The number one "must-have" custom pony for 2004 is undoubtedly
the "merpony". A merpony is simply a pony with a mermaid
tail. Hasbro actually made three merponies in the 1990s, but they
weren't very popular. Most collectors regarded the merponies as
A seapony themed custom contest (held by another collector, not me)
sparked a new interest in merponies. A crop of these gorgeous custom
merponies showed up on eBay and on pony websites. They featured
dazzling colors, graceful designs, and delicate hand-made
accessories. Photographed against jaw-dropping backgrounds, they
sold for upwards of $100 USD. Everyone was amazed at their beauty
and wanted one too.
I thought about bidding on
a merpony...they sure looked amazing on-line. Then, I thought,
"Hmmm...I wonder if I can make one of those". That
challenge led to this tutorial and Muriel, the merpony. The whole
process took a lot longer than I imagined. Sculpting & painting
alone took many hours of tedious work. The parts aren't cheap either. You've
been warned...it's a lot easier to click that "place my bid"
This basic tutorial will show you how to
create your very own underwater beauty. Enjoy!
Bait pony - your choice here. G3s are probably the most
popular option. They're nice to work with too, since the plastic is
soft and cuts easily.
X-acto knife - for removing the pony's head and amputation.
Acetone or nail polish remover - for taking off symbols.
Pliers - every customizer should have some on hand. For
removing the tail and bending your wire mesh.
Tin snips, wire cutters, or heavy duty scissors - I suggest either
the first or second. You don't want to ruin a nice pair of scissors!
Wire mesh - I used some leftover scraps that I've had for
years. Home Depot has "aluminum mesh" for pet doors should
work. It's less than $10 for a huge roll...you don't need that much
though. It's in the same section as the mesh for screen
doors/windows. Other craft stores (Michaels, Joann's, etc.) or art stores
have finer mesh that will probably work even better. Look in the
Clay - your choice here. I used an epoxy putty similar to
Milliput, but it is really hard to work with. Epoxy putties
are available at model/gaming stores or on-line. Perhaps Fimo or
Sculpy would be easier. With an aluminum mesh, it's possible to bake
your pony. I haven't tried the air-dry paper clays, but there's no
reason why those wouldn't work. Fimo, Sculpy, and paper clays are
available at art & craft stores.
Sculpting tools - whatever you have on hand should work
nicely. Pens, forks, knives, nails, thumbtacks, toothpicks...you
don't need to spend more money on fancy tools =)
Glue - for reattaching the head. I'd use tacky glue, that is,
if I glue the head back on. I usually just leave it alone.
Paint & brushes - your choice here. Whatever you normally
use should work =)
Embellishments - rhinestones, glitter, etc. It's up to your
Poor Wing Song doesn't know what's in store for her...
Off with her head! Use hot water to soften the
glue around the neck & try twisting it off. Carefully slice
around the rim with an X-acto knife. (kids, get your parents to help
you with this).
Don't cut straight through...otherwise it'll be hard to reassemble her!
Look closely at the neck seam & try to preserve the original
structures. I removed her tail with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
||2. Leg Removal
Use the x-acto knife & chop the legs off. I also removed the
part in between (marked in green) after I took the picture. Symbols
were removed with acetone on a cotton pad =)
||3. Wire tail base
Use a piece of metal wire mesh to form the tail. I used some stuff I
had laying around. I think I got it from Home Depot? Not
Cut the shape out, roll it into a tube form, and crimp the open
||4. Attaching the
Slip the tail into the pony's body & shape to your preferences.
I actually didn't glue this one in...it fits snugly.
||5. Clay base
Roll your preferred clay into small spheres about the size of a
cranberry. Squish them into flat circles and layer them onto your
wire mesh. Be careful not to trap any air bubbles in between the
layers. This part will take a long time, so turn on some music or
get a friend to chat with.
||6. Scale details
I used a sculpting tool to carve the scales into the clay. You don't
need to use something that fancy, a pen or pencil will be just fine =)
Also, you don't need to make the scales as prominent...most people just
make little "u" shaped grooves in the clay. I've seen some
people shape scales and stick them on too. If you do this, you must
have a lot of free time! ;)
Use a contrasting color in your choice of paint. Most people use
acrylics of some sort. Sealing is optional...if you decide on
sealing your merpony, I suggest doing it after step 8. LOL, she's
standing on my Wacom graphics tablet. =P
Glitter, rhinestones, shells, beads, flowers...the sky's the limit!
You can find all of this stuff at any local craft or art store. I
used a mix of lavender and iridescent crystal fine glitter in
random patches on her tail. I decided not to rhinestones on this
I also painted in some darker shadows on her scales...I think this adds
extra depth, but it took a long time!
Reattach the head with a tiny bit of glue. Make sure the inside of your
pony is dry before you perform this step! I usually let them dry for
a few days upside down.
Finally, after hours of work, here she is. Don't forget to give her
a distinctive hairstyle!
Muriel is wearing a
headpiece made of custom tie-dyed purple roses dusted with glitter and
bellflowers. I gave her two little curls in front. Her hair
was dyed with a light base of pink and darker purple horizontal
stripes. Her hair was curled into a bun and held with mini clips.
For more information about Muriel the merpony, visit her page here.
If you used this tutorial, I'd appreciate a link back to this page.
Who knows, you might inspire me to write another tutorial =)
You could use this button, hint, hint! ;) Right click on it &
save it to your server.