Trial 2 DIY Aerial Costumes: Fabric Paint and Rhinestones

This is my second attempt at making an aerial costume. I had a white cotton unitard with wide legs (not tight like I would want for aerial routines) that had been laying around for a few years because it was an “On SALE” mis-order that I couldn’t return. I finally decided to give fabric painting a try.

  1. I started the by sketching a pattern of what I wanted my swirls to look like then I colored them in.
  2. I put the unitard on my inflatable mannequin (bought off ebay $25) and took a pencil and drew outlines of the shapes.
    iphone - 42
  3. I put Jacquard Water Based Resist in a Jacquard 1/2 ounce squeeze bottles with stainless steel tips (see below for list of supplies) and outlined my design.
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  4. I used Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow to fill in the design. I put the paint (which looks and feels like fabric dye) in the small 1/2 oz squeeze bottles. I used a very small amount on a paint brush and applied it to the fabric.
    iphone - 64
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    It spreads very quickly and you need to be very careful that it stays in the lines.
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    NOTE: I should have made my water resist lines thicker because the paint (dye) bled out quite a bit.
  5. I had to “fix” all these areas where the paint bled through. I took white textile paint and touched up the design. You can sort of see the paint but from a distance it looks OK.
    iphone - 93
  6. Next, I took Jacquard Textile paint and outlined the design and made some high and low-lights around it.
  7. Then I ironed to set the paint into the fabric.
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  8. Time for some rhinestones. I separated them by color and size.
    iphone - 90
    Then I planned out the order that I wanted to attach them and put them into lines.
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  9. Attaching rhinestones is very easy. I watched a few You Tube videos on How to Embellish Dance Costumes. I used E600 and a Jewel Setter (a stick with a bit of wax at the tip. You can get them at Michaels or a craftstore and they help A TON!).
    iphone - 108

    Finished product:

I like it. It isn’t professional and I wouldn’t use it for a paid performance but it was a great learning experience. I now know how these paints work on stretchy fabric. I learned about water based resist, dye-na-flow, and other design aspects. It still needs some work but …I like it.

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Supplies I’ve acquired during the past few years.

Fabric paint:

Some I had purchased in 2014. I’m not sure how much I paid for it. The new paint I’ll put purchase prices for reference. Fabric paint isn’t cheap unless you know the exact colors you want. Otherwise it all adds up pretty fast.

Jacquard Textile: For Natural Or Synthetic Fabrics

  • 122 Black. Very thick paint. Used about 6 months ago to paint over the logo on my bouldering crash pad. It covered the bright orange in two coats.
  • 123 White
  • 111Sky Blue
  • 114 Turquoise
  • 155 Fluorescent Blue
  • 151 Fluorescent Yellow: very light, could not be seen very well on white fabric.
  • 153 Fluorescent Pink. (2.25 oz.) Amazon $7.96
  • 156 Fluorescent Green. (2.25 oz.) Amazon $5.72

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Jacquard Lumiere: Light Body Metallic Acrylic

  • 561 Metallic Gold: 2 bottles purchased about 10 years ago for a Wonder Woman costume. One bottle opened and 2/3 empty. The paint was very thick but it still worked fine.
  • 567 Super Sparkle
  • JAC9901 Halo & Jewel Colors Lumiere Exciter Pack, 9 Color (0.5 oz. bottles): Halo Pink Gold; Halo Blue Gold; Halo Violet Gold; Pearlescent Turquoise; Pearlescent Green; Pearlescent Magenta; Russet; Pewter; Sunset Gold. Amazon $9.99

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Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow: Free Flowing Liquid Color For Natural or Synthetic Fabrics

  • 830 White
  • 801 Sun Yellow
  • 824 Azure Blue
  • JAC9908 Dye-Na-Flow Exciter 9-Colors (0.5 oz. bottles): Chartreuse; Turquoise; Periwinkle; Violet; Magenta; Scarlet; Bright Orange; Golden Yellow; Sun Yellow. Amazon $11.65

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Jacquard Water Based Resist

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Other stuff

Tulip Glitter Spray Fabric Paint – 40 oz. Michael’s $7.49 (on sale $5.99) *Looked great when I tried it. It was a sheer glitter but I’ve been told that it doesn’t hold up well when washed.  It was easy to do so maybe this is for that costume that you wear once and then have time to re-spray after washing for the next use.

