Mermaid Aerial Princess Mermaid Top Reviews

For those of you who follow my blog for the aerial equipment info…I’m taking a bit of a side track and highjacking my blog for my Mermaid fans. I’ve developed a bit of a Mermaid Top collection (it’s really an obsession, at this point). I have tops from several big Mermaid brands (& some from lesser known designers). They range quite a bit in price and quality. In my reviews I’ll give insight into some of things I wish I knew before I purchased them.

Please click the links below to read my reviews:

#1 MerNation Silicone Scale Top

#2 Merthology Creations Silicone Seaweed Top

#3 Merthology Creations Silicone Shell Top

#4 Sirenalia Silicone Starfish Top

In progress:

#5 Mertailor Silicone Scale Top – almost finished

#6 Marine Magic Silicone Stingray Top – started

#7 Merbella Studios Silicone Ariel Top -started

#8 DIY Real Lions Paw and Rhinestone Tops – started

#9 Mermaid Kariel Top of Art Silicone Scale Top

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DYI Mermaid Tail Stands

DIY Instructions:
Mermaid Tail Stand

* This is what worked for me. I do not know how it will work with your tail as they are all different. Measure and make your own changes as needed. So far my tails have been fine on the stand but I do not know how they will hold if displayed long term. For now I am using these stands to dry my silicone/silicone hybrid tails after swimming in them.

Made out of wood and steel.


Measuring:

Step 1: Measure for the height of the stand. I measured from the foot pockets to the waist of my tails. Mine were around 4 feet. Initially I thought we could use a 3 foot (36″) piece (with the fork on top of that) but I forgot to factor in space needed to allow for air flow or a fan under the tail. So for me the 4 foot (48″) pipe worked best for me. To make it taller you could go to a 5 foot pipe but it will make the stand less stable.

Step 2: Measure the length of the foot pockets. Mine are about 9-10″ long. So the fork needed to be around that size. Initially I was trying for about a 12″ fork. But these are my final numbers that work are: Stand 1’s fork is 10″ & Stand 2’s fork is 9″ without padding.

Step 3: Measure the width of the foot pockets. Mertailor tail is wider at 9″ and MerNation tail is a lot more narrow at 6.5″. This made me have to have 2 different size forks (you can probably find a universal size that will work for several tails wanted 2 stands).


Tools:

  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • Pipe wrench (you don’t really need this but it is helpful if you really have to screw the fork tight to make it fit in your foot pockets or to un-screw the pipe if you make it too tight)
  • Cleaner/Acetone to remove pipe grease
  • Painting supplies: foam brush, paint brush, gloves, drop cloth, etc.
  • Wood stain & polyurethane sealant
  • Clear coat spray paint

Tools


Parts:

All the parts were purchased at Home Depot (Tampa, FL Jan 2018).

First Stand:
made for my Mertailor Spellbound Tail
(34 lbs, heavy fluke)

Since this tail is a bit heavier and more heavy in the fluke area with wider foot pockets I decided to go a bit beefier. I went with 3/4″ pipe and regular elbow pipes. I up-sized the floor flange to a 1″ because it has a wider footprint and it will be more stable on the base.

Pieces:

  • 1 Pine round 1″ x 23 3/4″ $10.35
  • 1 Galvanized steel pipe 3/4″ 48″ $16.38
  • 2 Galvanized steel 3/4″ x close nipple $1.68 each / $3.36
  • 2 Galvanized steel 3/4″ x 8″ nipple $5.33 each / $10.66
  • 2 Galvanized steel 3/4″ elbow $2.94 each / $5.88
  • 2 Galvanized steel 3/4″ cap $2.97 each / $5.94
  • 1 Galvanized steel 3/4 Tee $3.70
  • 1 Galvanized steel 1″ to 3/4″ Bushing $4.26
  • 1 Galvanized steel 1″ Floor Flange $13.20
  • Zinc sheet metal screws 14×1 (4 pack) $1.18

Total cost: $74.91 plus tax

Second Stand:
made for my MerNation Signature full silicone tail
(25 lbs, heavy body)

This tail is very narrow at the foot pockets. I had to downsize to 1/2″ pipe & use the “street” elbows that screw directly into the Tee. I couldn’t find a up-sizing (bushing) piece to go from 1/2″ to 1″. The 1/2″ Flange seemed very small to me but I compromised by using the 3/4″ Flange. It seems to be stable enough to hold up the lighter tail. I also couldn’t put metal caps on the top of the stand (they got caught on the silicone & didn’t fit very nice) so I used some plastic caps that were on the long pipe at Home Depot as a cap to keep the edges of the metal pipe from digging into the silicone while sliding the tail on the stand. Later I put padding over them.

