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Thread: Full Silicone Tail Tutorial - In the works

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    Full Silicone Tail Tutorial

    GOD DAMMIT F**K!!! I have tourettes because I had to type this damn thing 4 times because of the damn
    server!!! BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGG!!!!
    Ok I'm good.
    I'm posting this now even though it's not done, just so I can have a foothold to edit later.

    ANYWAY guys just sort of wanted to put a step-by-step tutorial for full silicone tails that may be helpful.
    I've seen a lot of threads resurface about this and I sort of wanted to make a quick list of steps that
    would give people an idea on how to make a full silicone tail as well as throw in some information about
    silicone that people may want/need.
    If you have anymore questions ask them and I'll try to answer as best I can.

    FAQ Materials:


    What type of silicone to use?
    -There are lots on the market but I think Smooth-on's DragonSkin is probably the best to go with simply
    because I've seen the most information about it and Smooth-on has many distributors around as well as
    staff members who are great at answering questions. Whichever you decide to choose, you MUST USE
    PLATINUM CURE SILICONE!

    What is platinum cure silicone and why do I care?
    - Platinum cure silicone is silicone that is SKIN SAFE. It's vital that you make sure you get ahold of
    platinum cure silicone or else you may develop skin complications from over-exposure to an unsafe
    material. The other option, tin-cure silicone is unsafe for prolonged skin contact.

    Dragonskin has lots of numbers and types? Which to use?
    -Dragonskin comes in many grades with many numbers. The numbers: for example: Dragonskin10, Dragonskin20,
    etc. All tell you how hard the silicone is.

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    Attachment 3154
    ^This is a scale used to read the hardness, Dragonskin is in shoreA.
    Dragonskin10 doesn't seem hard enough, but it is. You have to remember the Dragonskin will be against your skin
    and you'll be stretching it a lot. The harder the Dragonskin gets, the less stretchy it becomes, so Dragonskin10
    is the best choice.

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    Attachment 3155
    ^This is a chart that compares all the qualitites of Dragonskin silicones
    Dragonskin10 is a great choice because it comes in 3 working times: Slow, Medium, and Fast. This allows you to
    choose howmuch working time you will have with the silicone before it cures. Medium is generally the best, since it
    allows you ample time to work with it, even if you're a beginner.
    Dragonskin10 also gets the best of both worlds. It's soft, which is great, but it is also very durable. Dragonskin10 has
    the best properties in terms of stretch, durability, and softness, so it is highly recommended.
    ***Dragonskin FX Pro is another type of Dragonskin that can be used for mermaid tails. However, it is a bit more
    difficult to use since it has a much shorter working time. I managed to speak to a Smooth-on tech about FX Pro and
    he said that FXPro has amazing flexibility so it follows the skin a lot better, but it is less durable than Dragonskin 10.
    So really, depending on what you plan on using your tail for will highly contribute to which type may be best for you.
    A special thanks shout out to Merman Jesse who told me to also consider FXPro

