15 Things you Should to Know Before Buying a Silicone Mermaid Tail
A silicone mermaid tail is no doubt a big investment and you want to make sure you do your research before investing your time and money! There are so many factors to take into consideration that it can be overwhelming at times. We decided to help you by outlining the main things you’ll need to consider.
After you've read this, we also put together a short description of all the top 10 silicone tail makers who are currently taking orders, so you can easily compare them side-by-side!
What to Consider When Buying a Silicone Mermaid Tail
A silicone mermaid tail is a swimmable piece of art. They are handmade and are customizable so you can get exactly what you’ve always wanted! Colors, pattern, iridescence, airbrushing, additional fins, fluke size, fluke shape, and of course fit are the most common customizations.
Some silicone tail makers even offer 100% customization, where you can design your own fluke or scale pattern. This definitely comes with an added expense because the tail maker has to create a custom mold, which is much more time consuming than using ones they already have. It may be worth it if you’re really looking for a one-of-a-kind tail design!
To ensure you get what you want, make sure to communicate very clearly with the tail maker all your ideas. The best way to express what you want is to send a sketch and/or photos of the shape, color, and textures you want.
You will work closely with the designer to create your masterpiece and stay in contact throughout the design process. Many manufacturers will send you photos and/or videos during the creation process so you can make sure the tail is exactly how you want it.
2. Silicone Mermaid Tail Sizing
One of the great things about silicone tails is the extremely realistic look you can get from them! A silicone tail should fit like a second skin. To optimize your experience, make sure you get a tail that fits just right.
You will need to complete a detailed list of measurements to send to send to the mermaid tail maker. Some designers create a mold of your legs, but this more time consuming, and expensive.
You would also need to travel to the designer’s workshop, potentially adding even more expense. A tail made with accurate measurements should fit you really well so making a leg mold isn’t really necessary.
Here are some tips on ensuring you get the right fit when ordering your silicone tail:
Silicone is stretchable, but tail makers require a ton of measurements from you to make sure they make the tail size just right. Make sure to check your measurements twice and have someone help you measure to get the most accurate measurements.
The other option that is cheaper and faster is to order a silicone tail that is made on standard size charts. This option is not recommended for most people, unless your measurements are very close to the standard ones. Tall people have trouble with off-the-rack tails as they may not be long enough.
Some people try to save money by buying a tail secondhand. While it may work out if your measurements are VERY similar to the seller’s, often people are left with a tail that is too short and barely covers their bum, too long and wrinkles around the ankles, or too big and gaps around the waist.
While it’s best to get a tail that fits, if the waist is a bit big, you can always cover it with a beautiful belt or a scarf to hide the gap. This might happen to mers with curvier bottoms and smaller waists, as the waist needs to be big enough to get over the hips.
If this is your body type, you might consider ordering a tail with a zipper to avoid a gap at the waist.
Notes about zippers in silicone mermaid tails:
- you will need someone to help you zip up the zipper. You will not be able to do it yourself.
- A zipper is a structural weak point in the tail, so is more prone to tearing than a tail without a zipper sewn in. That being said, if your tail is too tight to fit over your hips and has to be stretched a lot, it is also at risk of tearing. You’ll have to decide which is better for you.
The best choice for silicone mermaid tails are ones made with Dragon Skin Platinum Cured Silicone. This material is safe for the skin, stretchable, durable and can be molded and colored into unlimited possibilities. It’s the material used in high end movie props and prosthetics because it is so realistic looking!
Some tails are made of latex or other materials, but they aren’t recommended. Only dragon skin silicone is both skin safe, and durable.
Some silicone tails are hybrids of several materials. The most common hybrid tail has a neoprene bodice, and silicone fluke. Because the tail is made with less silicone, it ends up being much lighter and often less expensive tail option as well.
Hybrid tails can be a good option if a full silicone tail just isn’t in your budget yet but you still want a realistic tail. They can also be a great option for curvier mers because neoprene is stretchier than silicone and can more easily have a zipper installed to avoid a gap at the waist.
