rapid in the ocean without issue? Totally open to suggestions if anyone has thoughts on the monofin.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts so far, it's most appreciated <3

    And thanks scilover They're pretty much the only designs I've actually drawn so far, but at some point I might start a build thread and just post random nonsense in there. If I have time I want to sculpt some random test scales so I can practice with monster clay, which I've never used before. But other responsibilities XD

    Curiosity question - are there any existing makers that make really creepy macab/horror tails? I'd love to make some but I'm totally one of those 'only make a thing if people might want it afterwards' kind of thing. But a a franken-mer would be pretty cool imo. Just not sure if it would scare all the kiddies...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finny View Post
    They're literal adult toys, so I'm not going to throw them up here publicly :P I do make some pretty benign flans and noodle squishies and such though. Here's a picture of the noodle master: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA2badKD0Li/ though it's nothing super interesting.
    Copy that. I kind of figured but decided to ask anyways. I don't buy adult toys so don't care to see those pics. I still wanted to ask in case you were into other products such as phone cases, mouse pads, etc.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Finny View Post
    Time to shove my legs into some extra large tights XD That's what I was wondering though. I might just grab the finis and then sew myself a really crappy tail from scrap fabric (of which I have plenty) that I can use to test drag. I should make it out of demin just to be weird...

    But I was planning on NOT hacking up the monofin - I was just going to basically build a solid fluke part around the fin itself and then extend it aggressively with ripped area in the hopes it would be result in a large/creepy looking tail that wouldn't create too much drag.

    I was thinking of getting the finis rapid (competitor would be cool but it's half the price of the silicone which I can't quite justify). But from what I've read, it seems like people use the rapid in the ocean without issue? Totally open to suggestions if anyone has thoughts on the monofin.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts so far, it's most appreciated <3

    And thanks scilover They're pretty much the only designs I've actually drawn so far, but at some point I might start a build thread and just post random nonsense in there. If I have time I want to sculpt some random test scales so I can practice with monster clay, which I've never used before. But other responsibilities XD

    Curiosity question - are there any existing makers that make really creepy macab/horror tails? I'd love to make some but I'm totally one of those 'only make a thing if people might want it afterwards' kind of thing. But a a franken-mer would be pretty cool imo. Just not sure if it would scare all the kiddies...
    Definitely 100% do not make a tail out of denim. It will be way to heavy and you will not be able to swim at all, let alone properly. If you are going to spend the time to bother making a fabric tail please only use lycra/spandex. I'm not sure how much you were joking but really don't use anything that is too absorbent.

    I have the Finis Rapid and I love it. I cut it down to shape the way I wanted (which I regret majorly now) but it is absolutely a competitor ocean-safe monofin. Finish is an actual diving company and their monofins are meant for actual freediving so their fins are tested and competed in hundreds of feet down. They just arn't mermaid shaped so they are often passed up by folx who want to put it in a tail.

    Honestly, I can't say I've seen any kind of macabre tails. The closes I've seen is one fabric tail on.......Finfolk, maybe that is black with like, fish skeleton pattern throughout. Like an xray. And then like, the Siren TV show that is not necessarily horror/macabre but it isn't pretty and vibrant. Not sure how many merfolk would be interested in a tail like that since a lot of the professionals do kids events but I have to imagine someone somewhere might like it :P
    The Magical Mystical MerFanc
    A Welsh Lake Monster with control of weather, water and water creatures.
    Resident sea monster, best friend of sharks and ducks, lover of the Deep Ocean.
    Known on all other social media as theAfanc

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by K Swim View Post
    Copy that. I kind of figured but decided to ask anyways. I don't buy adult toys so don't care to see those pics. I still wanted to ask in case you were into other products such as phone cases, mouse pads, etc.
    No worries :P I do also make the occasional other odd and end with the silicone/mold stuff, but that's my primary usage for the supplies. If you ever want weird custom mouse pads and stuff, that actually sounds pretty fun to make :P

  18. #18
    And I was kidding about the denim, I just have lots of terrible ideas that kind of get thrown onto the page as I'm thinking them. I have gone swimming in pants and regular clothes though (someone pushed me into a lake) and it was fine - sucked getting the jeans off though :/

    I def wouldn't cut the fin down, but do you think the rapid would still work in a tail? I know they were made for diving and what not, but I'm not sure if being encased in silicone would affect how it works?
    I think if I was going to drop money on the competitor I'd just get a tail from some of the other companies in europe since they're cheaper and have more options for shapes/foot pockets and such.

    Thanks for the thoughts

  19. #19
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finny View Post
    No worries :P I do also make the occasional other odd and end with the silicone/mold stuff, but that's my primary usage for the supplies. If you ever want weird custom mouse pads and stuff, that actually sounds pretty fun to make :P
    I had asked just to get an idea of your craftsmanship.

    One more question though: say I had these kind of items, such as a keyboard palm rest that is worn out and has a sticky mess is coming out of it (I see it all the time while providing IT support), or more specifically for this community, if I was to start making my own silicone tail that did not go so well.....whatever the case may be......could this type of silicone be re-melted so that I could repair such items (like the keyboard palm rests I find) or try again when/if my individual silicone tail scales come out looking like crap?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by K Swim View Post
    .could this type of silicone be re-melted so that I could repair such items (like the keyboard palm rests I find) or try again when/if my individual silicone tail scales come out looking like crap?
    No worries
    And no - you can't remelt silicone. Once it cures, it's pretty much cured forever. I don't think the little palm rest things are made of silicone either, unless it's really soft silicone, otherwise they wouldn't get sticky. 00-20 Firmness or lower always feel kind of sticky when clean, but not in the way the worn mouse pads do imo. You could test the pads by holding a match to them - if it burns, it's def not silicone :P

    You'd basically need to just remake/recast the thing in actual silicone if you want a really long lasting object. Only downside is there's probably not a great way to get the cloth covering on and silicone is kind of a pet hair and dust magnet, so it'd either need a weird pillowcase covering or occasional washing with soap and water to remove hair/dust if that's a bother. Some of the stress balls I've made myself I actually like when they get dusty because it takes away the tacky feel soft silicone has, they just look kind of gross.

    But you can actually boil & dishwash the silicone I use and the dragon skin usually used for tails (also body safe and good for said 'other' products), so theoretically you could boil a tail to sanitize it if you removed any non-silicone stuff like the monofin. But I've talked with some people with larger shops than I have who have literally tried to set some silicone stuff on fire with a blow torch, then a fancy hotter torch, then they made a pyer of, in their words, 'diy rocket fuel', put the thing on top and lit it up. After it cooled there was a bit of ash on the outside of the thing, but it didn't actually burn or melt.

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