    That chart you posted is a little weird. What does everything mean?
    Well let's take a look at it again
    Attachment 3155
    -I may seem like a total Smooth-on nerd but that's because I love the fact that they post these charts for every product
    they have. It really helps you compare product A to product B in what you're trying to use it for.
    Anyway:
    A:B Mix Ratio is the ratio you need to mix parts A and B. Everything Smooth-on sells usually comes with 2 parts that
    have to be mixed together in order to begin the curing process. So a 1:1 or 1-to-1 ratio basically tells you that parts A
    and B are mixed evenly. Something like 1:2 would mean partA requires only 1 while partB requires 2. So for example, if
    I measure out 30cups for partA I would need 60cups for partB to achieve the proper ratio. Simple math, really. You don't
    have to worry about that since Dragonskin is always 1:1. BY VOLUME means that you measure it out by volume rather
    than weight. So you'd use measurements like cups, tablespoons, etc. rather than ounces, pounds, or grams.
    Demold Time is the time the mixture takes to FULL CURE. This means that after both parts are mixed and distrubuted
    into your mold, the demold time is the time it will take before you can remove the product from the mold. You can think
    of it as a "fully cure" time.
    Elongation at Break is the amount of stretch the material can withstand before breaking apart. Usually, the harder a
    material is, the less it can stretch. So in this example, Dragonskin 10 can stretch to 1000%(10 times) it's original length
    before breaking.
    Mixed Viscosity is essentially how thick the product becomes once parts A and B are combined. I don't really know how
    to read this off the chart, but the higher the number is, the thicker your mixture is. I THINK numbers below 4000cps must
    be poured into molds. Just a guess
    Pot Life is the amount of working time you have with a product once both parts are combined together. This time is very
    important because it demonstrates the amount of time you will have to work. Usually for Dragonskin (which needs molds
    to work, anyway) it's not such a big deal, but giving yourself a long working time is always good just incase something
    goes wrong. Pot life can be translated into the amount of time you have to work with your material before it becomes too
    cured to maneuver anymore.
    A special thanks shoutout to Mermaid Lorelei who suggested that freezing the mixed silicone is a way to extend the pot life.
    So just incase you mix more than you're going to use, you can potentially use it later by tossing it in the freezer.
    Shore Hardness is the hardness of the material once cured. This is sometimes hard to grasp since the measurements on
    the scale are things like gummy bears and shopping cart wheels. For a mermaid tail, you generally won't need anything over
    10. Silicone rubber is usually measured in shoreA.
    Tear Strength is the amount of abuse a material can take before beginning to tear. The lower the number, the less abuse.
    It's a bit confusing when you compare it to elongation at break, but think of it this way: the amount of stretch you can get out
    of your jeans before they tear is different than the amount of wear they can take before a hole tears in them.
    Weight is a weird measure, I don't really understand it, but I'll take a guess. The measure is in CU.IN/LB = cubic inches per
    pound, so my guess is that the measure given is the WEIGHT the material can support. So for Dragonskin10, it's 25.8 lbs per
    square inch. I have no idea.. Lol

    How much to use?
    - Generally you'd want to use at least 2 gallons of Dragonskin. TECHNICALLY SPEAKING when you buy the 1 gallon measure
    of Dragonskinyou're actually getting 2 gallons (1 gallon each, part A and B) so by 2 gallons I really mean 2 "gallon orders" in
    according to Smooth-on, which is actually 4 gallons. Your fluke is going to eat up a lot of silicone, so you have to consider that.
    Probably a good idea is to save an entire gallon for your fluke so you don't end up having a half-finished fluke after casting your
    scales.

    How do I paint silicone?
    - Smooth-on sells a silicone paint base which is an absolute ripoff in my opinion, but if you have a lot of money and are very
    meticulous about making everything perfect you should consider it. Painting silicone is literally impossible with regular paint since
    not much can stick to cured silicone, so your best option is to mix pigment or paint into part B dragonskin, then mix parts A and B
    together, water it down a bit to reduce the viscosity, then run it through an airbrush or paint it directly on with a paintbrush.
    Powdered pigments are generally better to mix into silicone. You can mix acrylic paint, glass paint, floral paint, etc. but the thicker
    the paint, the more likely it is to interfere with the silicone properties.

    How do I work with silicone?
    -Dragonskin silicone is very runny, so you can't exactly sculpt or maneuver it very well. Molds will need to be made in order
    to shape it. When it comes to making a mold for Dragonskin, you can use ANYTHING, even Dragonskin.

    How much does Dragonskin cost?
    - All Dragonskin silicone costs the same: $183.72 per "gallon" (actually 2 gallons).