4. How does the mermaid tail swim?
Silicone tail are swimmable and look beautiful underwater! They are by far the most realistic type of mermaid tail on the market. Unless you plan on only using your tail on dry land for photoshoots and events, how the tail performs in the water is a super important factor to consider.
It’s important to consider the buoyancy, material, and monofin. More details about each are below:
- Silicone itself is neutrally buoyant, meaning it neither sinks nor floats in the water. Some silicone tails still float slightly because of the monofin, or having trapped air. Generally the more neutrally buoyant your tail, the easier it is to swim with. Depending on your body type, you may naturally float or sink, so you can take that into consideration as well.
- Some silicone tails are more of a hybrid of materials. If the inside of the tail is made with neoprene, it will float more than pure silicone, as neoprene has tiny air pockets within it. It may be harder to dive deep because of this. You may even need weights to stay underwater, especially for photoshoots.
- Silicone tails have a wetsuit effect, by trapping water next to your body and keeping you warm while swimming.
- Silicone is not breathable material. If you are wearing your tail on dry land, like for events or photoshoots, expect to sweat!
- Some tails are 100% silicone, others are silicone over top of neoprene. Neoprene is more buoyant than silicone, which is another thing to consider.
- The monofin secures your feet inside the mermaid tail and gives the fluke rigidity so that you can move forward when you kick.
- The monofin you get depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers make their own monofin, while others use 3rd party monofins such as Finis monofins.
- Generally the bigger and more rigid the monofin, the stiffer your fluke will be and the more power you will have with each kick. The smaller or more flexible the monofin, the floppier the fluke will be and the slower you will swim.
5. Production Time
- It takes a long time to make (there is waiting list for some companies)/sometimes ridiculous waiting time
- It can vary from 1 month to 2 years. (You are mainly dealing with really small companies or just an artist, no chain manufacturing process.
Creature Fin Long Tail
Besides the time it takes to make the tail, you also have to factor in the shipping time and cost when considering which tail maker to order from.
- Shipping time may be 1 week to several months! It totally depends on where you live compared to the manufacturer. If it has to ship internationally, definitely expect it to take longer.
- Consider international shipping fees, tariffs, import fees, etc. Budget to add at least $300 for this. It may not be this much, but it’s good to have a realistic estimate so you’re not caught off guard.
- If there is a tail maker nearby, it could make a lot of sense to order from them and pick up your tail to avoid any additional shipping fees.
Silicone mermaid tails are custom made, premium investment pieces. The price reflects that.
- Full silicone tail $1000-$5000 for the basic tail
- Hybrid Silicone and neoprene tail $800-$3000
- Consider currency exchange rate if you order from a maker in another country
- Most tail makers have add-ons so you can customize your tail to be just how you envision. Add-ons are usually priced per piece so you can pick and choose exactly what you want.
- Some examples:
- extra fins ($150+)
- matching top ($100-$400)
Depending on the tail maker, you can further customize the design of your look. Some makers are able to make your vision come to life with 100% unique designs. Basically this requires them to make brand new molds and the price will reflect that. Other makers offer a range of features you can choose from, but it won’t be 100% unique.
- Scale shape
- Fluke shape
- Additional fins (hips, pec fin, calves, dorsal, heel)
- Matching top
- Monofin inside
- Colors & painted details:
- You can mix a variety of color pigment into silicone to create a nice fade and transition between the colors. Usually shading, blending and color variations like this come standard with any silicone tail.
- Iridescent pigment adds fish-like beauty as the colors change in the light as you move.
- You can also get the tail maker to add details such as scale highlights with shimmery pigment, a glitter topcoat, or even individual glitter scale accents
- In addition to the colored silicone, you can have more details added using airbrushing. Airbrushing is usually an additional cost as it takes extra time. Beware that since the paint is only on the surface instead of within the silicone, it may to flake off.
Beauty and Brine Tail
9. Caring for your silicone mermaid tail:
- Rinse your tail in fresh water to get rid of chlorine, salt, sand, or anything else that could damage it.
