These instructions will show you how to
create your own fantasy mermaid
This is a quick and
easy project with fabulous results!
shown is Pearl by Doreen Sinnett.
body, arms, painted, and assembled
lace or netting for overlay
Stems, cotton balls
shell for base
fine glitter (optional)
1. Use a porcelain doll that has been painted, and
assembled. Doll here is one of my favorites, Pearl, by
Doreen Sinnet. You will not need the porcelain
legs. Attach porcelain arms using chenille stems.
Fill body with tacky or hot glue, and insert chenille stem
folded in half up into body. I left the ends of the
stems 1/2 inch longer that the normal height of Pearl.
This is because I plan to have my mermaid in a sitting postion,
which always needs a little extra length in the leg to work
2. Plan ahead. I knew that I wanted to use this
seashell for a base for Pearl, so I positioned her until I was
happy with the spot that she would eventually be glued
into. Then I checked the length of the chenille stems
which would make the base for her tail. When I was happy with
the length, I bent the stems into the curve that I wanted for
the finished tail.
3. Using unwound cotton balls, I wrapped the chenille
stems from waist to bottom point. Stems were first
wrapped separately, then a final layer of cotton was put over
the pair of stems, taking care to pad where necessary, and
bring the bottom to a point. Note that the wires are
still bent into the seated position. This will make for
a smoother body than wrapping and covering flat, then bending.
This is the point where my 10 year old walked past and said,
"Oh cool, a genie doll." Another project??
4. Wrap the arm area with cotton as needed.
5. Measure your tail fabric and cut a rectangle that is
wide enough to go around the widest point (usually the waist)
and long enough to extend from desired waistline to beyond the
6. Place glue under one raw edge of fabric, and glue to
waist, and down cotton tail. Quickly bring fabric around
tail, and pull snugly, smoothing out creases in fabric.
Trim away excess fabric, fold under remaining raw edge and
7. Front view of fabric covered tail.
8. I had a very old piece of
lace that reminded me of fishing net. This somehow
seemed appropriate for my mermaid. Perhaps a section of
crochet doily or lace netting would give a similar
result. Experiment with your "stash" of
trims! That's part of the fun of this kind of
project. This is the tail section with trim applied over
fabric in same manner fabric was applied.
9. I used wonder under to attach the trim to both sides
of a rectangle of my silk fabric, then cut out two fin
shapes. If edges of trim lift from fabric, replace with
10. The straight ends of each fin were gathered
by hand and whipped to the end of the tail section.
11. Upper arm sections of doll
were covered with fabric that was frayed on the ends to look
like sea grass.
I waved viscose in my middle sized
pleater and applied to doll's head. Remember this is a
fantasy doll, so VERY long hair is appropriate if you like
it. I also applied very fine glitter to bodice area,
then dusted the entire tail section with the same glitter, and
sprayed with hair spray to hold.
Accessorize your doll as
desired. My Pearl needed her own treasure to hold, and a
small pearl crown.
By Doreen Sinnett
by Cynthia Howe
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