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Drafting for The Man

Updated on January 6, 2014

To Glow or Not To Glow

Luminosity is a key part to the preparation of Burning Man. For those of you who have not been to the see the man burn yet, here are a couple of tips. During the day, less is more. Of course, we are talking about clothes. Do you have to dance around naked? No. But if you walk around in your street clothes, prepare to have some burners explain the rules of the playa.

At nighttime nonetheless, make it glow. Any individual who already has their ticket to the fireworks, make sure you plan ahead early this year, as a crazy hurry of people never plan ahead for their costumes and are left out in the playadust without anything to illuminate themselves up. TheFirst step is finding out the theme of Burning Man and see how you can tie yourself into that theme. Burning Man's theme for 2010 is Metropolis. This year's theme paves the way for a great variety of costuming ideas. Personally, I would love to see people build their costumes Vertically this year, as it would seem appropriate. Below is a not so extensive list of what you need to do in order to prepare yourselves this year.


Arrange your theme early. Even if you are going more simple or over the top this year, make sure you have your general notion in mind early. Nothing is worse than getting to the playa and realizing you don't have any idea what you are doing with the five hundred feet of glow wire you just brought.

Make certain you know how much Electroluminescent Wire each battery pack will maintain. A meticulously considered EL structure is actually less important than making sure you have enough juice to power your wire. Most el wire inverters will power between 1 and 30 feet of wire. That being said, if you have a costume with 200 feet or more of wire, make sure you have enough places to store all your battery packs. Many AA-9v battery packs come with belt clips so it is much easier to store them in pockets or belt. Generally sound activated units are not as easy to store and are bulkier.

Recharge - Recharge. Black Rock City is the greatest pack-in pack-out society on the globe. Be mindful that each battery you lose will end up in a landfill eventually. Rechargeable batteries are becoming very economical and are a great alternative to throwing away 50+ batteries on the playa. Solar panels are also economical enough to legitimize having your own portable Electroluminescent Wire charging station nowadays. Charge your batteries with the power of the sun.

Order more wire than you think you will need, before it is too late. Almost every costume has more wire on it than originally predicted. When preparing out the design make sure you have more than enough wire to accomplish your intention. Absolutely nothing is more frustrating than having to cut your project short because you didn't order enough. Moreover, it is much easier to have one long strand of wire, than many short strands that are linked together with solder. Every time you attempt to join the wire, it becomes a lot more breakable. Do not settle on a partially glowing project because you used too many connections. A helpful hint to hide wire is with electrical tape, or dark heat shrink tubing. This will enable you to jump a gap easily without having to break the connection. Another thing to take into consideration is to make sure you don't use the wire on places that bend generally like elbows or knee area.

Whether this is your first Burning Man Festival or sixth, suitable planning, like with anything is the key to having the most ideal place possible. As you are thinking about your costume design for this year, use the above hints to help make this the brightest burn you can envision.


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      8 years ago from San Diego

      love this article!

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      8 years ago from San Diego

      AWESOME article! Will definitely use it for my Burning Man Prep!

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      8 years ago

      Thanks for the info. I will use this as a quasi checklist for Burning Man this year.


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