Dan Baines

Fairy Rings and Monstrous Things

FeeJee Mermaid in 5 Days, Prop Build Project Day 3

We’re almost at the halfway mark and it’s time to finally give our mermaid some character by adding the skin and creating a face.

A matt black acrylic undercoat was applied to the whole mermaid.

To add some 'skin' to the bones I used a pair of tights.

I cut one leg off and then removed the foot section. The foot section was used for the head while the remaining tube section of the leg was used for the body.

The tights were then stretched over the skeleton and tail and secured with elastic bands, these sections will be removed and cut away later. The whole mermaid was then given another coat of liquid latex, this will secure the ‘skin’ to the bones and tighten slightly to reveal the bone structure underneath.

To accelerate the drying process a number of hot air blowers where arranged around the mermaid.

I then wanted to create a fish scale texturizer for the final skin layer. I rolled a piece of polymer clay and created a fish scale pattern with a sculpting tool.

I then covered the clay with a thick layer of plaster and once this was dry I covered the plaster in another layer of plaster coated crepe bandage to create a hard shell.

Once the plaster was dry I removed the polymer master and poured a thin layer of silicone rubber into the plaster mould. This will give me a flexible scale texturizer that I will use over the whole tail section during the next stage.

Once the latex skin was dry I could apply the spines and work on the face by applying teeth and modelling the eyes.

Using a scalpel I cut slits for the eyes, nose and mouth and rolled back the rubberised tights to create lips and eyelids.

The teeth were created by taking real fossilized shark’s teeth and splitting them with pliers to make sharp shards.

To insert the teeth I simply lifted the lips and placed the teeth behind the skin with a dab of superglue to secure.

The spines were positioned with a hot glue gun and then coated around the base with latex to strengthen the join.

I’ve left the mermaid to dry over night as tomorrow I will apply the material that will give the mummified effect.