Tulip Glow in the Dark Spray Fabric Paint – 40 oz Michael’s clearance $2.99

Jewel Spinner with Rhinestones – Michael’s $2.99 (on sale $2.40)

Tools:

  • Cardboard
  • Water bowl
  • Paint brushes- assorted
  • Foam brush
  • Pencil
  • Scissors – Michael’s Bent 365 $12.99 40% off = $7.79 (to be fabric only scissors)
  • Jacquard 1/2 ounce squeeze bottles with stainless steel tips
  • Bead pick (plastic stick with wax on tip to place rhinestones) – Michael’s $4.99 for 3 (on sale $3.99)
  • Stencils
  • Paint pallet with cover -Michael’s $1.59
  • Mannequin – Inflatable Female EBay

2016-03-27 10.01.15

 

Trial 1 DIY Aerial Costumes: Fabric Paint, Cutting, & Rhinestones

This blog goes through some trial DIY aerial costumes. The first is just an old tank top that I test painted. The second I had an old unitard I was going to throw away. I re-dyed and cut, painted and rhinestoned to make it special and customized.

Intro:

I don’t know how to sew and I never had a nack for drawing or painting. Soo…I thought it would be a great endeavor to make myself some aerial costumes. (I don’t know why I always think I can do these crazy things…) I started by brainstorming ways to create…since I cant sew I needed to start with a pre-made base.

I was looking discount leotards, unitards, and biketards (I didn’t know if I was going to be any good at costume making so I wanted to keep it cheap). I did a web search and pinned a bunch of potential items. I tried to keep it “cheap” cotton, white or nude. Here is my Pinterist page.

NOTE: I had been thinking about making a costume a few years ago but never actually got around to doing it. I had 2 cotton white unitards (one has tight legs and the other has wide legs (the wide leg one was a mis-order & not what I wanted for aerial but it will be a good trial piece). I also already had a good base of fabric paints in metalics, blue, yellow, white and black. (And I was slowly buying more and more. I need to stop my visits to Michaels and my late night Amazon shopping binges.)

I’m also creating a list of awesome aerial costume makers/websites because although I am loving costumes that I make myself sometimes you need a professional costume. Please leave a comment if you have other DIY costume ideas or know an awesome aerial makers.

Trial tank top:

First I started by drawing some different ideas out on some paper. I was trying some swirls and other patterns. I have little or no artistic talent when it comes to drawing…but I’m going to see where it goes.

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Then I took an old tank top that I was going to throw away and put some cardboard between the layers and sketched some lines with a pencil. Then started painting.

Meh, not that great but that’s why its an old tank that I was just testing my skills on. It does look better on than on the table…

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Trial Unitard: Old light pink cotton unitard

It was stretched out and faded and has a few holes starting in the leg and crotch. I was going to throw it away but then I stopped and thought it would be a great piece to start with because if I ruined it I wouldn’t feel bad…I’d just have wasted a ton of time. It took me an afternoon to dye, cut, and paint (we went out to dinner while the front was drying and I finished painting the back that evening). Then the next morning I ironed and added rhinestones (which took less than an hour).

Ombre Fabric Dye:

I wanted to refresh the color and I had a package of Dylon Flamingo Pink fabric dye that I had purchased 6 or 7 years ago and never used. This is the video I tried to follow. Ombre fabric dye video.

  1. Wash without using fabric softener.
  2. I put the unitard on and marked it with safety pins where I wanted to gradients to be (chest, hips, knees).
  3. I found a hanger and some ribbon and I used my laundry room cabinets to make “hooks” so I wouldn’t have to hold the unitard all the time.
  4. Then I got the unitard wet and rang it out.
  5. I set up my bucket in the sink. I also set out the dye, salt, measuring spoon, scissors, plastic spoon to stir on the counter.2016-04-02 14.38.55
  6. I heated water up in the microwave in a plastic bowl and dissolved the fabric dye and added the salt.
  7. I made sure the tap water was very hot and started filling my bucket in the sink. Then I added in my fabric dye mixture.
  8. I submerged the unitard up to the waist and kept dipping it from waist to knees for about 20 min.
  9. Then for about 10 min I dipped it from chest to waist.2016-04-02 14.38.22
  10. Then let it sit for about 10 more minutes hanging with just the knees to the bottom in the bucket.2016-04-02 14.39.10
  11. Then I rinsed the unitard until it ran mostly clear.
  12. Then put it through my washer and dryer. 2016-04-02 15.58.38

Cutting:

I’ve seen some instagram posts and a YouTube video by Adam Slacks with a unitard that has been cut up and I really liked that look. I wondered if I could do it myself. I had tried to cut a t-shirt before and it turned out OK…so I decided to give it a try.

