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Everything you need to know before you purchase and rig your own silk.

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Are you ready to purchase your own silk?

If you’ve had a few years of training under your belt, are proficient and solid in the foundational skills and understand safety protocol, then it may be your time! It is not recommended to take sporadic classes and then proceed with purchasing your own fabric and attempt makeshift rigging from a tree, bridge or in your garage! Please, just don’t.

Ok, I’m ready! Where can I rig my silk!?

Well, it depends. This can be a pretty loaded question as there are many variables. A few options are:  

·       At your aerial studio's open gym (if they allow it)

·       From a free-standing rig (we recommend Ludwig)

·       From a beam in your home, loft or barn! (check on your homeowner's insurance first)

·       From a beam in a commercial building (steel beams are the easiest solution)

*If you plan to rig in your home or a commercial building, you’ll need to contact a structural engineer to asses the beam and how much weight it can hold along with an aerial rigger for the install of the rigging set-up

What are ‘silks’ exactly?

What we refer to as ‘silks’ (a.k.a. tissu) is typically nylon tricot fabric. It’s a lightweight fabric that is commonly used to line bathing suits and lingerie. It comes in low stretch and medium stretch. Here at Aerial Physique, we prefer the low stretch version. It is exactly that, not very stretchy which in return makes it a lot easier to work with for beginners. Medium stretch can be great for drops due to the ‘bounce’ it gives at the bottom of a dynamic movement but overall is much more challenging to work with and it’s waaayyy more pinchy!  

How much fabric should I order?

Good question! Measure the height of your ceiling or rig. Double the height and add 6-8 feet for the tail on the floor. Then divide the total by 3 to calculate the number of yards to order.

For example, if your ceiling height is 18 feet this is the math you would do:

18 x 2 = 36

+ 8 = 44 feet

Divide 44 by 3 (1 yard = 3 feet)

Total = 14.6

It is best to round up. If your ceilings are 18 feet, you’d want to order 15 yards of fabric per point.

What rigging hardware do I need?

The typical hardware set up is as follows:

·       1 Rescue 8 – used to tie your fabric to

·       1 Swivel – to allow the fabric to spin

·       2 Steel Carabiners – to attach to the rigging point and hardware itself

Click here to see a video of how to utilize your hardware

Aluminum vs. Steel

As a general rule in aerial, use steel rigging hardware whenever possible and avoid using aluminum.  

Why? Steel is stronger and less likely to warp, deform or bend under weight, force or heat. Aluminum is less expensive and lighter but gives you less feedback of when it is damaged and is known to break easily when it’s reached weight bearing capacity. Carabiners and rescue 8’s come in steel, however, aluminum is still the standard for swivels, but we did come across one new option from Rock Exotica!

Intrigued? Check out this video of a break strength test done on aluminum carabiners.

So there you have it! Happy silking! 


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