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May 24, 2011
Suggester's words: How-to: Swimmable mermaid tail by ~Colt-kun is such a unique, interesting, and helpful tutorial.
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Colt-kun's avatar

How-to: Swimmable mermaid tail

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See pictures of these in my folder here.

This costume is not for everyone. Only intermediate to advanced swimmers should attempt swimming in it, and always have a buddy with you. For those of you who want to know how to swim in it, my Kairi made a swimming tutorial for you. Please practice first and always stay safe.

Lots of requests for this, so here you go.

This took a lot of research online to figure out for myself and I'm sharing it for other fans. xD
The tops are not covered in the tutorial. All I did was take the swimsuit material and cover a bikini top for Kairi, making up my own pattern for it. Sora's is a surfer's rash guard I cut the bottom off, put in elastic, and added the detailing, so when we're next to each other, people can see the similar theme based off their KH2 tops.

Everyone go say hi to my amazing Kairi! She's such a good sport and willing to put up with all my costume crap, and will wear whatever I make her. She needs to get credit for being awesome. ^_^

UPDATE: For those girls wanting to know how I would make a 'naked top' Sora, SEE HERE


Kingdom Hearts and all related characters and art (c) SquareEnix and Disney

A blanket Thank You to everyone who favorited this! If you do make a tail, please post a picture cause I want to see your interpretations and designs!

edit: DeviantArt moved this deviation for me... er... thanks?
edit2: Wow, this got a daily deviation?! No way O.o
edit3: redid the tutorial so it's a little easier to read... and doesn't have spelling mistakes.
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deliriumdreamer3's avatar
*As a note: Latex tails are a bad idea, especially if you are thinking of using ALEX PLUSfor it. You are better off using platinum-cure dragonskin silicone. That should make it more durable and easier to pigment with some lighter fluid. 

Also, here is a good place to get good spandex. 
www.spandexworld.com
The four-way stretch are preferable for a project like this, but they do have scale-print spandex which would work nicely for dry appearances (the foil on it wears off with the chlorine). 

As for monofins, there are several options to take: 
1. the Finis Wave (runs about $50 for sizes 2-8 in Womens) , Finis Rapid  (about $70 for sizes 8-13), or Finis Mermaid (about $25 for kids)
2. the Finis Foil (about $50, comes in customizable sizes)
3. the new Finis Aquarius in Adult and Kids sizes (purposely looks like a mermaid fin, prices vary)
4. the Mahina Merfin- (also looks like a mermaid fin, about $90 in adult sizes only)
5. the Fin Fun monofin- (about $50, comes in multiple sizes, also looks like a mermaid fin, but has an issue with the heel sticking out)

Either way, the monofin is going to cost significantly more than the fabric itself. 
cubular66's avatar
I make these all the time, really should make a pattern rather than tracing myself over and over. Love to see there is a tutorial out there for tails! This could help out so many new Mers!! Thanks for Sharing :)
tinyliar's avatar
I know you say "swimwear fabric," which usually means a spandex blend. However, I was wondering, how much spandex percentage would you recommend?  Would 10% be okay?  If not, what is suggested?  Everything I'm finding at my local fabric stores seems to be a polyester blend...  Sorry if I'm bothering you ;;

Thanks for the great tutorial, by the way!
Colt-kun's avatar
the thing to keep in mind here is that polyester wears out after a while and gets eaten by chlorine, which is why spandex is more popular for swim materials. You *could* use cotton/poly knit even, but the chlorine would bleach it and eat it. The blend is really up to you - you do need an adequate stretch in it. 10% is fine.

In all honesty, if you rinse the material really well after immediately swimming and hang to dry, it will last you much longer, regardless of what material it is.
tinyliar's avatar
Thank you so much!
dire1heart's avatar
This looks awesome!! Can't wait to try this out!
RavenclawGirl29's avatar
I swam butterfly in highschool so I'm so trying this :D
tenjouji's avatar
How much did this cosplay altogether?
Colt-kun's avatar
This tutorial is for a simple tail - the spandex material I used was about 15 a yard, but you can usually catch it on sale or with a coupon. The monofin generally runs 30-40 for a basic fin, plus shipping. Then elastic, thread, and velcro which all cost a couple bucks.

I've been working on my new tail made from latex, so it'll cost way more that way. But this is a sturdy, decent tail. :3
DolliePaige's avatar
Where do you buy your fabric at?
Do you get it online or is there a store that sells it?
Colt-kun's avatar
I got it at Joann's because it was cheap and easily accessible, but as I'm remaking it now I'm opting for some higher quality so the fabric doesn't stress as much...
MermaidYokoima's avatar
that was a great tutorial 
it helped me alot
EllieGrim's avatar
Awesome!! I have friends who have said they would love to be mermaids, so this is an awesome project for birthday presents. (:
Durnesque's avatar
This is amazing! Using to build a swimmable Ariel tail!!!! THANK YOU!
mermaid1213's avatar
Awesome tutorial!! I had made a tail before, but it ended being really baggy around my shins and the sides ended up tearing open in some places! Well now I need a new one (that one's a bit old and small anyways) so I will HAVE to use this when me and my best friend Bailey make our tails this year :D Thanks again for putting it up!! Also, do you know a place to get a cheap monofin? I have seen some VERY expensive ones >.<
suus777's avatar
Thank you SOOO much for posting this
Laquera's avatar
OMGZYAY
in my case, I swim best using a dolphin kick (probably because I have strong legs and wimpy arms) so I'm all set there :D
hopefully I'll be able to find time to make this at some point cuz it looks like tons of fun
ShastaWaytach's avatar
where did you get your monofins? and how much did you pay for them?
Colt-kun's avatar
We bought ours from a dive store online four roughly 40 each plus shipping.
Aly-Cat-23's avatar
omg!Thank you SOOO much for posting this.I'm saving up to get the materials to make this.I'm making one for me and my 7 year old sister(any advice?) aswell as my best friend Anna.We going to use them once my ankle isn't sore anymore (A friend pushed me and a sprained it XD).

I'll be sure to give you a link to a photo of our results.
BoboMagroto's avatar
Hello again, I previously watched and faved this so I could make a merman tail, but it got grounded due to some unwanted(and some mandatory) events. But I'm gotten try this again, plus some people I know want to do this as well

I'll try to added picture when finished and thank you for providing your guide
NekoGirl29's avatar
I Love Mermaids. I went to Weeki Wachee Springs one time when I was younger and I loved that place.

I've love mermaids ever since I was a kid.

Thank you for the tutorial.
NekoGirl29's avatar
Oops, I meant to put love in bold text.
otakulena's avatar
what material are swimsuits made of??
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