Pieces:

  • 1 Pine round 1″ x 23 3/4″ $10.35
  • 1 Galvanized steel pipe 1/2″ 48″ $12.98
  • 2 Galvanized steel 1/2″ x 8″ nipple $4.26 each / $8.52
  • 2 Galvanized steel 1/2″ elbow “90deg street” $2.94 each / $5.88
  • 1 Galvanized steel 1/2″ Tee $2.94
  • 1 Galvanized steel 1″ to 3/4″ Bushing $3.18
  • 1 Galvanized steel 3/4″ Floor Flange $8.42
  • Zinc sheet metal screws 14×1 (4 pack) $1.18
  • Keep the 2 little red plastic caps that sometimes come on the pipe. (This will help protect the edges of the top of the fork they are free)
  • Something for padding (I used old socks) & tape (I used athletic tape)

Total cost: $53.75


Assembly:

Step 1: Screw the pieces together. See diagrams below.

Step 2: Measure the forks to make sure they will fit in the foot pockets. At this point I folded my tails down and carefully slid the forks into the tails to see if it fit. I needed to screw the elbows into the Tee on the First Stand a lot more than I thought I would. This was difficult and took a lot of muscle. (Just be prepared to put some elbow grease and leverage into it. My Fiancé brought me his pipe wrench to help.)

Step 3: Find the center of the wood base (use your measuring tape). Screw the Flange into the wood base using a drill. Screw the Bushing into the Flange.

Note: Now you have 2 pieces: the fork (It kinda looks like a Triton) & the base. You can store it separately like this when not in use.

Step 4: Screw the fork into the base.

Step 5: Add padding to the top of the fork.

I only did this on the Second stand (for my MerNation tail). I thought the 3/4″ caps on the First stand had a nice round surface area that wouldn’t dig into the foot pockets too much (if needed I’ll add padding later). I used 2 old socks and rolled them up so there were several layers covering the top of the stand. Then wrapped them with athletic tape.

NOTE: If you are going to seal the steal pipe with Rust-Oleum, add the padding after the paint is dry.

There are many different options for padding and I’m curious to see what you guys decide to use. My way isn’t likely to be permanent and I’ll probably have to redo it whenever the socks or tape come off.


Finishing:

The wood and steel need to be sealed (especially since water may be dripping from your tail as it dries). The wood may warp or do weird things. Eventually, the steel pipe will rust (it will take many many years…but eventually it will happen).

Step one: Stain wood and seal with polyurethane. Or paint with a water resilient paint.

Optional Step two: Clean the steel with Acetone to remove the grease from the pipes. Seal with a clear coat of paint. I used Rust-Oleum Clear Spray Paint. I didn’t want to use a colored paint because I was worried it would transfer onto my tails.


Final product:


Final thoughts:

When I put my tails onto the stands, I roll/fold them down so I can see the foot pockets. Then I lift (or attempt to lift) them onto the stand. Or you can keep the tail on a table with it folded over and lean the stand into the tail. Once you see the fork is in the foot pockets than lift the tail and stand upright. Be very careful with your tails so you’re not allowing the stand to poke into the silicone bodies and potentially making holes or weak points.

Note: My MerNation tail had been dry for almost a week (or so I thought)…Then when I put it onto the stand for the first time there was hidden water that had dripped from it. I realized how much I needed a new way to dry my tails. I hope these will help. This is also why you should seal the wood base…to protect from water damage.

There are concerns about monofins cracking or the weight of the silicone body pulling away from the fluke. Remember that each tail is made differently. They are connected differently. They weigh differently. I do not recommend leaving your tail hanging unobserved for too long. Please check for possible damage. I do not know how your tail will react with the long term use on the tail stand.

I would like to hear the good and bad experiences that you’ve had with tail stands. Please leave me a comment.


There are also several options to making tail stands. The above just what I have done. I didn’t come up with the idea on my own. I got the idea from a Pod member who posted a picture of an already made stand. Then I asked my Fiancé to help me make one. These are some of the pictures I used for reference. *Please let me know if these are your designs or pics and I will give you credit (or remove the photos, if you request). A lot of the popular tail stands are made with PVC and maybe a good and less expensive option for you.


