Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29

Thread: FAQ Latex and Silicone Tails

  1. #1
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    14,641

    Exclamation FAQ Latex and Silicone Tails

    EDIT: This is an OLD thread with outdated info. We know now that alex plus is TOXIC.

    I thought it would be good to start trying to accumulate our collective knowledge on tail making, any links we know that exist of it, related videos of either tutorials or showing the making of + result, and frequently asked questions and answers. Once we have lots of stuff going and linked on this thread, we can index it to be part of the main tail making article on the mernetwork page! I feel like there's a LOT of info out there, but I can appreciate that people find it hard to sift through.

    So feel free to post anything you want, even if it's just a question you don't have an answer for. Maybe someone else will, or will at least have a few ideas going. I cant find all the links for everything I want, I know Captain nemo had some great threads on tail making topics, so please, drop links, drop video links, everything you can find. This isnt everything I know or know of either, just getting us started- it would take too long to do it all in one shot for me XD

    Frequent questions I get asked that I can answer

    Which is better: Silicone or Latex?
    It depends on the mermaid/man and what they plan on using it for. Latex is cheaper, but some are allergic to it and it may not last as long. Silicone really boosts the realistic effect but can be super expensive and temperamental to work with.
    Where can I buy mermaid tails?
    www.mermaidtails.net is an ongoing index of all the tail makers known I also suggest checking ebay and amazon as well as mernetwork classifieds

    Which Mermaids are Professionals?
    www.mermaidtales.net is also an ongoing index of professional mermaids

    Can you swim in your tail?
    Most tails are swimmable unless they are specific Halloween or Cosplay costumes that have an opening in the end. Even those can be used in the right way for underwater photographs. A tail that is made for swimming doesn't have to be used for swimming- and most swimming tails can't be walked around in.

    What can I do about my issues with a monofin?
    Many people complain about the uncomfortableness of a monofin. You can try a few solutions like getting a different strap, taking the strap off totally, or neoprene booties. Some tail makers will make custom monofin or foot pockets, you may even be able to commission someone to specifically make you a monofin or you may want to consider trying to make one yourself.

    Ive heard a lot of people talk about using Alex plus to make tails.
    Yup, you can use alex plus, a caulk made up of silicone and latex. It can be pigmented, or you can paint right on top of it with acrylic based paints. It is cheap but will likely only last a year or so with continued use. One of the drawbacks of alex plus is that after continued use it'll turn white, it deteriorates quickly, can distort the buoyancy of your tail, and can pose some health risks. It takes a VERY long time to cure as well. That does not mean you cant use it wisely though. Read these links for more information specific to Alex plus:

    http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...for-Tails-quot

    http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...sing-Alex-PLus

    http://issuu.com/t_obrecht/docs/tail...w&pageNumber=1 (click here for an article written by Shelly about Alex Plus)

    There are also many threads in the "tail making" section of the forum that document people's progress, mistakes, methods, and triumphs using Alex plus. Be sure to check there.

    Can Silicone be painted?
    generally no, it must be pigmented meaning the paint you use must be mixed with the silicone and either sprayed on or painted on

    Do I need an airbrush to paint my tail?
    It's nice for certain effects, but you can do just as well with painting by hand

    What Kind of Fabric can I use to Make a tail?
    the ideal fabric is neoprene (note, not neoprin) or swimsuit material as these materials are designed to be used in the water. That being said, many have experimented with different fabrics you can see in the tail making forum. Some people sew sequins, some paint scales directly on with screen painting ink, some cover in latex or silicone first- the choices are endless.

    Do I need a monofin?
    Monofins make it easier to swim generally, but if you can make it work without one, go for it.

    What Kind of Paint can I use?
    I recommend either pure pigments (variety of brands) that can be mixed with silicone or latex, or speedball ink that can be painted on. You can also use createx but it's known for needing many layers and for its chipping.
    How expensive is it to make a tail?
    Fabric tails can generally be made for under 100$ the really fancy ones for under 2-300$ including the monofin.
    Latex can generally be made for under 500$
    silicone tends to vary between 1000-3500$ depending on the materials, monofin, and moulding/casting stuff
    What are moulds?
    Moulds are generally wooden boxes in which a pattern made out of something (clay, seeds, plastic, foam etc) sits. Latex or silicone is then poured into the mould and left to cure. Some people make moulds using plaster and some still will make them directly from a person's body.

