For Halloween this year, I attended Freaky Deaky, a music festival focusing on hip-hop and EDM. Obviously, costumes were encouraged! The trouble was finding a Halloween look that was fun, warm enough for outside, and comfortable enough to dance in all day and night. I settled on a mermaid costume. There are plenty of places to buy generic mermaid outfits, and some really incredible mermaid costumes on Etsy and from other retailers, but I wanted to try making my own. Instead of spending $80 on a mass-produced polyester costume or $100+ on a specialized mermaid bra alone, this look cost me just $45. Read on to find out how to make your own mermaid costume!
DIY Mermaid Bra
This was my first experience making a decorated bra. I went to the craft store with no specific goal other than to find mermaid-ish things. I ended up with so much more than I expected – and used every bit!
Here is what I grabbed:
- Strands of various beads
- Small gemstones with adhesive backing (these came into play for my makeup and hair)
- Netting (from the floral section)
- Krazy Glue (though I ended up using a hot glue gun instead)
- Crystal accents on wire
(You can also get this stuff from Amazon via the images belwo! So easy.)
You’ll also need tweezers, newspaper or another covering for your work surface, and a bra. It will be easier if the bra is in the color palette you are working with. I spent less than $30 on these items!
Once I sat down with all my materials, I started by hot gluing the netting to one bra cup. I knew I wanted the netting to hang down and have twists, giving the top the effect of looking more like a tangled mermaid and less like a regular old bra. I continued attaching the netting around the side of the bra. From there, I simply started added beads where I thought they looked good. There is really no clear method for this, as it depends on your preferences and what beads you are working with. There are some truly gorgeous mermaid bras on Etsy to give you inspiration!
To make the fish scale effect on one cup, I first sketched the pattern on the bra cup with a pen, and then glued beads along the lines I created. I filled in the area with sequins, making the mermaid bra a little more sparkly. This part was pretty time consuming, since I used tweezers to apply just a few scales at a time. You have to work fast with hot glue, and I didn’t want to burn my fingers in the process!
It is also worth noting that this bra was heavy by the end, so make sure you are using a bra that fits properly and you adjust the straps before starting the decorating process.
Since I was attending an outdoor event in Chicago (so cold), I definitely wanted to be a little more covered. Leggings were the obvious choice! Black Milk makes amazing, quality leggings in fun mermaid patterns, but there are plenty of cheaper options. I ordered mine from Amazon for under $15. Be careful to read reviews if you go this route for mermaid leggings – some of the scales are printed upside down, and sometimes the fit is strange.
Mermaid Costume Hair
The obvious choice for mermaid hair would be loose waves, but I decided to go with a braid. After washing my hair, I used Drybar’s Mai Tai Spritzer to add texture. If you have short hair, you may want to use extensions. I made one piece of hair very thin to make the braid look messier than usual, and also braided in a strand of shell beads. After braiding, I wrapped a small piece of hair around the clear hair tie and secured it with a bobby pin. I placed small gems with adhesive backing throughout my hair to add a little more sparkle. I gave it all a quick once-over with hairspray, and it stayed perfectly in place for most of the night – dancing and all!
Mermaid Costume Makeup
I followed this video for makeup, and made a few tweaks based on the supplies I had. I skipped false eyelashes since I was going to be dancing for 6+ hours, and added sequins leftover from making the bra instead of gold leaf (it’s expensive!). I used gold liquid eyeliner to add touches of gold around the gems and sequins. I also added some small spots of the fish scale effect by holding a fishnet against my skin and dabbing on color with a cotton ball. I’ve seen girls put the entire stocking over their heads to make this effect cover more of their faces, but I just wanted a touch here and there. I added it to the side of my neck and my temples.
I would definitely advise you to wear a button up shirt while working on this look, or you’ll end up with blue/green/purple and sparkle everywhere!
I never got a decent picture of the entire look put together, but I loved my outfit and was extremely comfortable for all of the shows – even in 50 degree weather! If you want to dress up as a mermaid for Halloween, an EDM festival, or whatever event, I absolutely encourage you to put your own spin on this. Send me a picture if you try it!