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How-to: Swimmable mermaid tail by Colt-kun How-to: Swimmable mermaid tail by Colt-kun
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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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-05-24
Suggester's words: How-to: Swimmable mermaid tail by ~Colt-kun is such a unique, interesting, and helpful tutorial. ( Suggested by icantthinkofaname-09 and Featured by FantasyStock )
:icondeliriumdreamer3:
deliriumdreamer3 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014
*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. 
Reply
:iconcubular66:
cubular66 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014
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 :)
Reply
:icontinyliar:
tinyliar Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
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!
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014
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.
Reply
:icontinyliar:
tinyliar Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much!
Reply
:icondire1heart:
dire1heart Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
This looks awesome!! Can't wait to try this out!
Reply
:iconravenclawgirl29:
RavenclawGirl29 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2014
I swam butterfly in highschool so I'm so trying this :D
Reply
:icontenjouji:
tenjouji Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Student General Artist
How much did this cosplay altogether?
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014
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
Reply
:icondolliepaige:
DolliePaige Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Where do you buy your fabric at?
Do you get it online or is there a store that sells it?
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013
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...
Reply
:iconmermaidyokoima:
MermaidYokoima Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
that was a great tutorial 
it helped me alot
Reply
:iconelliegrim:
EllieGrim Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013
Awesome!! I have friends who have said they would love to be mermaids, so this is an awesome project for birthday presents. (:
Reply
:icondurnesque:
Durnesque Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Student General Artist
This is amazing! Using to build a swimmable Ariel tail!!!! THANK YOU!
Reply
:iconmermaid1213:
mermaid1213 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013  Student General Artist
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 >.<
Reply
:iconsuus777:
suus777 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you SOOO much for posting this
Reply
:iconlaquera:
Laquera Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
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
Reply
:iconshastawaytach:
ShastaWaytach Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
where did you get your monofins? and how much did you pay for them?
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
We bought ours from a dive store online four roughly 40 each plus shipping.
Reply
:iconaly-cat-23:
Aly-Cat-23 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist
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.
Reply
:iconbobomagroto:
BoboMagroto Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
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
Reply
:iconnekogirl29:
NekoGirl29 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
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.
Reply
:iconnekogirl29:
NekoGirl29 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oops, I meant to put love in bold text.
Reply
:iconotakulena:
otakulena Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Artist
what material are swimsuits made of??
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
Usually a spandex blend, like spandex/rayon or spandex/cotton...
Reply
:iconotakulena:
otakulena Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Artist
oh i see thanks :D
Reply
:iconi-wuv-noah:
i-wuv-noah Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
excuse me. im making this for an eleven year old girl. how would i do the measurments? would i make it smaller or should it be the same size?and what do i divide by when mesuring the legs and waist? plz answer thnks!
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
You'd do the measurements the same - every two inches down her legs around both legs. Divide by 4, draw out half the pattern using that measurement. Mirror it for the other side, and cut out two from your fabric.

However, a standard monofin would probably not fit her. You can find children's monofins at sports stores, or the small play ones during summertime or online.
Reply
:iconi-wuv-noah:
i-wuv-noah Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
ok thnks! :) oh and i forgot to ask! does any swimwear fabric work or does it have to be a specific brand and or type?
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
As long as it's a spandex blend, it doesn't matter. Spandex is stretchy but has resistance to repetitive motion (like swimming) and doesn't ball like knit can.
Reply
:iconi-wuv-noah:
i-wuv-noah Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
thnks! i cant wait to make it! :)
Reply
:iconthegirlcalledjef:
TheGirlCalledJef Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This tutorial is awesome! The tail I want to make isnt for water use but I should be able to aply this right? Thanks for your help and your tails looked wonderful!
Reply
:iconlepmet:
lepmet Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Student Artist
O.o and now I'm making one
Reply
:iconshadowphoenix16:
ShadowPhoenix16 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wicked. I really want to try this out now XD

Thanks for putting up a tutorial!
Reply
:iconkythana:
Kythana Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nice!
Reply
:iconfunkey28:
funkey28 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student Interface Designer
OMG I LOVE U RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH I ALWAYS WANTED ONE BUT I DIDNT WANT TO SPEND 100 DOLLORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! U ARE MY SAVIOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012
100? oh please.
Get the material on sale or with a coupon and it's less that 15. You can get a monofin for 30-40 if you watch for it.
*nodnod*
Reply
:iconfunkey28:
funkey28 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Student Interface Designer
OMG I LOVE U THANK U!!!!!!!! one day i WILL make this!!!!
Reply
:iconmegumicosplay:
MegumiCosplay Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
MUST. DO. THIS.
Reply
:iconion-swan:
Ion-Swan Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconcryforeverplz:This...This has been my childhood dream
Reply
:iconspotted-cat:
spotted-cat Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I am planning on making a tail too. But I am a little confused about your measurements. I have a few questions. Step 2: Measure the circumference of your legs held together, and write them down in order. What measurements am I measuring? Should I start with the hips? Also, what measurement am I doing for number 5, and should I divide by two, not four?

Thanks. It's a great tutorial, I just needed some clarification.
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
you're measuring the circumference of your legs every few inches, starting from your hips down.

Divide by 4 because you're going to make half of ONE SIDE of the pattern, fold it over, and make the two halves match. Then you'll have one complete side.

It's all just math.
Reply
:iconwildlioness3:
Wildlioness3 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Student
How much did it cost to make this? ^^ (without the monofin)
Thank you for uploading this it's really clear and helpful :D
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
Well the material costs about 14-20 dollars a yard unless you have a coupon. You need two yards unless your waist is bigger than 45 inches around.
Then it's just thread, velcro for the end, and elastic for the waist band.
Reply
:iconwildlioness3:
Wildlioness3 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Student
Ah right thank you! ^^ Hopefully in the next 6 months I'll begin to make one so if I post anything on DA related to it I'll link you/your tutorial :happybounce:
Reply
:iconsleepyiguana:
SleepyIguana Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Student General Artist
I'm actually planning on making this tail very soon, and I was wondering if I should buy matching thread to the fabric I'm using.

Thank you so much for posting this! As soon as I saw it, I had to make it. :la: My best friend and I are each making one.
Reply
:iconcolt-kun:
Colt-kun Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012
I suggest getting thread just one shade off for ease of sewing ^-^
Reply
:iconsleepyiguana:
SleepyIguana Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Student General Artist
Ah, got it. Thank you! :tighthug:
Reply
:iconzelda49:
Zelda49 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Where can you get a mofin??
Reply
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