- Some people recommend using a mild detergent like for cleaning silicone sex toys. Others give their tail a baking soda soak to neutralize the chlorine. If you use either of these methods, be sure to rinse well afterwards to get any residue out.
- You need to allow the tail to thoroughly dry after each swim. Wipe out as much water as you can with a towel, then hang to dry, or prop it open using pool noodles and blow a fan inside. Many people have a padded bike hanger mounted on the wall to hang their tails.
10. Storing your Silicone Tail:
Your tail needs to be stored properly to avoid damage. Basically it needs to be clean and dry, then either hung or laid flat for storage.
Never fold or crease your tail for long periods of time (it’s ok for transporting it in a suitcase for short periods of time). Never bend the monofin to fit in a storage container or you risk causing permanent damage to it.
Keep your tail in a cool, dry, well ventilated place like inside your house or heated garage. Don’t let it freeze or stay in direct sunlight or heat.
Please note that all tails are different sizes and shapes so some of these suggestions may not work for you.
- Home Made Drying stand: You can see an example ICI
- Tail rack: this is a great option if you want to display your tail while storing it. Since it’s out in the open, your tail may collect dust. GET ONE HERE
You can see an example of how it looks at 2:45 in this video
- Large rolling bin: this is a great option if you need your tail to be out of the way. You can roll it under your bed when not in use. Line the bin with towels so the tail isn’t directly touching the plastic. Keep the tail open using a couple of pool noodles. The lid will keep dust off your tail, but it can trap moisture in, so make sure your tail is 100% dry. You could even put silica get packets in there to absorb any excess moisture just in case. GET ONE HERE
- Christmas tree storage tote: This one is great because it’s large and portable, but also made of breathable canvas. Make sure your tail is 100% dry before storing it. If the fluke has to curve, to fit in, make sure to place a towel between the layers to prevent it sticking to itself. GET ONE HERE
Mermaid Kat Shop Tail
11. A silicone tail is for you if:
- You want the most realistic mermaid experience possible.
- You want to make a career out of mermaiding. Whether that’s being a professional mermaid model for brands or corporate events, a kid’s party entertainer, or an environmental activist, you probably want a super realistic tail. Models with silicone tails can charge significantly more for each event.
- You’re committed to being a mermaid and want to make a long-term investment. With proper care, silicone tails last much, much longer than fabric tails.
- You don’t mind the extra work they require (for maintenance and for getting into and swimming in them).
- You have space to store your tail properly. Silicone tails are big and need a fair amount of space to store.
- You already have a tail or two, but want to upgrade or change your look
Mermaid Regalia Tails
12. A silicone tail is not for you if:
- You don’t have the money saved for it. Please don’t go into debt to get a mermaid tail.
- You don’t want to take care of it. Silicone tails are a lot of work, plain and simple. Make extra sure you’re willing to take on the work of packing, carrying, getting into, washing, drying, and storing your silicone tail before you invest in one.
- You don’t know how to swim. Swimming in a mermaid tail is harder than swimming without one. Swimming in a silicone tail is more challenging that swimming in a fabric tail so you should definitely be a strong swimmer.
- You don’t live near a place to swim. Obviously this isn’t mandatory if you don’t care about swimming in your tail and just want to wear it on land. But if you do want to swim in it, make sure to do your research by contacting local pools to see if they allow mermaid tails and/or finding safe swimming areas in natural bodies of water.
- You’ve never owned a mermaid tail before. It’s highly recommended to start your mermaiding journey with a fabric tail. This will give you a good feel for being a mermaid and allow you to analyze if you really want to invest so much into your hobby, or if you’d like to make it into your profession.
- You don’t really care how you look, you’re more interested in how you feel when swimming as a mermaid. You can get a really good mermaid effect using fabric tails without splurging on a silicone tail.
- Your weight fluctuates a lot. Silicone is stretchy but not overly. If your weight, or more importantly, your pants size fluctuates up and down due to a medical condition or yo-yo dieting, consider getting a fabric or neoprene tail instead. The fabric is much more forgiving than silicone and will be more comfortable to wear. A hybrid tail would be a great option.
