I just finished making this gorgeous brand-new Ariel cosplay mermaid tail. (Awesome underwater photos here!) It’s made from neoprene and lots of paint with a custom made translucent monofin inside the fluke.
I’ve been using this handmade Ariel tail for 3 1/2 years, and it’s still holding up really well and completely functional and lovely. However, a little of the shine has worn off, and I’ve never been a huge fan of the Rapid monofin inside that tail, so I decided it was time for a new one.
1. Multiple pieces that velcro together for ease of use in public venues, and also ease of getting in and out of the tail.
2. A stomp pad on the back so the delicate parts don’t get ruined on rough pool decks.
3. A v-shaped waistband that minimizes gapping at the back
4. Drainage holes along the bottom
This time around I also added a couple more features. This tail is actually 3 pieces — the monofin with its fringes and stomp pad, the neoprene transition section that covers the foot piece, and the top “skirt” portion of the tail are all individual pieces held together with velcro.
This has allowed me to keep a really clean silhouette, with small fins at the ankles to smooth the transitions. One thing I never quite liked about my last Ariel tail was the extra layers of fabric around the ankles. I think a mermaid silhouette is improved with the smallest ankle diameter possible, and this design allows that.
I wanted a translucent monofin since Ariel’s fins are actually translucent in the Disney movie. I’ve only seen one other Mermaid who has accomplished this — her tail designs are gorgeous and I ordered the monofin from her. It’s a lot softer than the competitor monofin I have in the Glimmer and Elsa tails, which means the fluke of this tail moves in a gorgeous, sinuous manner that I absolutely love. I added EVA foam swim fin foot pockets instead of the straps the monofin came with, since I’m much more used to this style and it feels more comfortable and secure.
To cover the monofin and create the full-sized fluke I wanted, I found some gorgeous jade-blue translucent polycarbonate at Tap Plastics with a stunning watery shiny pattern on it. The photos don’t do this stuff justice. It’s freaking gorgeous when the sunlight hits it. I used two layers and stitched them together with my serger, since any glues would show through when the sunlight hits the tail. This worked really well; the fluke looks really clean and pretty.
I added a fringe to the bottom made out of plastic shelf liner from the hardware store. It looks really pretty and flows so nicely, though the clear plastic sort of disappears in the water. I may try adding some color to the fringe.
The skirt portion of the tail was painted in the same way I did my first Ariel tail, with at least 5-6 different colors of Metallic Allure (formerly called Jones Tones) paint, and three colors of glitter sprinkled on before the paint was dry. It shimmers and shines like magic.
I painted the transition section with the same type of paint but gave it a really smooth gradient instead of scales. It attaches to the fluke with velcro. Inside, underneath the neoprene I added another new feature — four diving weights pockets, one on each side on the front and back.
Neoprene tails are exceptionally buoyant, compared to silicone or fabric tails. This is great at pool parties where the photos are all being taken top-side, but for underwater work and ocean photo shoots I’ve been really frustrated by neoprene tails’ buoyancy. I have to blow out most of the air in my lungs to compensate, which makes it really hard to stay down underwater for any length of time. Adding a few small diving weights is a great solution, but the trouble is finding a place to put them where they don’t show. These little pockets should take care of that problem. (fins crossed)
I finished it off with jewels and sparkles and lots more glitter. Next week I’ll be heading to Hawaii to do an ocean photo shoot with See Through Sea, so I’ll be sure to post some amazing photos soon!