We had a lot of different directions we could take with the mermaid, but ultimately, I knew I didn’t want to go in a children’s cartoon direction. I wanted more depth and less sea shell bra. I came across this Anthropologie window display from a few years ago and I thought it was amazing inspiration for our costume. Those are made from paper plates, coffee filters, straws and cups. Together with my assistant Rebecca, we decided on a one-should strap number that would be a bit more comfortable and interesting. We gathered paper medicine and souffle cups in various sizes, dipped them in paint, and added cotton swabs, and wire coral.DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume DIY mermaid costume

Mermaid Instructions as inspired by Tahitian Island Dream 



  • Coffee filters, make sure they have the ruffled edges like these!
  • Paper soufflé cups in various sizes (we used these, these, and these)
  • Paint colors in cool colors. We used jade, teal, and a steely blue.
  • Buckets to dilute paint in
  • Blue stretch material (1-2 yards depending on your size)


  1. Take body measurements of hip, waist, and the lengths of waist to hip, hip to knee, and knee to floor. These will provide the guidelines for the pattern of the base skirt.
  2. Fold the fabric in half, so the fold marks center-front. Halve your measurements and mark them on the material. Connect the dots with a fabric marker, creating a mermaid shaped silhouette, which hugs the waist down to the knees and then flairs out at the bottom. Cut out and sew right sides together. The seam will be center-back.
  3. Fill small buckets with water and add a bit of paint to each bucket. Stir. The amount of paint will determine the color potency.
  4. Dip ruffled edges of coffee filters into color buckets, about 1-2″ up. The color will bleed up about an inch. Let dry for 15-24 hours.
  5. Submerge soufflé cups into same color buckets, letting them soak for a few minutes. Remove and let dry for 5-10 hours.
  6. Once dry, fold coffee filters in half, with one side slightly longer than the next.
  7. Flatten soufflé cups and cut in half.
  8. Beginning at the base of the skirt, hot glue the coffee filters to the fabric in a row. Overlap the filters as you glue on additional rows.
  9. About 1-2 feet up the skirt, transition into the largest size of souffle cups and continue the overlapping pattern with the different colors.
  10. The top of the skirt should end with the smallest size of souffle cups.

**We completely covered one side of the skirt first and then flipped it over and did the other side.




  1. Follow the same instructions for the skirt and mix paint colors into water buckets.
  2. submerge the paper soufflé cups into paint, remove, and let dry for 5-10 hours.
  3. Flatten cups and cut in half.
  4. Hot glue cups onto shirt beginning from the bottom and working your way up. Overlap the cups slightly.

Coral pieces:

  1. Take wire and cut into various lengths.
  2. Fold wire pieces in half and twist together.
  3. Coat the wire pieces with hot glue to give them a more organic shape and texture.
  4. Wrap all the wire pieces together with a small piece of wire at the base and form into a coral shape
  5. Spray paint coral

Sea Anemone:

  1. Spray paint plastic straws light pink
  2. Cluster the straws together and glue onto a paper soufflé cup to secure.
  3. Trim the edges of the straws to make points.
  4. Keep straw trimmings to glue onto blouse for additional detail.

Q-tip Pieces:

  1. Dip the ends of Q-tips into pink candle wax.
  2. Dip 2-3 times depending on the color and thickness of the wax.

Wax Paper sea flowers:

  1. Cut out small circles of wax paper.
  2. Cut a slit into the center of the circle, overlap paper and hot glue to form small cone shapes.

Using all the pieces in addition to extra paper soufflé cups, hot glue on the pieces to the should and waist. We created a trail of the wax paper cones across the bodice, placing the most emphasis on the right shoulder and left waist.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our costume series this year. I’d love to know which one is your favorite! Dish below! And check out more costumes on our tag #LarsInCostume

Photography by Anna Killian  |  Mummy costume by Danielle Wilson  |  Costume makeup by Kathy Lynch  |  Crafting by Rebecca Young |  Art directed by Brittany Jepsen  |  Mermaid model: Alexis McKinnon  |  Mummy model: Melissa Leavitt

This post is sponsored by Bath and Body Works.