    What's the best way to measure for a mermaid tail?
    The best way seems to be to either get a mould of yourself, or draw a pattern right around your body. Many people will measure their length from belly button to floor, considering the circumference of areas like the hips, thighs, knees and ankles. Some will do this same thing but measure the circumference down every 2-3 inches all the way. There doesn't seem to be a fool proof method, and frequent measuring problems result in baggy knees, or ankles, and shorter or higher waists. Something to consider is that fabric (neoprene) vs solid latex or silicone will bend and fold in different ways. Some are flatter, some are not. For instance, my latex tail never seemed to collect behind my knees very often, but my silicone will- because my silicone tail is more solid and water can't flow through it the way it could flow through my latex. Some bunching is totally normal. You must understand, photos where there are no bunching generally require very specific poses, or are photoshopped. There are tails that fit people like a glove, but even the most talented tail makers have trouble making tails fit perfectly. In the movie splash, the mermaid actress actually had her legs shrink wrapped to prevent wrinkles and was glued right into the tail

    My fluke keeps filling up with air or water, what can I do?
    If your fluke is mostly solid, add some drainage holes to allow the water and air to pass through. If it's not solid, you can either add velcro at the end so you can empty the water/allow drainage and let the inside of your tail air dry, or you can glue it down. Most hardware silicone will stick to the monofin and the inside of the tail, it doesnt matter if you choose an ugly colour so long as it is quick drying. It wont be seen! You'll want to however cover the seam of wherever you've gotten inside your tail to put this stuff in, with whatever your tail is made out of, and a clear version of that.

    How can I hide my knees or heals?
    The only way people seem to be able to do this is by adding extra fins to the back of the knees and heals- there doesnt seem to be a specific measurement format to avoid this. You also dont want it too tight because you NEED to bend. Many models and mermaids work hard to train themselves to keep their toes pointed to avoid ankle/heal bumps, and their legs straight to avoid the knees!
    Last edited by AniaR; 06-29-2016 at 04:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    14,641
    Melbels tutorial on making alex plus tails inspired by Ravens: http://deviantartmermaids.deviantart...38781#/d3gomhc

    Nates guide on how to make a top: http://malinghi.deviantart.com/art/H...-top-161067144

  3. #3
    Thank you so much for this. I've been hunting around for this kind of info lately.

  4. #4
    Administrator Pod of Cali malinghi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,754
    This is good info, thanks for posting it. It also highlights a problem that MerNetwork has with information being hard to find. We have a list of tailmakers and an FAQ, but I don't think people find that stuff. Any ideas on how to get people to see that stuff?

  5. #5
    Maybe sub-forums can be added under the "Tailmaking" section? I'm not sure what categories would be featured, but it might help to organize the topics in there.
    "SeaSparkles" "Spindrift" "Enakai" "Cuddlefish" "Confused"
    Professionally performing as Enakai Fairyfish

    Enakai Fairyfish: FB | IG

  6. #6
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    14,641
    I intend to continue adding to this, I just havent had time. There's a lot of info on mernetwork still that needs to be added in

  7. #7
    Administrator Pod of Cali malinghi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,754
    Quote Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
    Maybe sub-forums can be added under the "Tailmaking" section? I'm not sure what categories would be featured, but it might help to organize the topics in there.
    This is a good point. I think people have a sort of tunnel vision where they only look at the forums. Adding something to the forums with this info might get it noticed. Possibly a thread with the information from the permanent pages, or at least a link to the permanent pages.

  8. #8
    so i have a few things to put on this list.
    1. Goop marine adhesive-
    pros - works great, very functional and give an awesone adhesion, comes in clear, works on latex silicone, neoprene lexan plastic and will glue things you think won't ever be able to stick.

    cons- can only be worked in small pieces at a time like a 5 inch square, you must use it as a rubber cement where it it spread on both pieces to be glued let to sit for 2-8(the box says 10 but its too long) minutes then pressure must be used to press them together neoprene to lexan you must use clamps or a vice to put pressure on it for 24 hours. hard to find ace hardware carries it but never more then 6 - 2.7 ounce tubes a month in stock. $6.97 a tube. If 10+ minutes pass before you can place the things to be glued the surface will repell eachother which is why you can't work pieces bigger then 5"x5" at a time. work a small area and slowly add more as you go as to avoid this problem.

    while there are many cons to this product i still would prefer to use it if possible. it is versitile, clear as you can get it, strong, and gives a amazing final product when used properly. I give Goop marine cement clear adhesive a 4/5 stars.

    loctite marine epoxy (and all generic brands)
    pros - works well on plastics, comes in a range of colors.

    cons - only wants to stick to plastics, will not stick to rubber or latex.

    while i haven't used this too much its because it doesn't seem to work well on sticking 2 different materials together and that is what i usually need adhesives for. i also have not tried it on silicone as of yet if anyone else has please let me know how it worked for you. bottom line i would reccomend this as a last resort if there was absolutely nothing else available. 1/5 stars.

    alex- ( not alex plus!)
    no pros

    cons falls into a cottage cheese-like state when wet. you cannot use this as a base coat either it dissolves with any water.