Side note: I also attempted to hang my tail on the wall using guitar hooks. It worked well for about 3 months then one day as the tail shifted one of the hooks pulled out of the wall. The tail fell and one of the heel fins tore. Sooo, I decided that wasn’t the best option for me to dry or store my tails.

If you have a tail stand or you build a stand like mine, please send me a photo and/or post on Instagram and tag me (my IG mermaid site is MermaidAerialPrincess). I’d love to see how everyone else is doing it.

 

Update to Portable Aerial Rig Pulley System

If you are up to date with the rest of my Aerial Equipment blogs – Great! This is an update to the pulley system I use with my Ludwig Portable Aerial Rig. If you are just starting out please go back and read my other posts then come back here when you’re ready for more info about pulley systems.

**I am NOT an aerial instructor or rigger. I am NOT a professional. My ideas on safety may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to a professional if you have questions. Facebook Safety in Aerial Arts Group is a great resource to find the professionals.**

I was contacted by Peter Boulanger, the Artistic & Tech Director of The Underground Circus. I think you can see his comments in the comments section of my blog. I’m going to post his concerns and say that going forward please consider using tandem pulleys opposed to the double pulley in your system. Please read his attached documents and then read our comments from The Underground Circus Facebook post (I’m Amy, if you’re curious.) If you already use the double pulley beware of the rope abraiding while lifting heavy loads. Also keep an eye on the outside safety plates of the pulley for any deformation that may be tell tale signs to take the pulley out of service.

I have not seen this large of a twist in my setup  (I’m not lifting people with my pulleys just the equipment so I don’t see the abrasion of the rope at all) but I do understand that the twist is there and it is putting extreme pressure on the sides of that double pulley that it is not designed for. It would be awful to have something unexpected happen to that pulley in a drop…

Luckily I’ve been playing with different ways to set up pulleys and I have additional pulleys in my arsenal so I can swap out my double pulley without much pain. Ooh, speaking of pain…I did learn a valuable lesson the other day. I DO NOT recommend ever trying to take down the Ludwig rig (from full height) ALL BY YOURSELF. Although, I did get it down to a manageable height so I could swap out the pulleys it was not fun, pretty, or easy. There was a ton of swearing, straining, and a few “OMG what just happened!” moments as the rig started to topple to the side almost crushing into my house. (And that is a major conversation I never want to have with my insurance company bc as you know these rigs are about as coverageable as a trampoline in Florida…use at your own risk). Get someone to help you take that rig down. Learn from my mistake…plus you’re going to need someone’s help to put it back up again anyway.



Additionally, I said above that I’ve been playing with different pulley ideas. This is because I want to be able to use my new Aerial Animals Trapeze as a static trapeze but with the current system it only has one rigging point. Discussing it with my Fiancé he decided to make me a spreader bar with 3 rigging points and we’d use a complicated pulley system to make it work. Well … complicated is rarely the best way to do things and it did not work.

I don’t have many pics of it because I really wasn’t going to write about it…but here it is. The steel spreader bar being painted and getting ready for eyebolts. (The spreader bar is perfect but just not used with the pulley set up that I had in mind.)


I used one rope and 4 single pulleys. I could raise and lower it just using one side of the rope. It looked great.

It seemed to work ok at first if I pulled it up to the top. But it wasn’t real stable and wobbled back and forth and the pulleys would bump each other. Then the final “oh crap, this definitely isn’t going to work” moment was when I put the trapeze up. Even if I used span sets and pulled it to the top the trapeze rocked back and forth (side to side) as I shifted weight from one side to the other. It wasn’t fun…oh it could be worked with as a unique apparatus but it wasn’t at all what I wanted.

Finally, I’ve gone back to the original pulley system (until I change the double out for a tandem set up…). Plus a seperate system for the trapeze: a single pulley for each side. I cut a 100ft rope in half and knotted a loop to attach the trapeze. Then I level each side equally and tie it off on the cleats. So now I have 2 pulley systems on one rig…this only works if you have 5 eyebolts on the top and I have 4 tie off cleats (one on each leg). I choose to tie off the trapeze pulley to the opposite legs of the single-point pulley.

Any questions or comments?

Aerial Equipment Part 6: Portable Aerial Rig *1 Year Outdoor Review

**I am NOT an aerial instructor or rigger. I am NOT a professional. My ideas on safety may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to a professional if you have questions. Facebook Safety in Aerial Arts Group is a great resource.**

It has been over a year since I purchased my Ludwig Aerial Rig. I still love it and I’m glad I have it. It has been kept up outdoors the entire time. Recently, I took it down and inspected it, then put it back up. I took photos of how it has weathered over the past year.

