I've been putting off posting this here because I'm scared this whole venture wont live up to my expectations, but I finally decided to post because it is great motivation- and lets face it, I need good motivation.
This year I have decided to be a good girl and not spend my money on much (if any) lolita/cosplay... why? Because I plan on spending a lot of money making myself a silicone mermaid tail.
Its a pretty big project, but I've been researching this for about a year now and have finally decided to go through with it and dive in. Getting my Merbella's tail was the sealer: I want to make myself a tail as pretty as that. So I'm going to start documenting it on here, for those interested.
Making my own silicone tail is something I've wanted to do since I first started mermaiding. At first, I looked into latex due to it being cheep and easy to get- however I'm glad I didn't do it as I'd have a tail that would fall apart pretty easily. Silicone is the way to go. It is a lot of hard work, time and money. But I know I can make something I am proud of- something that people will be amazed by when I say "I made this". For my business, it will be a huge thing.
First of all, there are some challenges. Unfortunately because I live in Australia, the particular silicone I need is hard to get. The only supplier in all of Australia is in my city, however they're charging $408 a gallon compared to $184 in the US... thats almost 3 times the price... so if all goes to plan I'll be using a shopping service and getting it shipped over from the US. Second challenge is that I live in a tiny flat with no garage/shed to work in. So I'm currently on the hunt for a shed someone will let me borrow for a few weeks! Haha!
Other than this, the third and final challenge is, of course, money. Because a lot of supplies are either shipped in or imported through other companies, the price of special Fx and molding supplies is ridiculous. I am considering starting a 'fund me' program- as any assistance would be incredible- but I'm not holding my breath. Haha! If I do, I'll link it on here so any readers can spread the word.
Anyways, even with all these difficulties I am still really keen to move forward with this project. To be able to make my own tail will be... well, incredible!
I started this journey with research. So much research. About a years research to be exact. There are no tutorials online about how to make silicone tails (yet! Some very kind mermaids on the Mernetwork are working on them!) and all the ones which are available are all half-done. I have to fill in the gaps with information I found scouring the internet, and via watching other peoples projects.
After this reasonably long time, I finally felt confident enough to start thinking about my own tail.
I decided this tail will be a recreation of my very first mermaid tail, the one I fondly call The Pink Peacock. It is unique in the mermaid world- I have yet to see a tail design like it- and it is very 'me'.
So with that in mind, I started sketching up ideas on how it would look in silicone.
Here is the final design sketch:
I wanted something different for the side/dorsal/ankle fins so I went with a girly look. I know the dorsal will create a little bit of drag, so this design might change! It really depends on how I feel once I've started the molds.
Next step was making a leg cast. This I was able to do over Christmas at home with my family. Because my Dad makes surfboards in his free time, he has a whole shed available and lots of spare fibre-glass. So after making a duct-tape mummy of my lower half, we cut me out, took the cast in a few centimetres and fibre-glassed the whole thing. This is to get the measurements of the tail exact.
Between now and then, however, my project has slid to a halt. Money and time have both not been on my side. I've made the patterns for the fluke and extra fins, but upon a sudden decision I am now also saving up for a $300 monofin to go into the fluke instead of my $70 Rapid monofin. The more expensive monofin is better for ocean swimming, and therefore will be more suitable for a heavy silicone tail, plus I fear my Rapid monofin may have developed stress points- which means it has lost some of its propulsion. This means I have to hold off making the mold for the fluke until I've got the new monofin, as there may need to be adustments made to fit it!
And thats where I am as far as this huge project goes :)
I dont have a dead-line, but I am really truely hoping to have this tail completed by the end of July. Its a big ask, but I have to do it. Its strange to explain- its like I woke up one morning and thought 'its now or never'. Perhaps its my 80's "I have to have it now" attitude. Who knows? But I decided it is more important than lolita or cosplay (although I already have a cosplay project in the works for AVCon again...) and therefore I have to spend my money wisely until this tail is completed. And really, at this point, the hardest thing with this will be the money.
Wish me double, tripple the luck! XD