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.” We found relatively inexpensive bath towels at Wal-Mart in sage green and light-blue. The bath towels were a great length and width for our under 5 guest list.
Image 1: Trace a pattern for the tail free hand onto tissue paper. It’s a whimsical tail, accuracy is not important. Fold the towel in half and cut out the bottom third of the towel. Leave the outer edges and top edge of the towel’s binding in place.
Image 2: Keep the towel from fraying with a multi stitch zig-zag. I used setting 07 on my Singer Sewing Machine. It’s a strong stitch and was completely hidden by the loops of the terry cloth.
Image 3: Secure the towels around the guest’s waist attach grosse-graine ribbon. I used a 24 inch length of ribbon doubled in half for the Mermaid Tails. Attach with a straight stitch following the outer edges of the ribbon to make a two inch square. Finish the end with a 1/4 inch fold. Press. Fold again. Press and stitch closed.
Image 4: On the opposite side of the towel add a large button hole to thread the ribbon through.
Image 5: Thread the bottom ribbon through the hole and tie closed with a pretty bow.
To keep the dolphin tails masculine, attach 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 tie into a square knot.
The toddlers at the party were given lavender 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.