Ludwig Rig

Purchased and first installed February 2016.

Complete inspection March 2017.
(I do regular inspections of the legs, tie downs, rope, and climb to the top to visually and physically inspect pulleys and connections on every use.)

My biggest concern was to look for rusting on any of the welds on the rig and to make sure all the screws were tight on all connections on rig.

  • There was NO rust on any of the welds.
  • All screws on the legs pieces were still screwed down. There was one screw on the header leg that was not super tight but it was still secure. All quick connects (the buttons) were in place and secure. The header eye bolts were tight (unmovable) and free of rust.
  • There was some surface rust on the inside of the tube of the header and on parts of the legs that were inside the other pieces of leg. There was not not a huge amount of rust. I will continue to monitor it.
    Note: My Fiancé used some grease on the connection legs to reduce friction and be another barrier to prevent rusting (likely not needed but he wanted to do it).
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One year: Surface rust on the leg beam where it was inside of other beam.

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One year: Surface rust on inside of header beam.

  • The area with the most rust were the tie down cleats. These are untreated steel and get wet almost daily from our sprinkler system. I cleaned them with Navel Jelly (soaked them for 15 minutes then scrubbed them off with a green scrubber, did this 4 more times-soaking for 15-25 minute intervals & then scrubbed them before they were clear of the rust.) Then I sprayed them with Rustoleom Clear Primer to slow down future rust.
    Note: I also ordered a brand new set just to have available, if needed. 

Before and after: Tie off cleats.

Soaking cleats in Navel Jelly.

One year: Rust on leg from cleat.

Pulley System

I decided I was going to change out all the hardware on the pulley system when I took down the rig for inspection. I did this for 2 reasons:

  • I was concerned about weathering of the pulleys, carabiner, quicklinks, and rope. The labeling on the carabiner & pulleys say: “For intense use the pulley should be replaced every 12 months, for normal use the pulley should be replaced every 24 months.” I was not intensely using it. (I consider something like zip line use all day long to be intense use. I was only using it to pull aerial equipment up one or twice a week and on the equipment for a few hours at a time.)
    img_2177

    Pulley labeling.

    But I wasn’t completely comfortable with leaving them out in the elements (sun, wind, and rain) all year and not taken them down for cleaning/thorough inspection.
    AND on my regular inspections, I’d noticed that the top carabiner had some rust on it that concerned me…

  • Aesthetic purposes: I found that Fusion Climbing had come out with all black pulleys. I like that look so much more than the Blue/purple/orange pulleys and the price wasn’t much different on Amazon.
    Note: I confirmed with Fusion Climbing that the Amazon “Shop For Lifestyle” fulfillment company was a licensed distributor. Fusion Climbing also sent me additional information about the pulleys so I was able to confirm the packaging & product was legit.)
    Fusion Matte Black Pulley Flier

    I purchased a new all black rope. The old rope had a yellow stripe in it that I didn’t really care for.

I adore having the pulley system because it is so easy to switch out apparatuses and to take down and store equipment. But it is definitely a piece that requires more inspection and maintenance than if I didn’t have it. That is something to consider when putting together a portable aerial rig system.

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One year: Eyebolts, side pulley and quick links.

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One year: Middle eyebolt, carabiner, and double pulley. Note the rust on the carabiner.

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One year: Side eyebolt, quick links, and pulley. Note how the top quick link doesn’t look like its all the way tightened.

During my big inspection I was curious to how they weathered. This is what I found:

  • The quick links weathered phenomenally. No rust. No damage. I noticed that one wasn’t fully screwed tight. It was closed and the threads engaged but just not fully tight. See above photo.
  • Pulleys
    • The pulley’s color (blue, purple, orange) had faded from the sun.

      One year: Paint color faded.

      One year: Paint color faded.

    • The spinning mechanism did not stick at all. All of the pulleys moved freely. Only slightly less freely than the brand new pulleys.
      fullsizerender 26

      New and one year old pulley: side by side.

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      New and one year old pulley: side by side.

    •  

      The only rust on the pulleys was a small amount on part you clip into where it was being rubbed metal on metal. Other than that the pulleys were very clean after being left up outside all year.

      fullsizerender 47

      One year: Small amount of rust and wear.

    • I cleaned, dried, then lubed/oiled the old pulleys with silicone oil. They now run smooth as ever. I bagged them and will store them for later use.
img_1902

Silicone oil. Bought off of Amazon.