    DO NOT USE THIS UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE A SEA MONSTER FROM THE MILKY WAY SEA!
    0/5stars

    please everyone add to this list i think its one of the best ideas i've seen here

  9. #9
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod Delphine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    206
    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    My fluke keeps filling up with air or water, what can I do?
    If your fluke is mostly solid, add some drainage holes to allow the water and air to pass through. If it's not solid, you can either add velcro at the end so you can empty the water/allow drainage and let the inside of your tail air dry, or you can glue it down. Most hardware silicone will stick to the monofin and the inside of the tail, it doesnt matter if you choose an ugly colour so long as it is quick drying. It wont be seen! You'll want to however cover the seam of wherever you've gotten inside your tail to put this stuff in, with whatever your tail is made out of, and a clear version of that.
    Hi, Raina. I'm not sure about these drainage holes, but have been having trouble finding much info on them anywhere. Where are yours located? I know it's to help the water come out of the tail while swimming.. Is it the base, near where feet are??? I feel like this makes the most sense, if they are small they shouldn't tear & would be less noticeable.

    I also sent you an email. Have you received it? I think I'd tried to message you, but it said you had disabled them. I'm assuming so you're not bombarded by messages, haha I get that. If you need more time to look it over, that's fine, too. I know you're a busy mer.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    14,641
    I posted photos of my drainage holes in the merbellas forum

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Firemaid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    459
    Has anyone tried latex on spandex?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod MerAnthony's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dunn, NC
    Posts
    1,331
    Add MerAnthony on Facebook
    Quote Originally Posted by Firemaid View Post
    Has anyone tried latex on spandex?
    Not yet ,but I plan on to experiment with the idea after I get my new monofin.
    Be Happy Swim Free

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Firemaid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    459
    I really would like to try it. I don't like the way neoprene flotes and It's so hard to sew, and it is expensive.
    It does seem like spandex might not hold it's shape the same way though..
    Someone must have tried this before?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Firemaid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    459
    So FYI. been doing some experimenting and Silicon on spandex doesn't work well. Haven't tried Latex yet....

  15. #15
    What are the pros and cons of Latex tails?

  16. #16

    FAQ Latex and Silicone Tails

    Quote Originally Posted by Firemaid View Post
    So FYI. been doing some experimenting and Silicon on spandex doesn't work well. Haven't tried Latex yet....
    What happened to the silicone on spandex?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free

  17. #17
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Bella's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Posts
    169
    I have been a bit confused about molds, i understand that you make the shape out of clay, make the opposite mold then pour silicone into the mold and bang, theres ya tail, but what do you make the mold out of? Everytime I google silicone molds it tells me to make the mold out of silicone then cast resin or whatever from that, but what if you want to cast the silicone? Do you make the mold out of silicone then pour in silicone? Is the mold itself make from clay or resin or....? Sorry this has been confusing me for some time.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Elle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    1,039
    Follow Elle On Twitter
    Visit Elle's Youtube Channel
    I got fibreglass resin from Bunnings
    "Will you walk a little faster?" said a Whiting to a Snail
    "There's a Porpoise right behind us and he's treading on my tail!"


    Tail making progress http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...-making-a-tail

  19. #19
    Member Euro Pod
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Posts
    83
    We want to make a tail out of slip-casting-latex. How much gallons do we need, and do we have to put the latex on neoprene?
    Mermaid Myrthe, the mer without a tail, but with the spirit of a mermaid.

  20. #20
    Hey there - my sister, Mermaid Fallon, and I are making Latex tails, and we just bought a bunch of Wicked/Createx airbrush paint for when we get to the painting stage.

    From what I've read, the paint should be mixed with latex and then sealed somehow - does anyone have a little more information about that? When mixed with latex, will it still run through an airbrush? How much latex do you have to mix for it to work? I read a bunch of the painting posts but none of them went into a lot of detail about using Createx on Latex.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •