DIY mermaid costume for kids

When I enrolled Santoshi for summer camp, my expectations were quite straight forward and simple – that they would keep her for a specified period of time each day and also entertain her.  She winning some new friends would just be a side benefit.

But, whether these expectations were met or not, I ended up with assignments more than once.  The first was my daughter squealing delightfully, “Mom, I need to dress up like a mermaid tomorrow!” When she told me this around 2 pm that Wednesday, I said, “wow, great!” without any emotion, as usual.  Then a few hours later, I realized that Santoshi was thinking that a mermaid costume would be ready the next morning and that I needed to get to work.

I googled ‘diy mermaid costumes for kids’ and ended up with a lot of results with awesome costumes. Short on time and with materials that I could gather from local stores, I had to improvise a lot.

Santoshi had decided to wrap one of my stoles across her chest over her camisole. I was relieved. I had to work only on the fin portion. I bounced my ideas off her to avoid a tantrum the next morning.  She was ok with my idea (which I will explain in this post).

My idea was to cut a piece of chart paper in the shape of mermaid tail (two pieces of the same size), add fish scales using the gift wrappers and tie them around her waist – one in the front and one in the back.

Things I used:

  • One piece of chart paper
  • Two sheets of gift wrapper
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • A pair of scissors
  • Two pieces of ribbon/ string


I folded the chart paper in half and cut them in the shape of the fish tail (measured to fit Santoshi from waist to roughly below the calf muscle). The gift wrappers were cut in many strips with a straight top and a wavy bottom.  These strips were pasted on the chart alternately in a staggered fashion to get a design (remotely) resembling scales on Disney’s Ariel. Once done, I let them dry overnight.


The next morning, once Santoshi was ready wearing a t-shirt and a pair of leggings, I tied the stole across her chest, which made her giggle and grin sheepishly.  The top portion of the chart was folded back and secured using packing tape. I slid a length of thin ribbon into the loop and tied each piece individually around her waist. She was elated to be dressed like a mermaid.


The only trouble was that she could not sit with the piece tied behind her.  After posing for a few clicks, she wanted the rear tail to be removed. As I had supposed, she came back from the camp without the tail. ‘It tore off, momma…,” I was like, “yeah, of course it did”. With the intent of maintaining peace, I didn’t talk about how it tore, etc. And anyway, there other tail was still around.

The fact that she was excited about the costume makes me want to make one out of fabric – just a tail for the front which she can tie around her waist on any frock or skirt. That’s for a different day, though.


One thought on “DIY mermaid costume for kids

  1. Pingback: DIY Christmas tree costume for toddlers | crazycookup

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