    What are the advantages to making my own tail?
    -Making your own tail may seem daunting at first, but a lot of the work is mainly mold making, so errors can be spotted far
    ahead of time before you even touch any Dragonskin. Making your own tail not only saves you money, but it allows you to
    be artistic, to design and make a tail that is fit just for you. It is a LOT of work, I don't want it to sound like it's easy, because
    it is very hard and time consuming. However, the reward of being able to tell someone you make a tail yourself is great, not
    to mention you cut out potential risks of tailmakers messing up your measurements, etc.

    How much would I save by making a tail myself vs purchasing one from someone?

    - The main concern with pricing a silicone tail is the fact that there is a lot of time put into making it. So if you have absolutely
    no free time, you may have no choice in purchasing a tail, however, if you start early and tackle the process one day at a time,
    you can work to your ability. Charging yourself for your time is essential and is also what others base their price off of, so it's
    very important to consider.
    Here is a cost estimate of the tail-making process when using the following materials:
    $367.44 - 2 gallon units of DragonSkin (actual tail material)
    $138.18 - 20 lbs Alja-Safe Alginate (leg mold)
    $35.00 - Fiberglass resin (casting legs)
    $64.41 - gallon unit of ShellShock (plastic mold making material)
    $46.31 - pint unit of Psycho Paint (silicone paint base)
    $47.50 - 2 units of 5lb Monster Clay (sculpting)
    $10.79 - paper cutter punch (shaping scales)
    $30.00 - estimate cost (wood used in mold box)
    $100.00 - random decoration/tool budget
    $100.00 - shipping estimate
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    $939.63 = PROJECT TOTAL

    As you can see, even with all the extra costs added in that may not even apply or be needed, the cost to make this tail is still
    less than $1,000 whereas many tailmakers charge $2,000 or more. Not to mention, these materials are used for the very first
    time when making a tail. Once you have your leg mold, scale mold, and fluke mold finished, you will never need to purchase
    those materials again and it will cost you only the price of the Dragonskin and decoration costs to make another tail, dropping
    the price down to around only $500.

    Where can I get Dragonskin?
    - You can obtain Dragonskin straight through Smooth-on, but generally it's a good idea to find out if there's a distributor near
    your area so maybe you can drop by and get some in person to avoid those annoying shipping fees. Smooth-on has a list of
    their distributors on their website: http://www.smooth-on.com/ and they generally don't charge any more or less than Smooth-on
    themselves so it's usually better to find a distributor closer to you for shorter shipping time and cheaper shipping in general.

    What's a good mold material?
    - Mermaid tails are comprised of many different parts. Making molds for them is difficult because you sometimes need several
    different materials. Regular molds usually include a silicone layer to capture detail with a hard "shell" backing to support the
    silicone and keep it from flopping around. When making a large scale sheet, you probably aren't going to want to make a shell
    backing that large, since it'll be difficult to move around and match up to your silicone layer. Liquid plastic is great because it
    can be poured over your scales and capture detail while also drying stiff and rigid so it cancels the need for a backing.
    Special thanks shoutout to Mermaid Lorelei and Dr.Seaweed who used liquid plastic for scale molds

    What do I make scales and flukes out of?
    - When making molds, it's generally a good idea to use oil-based clay as your original sculpture since it's sulfur-free. I don't
    really know what the big deal with sulfur is but I think it interferes with the curing of certain silicones so it's best to avoid it
    altogether. Super sculpey is sulfur free. Monster Makers clay is a great clay to use because it's very rigid so sculpting complex
    pieces will be supported well and it hardens very fast so making the mold will not damage your final piece.
    Craft foam seems to be very popular when it comes to making scales since it's very cheap to purchase and easy to shape.
    Simple circular cuts of craft foam can be arranged into a scale sheet to save time. Pumpkin seeds have also been used before
    but they're a bit difficult to arrance since they require a layer of clay to stay fit into place.
    Special thanks to Mermaid Star and Dr.Seaweed for scale shapes and materials

    EXTRA ADVICE:
    Sulfur and Latex will cause Platinum-cure Silicone to not cure properly. Do NOT use sulfur clay if you're
    using dragonskin and do NOT share latex and platinum silicone molds.



