If you spend time with little girls you've already seen first hand how tales of mermaids capture their imagination. This easy mermaid craft project is inspired from the flower fairies I created for my Fairy Crafts book ten years ago. There's nothing like creating magical beings to ignite a child's imagination. I've been eagerly anticipating this workshop all summer long and was excited to share it with my library friends this week. The best surprise was watching how much the boys enjoyed making the Triton variation, arming the merman with a shiny trident was key.
Books are the best way to bring a group together, I began by reading Mermaid Sister by Mary Ann Fraser, it's the perfect read aloud full of fishy humor and entertaining jabs at sibling relationships. It's one of my daughters favorites, I can almost recite it by memory.
Wool roving for the hair - Portland Fiber Company
20mm Unfinished round wood bead
20mm and larger Colored wood bead - Darice
Felt - I use National Non Wovens Xoticfelt tm made from Bamboo for my kits
Beige chenille stem cut in half - one half for the body and the other half for the arms
Silver tinsel chenille stem for the trident, and an additional 3" piece section to make a crown.
Small amount of Poly fil stuffing
Silk flower petals - pulled from small silk flowers for the mermaids collar
Wire cutters to cut the chenille stem (to save your scissors)
Hot glue gun and melt sticks
Needle and thread or Sewing machine
To make the merfolk tails you'll need to create a simple paper pattern. Fold a sheet of paper in half draw half a fish shape 4 1/2" long tail that is 1/2" wide at the waist, 1" at the hips, 1/2" at the connection to the tail and flares out to an 1 1/4" at the tail. Cut along the line so that the paper unfolds doubling the measurements and makes a symmetrical full sized pattern. Use the pattern to cut two felt tail pieces, stitch the outside edges together, be sure to leave the top open for stuffing. For the sake of the workshop the librarians kindly pre-cut all the tails and I pre-stitched them.
The first step is to fold the chenille stem in half and trap a generous pinch of the roving hair in the fold. The mermaids hair falls in two long flowing sections, tuck in the ends of King Triton's hair to make it appear shorter. After you arrange the hair slide the unfinished wood bead head up the chenille stem ends, pushing it snug against the hair.
For the mermaid thread the petal collar over the ends and slide it up against the head bead.
Position the second beige chenille stem for the arms between the the ends and slide it up under the head bead/petal collar. Slide a colored body bead up the ends and push it up against the arms to hold them in place.
Bend the arms at the elbow and fold the ends over to make hands.
Separate the chenille ends under the body bead to create hips that hold the stacked beads and arms in place.
Use a pencil end to help push the Poly fil stuffing into the tail. Leave some empty space at the top of the tail to accommodate the body.
Carefully apply hot glue to the chenille hips and the base of the body bead and carefully pull the tail over the glued areas. This is an adult step, after years of crafting I still manage to burn myself with the glue gun!
Shape the short silver tinsel chenille section into a crown, and the long section into a trident. King Triton also needs a beard, carefully glue a small section of roving to his chin. Use colored pencils to color a face, avoid using felt tipped markers that will bleed into the unfinished wood.
This was my daughters favorite workshop of the summer, get crafty and spread some merfolk fun with your family! I'll be selling these handmade mermaid kits at Higgins Beach Craft Fair next Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th.