  • Top carabiner = Rusted.
    • This was the piece I was most worried about. It was the most ugly. I had noticed it getting rusty about 2 months prior to taking down the rig but did not realize it was as bad as it was until it was off and in my hands. The shine had disappeared. There was visible rust. However, the triple locking mechanism worked fine and was not fused shut and it opened and closed fine.
    • I cleaned it up and lubricated it with graphite. Then I did some research. I found that this rusting is called “Surface Oxidation.”  It is a steel carabiner and they are plated finish to prevent this. After time that coating wears off and they do begin to rust. See last paragraph of this link to Fusion’s Carabiner Information.
    • I’m keeping it for minimal use (I.e. I used it when rigging for an underwater photoshoot.). I think it is fine to use but it is kind of ugly so it won’t be used every day.
      Note: I was also informed that I could use clear nail polish to protect it.
    • I initially replaced it in the pulley system with the same type of steel carabiner because that’s what I had on hand. I have now changed my pulley configuration and have a Maillon Rapide Quick Link 10mm to take its place.
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      New and one year old carabiner.

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      One year: Wear on carabiner.

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      One year: Rust on carabiner.

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      One year: Wear & rust on carabiner.

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      One year: Carabiner after cleaning and oil.

  • Rope.
    • The old rope is still in excellent shape. There is no deformities, breaks, bends, kinks, or abrasions to the outside sheath.
    • It does feel slightly stiffer than the new rope but I think with a wash it will be back to normal.
    • I did research on climbing ropes. Here is an “How to inspect a climbing rope” guide.
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One year: Rope.

Final Thoughts

First question:

I have heard people ask if they can keep their rig up year-round.

My opinion:

For the Ludwig rig in Florida is YES

  • BUT make sure you are constantly inspecting it for wear, rust, screws that are loosening, etc.
  • Ludwig has also commented that he has kept a rig up year round in Colorado and it has not had issues. If you have more questions, I refer you back to the makers of the rigs. Please read all the info on his website about his rig. Ludwig Rig
  • There is also a lot of information on the Safety in Aerial Group on Facebook. Please join and use the search function to look up questions. (Outdoor, aerial rig, portable, pulley, free standing = these are good places to start.)

Second question:

Can the pulley system be kept up year round?

My opinion:

For my pulley system in Florida is also YES with a few considerations.

  • Think about how much use and weathering the pulleys and the rope are taking. My rig was used only by myself for a few hours once or twice a week (so not that much use). You may want to change out parts or the entire system once a year or do a complete inspection/cleaning of the system and evaluate replacing the system (at least once a year).
  • I feel like with cleaning and lubrication of the pulleys and cleaning of the rope I could continue to use the old system. I have changed out my system for aesthetic reasons not purely because I needed to retire the other system.

Note my shed that holds all my mats and other aerial and circus equipment.

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Mermaid Top Review 4: Sirenalia Silicone Starfish Top

Top #4 Sirenalia Silicone Starfish

Custom made to color request.

Base color: Gold.

Size: Medium.

Price:

$125.00 + $20 shipping = Total $145.00. Plus new bikini top $154.99

Production Time:

  • Purchased 4/20/17
  • Shipped 5/11/17
  • Delivered in Tampa, FL USA 5/15/17

Customer Service:

Initially I sent Sirenalia a FB message asking how to order a starfish top to match my tail & added a photo of the front part of my MerNation Silicone Tail. Then I found her Etsy Store. I placed my order on Etsy for the Silicone Starfish top on Etsy.

They advertised “any color.” I choose the base color as Gold and then wrote another note on Etsy to clarify the colors. I asked for a gold/light yellow & light pink (like ballet pink) to match my tail and let her know I sent a FB Message also. I also requested glitter.

In my note I also asked that the starfish be placed a bit closer together than her previous ones because it didn’t look like those would fit me quite right.

She messaged back a few days later on FB that she’d communicate with me on Etsy.

These are some of the Instagram posts Sirenalia made with my top:

Instagram post on May 4, 2017 of the silicone starfish with glitter

Instagram post on May 11, 2017 of just gold (I’m not sure if these are actually mine or just a similar color.)

Instagram post on June 16, 2017

Sirenalia sent me a note on Etsy the day they shipped in saying “Sorry it took so long….” and asked me to send pictures of me in the top. I guess they usually get them out a bit faster than 3-weeks. I thought it was a very easy process.

Quality/Durability:

It came with the silicone starfish attached to brown netting and a thin nude bralette. The silicone starfish have gorgeous realistic details and the paint job is beautiful. There is a light sparkle of glitter on them. The silicone is very thin around the edges and the entire starfish is soft and pliable.