    Helpful Videos

    Here are some videos explaining other tips, parts of the process, or anything else that relates to
    silicone tails:

    Mold making: Soft vs Rigid molds - just to show you an example of how a rigid mold works

    Different types of Silicones - a guide on how to choose a type of silicone for your tail
    Double-seam Measuring Method - how to measure for a tail with 2 seams on either side



    Tailmaking Process

    Just a very general idea of how to make a full silicone tail. No pictures yet, this is just a guess/suggestion based off my
    knowledge and other people's work.
    This is HEAVILY based off Mermaid Star and Mermaid Lorelei's works as well, so thank them for all their work and dedication!

    Step 1: Making a mold of your legs
    This can be done several ways. Duct tape forms are probably the best way to do it, but you can also make an alginate mold but
    I wouldn't recommend that because you can't adjust it later and it will be difficult to pull yourself from the mold without potentially
    breaking an essential piece. Both ways are useable, however, so you can do whichever you prefer.
    The alginate mold won't need much explaining, but you need to make sure BOTH molds have SEPARATE feet! That means the end
    of your dummy needs to have two feet at the end that are clearly separate. The other parts of the mold you can blend together, but
    the feet should be separate! This helps a whole bunch because it allows you to place your monofin on the dummy.
    A duct tape mold is simply made by wraping your legs in plastic wrap, then duct tape, then CAREFULLY cutting the duct tape pants
    off and reassembling them. Then you can stuff them with newspapers or fluff to hold the shape up. You'll probably need someone
    to help you out since you want to hold your position so the duct tape captures it well and there are no bends or creases.
    I would highly suggest resizing your duct tape mannequin a bit smaller than you actually are to help aid the silicone in stretching over
    your body to hold the tail on better, but you don't necessarially NEED to do that just yet. You can simply not resize it and add some
    more stretch to your scales when you put them on to replace that.
    Anyhow, once you've got your duct tape thing stuffed, you have the option to fiberglass and sand the outside. You can use bondo
    to help make it very smooth, but honestly, it doesn't need to be.
    Attachment 3156
    If you decide to go with the alginate, you NEED at least a couple people with you. Generally, you will need to create a box or tube
    that will fit around your legs (preferably with some sort of support that you can grab onto and hold yourself up). You'll need to get in
    the box/tube and have someone fill the area around your legs with alginate. You then simply hold your position until it dries, then
    CAREFULLY have someone help you tilt the box over so you can exit the alginate DIRECTLY from above so there will be no tears
    in the alginate. Once you have the mold of your legs, you can then pour some resin or cast plastic into your mold to create a
    replica of your legs.
    Technically, you can try to layer the alginate on yourself using a paintbrush rather than filling an entire space around you with it,
    but that process may be a bit harder on you since it will require you to stand still through several layering processes, since alginate
    cures pretty fast. Once you have it brushed on, however, you can then make a support shell to surround the alginate mold for
    the support layer and then CAREFULLY remove both sides, this will probably require the use of a knife or scissors to cut the
    alginate open so it must be done veryveryveryeveryvery carefully.

    Step 2: Making your scales
    The scale step is essentially cutting or forming scales individually and then arranging them into a "mold box" for your final mold.
    Cutting out the scales can be done using craft foam, I find it's the easiest option with the most versatility. Paper cutting stamps
    are a great option to help you quickly cut out the same shape over and over. They're also sold at Joann's and Michael's for
    pretty cheap so they're easy to get ahold of. Usually a simple circle shape should do it. With enough layering, they start to look
    like scales. You can individually cut your scales for a more realistic or different pattern, but essentially using the circle cutter is
    the quickest and easiest way to do it.
    Attachment 3161
    Sculpting the scales out of clay is also another great idea. You can individually sculpt them by hand or you can use a single scale
    mold made from plastic or silicone to make several scales look the same without much effort.

