Friday, February 20, 2015

Our DIY Aerial Silks Rig

For playing such a large part in our daily lives, this DIY aerial silks rig of ours is something that I haven't really shared as such yet. Part of the reason is that Matt and I put it up during a busy time (Nutcracker season!) and then modified it during another busy time, so I didn't have hours to spare to describe the process and the tools and the supplies in the loving, obsessive, undoubtedly-tedious-to-read detail that I usually expend.

Another part, though, is that this rig has fit so seamlessly into our lives, become such a natural, integral part of it, that I honestly don't spend much time noticing that giant swath of fabric hanging in the middle of our big hallway. The kids play on it and around it off and on all day, expending fabulous amounts of energy, calling me to come and see some new trick or skit or performance. I pass by it dozens of time every day, admiring a kid or pausing to give her a push or toss down some more mats or stopping to tie it up out of our way, only to pass by again an hour later and see it hanging down again after another unnoticed playtime.

It was actually only as I was going through some photos from the year so far that I noticed over and over again batches of photos that I'd snapped of the kids on their rig, and realized that I haven't yet been super braggy (well, I *have* been super braggy, but perhaps not in an overabundance of photos) about it here!

So here I am, super braggy about our aerial silks rig:
You can see here that I had Matt hack off the middle of our exposed beam and drill through a higher exposed beam to mount this rig. The ends of the exposed beam look janky, but we kept the cedar facing, so if we ever want to permanently remove the rig, we can nail the cedar facing back up to the beam ends and it will look exactly as it did before.
I believe that this is called a "Princess Sit?" I've resigned myself to the fact that in every photo that I share of this rig in action, you'll be able to see random clutter in my hallway. Shown here: plywood for a future mounted Hot Wheels track, Galileoscope, fire extinguisher, box of World War II letters, plastic crates stolen from the back of Kroger's, and, of COURSE, a ladder.
This is the Twizzler. It requires tricky balance, and both kids were very pleased when they mastered it.
 I especially love how this rig encourages cooperative play between my often competitive, often bickering, often jealous children:
I made Syd this Avengers leotard out of a T-shirt

The kids saw their instructors performing this two-person stunt at the winter showcase, so of course they practiced it, too!

 Check out the muscles on my kids--one can pull up her sister while hanging upside down, and the other can pull herself upside down while hanging onto her sister!

 The reverse is a little harder:

 So they decided to do this instead:

 And it turns out that the reverse of that is a little harder, too!

P.S. Interested in more inadvisably DIY projects? Check out my Craft Knife Facebook page!


Tina said...

I really hope the next place we go has aerial silks. Not for Emma, but for me!

That rig is totally awesome. How big is the hole you drilled into the ceiling/beam for the rig? I'm wondering if our landlords would notice the evidence of an aerial silks rig...

Also, how long does the silk need to be and how much space is needed for these activities?

Apparently I do need that "loving, obsessive, undoubtedly-tedious-to-read detail" post you mentioned :0)

Also, Emma was exceptional at proofreading my response as I typed it. So, if there are any typos, I blame her.

p.s. I really need to score some lockers...

julie said...

I've actually got all the info that I used for the rig linked in my pinboard here:

Aerial rig equipment sites are good places to look for set-up tutes. I don't know how much success you'd have learning any "official" tricks without taking classes, though; we've looked for Youtube videos of tricks being taught, and even Syd, who's really very quick on the uptake with stuff like that, just can't seem to get the hang of anything by watching a video of it being demonstrated.

Ryan said...

Love this, I haven't been able to find to many DIY ideas...the rigs that are for sale are all over a grand, and I was sure we'd be able to do better than that. This proves it, and such great pictures too!

julie said...

Thanks! I've also heard from people who have successfully mounted rigs like this outside, under those kinds of overhanging second-story decks that people sometimes have with multi-level houses. My original dream had been to move the rig outdoors in the summer and mount it from a tree, but that didn't happen this summer. Maybe I'll try it next year!

jennifer said...

I'm really curious -- any idea how many feet high your ceiling is, to be able to do this rig? The room in your pictures looks like a one level with vaulted ceiling. We want to build a house like that someday, and I'd like to make sure the ceilings are high enough for something like this!

julie said...

It's 11.5 feet from floor to ceiling right there--that's tall enough for the kids to do a lot of different stunts, but not high enough for an adult to do everything, and especially not high enough for drops. It's really just for us to mess around with, not do "official" aerial silks stunts on. We sure do love it, though!

This site is a WAY better resource than my amateur personal experience:

It looks like at least 15-20 feet would be best, based on that site--perhaps if you had a two-storey house with... I don't know the right words, but part of the house would have the vaulted ceiling instead of the second level of rooms and the rig could hang from that?

Datura Thom Heap said...

I wanted to share a helpful PDF for anyone considering a home rig, or aerial point. It discusses a lot of the safety and legal issues involved. If the link below does not work for you, please visit Safety in Aerial Arts on Facebook.

Magda said...

What kind of fabric can I use?