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Thread: Why we don't advise full silicone tails for your first tail.

  1. #41
    I think I'm one of those rare cases where I got a silicone tail instead of starting out with fabric or neoprene. I definitely would not recommend it for just anyone. I had a feeling I'd be good at it because I'm very confident in the water, and I had a bunch of people watching me my first time to make sure I was okay. I took it really slow and didn't push myself, but even to this day with all my practice, there are still things I can't quite do, such as hover in the water instead of standing on the fluke.

    Dry events are a whole other story as well. I did a boo at the zoo event, it was 8 hours of sitting on a rock prop in my merbellas tail. Let me tell you, the sweat was unbearable. That along with the fact that I used lotion to slide into my tail made for a really gross sticky mess. I couldn't flop my fluke for the kids because that much weight on my feet would cause cramping. In the end I took my feet out of my foot pockets and just had my tail hanging to take the stress off my muscles. Definitely not for beginners, but I'm willing to put up with the hassle and discomfort just for the realistic look and feel of it alone. And cleaning it, don't even get me started. Its such a chore! I can't just throw it in the washer like a fabric tail. That thing gets a full on baking soda bath when it gets home. And drying it is an event all its own, since I don't have a drying stand and I live in this tiny apartment.

  2. #42
    Even if I hope to make my silicone tail soon, I'm not ready to start with it. I'm not a good swimmer yet so to make sure with it I'll use fabric for first
    (Formerly known as Mermaid Claudia)

  3. #43
    Can you use clear silicone caulking( like what you would get at Home Depot). To attatch fins to a silicone tail? Also, could you mix glitter with it to decorate scales on a silicone tail?

  4. #44
    Moderator Pod of Cali Mermaid Wesley's Avatar
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    Yes you probably could


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  5. #45
    Not on a silicone tail! It won't stick.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Yes it sticks. I reattached my pelvic fin with silicone caulking specified by smooth on at home depot and it has been stuck on for a year.

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  7. #47
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Kaila Mermaid's Avatar
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    More Saving. More Zombie-like Employees. That's the power of The Home Depot.
    Love your friendly Service Desk associate ;P

    JUST MAKE YOU SURE DON'T ACCIDENTALLY GET COLORED CAULK. It also comes in Clear
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  8. #48
    Dear Kaila, I am laughing as I am going to sleep. Thanks!

  9. #49
    SO, I did make a fabric tail for my first tail. Looks beautiful in the sun, structurally sound. But after weeks of practicing with just the monofin...adding the fabric made it extremely heavy! Couldn`t pop it out of the water, was sluggish swimming. I`m not afraid of doing some strength training (going to make a slightly less fancy version for practice), but wow. People always mention how heavy silicone is, and obviously non-neoprene fabrics will weight more once in water. But no one ever seems to talk about or mention this? (I looked in the what to expect/first tail thread too). What was everyone elses first time in a fabric tail like? Does the drag/weight get better as muscle strength improves or is that just the way it is?

  10. #50
    Moderator Pod of Cali Mermaid Wesley's Avatar
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    You do get used to it. It depends on how tight the fabric is as well as how many extra fins you may have etc. In my fabric tail I can only swim slow because of my fluke extensions for example. If I try to swim fast, there's a ton of drag. You get used to to pretty quickly I think, which is why nobody really talks about it.

  11. #51
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    All tails are tricky to get out of the water from the fluke. Water collects there. Even with drainage holes then you gotta lift it up just enough for them to drain lol. in my experience the best thing is to learn how to do finslaps. you can do them even with heavy flukes and it makes it all look real. I also find if I'm on my belly and put the tail up behind me, water will drain through my wait and that's a lot easier than being on my back and lifting it up

  12. #52
    One of my two fabric tails has about a foot of flowy, ruffled spandex at the end of the fluke. I get a huge amount of drag in that, so I don't use it for distance swimming. When I got the other one, I spruced up the fluke with fabric additions and hip fins. But I chose fabrics that were slick and not thick and absorbent, and I only allowed about 4 inches of fabric to extend past the end of the fluke. In that tail, I don't notice any drag at all. It swims beautifully, even when I wear a flowy fabric belt.

