Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Making a Mermaid

Professional propmaker Dan Baines is spending this week creating a classic-style FeeJee Mermaid.  More importantly, he's providing a detailed build log of every step in the process. 

I wanted my mermaid to be true to the original size which is about half a metre in length, I also had to consider mounting options at I did not have a display case or dome in stock.

The mermaid is built around an 18” medical skeleton model, a resin cast of a human infant skull and tail made from armature wire, tin foil and air dry clay.


In the past I have had to source real magpie or crow feet to obtain claws for fingers. Thankfully I can now just 3D print a bird’s foot, claws n’all without harming a single creature. I use the Up Plus 2 printer and using black ABS filament I printed 4 sets of Osprey feet. To get the shiny claw finish I brushed each foot with pure acetone. This also smooths out any imperfections and bumps let over from the printing process.

Mr. Baines deserves a great deal of credit for this project. Gaff making has traditionally been incredibly insular, with artists jealously guarding their techniques and materials.  His willingness to share his knowledge is truly admirable.


The Schlitzie said...

Oh wow! I'm inspired to make one now! I don't have access to a 3d printer, but I could see using a dremel to make some claws out of styrene or maybe using large rose thorns.

Thorrsman said...

What I am looking into is creating a "Fiji Mermaid" about six to eight inches long--properly mounted as a scientific specimen--as the cover-piece for a Steampunk Mythos story I am working on.

This certainly gives me some ideas of how to start the Lilliputian creature.