    Step 3: Making a mold box
    Now that you have scales, you need to arrange them into a "sheet" and create a mold box around them so you can make your mold.
    You can make the mold box out of just about anything, but wood is generally a good option because it's sturdy, so just incase you
    were to step on it, it wouldn't shatter. You CAN use foamcore to make a box, it's very popular for that, but for this sort of application
    it would just be too risky.
    Attachment 3157
    Now, your mold box should be roughly as long as your legs and wider than your hips since you
    want your scale sheet to fit all the way around you. Since this is just the BOX and not the actual scales, you can afford to make it a
    lot bigger. After all, it's easier to make too large a sheet rather than one that's too small. Cutting out extra scales isn't that hard so
    don't worry about making it precise. So assemble a mold box, roughly a large rectangular sand-box looking shape that is AT LEAST 2"
    longer than your legs and 2" wider than your hips at the widest part. Assembly isn't important, you can simply drill the box together,
    then you may want to reinforce the edges so none of your materials will leak out once you begin casting. Some 100% silicone caulk
    is great for sealing up the corners.
    TECHNICALLY you can make the mold box large enough to cover your ENTIRE body if you want that way it will only take one
    ginormous scale sheet to make the tail. It may make storage/room to make the scales a bit more difficult since it'll be substantially
    larger, but it may be worth it in the end depending on what you want to accomplish.
    IMPORTANT:
    The materials your mold box are made out of will heavily influence the types of materials you can make your mold with so it would be
    wise to select two materials that will go well together.
    What do I mean?
    For example: If you're planning on using liquid plastic as your molding material, your mold box should NOT be made from wood. The liquid
    plastic will stick to the wood and removing your mold from the box will be very difficult. If you plan on using liquid plastic, consider other
    materials instead such as cardboard, clay, or styrofoam.
    On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you happen to be using silicone for your mold, it is flexible enough that you can get away with wood.

    Step 4: Inserting the scales
    Now that you have a general outline of the sizing of your scale sheet, you can start filling your box with whichever scales you want.
    If you want to sculpt your scales, it's basically the same method. Simply start laying scales from one end of your box and slightly
    layer the new row of scales over the other for that half-circle sort of look that looks like overlapping scales. Generally, glue shouldn't
    be necessary, but if you feel like you want to secure them down, you can. Just be extra sure that you get them in the right position and
    you aren't going to change them after you glue them down because you'll probably destroy the foam and have to make new scales.
    Attachment 3158
    ^This is Mermaid Star's mold box. As you can see each layer overlaps the previous ever so slightly.
    Putting the scales will probably take a very long time, but this part is essential to the overall look of your tail so if you
    start to get frustratedwhen it comes to laying them, take a break and do it later. This job should not be rushed.
    It's not a hard job to do, it's just tedious.

    Step 5: Molding your scales
    Making a mold of your scales is pretty simple. All you really have to do is mix up your mold material and fill the box.
    However, as you read in step 3, your mold box heavily influences the type of materials you can use for a mold. If you
    happen to be making a liquid plastic mold and you have a wooden mold box, you risk having to destroy your mold box
    to get the actual mold out.
    On another note, your choice of materials is also very important in other roles. Liquid plastic is a great material to use
    because it allows you to make a mold that can be very thin and lightweight, however, you may develop issues if you don't
    have much space to store it as it does not bend.
    The following is a list of pros and cons to each material

    Attachment 6157

    Anyway, once you get all the choices done, all you have to do is pour your contents in the mold and wait the proper cure
    time until you remove them. You may want to pour small amounts at a time and from one side of the mold so that the
    mold materials distribute evenly and without bubbles. Once you do that, you can blow your material over with a can of
    air-duster to remove any bubbles that may be trapped under the surface.

