Easy Little Mermaid Valentine Bags Inspired By Animator Mark Henn

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and this year is the year of the Mermaid. Did you know that The Little Mermaid is 30-years-old? To celebrate I’m sharing some tidbits from Disney animator Mark Henn, the genius behind our Little Mermaid, Ariel. Watching Mark draw Ariel inspired these easy Little Mermaid Valentine bags for my daughter’s class. And you can make them too! (Affiliate Links are included in this post).

 

My own Ariel, drawn in front of me by Disney animator Mark Henn!

 

During the Ralph Breaks the Internet Event, we were treated to amazing moments. The entire magical Disney-nerd dream experience was all thanks to a partnership with Disney Studios who hosted me for the trip in November.

You can catch up on the other Ralph Breaks the Internet Event posts through the list at the bottom of this post. Don’t forget to check them out!

The Blu-ray of The Little Mermaid Anniversary Edition comes out on February 26th, but you can download the digital release TODAY on Amazon and iTunes. 

 

Little_Mermaid_blu ray cover image
 

 


 
 

Talking with Disney Animator Mark Henn, “The Princess Guy”

Animator Mark Henn has been with Disney Animation Studios since the early 80s and is known as “The Princess Guy.” 

Mark is responsible for creating Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Giselle, Tiana… you get the idea. He’s had his hands in a lot of our favorite Disney Animation Studios movies over the last 30 years! 

As we talked, he drew Ariel and we were thrilled to learn we’d get a copy of this drawing to take home. 

 

Mark Henn draws the Little Mermaid Ariel

 

While he was drawing, we had some time to ask a few questions about his history and his craft.

With so many of the animated movies being remade as live-action movies, we wanted to know how that felt to see his creations come to life.

Spoiler alert: he thinks you’re going to like Aladdin, so simmer down, haters!

 

It’s kinda weird, I guess. I saw a rough cut of Aladdin – it was a lot of fun! If you liked our version, you’re going to like this one too. It’s different, they’re trying different things. And they’re making it their own.- Mark Henn, Supervising Animator of Jasmine

 

Aladdin Live Action Scene

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Jasmine (Naomi Scott) flee from palace guards on the streets of Agrabah in ALADDIN, a live-action adaptation of Disney?s animated classic.

 

I even pressed him a bit, “You promise we’ll like it?!” and he just laughed and said he didn’t have a Bible on him but, yeah, he thought it worked out pretty well!

I’ll take that and my tickets to Aladdin now, please and thank you

Switching over to The Lion King, Mark said that Simba came together very quickly for him. We asked if this process usually took a long time to put together a new look for a new character.  

 

Simba seemed to go really fast, we had a lot of pre-poduction art, it’s a lion cub… I just started drawing and sketching. Next thing I know I was in a meeting and we put them all up front and they all went ‘Yeah, good!’ and (Lion King Producer) Don Hahn said- ‘You just got your Simba approved!’ — I did? It was so fast- it was crazy! -Mark Henn, Disney Animator

 

While he talked, I just watched in awe as he continued bringing Ariel to life. 

He was so effortless with the strokes of his pencil – true talent and true art created before our eyes. 

 

Mark Henn draws the Little Mermaid Ariel

 

 

One of his biggest challenges as an artist was making sure each princess he created was unique, and not just leaning on the work he did on a previous princess. 

From an animators viewpoint, he didn’t want to repeat himself. 

 

I just want to keep getting better in what I do! Directing (John Henry) was a ball and I thoroughly enjoyed that. It was a great experience and I’m hoping to maybe get a chance to do that again. We’ll see! I’d love to do that again. – Mark Henn

 

When it came to creating Jasmine, he admitted that he came to a bit of a creative block. He turned to a picture he had in his wallet of his younger sister, Beth. 

With the help of her senior portrait, he broke through the block and Jasmine was born!

As far as Ariel was concerned, her hair turned out to be one of the trickier aspects with animating her. 

They tried to simplify the hair design and make it as “animatable” as possible. So not every single strand was flying off- this would have made it hard on the cleanup artists!

 

Mark Henn draws the Little Mermaid Ariel

 

Cinderella was the first inspiration for him as an animator, and she’s still a favorite of his to this day.

But where does Mark Henn think the next generation of Disney Princess will take us?

 

Ariel kinda set the mold for the new style of princess. She’s very different. What makes this generation of princesses different from the Cinderellas and the Snow Whites? My theory is that the stories are a lot more evolved, and the princess role in those stories are much more proactive. The early princesses were very reactionary, whereas Ariel set the mold for a more proactive heroine that advanced the story by her decisions (good or bad!). – Mark Henn, Disney Animator

 

I loved the time with Mark and it was special to watch him draw Ariel for us. This was one of the movies I remember seeing in the theater with my baby sister! 