I used pins from Pinterest for inspiration:

Steps:

  1. I put the unitard on and kept the safety pins in to mark body landmarks (chest, hips, knees).
  2. Then I took a pencil and marked where I wanted to make my cuts.
  3. I used a piece of cardboard inside the unitard to help stretch it out and keep shape.
  4. I used a ruler to help keep the lines straight but I ended up eyeballing most of the cut.2016-04-02 17.30.12
  5. As I braided I used the safety pins to hold the final braid in place.
    2016-04-02 18.10.57
  6. Then I just used a simple thread and needle and sewed the end of the braids together with knots.
  7. I bought an inflatable dress mannequin from ebay for about $25
  8. I kept it on the mannequin for the painting and rhinestones.
  9. I used a pencil to draw some swirls then painted some silver and pink swirls. With the silver at the top and the pink towards the bottom to keep with the ombre feel.
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  10. Then finally I put some rhinestones on it with the clear crystals at the top and the pink crystals towards the bottom.
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  11. Finally, I put it on and tried it out on my hoop. Fiphone - 24Fiphone - 29

NOTE: Cutting will make the size change sometimes smaller and sometimes larger. The S curve cut/braid really pulled the fabric out of line and it was too small for me. It ripped on my first trial. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed because…well its already cut up. But I suggest a few trial runs before using a cut unitard in a performance to make sure the cuts don’t rip in inappropriate areas.

Save

Aerial Equipment part 4: Buying Fabric/Silks

My Fiance asked what I wanted for Christmas last year and I didn’t have an answer. I’ve wanted my own fabric for a long time. I had just bought my own lyra/aerial hoop (which I loved and really enjoyed working on my own equipment). I hadn’t known if I was ready for my own fabric but I had been going to different aerial studios and had been on many different types of aerial silks. I was learning what I liked and what I did not about them. I often asked questions why they acted differently.

I knew I didn’t like very skinny, thin, super stretchy fabric (everyone has their own likes and dislikes…I suggest trying out as many as you can before purchasing anything). There are tons of different options: width, weave (example: tricot), denier (thread size), type of polyester (nylon), length, etc.

At one of the studio’s I where I take aerial classes …

NOTES:

  • Do not try to learn aerial fabric/silks on your own. It is extremely dangerous and you could be seriously injured. Get a coach or instructor and discuss it with them when its a good time to buy your own fabric and what type to purchase.

  • Please check out this blog post by Laura Witwer, Sassy Pants,
    DIY Fail: How NOT to Learn Circus From YouTube.
    In fact, if you are taking aerial/circus classes you should go back and read all of her blog posts. She’s pretty awesome! 🦄

Cirque City, they have new fabric from several different suppliers. There was one that I always gravitated towards. It was the most comfortable for me to climb, to drop on, and felt good in my grip. I asked about it and Sierra, Cirque City’s owner, was able to give me the information about where it was purchased and the type/width/etc…which I passed on to my Fiance…and suddenly it was Christmas morning and I was wrapping myself up in my own silks! 💖

fabric

Best Christmas ever!!

Here are some things that I’ve learned since receiving my fabric/tissue/silks. I suggest knowing these important items before you buy your own fabric (or soon after if you already have):

  • Where and how to safely rig aerial fabric (please don’t throw a piece of fabric over a tree branch or a basement rafter…you could seriously injure yourself by not knowing aerial safety) THIS IS #1!! SUPER IMPORTANT!!
  • How to safely tie the fabric onto a Rescue 8
  • How to inspect the fabric (your fabric is likely the weakest part of your aerial hardware)
  • How to wash aerial fabric (only use detergent, no bleach or fabric softeners, hang to dry)

I’ve learned a lot of these by asking my aerial instructors and doing my own research. I also was able to do “hands on” learning by physically rigging a fabric onto a Rescue 8 with an instructor before attempting it on my own. (I suggest bringing your fabric and hardware to the studio and do it with someone you trust. This way you can be corrected before you make a life threatening mistake.)

Websites & Blogs

I’ve included a few links below that have a TON of information and are EXTREMELY helpful! Please take some time to read through them if you want to safely own your own fabric (or even if you already have your own fabric…you can still learn more about how to safely care for it).

These blogs are also very helpful and AWESOME! Please check them out!

  • Aerial Reflections – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog post about buying aerial fabric. She states a TON of things that I have glossed over. Read it! I promise you’ll come away knowing a lot more than if you don’t.
  • XO Sarah – Info about where to buy aerial equipment but if you continue to read the comments there is a lot more info.

Websites to buy aerial fabric

There are many more. Where do you buy your fabric? Please leave a comment.

 MY FABRIC

rigsilks

Aerial Fabric from Circusbyus – 17 yards

Circusbyus $136 (Gift from Fiance, Xmas ’15)

  • Fabric 17 yards (25 ft)
  • Low stretch
  • Nylon tricot 40-denier
  • UV pink (glows in ultraviolet/black light 💖)
  • 108″ wide
  • Destructive tested & rated (according to the website)

Review: I love it! It has a very slight stretch and it is very easy to climb. The color is amazing. It is a very bright pink and it almost glows in the sunlight. I haven’t tried it in black light but I’m excited to try it. The fabric seems very thin and you can see shadows through it but even at 108″ wide it fits my hands great. So far its perfect. (Happy Aerial Princess 👸!)