    Step 6: Sculpting your Fluke
    The fluke of your mermaid tail is probably going to be one of the hardest parts since you'll be using nothing but you're
    artistic skill as well as the fact that it has to be perfectly symmetrical or it won't come out as nice as you'd like.
    The first thing you're going to want to do is grab a large sheet of posterboard, waxpaper, parchment paper, or any other
    paper that you will be able to sculpt on top of and remove afterwards. Posterboard works nicely, since it's easy to write
    on. Anyhow, first, you're going to need to do a rough draft of your fluke in the center of your sheet of paper. You should
    probably fold it in half just to be sure you're working in the absolute center. So you draw out your fluke in a pen, pencil, or
    other thin writing tool. Design the fluke so it is somewhat symmetrical, but mostly we want to get an idea of the best way
    to slice it in half. Once you're satisfyed with the appearance of it, choose a side that you prefer, fold the posterboard in half,
    do a final trace of your design in marker (just to make it easier for you to see the final line) and then cut out your design
    on the folder paper. When you unfold it, you should have a perfectly symmetric tail! Easy right?
    Now that that's done, you'll have to start adding clay on top of your stencil and shape your fluke.
    Remember, you're only making HALF a fluke, so imagine taking a fluke and cutting it clean in half so you get 2 equal sides.
    Later on we'll take each side and sandwich a monofin inbetween.
    The next step is essentially to sculpt the fluke out of clay. Now you NEED to use clay that doesn't have sulphur in it or else
    it will mess with the final cure of your silicone. These are pretty easy to find so it shouldn't be a big deal. One type of clay I
    prefer is oil-based clay. Oil based clay is great because it's simple to use, doesn't ever dry (only hardens) and can be melted
    down and recycled. You CAN use water-based clay, but it's a bit more tedious to work with since you have to keep it moist
    or else it will dry. There is a type of water-based clay that works good though, it's called WED clay. WED is slow drying so it
    permits longer use (adding weeks rather than just days, even if you cover and moisten it) and since it's water-based, it's easier
    to sculpt since it's softer and can be manipulated more efficiently with water.
    Now the sculpting part itself is up to you, but you can use certain tools and tricks to make your life a little easier. Forks are an
    easy tool to use to create multiple and evenly spaced lines in fins.


    Step 7: Molding your Fluke
    Molding your fluke is a bit different than molding your scales. You CAN technically use either liquid plastic or silicone too, so it's
    not entirely different, but you essentially have the option to make it differently than your scale sheet.
    Once you're done sculpting your fluke, you can choose to make a mold box around it or not. GENERALLY, if you're using liquid plastic,
    you need a mold box, but if you're using silicone, you have 2 routes to choose from.

    FOR SILICONE USERS:
    You can either:
    A. Make a thin mold with less silicone, no mold box, yet you will need a backing
    B. Make a thick mold with A LOT of silicone, a mold box, but no backing
    Now the main difference between these 2 options is the size of your fluke. If your fluke is very large it may take a ridiculous amount of
    silicone to completely encase it if you use a mold box. Other determining factors could be the mold box material. If you're making the box
    out of styrofoam, wood, or cardboard (things that usually form an actual BOX shape around the object) chances are there are going to be
    lots of empty spaces in which the silicone will simply touch the floor and not capture any details. CLAY may be your best option when it
    comes to the fluke because it will usually be very far from a box shape. So generally, what you can do is make clay walls completely
    surrounding your fluke (about 1.5-2" away from the fluke itself), following the curvature of the fluke, and then fill your mold box.
    THIS is probably the best method for a "mold box"
    If you're not going to use the thin layers method, you're going to need a couple paintbrushes to apply your silicone directly to the fluke
    in thin layers and slowly build them up until you have a decent amount of silicone over them.
    Then you'll need a backing to keep your mold in shape when you're casting it and filling it with other matierals. Backings can be made from
    many things: plaster, plaster bandages, bondo.. My favorite option is fiberglass cloth with resin. This combo not only provides a thin casing
    thats lightweight, but it's very strong and easy to remove.
    To make your "backing" all you have to do is wait for your silicone to cure, then simply apply some WD-40 or Petroleum Jelly for lubrication,
    and then layer your backing material right onto your silicone. Once the backing is dry, remove it from the silicone.

