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

  1. #81
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mer-Crazy's Avatar
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    Silicone has a lot of stretch to it. Measuring firmly, but not tightly, ensures the best result most of the time. Giving it a little slack is fine in some areas like the ankles, as it can help get the monofin on easier since you have more room to reach however can create wrinkles. Around the knees a little bit of room is okay if you have previous knee injures or problems. The butt I'm not too sure but I know it's a notoriously hard part to get on due to the swimsuit.

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  2. #82
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    See, I personally will always prefer a loose tail to a tight tail. I don't find silicone has that much stretch. If you're constantly stretching it, it is going to wear out in that area. Our blue tail is tight on me and only an inch smaller in the hips than mine, and I could barely wear it for photos it was so uncomfortable. My personal tail is skin tight and leaves impressions on my skin and I find it a challenge to safely get on and off.

    I find softer silicone is stretchy but it'll always be more fragile and tear easier.

    If I am successful enough to buy myself another personal tail I will have it made looser. It may occasionally wrinkle like that but to me that's better than the pain, slowness of getting off and on, and risk of damage to waist line

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  3. #83
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Sherielle's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
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    My tail was bought second (third) hand and it doesn't quite fit my measurements. It's just a tad too small. If I am ever able to afford my own custom tail, I'll probably have it fitting just about right in the waist/butt area with a little bit looser in the knees and ankles. I'm tired of fighting my tail to get into it.
    Of course, I could just exercise and lose weight and all but who am I kidding? lol

  4. #84
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania The Water Phoenix's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
    Perth, Western Australia
    I've had a tail before but I grew out of it sadly It was a magictail

  5. #85
    @Mermaid Alea, I adore your tail!

    The rest of you guys are making really good points. I actually convinced a ten-year-old-girl that I'm a mermaid--WITHOUT a tail! I suppose you don't need full-on realism--it's all what you make of it.
    Twilight darkens, yet there in the shade,
    Lies a glimmering shadow, the wild mermaid;

    As night draws ever closer, there's a choice to be made--
    Will you stay as you are, or be delivered to the waves?

    Laumina the Storm Siren

    Instagram: mermaidwhisperofficial | Facebook: Mermaid Whisper | YouTube: Mermaid Whisper

  6. #86
    I am currently working on my first tail (fabric) to go with the mahina merfin I practiced with this summer. I also have a foil that I've been practicing with and absolutely love, and am considering putting that inside of a silicone tail once I get to that stage. I want to make my own for my first silicone tail because I love learning new things (especially crafty things) and I know I'd love it to pieces even if I couldn't take it in the water all the time. Also, like several of the other mers who've posted here, I cosplay and that part of me craves both the process of creating a tail and accessories out of silicone, and the realism of many finished silicone mer-things.
    The jump from monofin to fabric to silicone is a big one and I know it'll take a lot of work to get there, but I really don't think a neoprene tail will work for me (though I'd love one because it would help keep me warmer in the cold northern water...). I used to do scuba diving and I can still remember the first time I went in the water with a wetsuit - I was pretty much floating on my back and barely able to stay underwater when swimming. Then I added the scuba gear and tank and - ended up upside-down (head down, feet up), unable to right myself on my own (but at least I could breathe). With ankle weights I'm fine, but that experience makes me really wary to try a neoprene tail...

  7. #87
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Kaila Mermaid's Avatar
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    Some mers will actually put little ankle weights in their neoprene (and otherwise) tails to help with that issue
    ~Kaila Mermaid~

  8. #88
    I feel the way you do about going with a neoprene tail first. I would love to have a neoprene tail made for me that I would then paint and add sequins to. However I have had a difficult time finding tail makers who will make neoprene tails. Any ideas of who to talk to?

  9. #89
    I saw a hybrid neoprene/silicone tail and I thought it was lovely. That may be a good way to graduate from a spandex tail into something more realistic looking.