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My instructor, Sierra, had bought the Neon Green fabric. It is also an amazing bright, glowing color but after a few months of daily & heavy use it soon had to be taken out of service due to holes near the Rescue 8. I wish I had spoken to her prior to getting my fabric because she said the UV fabric has a coating on that helps it glow in UV but it also can make it a bit more delicate. My fabric should be OK and will likely last longer because I’m the only one using it. It won’t be hung or used every day. And I will be checking it regularly and know what to keep an eye out for.

(BTW  when my Fiance bought this fabric. I only gave him the general information…website/type/length…but gave him the option of the color. He knew I would love the UV Pink the best and I do!!)

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MY RESCUE 8

Saftey8

Fusion Safety 8

Rescue 8 – Fusion: Amazon $20.79

  • Aluminum
  • 45kN
  • Black

Review: I have a fairly average review for this Rescue 8. Nothing good or bad to say about it.

NOTES:

  • One of my instructors recently inspected some of their Aluminum Rescue 8’s and decided to take a few out of service after about a year’s use. I asked to see why they made that decision. My instructor pointed out the visible wear and small cracks beginning to show.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions as a student. If your instructors can’t answer your safety questions then I would question your safety…

My Rescue 8 will be used only by me so hopefully it will last longer than a year. Next time, I will consider purchasing a more expensive steel one.

In the future:

This, Angel Rigging Plate, is what I truly want to rig my silks from…maybe for my birthday. It is so unique and beautiful!!

https://verticalartdance.com/shop-all-products/aerial-angel-rigging-plate/

THE REST OF MY HARDWARE

Finally, I’m using the carabiners and swivel that I use with my lyra. See Aerial Equipment part 1: Buying a Lyra.

🎪🎪🎪**I am NOT an aerial instructor or rigger. I am NOT a professional. My ideas safety may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to a professional if you have questions. Facebook Safety in Aerial Arts Group is a great resource.**🎪🎪🎪

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Aerial Equipment part 3: Mats! 

Mats are VERY important safety tools when doing aerial. Many of the aerial studios I’ve trained at have 1 1/2″-2″ panel mat beneath the aerial points. For new or difficult tricks (especially drops) I like to pull a 4-12″ crash mat under the point. I have heard many differences in opinion on what size, type, or the safety of mats that are needed for aerial. I would love to hear in the comments what types of mats you use for training!

My opinion is: I LOVE MATS and the more mats I have the more confident I feel.

Please check out this link to more info about aerial mats: Simply Circus website mats section.

This is a run down on the mats that I have and use at home, where I bought them, and how much they cost.

Round 1:

When I first started aerial I also did some pole dancing. I bought a pole and a small pink panel mat for home use. I bought the mat brand new about 4 years ago off eBay. It is a MatsMatsMats.com mat. It folds twice and is 4×6′. I use it to stretch and it is a great little mat.

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I also use yoga mats and I have a gray foam fitness mat that rolls up. * I just ordered a new yoga mat from Amazon because my little chihuahua had an accident on mine and…well…I just decided it was time for a new mat.
Screenshot 2016-02-27 17.00.15

Round 2:

When I bought my Lyra I wanted a mat that was a bit more robust than a panel mat. My instructor told me that in a gym she trained at they used bouldering pads as mats. I went home and Googled.

Mats are freaking expensive! Wow! (If you don’t believe me do some googling…)

Bouldering/rock climbing crash pads come in all sizes and costs. I choose a Mad Rock Climbing 5″ thick Crash pad.
mats3

  • It is black and 72″x44″ (6 ft x 3 1/2 feet) when laid out.
  • It folds twice into a 24x44x15″ backpack.
  • I choose it because it had good reviews and I could use Amazon Prime.
    Total $250-260.


Pros:

  • Largest portable crash mat on the market
  • I like the 5″ thickness (seems better than a panel mat to me)
  • It’s portable and easy to carry
  • The folds have Velcro coverings so you don’t step into a crack
  • You can sleep on in as a portable mattress if you want 😴
  • (It works great under my slackline…)

Cons:

  • It still seems small to me. I feel like to be completely safe I want 2 of these mats put side by side.
  • It is very firm but over time I think it will relax.
  • I hated the orange logo so I took some fabric paint to it.


These are some other bouldering crash pads I considered:

  • Black Diamond
  • ClimbX-XXX
  • Metolius

Round 3:

Now that I’ve gotten my 24 foot Ludwig Aerial Rig, I really wanted a big crash pad so I can start trying some more advanced skills. And again…

Mats are freaking expensive!

A lot of the 8-12″ crash/landing mats that are used for gymnastics/acrobatics/trampoline/martial arts are rectangles. One problem that I’ve had with aerial is that I pull a mat under me there is a length that is too long and one that is too short. I need to direct my trajectory so I land in the right place. Not a huge issue but it’s been an annoyance for me.

*Anyone else have problems with this, or is it just me?