    FOR LIQUID PLASTIC USERS
    If you're confused because you're using liquid plastic, don't be. You have it easy! All you have to do is apply a few thin layers of liquid plastic
    over your fluke and wait for it to harden! Instant shell with no backing needed :')
    Just be sure to spray your first couple layers with air-duster to get any bubbles out so your plastic sinks into all the details. However you can
    even skip this step if your plastic is fairly runny.

    Step 8: Casting your Scales and Flukes
    Now that you've got both molds done, it's time to separate them from their housings. For your scale sheets, remove the mold from the mold box
    and your mold is ready. You may have to clean out a few foam scales that may have gotten stuck to the silicone, but it should for the most part
    be very easy to clean.
    If you used clay for your scales like you did for your fluke, you're going to need to take it out. A spoon is generally a good idea for scooping out
    clay, but you should be able to take most of it out by hand. If you used water-based clay, then this part is easy, simply soak your mold in a tub
    of warm water and soap for about an hour until the clay dissolves and then give it a final rinse with some more water.
    If you used oil based clay, cleanup will be a bit more tedious, but it shouldn't be too hard. Hot/warm water is great for melting stubborn oil-clay
    out of any detail-crevices and a toothbrush is ideal for scrubbing out any leftover clay film.
    Once you've got everything wrinsed off, you need to find a level surface to place your mold on top of so you can get an even distribution of Dragon-
    Skin throughout your piece, especially for the scale sheets. Next all you have to do is mix your DragonSkin according to it's parts and pour it right
    in. You could always add a color to the mixture, however, you should always test to see which paint/powder/liquid doesn't interfere with the curing
    of the Dragonskin. You'll need to make 2 scale sheets (unless you're going with one giant scale sheet) as well as 2 fluke halves.

    Step 9: Installing your Monofin
    Now this step can be skipped if you don't have a monofin, but generally swimming without one is pretty hard so I would recommend reconsidering
    putting one in. Anyway, the basic idea of this step is that you're simply going to take side A and side B of your flukes and sandwich your monofin
    inbetween them. To attach them together, you can use industrial strength silicone glue, or more simply, more Dragonskin. I think the most efficient
    way to go about it is to do one side at a time. Place your fluke, flat-side up, on a flat surface and then coat the flat side in dragonskin, next do the
    same to one side of your monofin. Then simply place your monofin on that side. Next you can coat some more silicone on the other side of your
    monofin and then place your last side of the fluke on top. Then you can squeeze both flukes together after aligning them so that you can get any
    excess silicone out. You should put enough silicone so that some DOES come out, that way you can be sure that massive air canals aren't trapped
    inside your "sandwich" that may later open up and tear your tail apart. Once you do that, you can place a weight of some sort over your fluke to keep
    some sort of pressure on it.

    Step 10: Making the body

    Now that you've got the fluke done, you can use it to help size your tail. Now we're going to use that convenient dumjmy of your legs that we made in
    the first step. Now, simply take your monofin and put it on your dummy. This will help you see exactly where your scales need to end off and cover the
    fluke. So first, take one scale sheet and wrap it around one side of the dummy, making sure that the lowest point comes down to cover the exposed
    parts of the monofin.
    Now before we go any further there are a few ways you can go about doing the sizing.


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  2. #2
    This is great! I can't wait to see it develop! Thanks for all the info thus far, already so many questions answered.

  3. #3
    Haha yea, I was sort of tired of this scatter of information with no one willing or able to answer
    questions. I'm also annoyed that I haven't got the money to properly test this out myself, but I think
    that with a general idea out there people can take their first steps and get some experimenting done
    themselves!

