Mermaid Sculpture

Create a Mermaid sculpture, using packing tape, a bit of cardboard and a willing model.  No Mermaids were harmed in the making of this project.


Age: Adult                                

Difficulty: Easy

Time scale: 3 out of 5


  • Wide clear packing tape, about 4 rolls
  • human model
  • scissors
  • cardboard
  • glue gun/glue sticks
  • Styrofoam head
  • Fishing line
  • white craft foam

To make this glow under black lights you will also need:

  • Airbrush
  • Green Fluorescent craft paint
  • Blue neon paint

Make a Mermaid Sculpture

This should be an adult project only. You will need a willing participant to be wrapped. I should say a patient, willing participant. Always do the body parts in stages. Wrapping someone completely in packing tape can cause circulation problems and be dangerous. Only do small sections at a time as described. Make sure not to wrap it too tight or it will be too difficult to remove. Do this at your own risk!!!

Some of the inexpensive brands of packing tape seem to work better for this project. The stiffer the tape, the less layers you will have to do.

Have the model hold their arms in the position you want the sculpture to be in. Start by wrapping the tape sticky side out (not against the skin) from the shoulder down to the hand. The hand will be easier to do all together. If you and your model are really patient you can do the fingers all separately. I wouldn't recommend this. Don't mermaids have webbed fingers anyways?

After one layer has been done with the sticky side out, turn the tape around and start wrapping sticky side in. Make sure all the spots are covered with the tape with the sticky side out, before doing it sticky side in or your model will be stuck in tape forever.

Do four to five layers of tape, around and around one arm. Some tape may require more layers. It should be fairly stiff, so it will retain it's shape. When you have enough layers done, use scissors and cut a seam down the inside of the arm and remove. Be CAREFUL with those scissors!! Tape the arm piece back together on the cut seam. Now do the other arm the same.


Now, tape the body from the upper chest to the waist only. Do this the same way you did the arms. Cut a seam up the back to remove and tape back together. Tape the arms to this piece.

Have the model put their legs together and wrap from the bottom of the waist down to the ankles. Be careful they don't tip over! It is difficult to balance when standing this way. It isn't necessary to wrap the feet, only wrap to the ankles. Cut up the back and then tape back together. Now attach this to the upper body by taping together.

The form for the tail fin on the mermaid sculpture is made with cardboard. Cut out two exact tail pieces. Cut a 3 inch wide strip of cardboard long enough to go around the edge of the fin. Hot glue this piece to the inside edge of the fin, then attach the other fin to the other side.

Wrap tape around this form, the same way as on your model. First layer, sticky side out, all other layers sticky side in. When it is all wrapped, cut a seam with scissors and remove the cardboard form.
Attach to the bottom of the tape figure.


The safest way to make the head and neck for the mermaid sculpture is to wrap a styrofoam head. I'm not going to suggest that you actually wrap the head of a live human being. DON'T DO IT!! Yes, I have done it, but I'm saying, don't do it. I was in a cranky mood and my husband was the subject. (No, he wasn't a mermaid, it was a different project) He feared for his life, even though I didn't wrap his nose or mouth! It really is too dangerous, so use the styrofoam head, instead. Wrap the same way, cut and remove. Hook to the body of the mermaid sculpture.

For the hair, rip pieces of tape into long strips. Hold both ends and twist. You will need to do a lot of these. Start attaching to the back of the head and work your way all the way up.

I did the hair sticking out in all directions, because I thought in the water, that is how it would look.


I put the mermaid sculpture under black lights, so I used an air brush to add a very faint scalloped pattern with fluorescent green paint. I also added neon blue paint to the hair.

She has a top made from white craft foam, cut into scalloped shaped shells and painted green.

Tape a piece of fishing line to the upper and lower back. Tie this on to one main line, where it is balanced. Attach to the ceiling.

How about making a packing tape ghost, in a hurry? This activity also keeps away retirement boredom. Crazy? Maybe just a little.

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