Thursday, May 12, 2016

Black & Light Ball 2017: Guide to all things glowing

Black and Light Ball is Kostume Kult's annual UV reactive "formal" where we get fancy and glowing all in one fabulous night! All forms of light up, UV reactive and glow in the dark costumes are encouraged and the decor gets positively trip.
Hope fully you already have your tickets. If not ACT FAST and get them now!!

Below you will find my guide to finding the things that GLOW under black light.

Lets start in the garment/trim district in Manhattan (Broadway to 7th Ave on 38th Street).
Don't forget your keychain black light or here's a tutorial on how to turn your phones flashlight into a blacklight!

Joyce Trimming Inc. (38th btw 6th / Broadway)
Lots of ribbon! They have the best prices on wide satin day glow ribbon. This ribbon makes great ruffle trim if you run it through your sewing machine on the edge of a skirt or sleeve. Its only $1.50/yard.

Fringe Colors at B&Q Trim
B&Q Trim (38th btw 6th / Broadway)
This store is a favorite among my costume friends. They have a wide variety of feathers, gems, trims, fringe, studs, etc. The fringe and feathers were particularly good for black light here. I tested the fringe in pink, yellow and green cause they nicely gave me swatches and it glows excellently!  The pricing on fringe is determined by length.
6" Fringe = $6/yard
8" Fringe = $8/yard
and so on... the longest length they have is 18" but it is only in limited colors.
The feathers they had in bunches LOOKED UV reactive but it would be best to bring your portable black light along with you to test for sure. They were $4 a bunch in yellow, lime and orange. This seemed to be the place with the largest variety of neon colors for fringe and acrylic gems.

East Coast Trimming Corp.

Focusing more on the bridal trim, however but they do have tubular cyber lock materials which are these cool synthetic tubes that stretch and you can run LED lights on a wire through. 
Small $1.50/yard
Medium $3.00/yard
Large $4.00/yard
They had interesting reflective trim which was about 1" wide and came in white and a few neon colors. It was like the strips you see on road workers vest. Extremely reflective!

They also had a sale rack of ribbon with lots of neon colors, worth a peek. 

$22/yard neon spike trim with rhinestones.
Lots of gems and appliqu├ęs. Vast color assortment of ostrich plumes too however I found there are only a few colors of those that will glow. The coolest things I found at this place was a pricey but very bad ass trim with spikes and rhinestone. It was $22/yard but depending on the project may be the perfect finishing piece for a look. Also I loved the small and large rhinestone neon pieces. I did NOT test them since I had forgotten my black light flashlight at home.

Hardware stores are great for finding unexpected glow materials. For example Zip Ties! They are cool to craft with and glow very well. Home Depot sells a bag of 100 zip ties in various colors for $4.50. The only color that doesn't glow so well is the blue. :(
Also gaff tape. It is a little pricy but glows super well and comes in various widths.

Don't forget the Dollar Store when looking for UV reactive stuff. I know that Dollar Tree carries poster board in neon colors for a dollar a sheet. Its 22x28 and glows very very brightly. Why not make a head piece out of it!
$1 Neon Poster Boar at Dollar Tree
Lastly I am going to talk a little about UV makeup. Ricky's or Romeo's (discount version of Rickys) sells Krylon makeup in UV colors. I just bought the yellow lipstick pictured at Romeo's (5th Ave btw 35th / 36th) for $5.99. As you can see it is tested and APPROVED!
UV testing Yellow Lipstick
Paint Glow UV lipstick

EL Wire:
I myself have not had good luck with EL wire but my friend Jennifer of Costumegasm makes some brilliant corsets and fashion pieces with it. Here's her pro tip that I think is particularly genius. Cut a length of yarn the exact length of your EL wire you are working with. Then you can map out where the wire will go with the yarn first and tape it to the garment and then sew with clear thread the El wire where the yarn was! Love it!

I could write for days about what glows but I will leave you with tips from my friend Brite Lite who as his name suggests is a mastermind of light up costumes and accessories.

1) Shop with a pocket black light. You can get them for $10-$15 and it will help you for many years of great costumes.
2) Wear paper. The best neon paper glows brighter than fabric. Also, you can buy great $10 blacklight posters at and cut out blacklight badges. I've glued both card stock and paper badges on leather & vinyl outfits.
3) Most neon paper sucks. Don't buy at office supply stores. Some dollar stores have terrific neon card stock. Gotta bring a blacklight.
4) Only use Krylon-brand fluorescent spray paint.
5) You can find good stuff at some hardware stores such as neon zip ties and masonry twine. Although quite thin, its really bright. I've never found parachute cord that glows bright enough.

B&Q Trim (38th btw 6th / Broadway)

Hai's Trimming Inc. 38th btw 7th / 8th Ave

Hai's Trimming Inc. 38th btw 7th / 8th Ave

Ricky's NYC 
Hai's Trimming Inc. 38th btw 7th / 8th Ave

6) Spandex House, of course. If you don't have sewing skills, stick with the suggestions above. One of the easiest projects with a sewing machine is cutting a perfect pattern from old jeans, and using that to make tight spandex pants. Flare the bottoms and sew on a tight "tube" as belt.