I thought if I’m going to spend $$$ on another mat…I want it to be a mat that works for me. These were my requirements:

  • 6 foot x 6 foot (a square not a rectangle)
  • 12″ thick
  • Light color (the mat will be outside & the sun heats vinyl up quick in Florida)
  • Portable & easy to store (needs to fold once and have handles)

Then I did a web search and sent out quotes for estimates to 7 different suppliers. (Side note a few replied right away with estimates via email, a few I needed to call to get a response & a few never did respond.) It is worth while to shop around. The prices vary greatly as do the quality. This is what I found:

  • AK Athletics $625 free shipping, no tax. WINNER!!!
  • Resilite $530 + shipping $181 + tax $49.77 = $760.77
  • CoverSports $626.27 + shipping $135.00 = $761.27
  • MatsMatsMats $714.99 + shipping $331.60 = $1046.59
  • GreatMats responded they could not build to my requirements. *I was looking through their website and saw some tiles made out of recycled rubber like they have in some playgrounds…the bouncy kind…I was considering that under my aerial rig because I’m pretty sure the grass is going to die pretty soon. What do you think, good idea/bad idea?
  • RossAthletic & The Mat Warehouse did not respond. 😦

I went with AK Athletics because:

  1. They were priced the best & had free shipping: $625
  2. They were the first to respond.
  3. I liked their customer service the best.
  4. 6’x6’x12″, Tan on top/Black on bottom, folds once, handles on the folded sides.
    Order was placed 1/18/16, shipped 2/1/16, received 2/4/16 (signature required)
    Screenshot 2016-02-27 17.10.12mats2

Pros:

  • This mat is super comfy. * I could easily fall asleep on it.
  • The vinyl is very soft to the touch.
  • It is thick and heavy. The perfect crash mat.
  • I had thought that I might choose something bigger like 8×8′ or 10×10′ but 6×6′ is perfect size for aerial use. *Although for hoop…the 5 inch Mad Rocks on top of my grass works just fine!

mats1

Cons:

  • This mat is LARGE! I cannot lift it by myself (I thought I’d be able to lift it with the handles…). It is easy to drag but not lift. My fiancé is already questioning where everything is going to go. Ugh! I have no where to store it.
  • The seam runs right under my aerial point. I’m afraid that it will come un-done over time. It already looking worn and the seam is pulling apart after just 4 uses. I believe I will use a yoga mat on top of it to try to reduce some to the wear that will happen to it. I will keep you updated.
    mats6
  • The vinyl got REALLY cold (too cold for bare feet when it was around 55 degrees out. I’m worried about how hot it will get during the hot summer days in Florida. Maybe my yoga mat will help. Or maybe I will need to get some type of rug for the top of it.

So far I’m very happy with how my private aerial area is coming together. It has been a great (& expensive) learning experience. Please let me know if you have any questions. And I hope everyone is having a safe and happy aerial time!!

**I am NOT an aerial instructor. I am NOT a professional. My ideas for mats and safety may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to a professional if you have questions. Facebook Safety in Aerial Arts Group is a great resource.

Aerial Equipment part 2: Buying a Portable Rig 

**I am NOT an aerial instructor or rigger. I am NOT a professional. My ideas on safety may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to a professional if you have questions. Facebook Safety in Aerial Arts Group is a great resource.**

Just over 2 years ago (2013) I bought a new house. In my search for a house I was looking for tall ceilings or large trees (this was before I knew how difficult and unsafe rigging from trees can be). If you are thinking about rigging at home please read this article by Steve Santos.

My new home doesn’t have ceilings or trees able to rig on. I decided I needed my own rig. Two years ago I sent Ludwig, Damnhot.com, an email with a dozen questions about portable rigs and his rig. He answered me right away but soon I realized how expensive owning a house can be and it wasn’t time for me to buy a rig.

So 2 years later, my aerial training and knowledge has increased. I own my own hoop and fabric…then stars aligned: I came into some extra money, my Honey Bunny agreed a rig would look great in the backyard and he’d help me with it, and finally my schedule was making it difficult for me to get to the studio to workout. I also read this article by Delbert Hall about Portable Aerial Rigs. I want to share the info I’ve gathered in my search for an aerial rig.

*Now that I have my new rig and its up in my yard. I’m going to use it for a while and eventually write review blog for it. So far its great and I love the pulley… If you are considering a rig, get a pulley. It makes life SO MUCH EASIER! 