The bralette is not my favorite. It is thin and seems like it stretches out of shape very easily. The straps are very narrow and dug into my shoulders.

The netting is nice. It seems sturdy and strong but I did have a some challenges keeping it tied at first.

Fit/Comfort:

The original top has a thin bralette with a brown fishnet under the silicone starfish. I ordered the Medium and even though it fit the starfish are a bit heavy for it and they pulled the fabric down in the front so I felt it made my boobs look saggy. I think I just needed a bit more support than the bralette offered.

This top would probably work better for small chested/small framed mermaids. I never really felt comfortable in it…as is. I also had a hard time keeping the fish netting tied (I even tried to safety pin it and put some extra stitches on it but nothing worked perfectly).

Finally, after having it for over 6 months and not feeling comfortable enough to wear it in public (I only wore it a few times in my pool & around my Fiancé), I realized I needed to revamp it so I could wear it. I mean…those little starfish are gorgeous and I wanted to show them off!

I had already successfully attached the Merthology Creations Silicone Shells to a bikini so I decided to do something similar with the Starfish.

Revamp:

I found another Bikini on Amazon that fit me well. (My Fiancé said the lace wasn’t very “mermaid-like” but it is covered by the netting and I really like it.)

Bikini purchased from Amazon: Xhileration $9.99

First, I cut the sutures that tied the netting down on the bralette. Then VERY carefully and gently peeled back the starfish from the bralette. The netting stayed attached to the silicone starfish. Some of it nicely and easily pulled away from the bralette but other parts I helped with a sharp scissors. Some of the starfish neat the edges are really thin so it was a slow process to make sure I didn’t damage it.

I kept the netting attached as is and used silicone adhesive to glue the starfish onto the bikini. Then I sewed down the netting to the bikini in a few places so it would hang correctly.

I recently wore it with my MerNation tail at Gilchrist Blue Springs (Central Florida). There were tons of families and kids everywhere. I received so many compliments on my top. Everyone loved it. It swam phenomenally and didn’t move. It’s definitely a top I’ll wear a lot more often now.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous paint job
  • A lot of details in the starfish
  • Nice paint job that matches my tail
  • Unique top that gets many compliments

Cons:

  • Not very supportive
  • I had to revamp it and attach it to my own bikini to make it useable
  • I feel it’s high priced for what I got out of it.

Lessons learned:

  • Not to expect a “one size fits all” to actually fit and look good on me.
  • That I can craft and use something I felt self conscious in and make it into the perfect top for me with a bit of confidence (it was scary taking the starfish off the bralette) and ingenuity.

Mermaid Top Review 3: Merthology Creations Silicone Seashell Top

Top #3 Merthology Creations Silicone Seashells

Custom made to color request. One size fits all.

Price:

$47.00 (+ $50 shipping UK to US, included with a 2nd top) /UK dollars £38 = Total plus bikini top $80.79 (plus shipping)

Production Time:

  • First message 5/20/17
  • Ordered & payment sent 6/12/17
  • Production started 7/9/17
  • Shipped from the U.K. 8/3/17
  • Arrived in Tampa, FL USA 8/7/17

Customer Service:

When I contacted Merthology Creations about commissioning a silicone top she had several options. One option was for silicone shells connected with netting embellished with seaweed and little silicone starfish. All of our communication was over Facebook Messenger. I asked her to match the color of blue on my little seahorse on my tail for the seashells with the edges in cream/gold.

She sent me this picture before shipping. She had also warned me that they were not very supportive which I understood when I purchased them.

Quality/Durability:

The silicone shells are very well made but the seaweed that was attached did not stay on very well. Upon arrival one piece had already fell off. When I tried it on she was correct in that there was ZERO support.

I decided I needed to give them support so I found a bikini on Amazon to attach them too. I removed the netting from the back of the shells. Then I tried to use E6000 to attach them to the bikini….sadly this was my first lesson in “silicone ONLY adheres to silicone.” I then purchased some silicone adhesive and used a ziplock bag filled with water to weigh the shells to the bikini while the silicone dried. Then I attached the little silicone starfish to one strap.

Bikini top purchased from Amazon: Kenneth Cole $33.79

I wore this top at one of the first mermaid meet ups I went to at Ginnie Springs, FL. It fit great but the seaweed kept rubbing on me and it was uncomfortable. A few more seaweed pieces fell off so I ended up just removing all of them. They were just attached with a little bit of clear silicone adhesive so they came off very easily. I find that I really like the simplicity of just the shells and tiny starfish.