  10. #90
    Senior Member Pod of The South Keiris's Avatar
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    Actually, My hybrid tail is not neoprene and If you look at my pics under my thread, it looks pretty realistic and is a hell of a lot easier than getting into full silicone.

  11. #91
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    Hi Mermaids. Goodday Swimming to all.
    I have a question, Is it really advisable/applicable or is an SOP to pay in full amount when ordering a silicone tail online?

    Thanks in advance.

  12. #92
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    In the mermaid world, you would be hard pressed to find a tailmaker that will begin work on a tail without being paid in full before production begins, so it is pretty much standard operating procedure. Tailmakers usually have very strict policies regarding this due to being burned. Supplies to make tails are expensive and since most tails are custom made, if a tailmaker gets stiffed, they have to absorb that cost.

    That being said, many people have been burned by tailmakers - both by thieves or tailmakers who are overcommitted and/or new - so without guarantees in place, tail buyers are reticent to risk laying out a big sum for a custom tail.

    If you are nervous about putting so much out there, make sure you use some process that has protections in place, like a credit card or PayPal, and keep diligent records of every exchange and transaction.

    This is where doing your research is paramount to your decision. I think it can only pay off for everyone to go with a reputable tailmaker, even if the price is high and/or the wait times are long. The Mernetwork forums are filled with sad stories.

    Good luck!

  13. #93
    This thread has really opened my eyes to the potential dangers of silicon! I wasn't planning on getting a super expensive tail any time soon, but now I see it might not be right for me even after I get comfortable with my fabric one.

  14. #94
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    Silicon is glass, silicone is rubber.

    What potential dangers are you referring to? Swimming or tailmakers using toxic materials?

  15. #95
    Without having to retype everything again, all of the things listed in the first post here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Winged Mermaid View Post

    The reasons most mers recommend fabric first:

    -You may find when you get a tail that you don't like mermaiding after all. This actually happens a LOT. I myself have had dozens of friends hard core geek out about wanting to be a mermaid, but the minute I put them in a monofin and/or tail they they dropped that idea like a sack of bricks and never looked back. It's just not for some people.
    Then there's about half or more of mers who get into mermaiding, are super gung ho for a while, then lose interest within a year or two. If you have a fabric tail it's no big deal. When you have a multi thousand dollar tail, you're going to lose a good chunk of that in resale.

    -Silicone tails are HEAVY. Staring off with one you can actually injure yourself. I've seen it happen to people starting of with silicone tails, and/or starting off with a competitor monofin. You use different muscles to swim in and maneuver around in (dry or wet) a tail, so if you put a whole lot of stain on muscles that aren't used to that it can end badly. Even in needing a trip to the doctor for some. Full silicone tails usually are 15-30+lbs just in the fluke.

    -When you're learning, you're going to bang up your first tail something fierce! There's more too it than learning to just swim from A to B. There's different kinds of turns, there's hovering instead of standing on your fluke, there's completely eliminating that nasty habit of ever hopping around on your fluke (balance can be an issue for first timers), there's learning how to gauge where the pool bottom and sides are at all times so you don't scrape anything, ect. This can lead to a lot of scraping, ripping, tearing, all that- even if you're careful! For a fabric tail you can repair it or get a new one. For a silicone one, repairs or replacement is very expensive, especially if you have to send it back to the tailmaker. We're talking a few hundred just for shipping. I've observed a lot of mers going from nothing to silicone or from fabric to silicone have the following happen to them- they scrape off a lot or all the paint on their heels, knees, and even the fluke (I've even seen paint scraped off of the body of silicone tails), put holes in the silicone body, tear the silicone body, tear the waist line, tear off dorsal fins, tear off other extra fins (pectoral, heel, ankle), and over stretch scales from putting it on improperly. That can be one expensive learning process if you go with silicone.

