The construction is all done on my Elsa Mermaid tail, and it’s time to make it PRETTY!
(part one, construction, is here)
I used Jones Tones sparkle paint in about 5 different shades of blue and silver. Elsa’s skirt fabric from the Frozen movie has vertical lines of sparkle on it, so I made the skirt-part of the tail have a similar texture.
I achieved this by squeezing out a whole bunch of colors of paint all over the tail, and then took a big-toothed comb and broke off the ends (so it was nothing but teeth). I used the comb to gently blend and comb the paint in long up-and-down strokes until I got the effect I wanted.
For the bottom of the skirt, I masked the edging with some masking tape before painting, so it would stay white. I used more of the darker blues to give an gradient effect, similar to Elsa’s skirt from the movie. Earlier, I’d sewn the velcro on the back of these flaps with lots of vertical stitches, which gave the base of the tail a really interesting texture (and hid the fact that I’d sewn velcro on, WIN) and the paint overlay really emphasized this texture.
Doing the front and back was easy, but to get the sides done smoothly I had to stuff the tail full of fabric scraps and whatnot. It looks like a stuffed squid mermaid on my table!
Once the top was done, I painted a base coat on the fluke with several layers of paint to get it nicely blended. I wanted the fluke to take after Elsa’s cape, so I used lighter blues and a lot more white for this part, but still all sparkle paint. The edges blend to a dark blue to match the top. It turned out gorgeous!
Next I used some screen captures of Elsa’s snowflake cape pattern I found on the internet to decide how to lay out the snowflakes. Then I improvised as needed.. it’s a totally different shape and having too many snowflakes made it look cluttered. I really like how it ended up, though I’m considering adding a few more teensy ones here and there.
For the fringe fins at the bottom of the tail, I used plastic shelf liner that I found at the local hardware store and cut it into a pleasing shape. I really like the effect.. it looks a bit like an ice sheet or icicle at the end of the tail.
I glued all the icicles in place using Loctite Vinyl Fabric & Plastic glue. It was slow to dry but they hold VERY well, which is wonderful.
Next, I added the velcro to the fluke, sewing it on first and then putting the two pieces together and trimming the velcro to match where the top overlay wanted to be.
Next, I used my serger to put a rolled edge on the bottom of both sides of the fluke.
Once the whole thing was edged, I added the plastic fins at the end. I sewed them on just along the edging and then trimmed the inside close to the stitching, so they wouldn’t collect water and slow me down.
Once it all looked pretty and there was nothing else to sew on, I put the monofin inside and sewed the fin closed, leaving lots of gaps for drainage. I didn’t use any glue this time — just stitched it as best I could on the machine and when I couldn’t fit it into the machine anymore, by hand.
I used my friend Anna as “mermaid test dummy” to be sure everything lined up in the back and on the front, and made adjustments / added more velcro as needed.
I finished by adding a waistband of sheer blue fabric (similar to Elsa’s sleeves).. but it still needs some work so I won’t post pictures as of yet. I did manage to take my first swim in the new tail though!! It swims like a dream.. so light and fast, with absolutely no drainage problems. It’s really easy to get into and out of too! Here’s a short video..
Next, I need to make a matching top, and decide if I need an actual cape or not and what the hair will be like. But for now, I’m in love with it. It’s SO SPARKLY!!
EDIT: Finished the top and hair, took this tail to Hawaii, and here’s the finished video. Enjoy!