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After I removed the seaweed and was trying out the Mertailor Fantasea Fin and Skin.

Fit/Comfort:

The shells alone are very uncomfortable with no cups to support “the girls” (which Sam told me about). The back of the shells are a nice smooth silicone that felt nice against my skin. However, the seaweed was irritating around my armpits.

Now that I have them attached to a bikini top that fits me and removed the seaweed, it is one of the most comfortable tops I own. It is great for laid back swimming and enjoying myself in my tail. I like having an option for a casual mermaid top that is still 100% mermaidy. It seems like it will hold up for a very long time. The shells haven’t lost any color or gotten any scratches. I love how it folds in half making it very easy to store and carry.

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This top works great for layering. I’m wearing the blue shells under this see-through top and it works great.

Pros:

  • Well made silicone shells
  • Nice paint job that matches my tail
  • Silicone is thick and very durable.
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Not supportive
  • Had to attach it to my own bikini
  • The seaweed was uncomfortable and did not stay attached

Lessons learned:

  • I took a risk and ordered a top from someone who didn’t sell through a website and it worked out really well.
  • I would defiantly order from Merthology Creations again. The price for what I received was spot on. If I bought this again I would just purchase the pieces…just the silicone shells and/or the small silicone starfish.
  • Shipping from UK To US can be expensive but for the right price of the goods it can be worthwhile.
  • That silicone only adheres to silicone so don’t use E6000 on it.
  • Even if something isn’t perfect for you at first there are many ways to make it work for you. Get creative!

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Mermaid Top Review 2: Merthology Creations Seaweed Silicone Top

Top #2 Merthology Creations Seaweed Silicone Top

Custom made to size and color request.

Price:

$180.00 + $50 shipping UK to US, included with a 2nd top. (UK dollars £145) = Total $230

Production Time:

  • First message 5/20/17
  • Ordered & payment sent 6/12/17
  • Production started 7/9/17
  • Shipped from the U.K. 8/3/17
  • Arrived in Tampa, FL USA 8/7/17

Customer Service:

I saw some pictures of a top on Facebook that I really liked. I thought they would make a great addition to my top collection.

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Photo from Merthology Creations

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Photo from Merthology Creations.

I found Merthology Creations on Facebook and FB messaged her about prices and ideas. We FB messaged for a few days about 2 different styles she offered (I decided to get both). All our communication was done on FB messenger. I was worried about the European sizing compared to the US sizing and she calmed my fears by telling me she coverts it for the proper fit.

She kept me in the loop about everything. She double checked what colors I wanted and sent pictures of both tops before they were shipped. It was one of the best custom ordering processes I’ve had.

https://www.facebook.com/merthologycreations/

Quality/Durability:

It is built onto an underwire bra base. It looks like she uses pieces of silicone seaweed to build the top. The cups are molded using the bra but she cuts the edges of the bra down to make it look perfect with the silicone. The painting has several shades of green giving it nice dimension. My favorite is the two pearls above the pink/cream silicone seashell. I think it gives the top a final bit of

It it a robust top that hold its shape really well. The halter strap attaches with Velcro and over time this may be the first thing to wear.

Fit/Comfort:

This top is full coverage and VERY comfortable. I love wearing it. The sides are very wide and cover extra “side boob.” The bra is lightly padded but does not have any “push up” padding. It is a supportive top.

The halter strap is also wide and connects with Velcro. This has made for wonderful land/dry gigs because I can adjust the strap for my comfort. I tend to get neck pain with a lot of halter strap tops or swimsuits. It was also OK for the few times I was swimming/floating around my little pool. But as soon as I took it in bigger open water and really swam around in it, the Velcro did NOT hold. Suddenly I was holding to top up with one hand and treading water with the other….I think the can be easily fixed by sewing a hook to the halter.

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First swim.

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Reaching to hold the straps after the Velcro came undone.

These photos show one of my first long underwater swims with the top. The first is me swimming and the next is me reaching up to hold the top together after the Velcro came undone. LOL.

Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Has great support and good coverage
  • Silicone is thick and very durable.
  • The straps on the side do an awesome job covering any extra “side boob” *this is probably my favorite thing about this top.
  • The top is unique and I don’t find a lot of other US mermaids with a similar top

Cons:

  • Velcro on the halter comes undone when swimming. (I have very large shoulder muscles). I need to figure out how to attach a good hook to the halter.

