People make mermaid spells work by using their imaginations and believing that they are transforming into mermaids, as well as reciting the words of particular mermaid spells. Typically, people must be in contact with water, the mermaid's element, as they cast their spells to make them work correctly. Some spells require people to place their hands in a bowl of water, while others require them to immerse their entire bodies in a pool or a bathtub full of water.
Some mermaid spells require people to place sea shells in the water they immerse themselves in. In their mermaid spells, people ask for a mermaid tail, typically specifying the colors they want the tail to have. They also ask for specific powers that have to do with the manipulation of water, such as the power to freeze, heat or shape water.
Those who purport to believe in mermaid spells claim that such spells come with side effects, including singing a lot, having ones legs stick together and longing to either drink water or swim in it. Some mermaid spells require people to drink a special tea brew to draw in the energy of the water. After reciting the words of the spell, people slowly sip the tea while envisioning themselves as mermaids swimming through the ocean.