FINAL DECISION
Ludwig Portable Stand Alone Rig

  • 21 ft Quad Rig Copper Vein-$1780 (4ft header)
  • X4 -4ft extension feet ($160) (website says “$1920 if in stock” – it was in stock but I did not get this price)
  • X4 -more eyebolts (5 total= needed 4 more, $14 each, x2 trapeze & x2 corner for pulley, like in photo = $56)
  • X2 Tie-off cleats ($13 each =$26)
  • X4 extra screws ($4) (just as a precaution. There are more extra screws included)
  • $365+ $18 shipping (residential shipping to Tampa, FL)

TOTAL: $2409 ordered 1/9/2016, shipped 1/15/2016, arrived 1/21/2016

unboxingamy

Un-boxing! 16 6ft legs, 4 4ft feet, & 4ft header

These are a few reasons I decided on this rig:

  • Ludwig was quick to respond to all my questions. Very knowledgeable and was highly recommended. Plus a friend has one of his and loves it.
  • Stability of a quad vs tripod
  • Options in height: this rig can go from 7 to 24ft high & doesn’t need different size cables on the legs (it uses straps that can be tightened)
  • Footprint: at 24ft it still fits in my yard (19ft = 17×20′, 21ft = 19×22′, 24ft = 21×24′)
  • Powder-coating color options (my Fiancé was against this rig because it’s steel and he was concerned about rust. He really wanted me to get an aluminum one. I don’t always listen to him). I chose Copper Vein. *It is VERY dark…almost black.
  • You can get a pulley to change out apparatus.

10ft high (One 6ft leg & 4ft foot) my Lyra has 4ft spansets…at this height it might be useful with a very short pull-up bar or 4-6ft yoga hammock.

PULLEY

Next was the pulley system. I knew I wanted it so I could change apparatus easily and quickly put up and take equipment down. I didn’t want to leave my equipment outside because we have a lot of random rain in Tampa (plus the sprinklers come on at night).

Aerial Animals offers the entire pulley system at $260 + shipping $20 Total $280.
Ludwig also has a lot of info on the right and wrong way to install a pulley and recommends Aerial Animal’s pulley. The Aerial Animal’s website spells out what the system includes and Patti was quick to answer all my questions.

As I was researching her system. (I wanted to verify all the ratings) I found I could buy the components for less. I grappled with using Patti’s info and then not buying it from her but I wanted additional hardware and I saved over $90 by buying from other resources. Unfortunately, I’ve found with purchasing from other sources, I’ve had to do a lot of manual work: phone calls, pricing, looking at ratings, calculating shipping, etc. Then once I ordered, some of it wasn’t in stock and that delayed shipping. If you want it right away go with Patti.

*I will likely buy a trapeze from Patti. Hers are beautiful and have a ton of options.

*I’ve done some additional research on carabiners and am rethinking using the D-shaped 50kN biner for the top connection. I’m looking into a shackle or heavy duty Quick Link so the carabiner isn’t overloaded.

This is what I bought for the pulley: Fusion Climbing & Rigging Warehouse

  • Pulley Fusion Strux: $18.69
    Blue, single wheel, aluminum, 34kN, 2″/16mm, L 4.25×3.25″
  • Pulley Fusion Secura: $29.15
    Purple, double wheel, aluminum, 25kN, 2″/16mm, rope max <15mm, L 5.5″x3.25″
  • X2 Pulley Fusion Micro: $10.73 each = $21.46
    Orange, aluminum, 20kN, L 4.0×3.3″, rope max 11mm
  • Carabiner Fusion Tacoma Triple Lock: $23.80
    D-shaped, 1″ opening, 50kN, black
  • X4 Quick Link Maillion Rapide: Rigging Warehouse $1.70 each = $6.80
    WLL 700kg (1550lbs), 5/16″, steel
    (FYI: 7/16″ 2425lbs)
  • Static Rope New England KMIII Max: Rigging Warehouse $117
    100ft , 11mm/ 7/16″, Black/yellow, weight 5.8lbs, tensile 8,000lbs

Total for pulley: $216.90 + shipping $14.92 = $231.82
*Fusion’s shipping would have been around $16 for just the pulley hardware (I ordered additional hardware for myself plus they waived shipping for my order due to some miscommunications.)
*Rigging Warehouse’s shipping was $14.92. Rope was back-ordered and took about a week extra to ship (but they should have an entire spool now to cut from).

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Pulley set up. Note how the rope goes down opposite legs. Please read Ludwig’s notes on pulleys.

NOTE: The rope I ordered is black and yellow but the same make & model as Patti’s. Patti’s rope is black. Please consider that if aesthetics are important. I had a difficult time finding this rope in black…and finding it in 100ft lengths. If you know more about climbing rope than I do (I know nothing) then there may be another 11mm static rope that can be used equally well.

2nd NOTE: I would have preferred a pulley system that was black or a neutral color. This one is Orange/Blue/Purple. I think if my rig were being used to perform and aesthetics important I might have looked for another system. Or when I eventually need to replace parts I may change them out for something else. Anyone have other pulley suggestions: 

Other Portable rigs I considered: 

These are my personal notes and many of the rigs (including Ludwig’s) come with several different configurations and options that can increase or decrease prices.

Trapezerigging.com

  • ~$2750 (free shipping) for 18.5ft
  • Quad. Foot pads for concrete or wood floors.
  • Footprint looks extra wide. I could not find specs. (Update: The FlyWire article says footprint is 24×26′)
  • Aluminum
  • I heard this comes with a ladder for changing out apparatus. I’m not sure if its extra or not.