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  13. #53
    Thank you- I will stop thinking of the tail I'm going to be sewing in a few days as "just a fabric tail," since it will be my first.

  14. #54
    Yeah don't start with a silicon tail. I made the mistake. A few years ago I decided. Lets learn some new way of swimming and I always wanted to be like a mermaid. Cute, beautiful, mysterious so I wanted a tail and if I gonna learn it why pick just some cheap tail? So I got myself a silicone tail. Was strange getting in, was strange getting out. I had my few moments of joy. Half a year later I dropped it cause I felt silly and childish and people just kept staring at me. Also after I got home from swimming my whole family couldn't use the bath tub cause the tail was in here with me cleaning it.
    I only started it again cause a good friend told me I shouldn't get discouraged by what other people think and that he believes its pretty cool and likes to hear about my unusual hobby.
    So now I'm here with a new tail (silicone again) but at least now I have a year experience and I'm determined to continue.

    Really if you don't have thick scales or friends to support you chances are you just wasted 3000+ dollars on top to the broken heart for 6 months of being a mermaid with realistic tail. Taking care of the tail isn't as much of a problem if you can organize yourself and know where on the internet to look after a guide for it. (Love the internet. Best invention a human could ever come up with)
    This eSCALElated rather quickly.

  15. #55
    I figured I would practice first in a monofin.

    Weight wouldn't bother me as I'm very active, I ride my bicycle everyday for miles which I've been doing for years now.
    I've strengthened my legs considerably so relearning how to swim and practicing will help alot.

    Also there is a tail maker whom I like makes realistic tails that are latex that weigh around 15 pounds.
    User formerly known as "Deep Sea Siren".

    "One day I'll no longer be a stranger to the sea.

  16. #56
    Senior Member Rocky Mountain Pod Mermaid Morgann's Avatar
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    I had a wonderful opportunity to get a silicone tail and not pay myself (found a sponsor) so I ordered a silicone tail about the same time that I ordered a fabric "practice" tail. As a cocky young swimmer who was quite literally amphibious and practically lived in the water for my entire childhood, I thought that this would be a piece of cake. Sure, the dolphin kicks were easy, and as I was training to become a free-diver, the breath holding wasn't too bad either. However, what was bad, was exactly what you guys have said; I wasn't used to using those leg muscles the same way!

    I am now very grateful to have been started off in a fabric tail, because not only did it help me realize exactly how much I love being a mermaid and swimming like one, but it showed me that I had a lot of work to do before my silicone tail would come to me. The fabric tail was great for workouts to train my body into a swimming machine, and the monofin I was able to learn to swim with after some practice.

    Case and point, I would've thought I was completely ready but by getting a fabric practice tail I learned that though a trained swimmer for years, I had a lot of ground to make up before getting into a silicone tail!

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Miyu View Post
    I have the opportunity of getting a silicone tail rather soon, but that doesn't mean I'm skipping straight past fabric and neoprene - it's more that there is a special opportunity there, I won't pass it up just because I'm not fully trained yet. I don't plan on doing much swimming in silicone just yet (unless when I try it on in water it's super-amazingly life-changing or something, but those are rare cases and I'm not counting on it).

    I would have two fabric tails for practice and such done already, but I've discovered my small machine only does straight stitch! Now it's a dilemma of trying to sew it by hand, or try to quickly sew it when I visit Morticia :P I do plan on using only fabric tails for training - I was not very exposed to the water as a kid, and I've never had to do such athletic swimming! So I will take it easy on myself while training until I feel comfortable in my ability, and even then I'll probably just jump up to neoprene first.