Lessons learned:

  • I took a risk and ordered a top from someone who didn’t sell through a website and it worked out really well. But I was prepared for it to have not worked out & me being out the money. (I had a really good feeling about Merthology Creations & I just went with it.)
  • Shipping from UK To US can be expensive but for the right price of the goods it can be worthwhile.

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Mermaid Top Review Series: MerNation Silicone Scale top

 

For those of you who follow my blog for the aerial equipment info…I’m taking a bit of a side track and highjacking my blog for my Mermaid fans. I’ve developed a bit of a Mermaid Top collection (it’s really an obsession, at this point). I have tops from several big Mermaid brands (& some from lesser known designers). They range quite a bit in price and quality. In my reviews I’ll give insight into some of things I wish I knew before I purchased them.

Top #1 MerNation Silicone Scale Top

Custom made to match my full silicone MerNation mermaid tail.

This was my first silicone mermaid top. It was purchased from MerNation at the time I ordered a full silicone mermaid tail (2017). It has a an “add on” feature of a light gold decorative filigree on the top and on the straps. It also has a glitter top coat.

Price:

Starts at $275 (pricing as of Mar 2018). I actually can’t remember what I paid for this top as it was included in my total Tail price.

(I also ordered a silicone waist/gap wrap…which was the BEST mermaid purchase I’ve made so far. Ask me why & maybe I’ll do a review on it too.)

Production Time:

  • First meeting/placed order 3/6/17
  • Paid 3/11/17
  • Update from MerNation with photo of painting 4/3/17
  • Complete & picked it up 4/6/17

Customer Service:

When I was at MerNation’s business to get measured for my tail, Erin gave me several plain bra tops to try on. I believe they were a few different brands (I know one was a Victoria’s Secret). I vaguely remember picking one but saying I needed at 36 (not a 34) for the chest size. I can’t remember if this was written down or not.

MerNation kept me posted every part of the way with text messages and pictures. This is a photo Erin sent to show where they were at after they finished painting but before they attached the filigree.

Quality/Durability:

The top is built with a plain bra top as the base. The silicone is thick and sturdy. The scales match my silicone tail exactly. They are about the same thickness as my tail. The filigree is thick and attached very strong.

The one place that may eventually have issues are the straps. They are more stretchy than the rest of the top therefore may wear out faster. So far I have had no quality issues with them at the one year mark.

I like this top mostly for my more “professional” gigs as it’s one of my more expensive tops. I want to keep it in the best shape possible. I’ve wore it for several underwater photoshoots but just once at a pool party and once at a Mermaid Florida Springs meet up.

 

Fit/Comfort:

I’m usually a 36/38 B. The cup shape is amazing and it gives me a perfect amount of cleavage without the risk of “spilling out.” It is slightly padded & a bit of a push-up. I feel like it gives me adequate coverage for it to be one of my more conservative tops. I’m very comfortable doing underwater acrobatics with it without being afraid of inadvertently flashing anyone.

It is VERY tight on me & it takes a few minutes for me to put it on without help. (Silicone sticks so clasping it in the front and sliding it around the body can be a humorous dilemma.) I did purchase a bra extender to make it fit better and now (although still tight) is just snug and not constricting. I still don’t want to wear this top for long periods of time because it doesn’t fit me just right. (Maybe if I loose some weight it will fit better…actually I’m sure it would…)

When my hair has been down, it has gotten tangled in the straps . It made for some awkward underwater modeling experiences. The photographer said he couldn’t tell but for me it felt really weird. I ended up taking the straps off to finish the shoot. Then in more recent events wearing the top, I’ve pulled my hair back and not had any issues.

First time wearing it and couldn’t get it hooked correctly because it was too tight.

Pros:

  • Matches my MerNation tail perfectly
  • Colors are amazing
  • Superb, unique artistic workmanship
  • High quality, thick silicone
  • Very professional looking

Cons:

  • It’s too tight. I had to put a bra extender on it. It can get uncomfortable (because it’s tight) after wearing it for a long time.
  • Long hair sometimes gets tangled and stuck to the silicone filigree on the straps.
  • The flaps in the back look sort of odd. I’d like to figure out how to tack them down in place.

Lessons learned:

Silicone once attached to a bra does not have much stretch. If you are a 36B and wear the bra on the last hook and it’s at its maximum stretch….the silicone top will be VERY tight.

Bra extensions are your best friend. They are cheap (you can get them off Amazon). They come in several colors and can give added inches in comfortability.

* The last 4 photos are of the top after I have had it for over a year.