    -Starting off in a silicone tail can be scary. Most people don't realize that having your legs bound together in the water until they're in the water having trouble. With a fabric tail you can have that thing of in literally 3 seconds if you need to, even total beginners can have it of in 5 seconds. A silicone tail? If you're panicking you're screwed, becuase that thing is skin tight with very tight foot pockets- it takes more time to get off. Even if people don't have a silicone tail I always advise them to learn with a tail and/or monofin with a floatation device and a safety buddy. For some people swimming in a tail comes natural. For others they just can't get it and they panic. So better to have safety first.

    -Silicone tails are heavy and rubbery. They HURT when they hit someone. It takes times to learn to manuver around people safely in a pool with other people, and in close proximity. When I hit someone in my fabric tail it wasn't a big deal, or it just hurt them enough and "Ow!" and "Oh I'm so sorry!" "It's okay, just stung a bit." was all that I got. With a silicone tail you can leave a welt or worse.

    -Silicone tails require a lot of care, and some maintenance that people may not be comfortable doing on their own. Silicone isn't indestructible, like people like to think. Chlorine and other things wear away at it like anything else. With silicone it can make it dry out, crack, and generally make it weaker leading to other issues. With some tailmakers the paint comes off way more easily than it should. If it gets moldy it will eat away at the silicone and make it fragile or even make it look dirty (when the mold is on the inside and you look at it from the outside). You get can get rips, tears, holes, ect same as any other tail. Silicone is harder to fix than neoprene or latex and neoprene tails.

    Full after swim maintenance usually takes about an hour. You have to rinse it with water well inside and out, give it a baking soda rinse or bath, rinse it well again (if you want to be good about it, wipe it down with a virgin sponge as well while rinsing to make sure it's getting everything off), dry it by hand inside and out-and you have to get down in the fluke and footpockets REALLY well to avoid mold- then prop it up or open to make sure any remaining moisture airs out. Every few swims you really should spray it with adult toy cleaner or wipe it out with lysol wipes to kill bacteria and prevent mold. You need to patch holes or tears yourself with silicone. If you got your tail from a maker where paint comes off, you have to repaint it yourself with silicone and pigment or send it back to the tailmaker to have it touched up. If you tear off a fin or rip a seam you have to try and repair it yourself or send it back to the maker. Also you have to be extra careful in transporting it and storing it or you can damage it. Also if you lose weight you can't just take it in like all other tails- you have to send it in to be taken in. Some tailmakers can't fix the paint job if it's distorted by taking in the tail. They're high care tails, IF you want them to last more than a year or two.

    Usually beginners don't want to deal with all that. They just want to swim and be done. With silicone tails swimming is only half of it.

    Those are the usual reasons why we advise people to start off with fabric or neoprene tails. But it's just that- advice! If you believe you're experienced enough they won't be issues, or are wiling to deal with said issues, then go for it! We're here to support you Just be aware of what you're getting yourself into!

  16. #96
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    I though there was a specific concern, not the entire scope of silicone tails.

  17. #97
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    I am from Mi, moved to KY 2 years ago. Travel often!

    This saved me!!

    This post gave me comfort!! I got my first fabric tail early June and I've become so obsessed with mermaiding that all I've had on my mind is SILICONE TAIL! After reading this, and after weeks of not shutting up about wanting a silicone, (can't afford it right now), I realize I'm not ready for one and all the work that comes with it! I tried researching online and all I got was ads for more tails. Thank you! I'm now content with my fabric tails
    "Making plans to change the world while the world is changing us"


  18. #98
    (just out of curiosity) what is the minimum age do you guys recommend for purchasing a silicone tail?

  19. #99
    Senior Member Ransom's Avatar
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    Oct 2017
    When you stop growing. For most people it's their very late teens or early twenties.
    Last edited by Ransom; 05-10-2018 at 04:43 AM. Reason: My proofreading isn't what it was :(
    "Only in death does duty end." -- Warhammer 40,000

  20. #100
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    Yes, once you stop growing so much, AND the decision should also be based upon your actual swimming ability!

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