- You live in a tiny home with no space to store the tail properly.
- You are a child. Very few tail makers will make child-sized silicone tails. Combined with a growing body, large price tag, level of swimming skill, and amount of work required, most parents don’t approve of investing in a silicone mermaid tail for kids.
- You are impatient. Silicone tails are custom pieces of art and take time to manufacture. Some tail makers have years long waiting lists so if you’re impatient but set on a specific tail, it’s not for you. Some manufacturers have shorter wait times so definitely compare wait times before you order.
- Beware of scammers! Some pretend to be real, legitimate companies by creating fake websites. Others make their own brand and website but just take your money and never make the tail.
- Silicone mermaid tails are heavy and can cause injuries while wearing it or lifting it. They weigh at least 15 lbs (7 kg) and up to 40 lbs (18 kg)! The bigger the fluke, the heavier the tail is. Most of the weight is on the fluke which makes it hard to lift or move your legs out of the water!
- Most tail makers include a warranty, but some do not. It’s a good idea to take this into consideration as part of your purchasing decision. The warranty should at least cover any manufacturing defects. Some even cover any scratches or tears in the silicone for the first year which is great!
- Silicone mermaid tails may be MORE difficult to swim in than fabric tails. You should be a strong swimmer before investing in a silicone mermaid tail. They generally have more drag in the water, requiring more strength to swim. They also can’t easily be taken off in the water like fabric tails, so swim with caution, and always swim with a buddy!
14. Silicone Tail Tips:
- Professional mermaids normally need 10 minutes to get inside their tail. Putting on your tail takes time and practice. It is not pretty. It is awkward. Most mers use lube or baby oil on their legs to help slide into the tail. Experiment and figure out which way is best for you.
- Don’t ask for a zipper unless you really need one as you won’t be able to close it alone and it creates a weak spot in your tail
- If you get a blue tail you will disappear in photos and videos taken in the pool or in the ocean. This could be good if you want to camouflage, or if you tend to swim in water that isn’t blue like lakes or rivers.
- You need a friend, you won’t be able to navigate on land or lift your feet in the air by yourself. It’s never safe to swim alone.
- Keep your fingernails short so you don’t tear the silicone while trying to put the tail on
- The monofin you pick can change the overall effect your tail has moving through the water. You will want to decide where you will be swimming most. If you will only be swimming in pools, you can use smaller, more flexible monofins. If you want to swim in moving water, such as the ocean or in rivers, you will need a much stronger fin.
- If you plan to travel with your tail, consider one with a smaller monofin that allows the tail to be folded to fit into a suitcase like the AquaMermaid tail.
- For tail makers who don’t make their own monofin, many use Finis monofins. The Finis Shooter will give a "floppier" look to the fluke. The Finis Trainer will provide more stiffness.
15. The process for when you're ready to order your tail:
While each tail maker has their own process for ordering tails, generally you’ll follow these steps:
- Place your order online. Payment may be in full, or you might be able to pay a deposit for your tail
- Send the tail maker a detailed message with the patterns or colors you want for your design. Reference images and/or coloring in an outline of the tail will help give the maker the most accurate idea of your vision.
- Discuss the design and any additional add-ons or special features you’d like for your tail with the tail maker
- Send your measurements to the tail maker so they can customize the tail to fit you perfectly!
- Manufacturing will start after the payment, measurements, and design instructions have been submitted.
- Wait patiently! Depending on the manufacturer, custom silicone mermaid tails usually take several weeks to several months to be made. Some even have waiting lists up to several years!! But you should know what to expect before ordering from the manufacturer because you did your research, right?
- The tail maker will work with you throughout the process and keep you updated on your order's progress. They should send videos, photos, and frequent communications to make sure you are kept involved throughout the design, construction, and shipping of your new tail.
Whichever tail you decide to order, make sure you do your research to know exactly what kind of tail you want, and know about the company making your tail. These two main things will make sure you love your purchase and know you made the best choice possible!