Our daughter Ava requested a “Real Mermaid Beach Party,” for her 5th birthday.
It was a fun, easy theme to embellish. To help the guests get into party mode, we gave them each a sand pail and shovel as they arrived on the beach. Inside the pail was a mermaid tail upcycled from bath towels for the girls and a dolphin tail for the boys.
Ava insisted the tails look “real.” Which meant the fun rainbow colors or patterned towels used in many of the examples on Pinterest were out. We found relatively inexpensive bath towels at Wal-Mart in sage green and light blue. They met the criteria for both the realistic request and for our party budget.
Our guests were 5 years old and younger. The bath towels were a great length and width for their small bodies. Beach towels would have provided too much fabric.
I traced a pattern for the tail free hand onto tissue paper. It’s a whimsical tail so accuracy was not important. I folded the towel in half and cut out the bottom third of the towel. I left the outer edges and top edge of the towel’s binding in place.
To keep the cut edge of towel from fraying I used the multi stitch zig-zag setting 07 on my Singer Sewing Machine. It’s a strong stitch and was completely hidden by the loops of the terry cloth.
The bath towels were too narrow to tie around the children’s waists so I embellished the towels with ribbon purchased at Joann‘s.
I used a 24 inch piece of fuchsia pink and yellow polka dotted grosgrain ribbon doubled in half for the Mermaid Tails. The ribbon is attached with a straight stitch following the outer edges of the ribbon to make a two inch square. Tuck the end under to hide the raw edge.
On the opposite side of the towel add a large button hole to thread the ribbon through.
The girls threaded the bottom ribbon through the hole and tied closed with a pretty bow.
To keep the dolphin tails masculine I used a nautical navy and white stripped two inch wide grosgrain ribbon. I attached a 10 inch piece on each side of the towel edge by straight stitching a two inch square along the edges of the ribbon. The ties were just long enough to tie into a square knot.
The toddlers at the party were given lavender and gray guppy tails. I used a pair of hand towels from my private collection and attached a 1 1/2 inch grey grosgrain ribbon in the same manner as the dolphin tails.
The kids loved their tails. One of the mothers at the party, later told me she now uses the dolphin tails to dress up her kids’ bathroom. Our girls use their tails for dress up around the house and they bring them along to the beach in place of our traditional beach towels.
The process was a bit labor intensive for the size of our crowd, but the “wow” factor made the work worth while. It was also nice to give a party favor that could actually be used again.
With the help of the up cycled guppy tail notions these favors came in under $3 a piece.