How to Make a Monofin for a Mermaid Tail

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Though most mermaid tail costumes attach fins to the right and left sides of the tail, for a truly realistic look you want a monofin. This is a single, fan-shaped fin in the shape of a dolphin's tail. With a monofin tail, your mermaid costume will have a more realistic and quintessential shape, perfect for photo or film shoots. Add this tail to any open-bottom mermaid tail costume or simply pair it with a long, tight green skirt.

Things You'll Need

  • Tooling leather
  • Pencil
  • Ballet-style slippers
  • Seam ripper
  • Rubber cement
  • Draft a large half-circle shape on the tooling leather in pencil. Make the flat edge 24 inches long.

  • Remove any bows or other decorative pieces from the slippers using the seam ripper and scissors.

  • Coat the front half of the soles (the ball of the foot and toe) of the slippers in leather cement.

  • Press the glue-coated portion of the soles of the slippers to the center of the top mound of the leather half-circle, forming the pin. Position the slippers so that they're side by side with the heel portions extending past the edge of the cut leather.

  • Let the leather cement dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Coat the outside of the slippers and the top of the leather cutout (the side where the slippers are glued) with plastic dipping solution. Apply with the disposable brush. Use the thinnest layer you can and still get an even, complete coating. Let dry according to manufacturer's instructions.

  • Paint the finished fin, top and bottom, with green acrylic paint. Use at least two layers of paint on the top, and three layers on the bottom. Let each layer dry before applying the next.

Tips & Warnings

  • A monofin is not a tail that allows you to separate your feet and walk while wearing. To make the tail convertible, cut it in half down the middle and apply stick-on Velcro.

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References

  • "Costume Designer's Handbook: A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Designers;" Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey; 1992
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