Circus Concepts

  • ~$1968.23 for 24ft (unknown shipping)
  • Tripod
  • Aluminum
  • A lot of extras: pulley, trapeze spreader, extra cables for changing heights, etc.

Suspendulum

  • ~$1499+250 shipping = $1749 for 20ft
  • Tripod
  • Extras: need different length cables for changing heights, carry bag (I think this is awesome!) (for all total $153.99)

Bobby’s Big Top

  • Check out the website and call/email for more info. This wasn’t what I wanted so I didn’t look that far into it. But you may like it!

 

Aerial Rigging: Carabiners/Quick Links/Shackles? 

Early in my aerial training one of my instructors asked me to “check a carabiner.” Sure, no problem. Look at it. Check! Make sure it’s locked. Check! Easy peasy! Now I try to make a habit of checking biners whenever I go up on equipment. Yes, I have found a few carabiners that were not locked, carabiners that were cross loaded, carabiners that are overloaded and carabiners that are stuck closed/open or damaged. As an aerial student it’s important to ask questions and learn about the equipment you are using.

As I was writing this blog, I found these videos from Vertical Art Dance. Please take a few minutes to watch them. I learned I was currently making rigging mistakes. I’m heading back to make some new purchases and update my hardware. I need to stop relying so much on carabiners and think about using Quick Links and shackles more often.

Aerial Rigging The Carabiner Talk Part 1

Aerial Rigging The Carabiner Talk Part 2, Overloaded Carabiners
*I have been overloading my spansets for my lyra into carabiners.

Aerial Rigging: The Carabiner Talk Part 3, 3 Way Loading
*I have been 3-way loading my lyra spansets onto one carabiner. I knew it wasn’t ideal but I didn’t know it was a bad mistake.

Why is this important? Remember the Ringling Hair Chandelier accident? It was due to an improperly loaded connector. Review the article and some of the comments. Then look around at what is being used at your studio or your own set up and ask questions. Is it safe? Is there a better way to rig it? Why did they/you decide to rig that way?

Here are some tips about connectors for aerial rigging:

CARABINERS

  • Before use, carabiners (and all connectors) should be inspected. Damaged or worn carabiners/connectors should NOT be used. Visually check for any stress. Look for bending, corrosion, excessive wear, or cracking. The locking mechanisms should have smooth operation. If it doesn’t take it out of service and don’t use it.
  • Carabiners need to be oiled (& cleaned) regularly. Sometimes locking biners stop working just because they haven’t been oiled.
  • Screw down, so you don’t screw up! It may not be a huge deal in aerial, especially if you are using auto lock biners, but it can help keep screw gate carabiners locked if there is anything that might rub on the screw gate and unlock it. Examples: a hand grabbing the biner, a knee locking around it, a rope/spanset rubbing against it, or even vibrations loosening the the screw. This video explains in a bit better. Not much of an issue with auto lock biners but its not a bad habit to get into for all biners just in case. *If you don’t know the difference between a screw gate and an auto lock carabiner please watch the above videos again and read the Simply Circus link below.

Carabiners are designed to take a load only along the major axis:

  • Do not cross-load a carabiner. Loads should only be placed lengthwise along the major axis. If a carabiner is loaded widthwise it could fail especially with a drop or abrupt change in motion. They are a lot less strong widthwise (up to 70% less).
  • Do not overload a carabiner. Review Video Part 2 again. Spansets can easily overload a carabiner. Rigging a silk directly to a carabiner will also overload it.https://rescueresponse.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/RoundSlingBinerBreak.jpg
  • Do not 3-way load a carabiner. Review Video Part 3 again. I’ve seen this a lot in rigging. So much that I thought it was normal. But its not. It is a mistake in rigging. See above pictures of rigging a double-point Lyra. Have you rigged this way? Which way is the best?
    Riggers have been lucky only because they use a large safety ratings (2000-5000 lbs). It is a better idea to use hardware that is designed for 3-way loads (an anchor shackel or a Quick Link).
    This is an interesting video that shows testing tri-loading carabiners. Its focus is on slacklining, not aerial, but its still good info.
  • The D-shaped carabiners are usually stronger than the oval carabiners…but only if the load is verticle down the long end of the carabiner. *I’m re-thinking how to rig the pulley on my outdoor rig I was going to use a 50kN steel D-shaped biner at the top but now I might look for a Quick Link or shackle so its not overloaded.

Please read this reference on carabiners from Simply Circus: Carabiners.

There are tons of places to buy carabiners. I’ve purchase mine from Aerial Essentials and Fusion Climbing. I like the sleek black coatings that they offer. They are more expensive than the regular stainless steel biners.

*I’ve been buying steel (vs aluminum) carabiners because I believe they will last longer than aluminum. I am planning to write a blog about that debate.

