How to Make a Walking Mermaid Tail

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 yards of nylon fish scales fabric
  • 1 spool of coordinating thread
  • 1/2 yard sheer fabric
  • 1 package of 1/4 inch elastic
  • Measuring tape

Each year, little girls everywhere beg their mothers to make them beautiful flowing mermaid tails to wear as Halloween costumes or for dress-up. Of course, an authentic mermaid tail that encompasses the whole lower half of the body does not leave much room for movement outside of the water. As a result, for those of us who aren't real mermaids, walking mermaid tail costumes offer a popular alternative for land events. These tails are beautiful and easy to make.

Measure the waistline and leg length from hip to ankle of the person who will be wearing the mermaid tail. Add 2 inches to the length and width of the measurements.

Cut a single piece of the nylon fish scales fabric.

Fold the top of the fabric over 1 inch, and stitch straight across. Leave a 1/8-inch seam allowance. Repeat for the bottom.

Cut a piece of elastic the same length as the waist measurement.

Feed the elastic through the opening made by the seam at the top of the fabric. Carefully stitch the two ends of the elastic together by hand.

Fold the fabric in half right sides in. Stitch the ends together, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Set the skirt aside.

Cut two fins out of the sheer fabric.

Attach the fins to the bottom of the skirt. Evenly space them on either side of the seam and carefully hand stitch them to the inside back of the skirt.


  • Make your costume more elegant by adding additional long flowing fins all along the bottom of the skirt. For a more form fitting look, taper your seam, but be sure to leave a slit so that you can walk.


About the Author

Michelle Beckert has been writing professionally for various websites since 2011, focusing primarily on exercise, education and parenting. Beckert is also a public school teacher for the Pinellas County School District and a 2005 graduate of the English Education Department at Florida State University.

Photo Credits

  • Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images