    Glad you like it, if you can think of something to add, let me know~
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    awesome work!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pod of Cali Prince Calypso's Avatar
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    really well done.
    Little Sailor, Little fool, your better heed the golden rule
    do unto other just as you, would like to to have them do to you
    you think you can just walk away,but no, it doesn't work that way
    see once your mine, your'll always be
    I never give anything for free...

  6. #6
    On the sulphur part, yes, sulphur inhibits the curing of platinum cure silicone. Something about the chemical reaction. This isn't so with tin-cure silicone, so it is a problem with the platinum portion I would assume. In anyway, yes, sulphur (and latex and tin) are no noes around platinum cure.

    Wonderful job, by they way. And thank you for the shoutouts. :>
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  7. #7
    Ohh yea I should add that latex bit. I almost forgot about that.
    And of course~ You've been helping me the whole way and answering all my questions xD
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  8. #8
    kanti can i just say that i love you? i might not have the money to test this either, but when i do, the info will be sitting here waiting. :3

  9. #9
    I love to help. :>
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Pod of The South Blondie's Avatar
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    Absolutely amazing. I really appreciate the time you took to make this!

  11. #11
    Glad you guys like it.
    Hopefully it'll encourage people to make their own silicone tails xD
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Pod of The South Blondie's Avatar
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    The only thing is I'm so nervous about messing it up :\ I mean if you mess up, buying the materials again is a real pain. And I'd kick my own butt because I ruined it the first time around xD

  13. #13
    would like to say thank you for posting this it makes it easier to find the info in one thread. I plan on doing a latex first and then saving up to try this method.

  14. #14
    @iblondie - well since silicone can only be molded, you'll have a lot of time to spot errors in the tail before you ever
    have the chance to waste any dragonskin. Oil-based clay is pretty forgiving since you can re-use it over and over
    and things like mold making and alginate casting are very easy to pick up on offline. I made my first mold after watching
    a couple videos. I just did what they told me to do and everything turned out perfect!
    I think it's just intimidating to take that first step, but it's a lot easier than you think. If I get around to making this anytime
    soon, I'm certainly going to be making videos of how I do everything so you guys can see first hand.

    @fallen - no problem :') and that's a good idea, especially since latex is a lot cheaper and readily available.
    Just remember that you can't share latex molds with silicone so you'll have to remake all your molds when you
    decide to switch over to Dragonskin.
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  15. #15
    This is amazingly helpful! Thank you so much for writing this!

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  16. #16
    Oh Kanti, you BALLER!

    I would hug you harder than a bear hugs dinner ^.^

    Excellent work my dear.

  17. #17
    Same pretty much applies for foam and liquid latex. This is awesome btw!

  18. #18
    Great tutorial,

    Now you need is the fluke instructions..lol Im sitting here staring at silicone caulk and a spandex tail thinking.. Like how to make the "fluke", demolding and preparing it, stuff like that

  19. #19
    Yea I'm sort of shooting guesses over here but I mean, it's essentially the same as a latex tail, like
    Ilonka said.

    For the fluke, I'd get a piece of posterboard or waxpaper, trace your design onto it, then fold it in half
    to mirror the design so both pieces are even. Then just use the paper design as a base to sculpt your
    fluke onto using oil-based clay. When you do make your mold using the clay piece, it's only going to be
    half of the final fluke, so you need 2 castings of it. That's why you need to make it ESSENTIAL that you
    make that initial base piece mirrored. If not, your fluke halves won't fit onto each other properly and
    they'll be uneven and look weird lol.

    I'll write it more detailed later, but that's your basic idea.
    Attacking it onto the tail is a different story, I still have to think of a way to do that xD
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  20. #20
    Attaching the fluke to the body of the tail isent hard, if you are using neoprene use the silicone or latex as a glue. Paint both the fabric and the fluke with silicone and bond them together, then take scales and bond them on top with the same procedure. Pretty much u have to make a silicone sandwitch with the fluke, neoprene and scales. If ur not using neoprene just no.d the scales and fluke together but make sure to spread plenty of silicone and fill in any gaps to seal and bond them completely.

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