SHACKLES

I have heard/read that many professional riggers are recommending using shackles instead of carabiners. Especially if it is a permanent connection. Carabiners are designed for quick/temporary connection.

  • Shackles are a lot stronger than carabiners
  • 2 main types of shackles: Anchor/Bow shackle can connect 2 or more rigging pieces together while a Chain/”D” shackle is designed to connect components in a straight line. See the Simply Circus link below for more info and pictures.
  • Shackles will decrease the amount of height lost when using a carabiner (average shackle is 3″ vs 5″ carabiner).
  • For aerial you can use a screw pin shackle that can be moused/locked in place with a zip tie after they are screwed tight. (You could also use metal wire to mouse it.)
  • UPDATE: Load only in one direction on the pin of a shackle. Use the bell to collect the legs of a bridal. (In other words: when 3-way loading, put 2 loads on the bell and 1 load on the pin.)
  • My fiance calls them “bull nose” As in: “Amy, why are you using carabiners when you should just get a bull nose? They are safer for you.” (I had no idea what he was talking about. Until now)

Please read this reference on shackles from Simply Circus: Shackles. This link has a ton of information with pictures of different shackles, how to inspect & clean and even how to mouse a shackle.

You can buy shackles MANY places. This is an example of all the different types at Rigging Warehouse.

QUICK LINKS

I’m just learning about Quick Links (or screw links). I didn’t even know what they were up until about a month ago.

  • Quick Links come in several different shapes. Depending on your need, you may want to use a triangle/tri-link/delta/square Quick Link to attach spansets to a swivel for a double point lyra (instead of 2 carabiners into a swivel-see Part 3 video above)
  • To avoid overloading a carabiner with a spanset, consider using a Quick Link (again I refer back to the videos above). Review the Quick Link shapes to see which may be the best fit.
    Update: Delta and tri-link Quick Links are for vertical use only. They are wider to be used with webbing.
  • Link to Petzl Maillion Rapide technical info
  • Ratings are significantly lower when cross-loaded. (Ex. a Quick Link that is rated 25kN on major axis can be rated 10kN on minor axis)
  • When tightened with a wrench Quick Links can be considered a permanent connector.

I am attaching several links that have more Quick Link information:

Aspiring Safety Products:  This has Quick Link ratings and a description of why and what they use particular shapes.

You can buy Quick Links at MANY places. This is an example of all the different types at Rigging Warehouse. I’ve read that many people recommend Maillion Rapide Quick Links because they have very good reliability.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on connector use and aerial rigging?

*Interesting solutions to “fix” tri-loading carabiners and spansets (or Quick Links) from a slackline point of view. Remember to consider the ratings on the spansets when putting them into different shapes: basket, chocker, etc.  Triloading 101

Aerial Introduction

I was born to be upside-down. This blog will be about my path to follow my aerial/circus desires. It will be about my practice (aerial hoop, fabric/silks, trapeze), about my health, and anything else that grabs my attention (my dogs, flexibility, weight, handstands, hooping, etc.)

IMG_0174

Gymnastics was my outlet as a kid and through college. It was my passion. My love. I thought I wanted to coach or open my own gym. Then graduation and reality struck. I was hired by a great medical device company and I coached at night. As I moved up in my company I lost the time and energy to coach. I made new friends. They convinced me to try softball, volleyball, and finally kickball. I was the girl who would tumble on and off the field. I’d get bored. I wanted to be upside-down.

Amy Windorski © Tigz Rice Studios 2012

Amy © Tigz Rice Studios 2012

2009 I found hooping. It was fun. It was dance. There was a flow with the hula hoop. And it was tricky! For a few years I immersed myself with the hula hoop. I ended up at a Hooping retreat in the mountains of Colorado. One of the instructors, Spiral, was a circus trained artist. She showed me hooping in a new light. She could handstand like no other and she performed on a hoop in the air. I wanted to do that. I wanted to be upside-down.

I found an aerial studio about 45-50 minutes from my home. I took my first aerial class Sept 2011. I was 34-years old, about 30 lbs overweight and out of shape. It was challenging. I remember more than one class that I left discouraged and in tears. I kept at it because it combined all the things I love: learning new tricks, performing, hard-work, flexibility, and strength. Plus I just wanted to be upside-down.

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Lately, my situation changed with the studio I’d begun at and I’ve changed studios. I’m currently at crossroads with my training. I’ve gained weight again and have injuries. I’ve made some good (great actually) friends who are opening new studios in my area so I know I have places to train. However, my full-time job has hours that make it difficult for me to get to the studio for regular classes or open gym. I want to train when I can fit it into my schedule. I need to take what I do know and practice it and perfect it and make into routines. I do aerial recreationally but it is what keeps me sane.

My solution has been to start acquiring my own aerial equipment. This blog will be about me finding myself through aerial/circus.