For some people, goggles are essential at Burning Man. Me? Not so much. I’ve gotten along fine without them, but I would like to have the option during a particularly dusty day. Plus, I’ve always thought those reflective bug-eye lenses look cool. I wear glasses, and while I am planning on using contact lenses* most of the time, it doesn’t make sense to have goggles that only work with certain eye-gear setups.
Both goggles started off as standard plastic Dr. Peepers, which fit well over most glasses and have that bizarre alien look that we all try to cultivate. I taped over the lenses, front and back, and then covered them with spray primer (the key to having paint stick to plastic is to do several thin coats). Next came a layer of very shiny chrome paint–a great foundation for any project.
The decorations are done with a high-quality acrylic paint. I wanted the silver to still show through, so most of the acrylic layers were pretty thin. I wanted the two goggles to belong together without matching, so I used many of the same colors but in different places. I really enjoy painted in duplicate, because it allows me a chance to experiment with designs as I move between each goggle.
I mixed different glitter with a water-based high gloss sealant, and I added a coat of Duplicolor Clear Effex glitter spray paint, cause I’m not holding anything back.
One of the most crucial steps to achieving my look was the replace the boring black elastic. My sparkle rainbow elastic is a tiny bit wider than the original. At first I was concerned about not being able to find the hardware to make my strap adjustable, but then I realized that the point of customizing my goggles was so that they didn’t need to be adjustable!
Minor additions were foam padding where I needed it (another benefit of really claiming an item as YOURS), and a few delicately placed rhinestones were unavoidable.
Last but not least, I added my name and playa address on the inside of the frames. If I were to loose these, I imagine I’d be pretty mellow about it–did I lose my goggles or is some stranger about to discover a really awesome gift? But still, I’d want the dusty stranger to know their story!
*Contact lenses are actually much easier than glasses at Burning Man. You find somewhere out of the wind to put them in, and you’re good to go all day without worrying about cleaning your specs or having them fall off!