|Some of the available neon workshops. Who’s up for a trip to Berlin?|
|Around the workshop|
We learnt about the different ways to make coloured lights – did you know that different gasses produce different colours? Or that you can also coat the tubes with colours to create other shades and by varying the width of the tube you can control the brightness too? Me either. We also learnt about the volts and amps, and their ability to hurt us and just why the white line we shouldn’t cross, was there (check the title of the post for more info on that one!)
Science has never been my thing, especially not on a Saturday afternoon, but this was interesting. Just no-one tell my dad I said that. Ok!
|A basic neon colour chart|
Before we got started making anything of our own, Richard showed us the technique behind creating a neon sign. Now, having not given much thought to neon I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I didn’t imagine it would be so much work. Basically, to light the tube, you have to add conductors to it, which being glass need melting on, then once the tube has electric conductors on the ends of it, it has to be cleaned or ‘bombarded’ with the fancy looking machine below to make sure that there are no impurities in it, twice, once with helium, then if I remember correctly, filling with the right gas for the colour you’re after for it. And then we saw it begin to splutter into life! That was pretty awesome. You can read a really in depth account of making neon lighting here if you like. I promise you it’s way more interesting than you think it is.
|Bombarding the tube.|
And then we got to play with our own pieces of glass. The first challenge was cut the tubes. Easy. We made a small score on the glass and snap. Done. The next challenge however involved tying hair back and flames. Big flames, blowing in tubes and mouth pieces, and the ability to twizzle glass tubes on your finger tips. It’s amazing how uncoordinated I can be when required to turn a piece of glass in the right direction, even more so when I’m trying to remember to blow into a tube and bend the glass at the same time.
Here’s Groupon’s Millie giving it a go. And here are the bent pieces of glass……mine is the right angled one facing away from us – impressive right?
And if this has ignited a spark to learn more about neon and I think once you do learn you’ll be surprised how interested you are (everyone at the party we had later knew all about it!)You can get your tickets to The Neon Workshop from Groupon for just £19 rather than the £60 they retail for.
*We were given the tickets to the Neon Workshop for free, but I wasn’t paid for this post!