    Splashing around in the shallow end with the kiddos, now that's a different story. I'll pull out the silicone tail for that and dry events while I become a stronger swimmer. I know, you all have already said silicone tails are hot and uncomfortable... For the awesome, amazing special kids I want to do visits with, the discomfort is more than worth the looks of joy and the ability to bring a little magic into their lives
    This is wonderful! What I am working on is research while swimming. I am on the side practicing along with the life guards as I was not a good swimmer before. Its so much fun when they see you progress and I would like to have my life guard and scuba as well license. Try tossing pool toys into the bottom of the pool and using your monofin/fabric tail to dive for them. It will teach you to move around more, how to get air in different ways. Treading water is also much much different but there are different ways to do it. I'm new myself but after 4 months of swim training and entering the world of swimming with my monofin and fabric tail. I think I can honestly see a big difference and even a improvement of speed and muscle control. Keep up the good work!
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  18. #58
    Senior Member Euro Pod Talia's Avatar
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    Good thing I found this thread!

    I have had my fabric tail for 2 years now and was considering saving up to buy a silicone one. I don't think I am ready to do that just yet. I'm afraid I would be no good in taking care of a silicone tail by myself, and having to ship it back and forth to the States would be my ruin.

    As of today, I only spent an extra 70 euros on a new monofin (the first one broke), and I also bought a new tail skin (another 70), but because I was feeling fancy, not because I really needed it. Although the first skin is becoming larger each day, and the fabric is not firm anymore. When stretched, it does not come back well. Still, it's just 70 euros for a brand new tail each 2 years...
    Last edited by Talia; 09-04-2014 at 05:42 PM. Reason: Grammar

  19. #59
    Alright so I have a bit of a dilemma. For the past two years, ever since I've gotten into mermaiding, I've been struggling with what to do for my first tail.

    For a little while I entertained the idea of making my own, but that idea was quickly scrapped since, unlike most of you guys, I'm not crafty. 1. I have no sewing machine, 2. Even I did, I can't sew for the life of me (grade 7 sewing class proved this to me), 3. The thought of working with latex or silicone in my own home without supervision sounds about as scary as someone asking me to work in a lab with radioactive elements XD

    So, it comes down to buying a tail. I am (like a few people on here) a poor student still relying on my parents for certain costs like tuition. Saving up for a tail has been slow, since I don't work all the time and I don't want to take too much of the money I earn to put in my tail fund since I need most of it for other expenses (plus I would feel awful about blowing all of my paychecks on a tail while my parents are still selflessly paying for my schooling). Now, after a year of money slowly trickling into my savings account, I have $700. I feel like I'm at a bit of a cross-roads now and torn with what I want to do with this.

    My first impulse is to NOT touch it at all for a while and just keep saving up for a silicone tail, for which I expect to spend somewhere between $2,500 - 3,000. In student-world, that's a lot of money and it will certainly take me a LONG time to get there (even if I work part-time while attending school and live with my parents). So I won't lie that the prospect of spending even just a couple of hundred dollars on a fabric tail makes me wince a bit, in spite of the resounding consensus that it's best to start with a fabric tail.

    I'm a bit like Seavanna - I lean more towards the cosplay elements of mermaiding and I don't plan on "going pro", although I figure that if I'm going to spend money on a mermaid costume, it needs to be a costume that I'm going to absolutely LOVE, last me a long time and feel proud wearing no matter where I am. I'm not trying to bash fabric tails, because I know that some fabric tails can look really nice, but I want to aim for realism and for that I'm definitely wanting a latex or silicone tail. I think the only fabric tail that I've liked enough to consider as a "starter" tail is the Magictail tails... but even then, I'm gnashing my teeth because the sizes are quite limited (medium is size US 4 - 8, large is 10 - 16; I land splat in between size 8-10, so it's either going to be really tight or really loose :/)

    Now, another possibility would be to buy a monofin and practice with that. I'm thinking that I might buy a competitor monofin, train with it, then (when I have enough money in the bank) send it to a tail-maker so they can use it for making the tail. Do you guys think that this would work? It's definitely my preferred option for the moment, since I would still get practice doing the dolphin kick with my feet tied together but without having to make an investment in something that I view as a temporary solution.

  20. #60
    I had read somewhere in one of the monofin threads that the competitor was best trained up to by learning to use a monofin of lesser mass or something. I don't know, I was worried that a rapid would be too much in a starter fin, it's been perfect. I figured, if it turned out to be too much for me, I could always sell it on ebay.

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