She’s turned out to be more Belle than Ariel, but that’s ok, I have my own Little Mermaid swimming around at home. 

 Blonde girl in a Mermaid Tail blanket

 

Easy Mermaid Valentine’s Day Bags

While other little girls are going crazy over unicorns right now, my daughter is still living her mermaid dreams!

She had just one request for Valentine’s Day: a mermaid Valentine’s Day bag to take to school this week.

 

Mermaid Tail treat bags inspired by The Little Mermaid for Valentine's Day

 

Even though the teacher asked for bags to be turned in a week ago, I, being the oh-so-on-top-of-things mom that I am… waited until last minute to pull this together. Super not cool, but also, super normal over here. 

The good news for you, fellow last minute moms & dads,  is that I can 100% promise you that this craft project is a 10-15 minute craft. It’s right up there with my printable Donut Valentine’s day cards from last year!

Here’s how you can make your own easy Little Mermaid Valentine’s Day bags or boxes.

 

mermaid valentine day bags

 

Mermaid Valentine’s Day Bags Materials

 

mermaid valentines day box materials

 
mermaid valentines day box materials

 

Easy Mermaid Valentine Day Bags Instructions

  1. Print out the mermaid tail template.
  2. Trace the tail on the back of your decorative paper. Cut the tail out.
  3. Use the glue stick to adhere the mermaid tail to the bag or box.
  4. Cut a smaller tail fin out of a contrasting glitter paper and glue it on top of the tail fin.
  5. Print out the clamshell name tag template and cut it out. Then add it to the bag with your glue stick. You can put a contrasting layer underneath the clamshell if you like!
  6. Cut out a bottom border of waves and add to the base of the bag. Your mermaid is diving in!
  7. Finally, use the decorative crafting tape to embellish the tail fin. Make a bow and your mermaid valentine day bag is complete!

 

mermaid tail printable template

 

mermaid tail valentines day bag

 
clamshell name tag template
 

mermaid valentines bags
 
mermaid valentines day bags complete

 

You can really use your imagination with colors for your mermaid Valentine’s Day bags. 

We made a purple one with full-on glitter card stock as well! This one was put on a cereal box and it was a little more challenging due to the size, so I’d suggest sticking to the smaller bags. 

 

mermaid valentines day boxes

 

 

 

Easy Mermaid Valentine Bags

Easy Mermaid Valentine Bags

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Make these Easy Mermaid Valentine's Day Bags or Boxes for your elementary aged kids. They can help with this craft as long as they can handle scissors & a glue stick! These little mermaid inspired bags can also be used as treat bags. And the template could also be used on cereal box as well!

Materials

  • white paper sacks
  • or
  • cereal box
  • mermaid scales printed paper (card stock or scrapbook paper)
  • glitter cardstock
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • decorative crafting tape

Instructions

  1. Print out the mermaid tail template. mermaid tail printable template
  2. Trace the tail on the back of your decorative paper. Cut the tail out.
  3. Use the glue stick to adhere the mermaid tail to the bag or box.
  4. Cut a smaller tail fin out of a contrasting glitter paper and glue it on top of the tail fin.
  5. Print out the clamshell name tag and cut it out. Add it to the bag with your glue stick. You can put a contrasting layer underneath the clamshell if you like!
  6. Cut out a bottom border of waves and add to the base of the bag. Your mermaid is diving in!
  7. Finally, use the decorative crafting tape to embellish the tail fin. Make a bow and your mermaid valentine day bag is complete.

Ralph Breaks the Internet Event

In early November 2018, I spent a few days learning about the making of the hit movie, Ralph Breaks the Internet. We interviewed the animators, the folks behind The Void experience, and the Princess Scene creator as well! Plus there was a little red carpet walking as Snow White. Here are all the details in case you missed them!
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Fairest Red Carpet of Them All | Ralph Breaks The Internet Red Carpet Premiere

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The VOID VR | Coolest Thing Ever! Ralph Breaks VR Experience

The VOID VR | Coolest Thing Ever! Ralph Breaks VR Experience

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Hottest Ralph Breaks The Internet Toys For Christmas

Hottest Ralph Breaks The Internet Toys For Christmas

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Ralph Breaks the Internet Parent Movie Review

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Patty Holliday


If she isn’t chasing her four kids around Northern Virginia, Patty is chasing four bars on her phone to share her authentic and fun stories on social media and her blog, My No-Guilt Life. She’s also one half of the Marvel Moms, an online community for discussing the Marvel fandom. You can catch up on her runDisney fun at No-Guilt Disney.

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