I was walking through some shops in the neighboring beach community of Point Pleasant and saw a beautiful Mermaid made out of wood, shells and seaglass that I knew my oldest daughter, Kate, would love. She has an adorable apartment filled with “beachy” decor. It would have been the perfect Christmas present-until I asked the cost–with a price tag of nearly $200 it was out of my reach. If I wanted her to have it, I would have to make one myself.
I searched the internet for a free mermaid silhouette that I liked. I resized it to fit 8.5 x 11 printer paper and printed it in black and white. I borrowed an overhead projector, taped some brown paper to the wall with painter’s tape and projected the image onto the paper, traced it, then cut it out, making a pattern.
Here’s the silhouette I chose.
I had my husband find a piece of thin plywood (so it wouldn’t be too heavy) and I taped the brown paper pattern to the wood, and traced it onto the wood. He cut it out with a jigsaw and band saw. (He was very excited to report that he felt he had to make an adjustment in Ms Mermaid’s breast size and gave her an enhancement, which I did sand down a bit–ridiculous man!)
Then I stared at it for over a week! Literally!
I like to plan my project and gather all the components–no mid-project trips to the store for me! I had a hard time deciding what to use for the scales. I toyed with a lot of ideas, like shells or seaglass, even sequins (which I still want to try). I didn’t want to make it too heavy. I finally decided that I would use my Cricut Explore to cut out circles (a full 12 x 12 sheet of each color) a bit smaller than a dime out of three different foiled papers. One paper is more of an emerald/turquoise green with gold and the other a lighter shade of blue/turquoise and gold and the third was a light blue. They looked perfect on the site where I ordered them, and are beautiful, but I was afraid they were a little “too” sparkly–more on that later.
Here are some of them–pretty, right?
I sanded the edges of the mermaid to smoothe any rough edges (and reduce the size of her boobs a little). Then I gave her torso and head a coat of light gray paint. When the paint dried I grabbed my Aileen’s Tacky Glue, a small brush, craft tweezers and got started.
The process is pretty straightforward- I began by cutting & applying one piece of the lighter paper to the tail fins. Then I started alternating circle colors and glued each individually in an overlapping pattern to imitate “scales. (you can see here I didn’t paint all the way under the area that the scales would be placed.)
Once I had applied the circles to the flat front of the piece and then around the edges of the mermaid’s lower body and breast, I set her aside to dry. I then sealed the paper areas with a coat of matte Modge Podge and let it dry completely.
Now, since I wanted her to have a little bit more time worn look, I took some fine sandpaper and sanded off some of the light grey paint on the upper torso and head/hair.
To tone down the sparkle a little I mixed some dark gray paint into a couple of tablespoons of the same matte Modge Podge and applied a couple of coats to the “scale” areas and then dry brushed some areas of the upper torso.
I used shells and sea glass to create a crown, detail at the start of her scales, and on her top. I used hot glue to apply those and sealed them with the tinted Modge Podge too.
The most difficult part of this project was that I couldn’t show it to anybody! I had to sit on my hands so I didn’t post the finished pictures to facebook or the blog and ruin Kate’s surprise! She opened it on Christmas and loves it.
Here’s the finished Mermaid!
If you have any questions about this project or any other project please go to my contact page and send me an email!
Thanks for stopping by
The post “A Mermaid for My Daughter” was first seen on The Decorated Nest and was written by Karen Aber Ploransky