I was really nervous about the covering because we didn't have much time and there wasn't a obvious best option.  Below are some ideas we went through.  Ultimately, I ended up trying out silver/brown tarp (silver on one side and brown on the other.... highly recommended).   It was easy to work with and not too expensive, so I decided to buy way too much material, ship it out to the playa, and hope that it could be cut and grommet it to shape during Burning Man... during 50 MPH winds, hot sun, and the constant distraction that is Burning Man.  No problem...

  • References

  • Shade options

    • heavy silver/brown tarp - this is the best bang for the buck... easy to work with, the silver side is sun reflective, the brown side keeps cool on the inside

    • Mylar - if you have A LOT of patience, this is a cool ass material to use.  Below you will notice only two triangles covered with Mylar.  It was not forgiving AT ALL.. We went through a couple pieces trying to grommet it perfectly.  It doesn't give at all, so you have to cut and grommet it perfectly.

    • bed sheets - I brought some bed sheets as a backup option and we ended up covering a couple triangles with it after running out of the other materials.  Bed sheets work ok... they breath really well, but they don't block the sun too well.

    • blue translucent vinyl - This was an unexpected surprise.  Very easy to work with, not breathable, but the coolest looking shit you can find.  We used it for some of the entrance triangles.

    • mesh netting - I wish I would have bought more of this... I'm not sure I have the best name for it, "mesh netting", but zoom in on the picture below.  It was fairly easy to work with, very breathable, had decent sun reflection, and you can see through it which makes the dome feel less like an isolated cave (which is hard to avoid).  You wouldn't want to cover an entire dome in it because a good amount of sand gets through it.

    • aluminet - I read a lot about this material, but didn't have any time to order it and test it out.

  • Fastening options

    • Grommets (real brass or silver) - grommets rule!!! They take a while to apply, but they make the covering reusable and very quiet... very little vibrations if you use enough grommets.  You'll need a grommet kit if you want to go this route.

    • Grip Clips - I couldn't get these to hold on to the tarp.  Different brands are apparently better for domes... I guess I got the wrong ones.

    • Tarp, Tyvek, or Gorilla, 100/200 MPH Duct Tape - I wanted the covering to be as reusable as possible, so I tried to avoid using tape as a fastener.  Where I would recommend it is in places where the covering rubs against the frame around the grommette points.  There is a lot of friction that happens and a layer of tape will soften the friction and give the covering a longer life.

    • bungy cord - It comes in handy for fastening things to the inside of the dome such as lighting.

The following are pictures of how we did it.  Grommets are wonderful... We only did grommets at the vertices and it worked out great, but doing grommets at both the vertices and midpoints would be ideal.  See notes below...

Grommet kit

Upper-left: silver/brown tarp... top: mesh netting... upper-right: silver/brown tarp... bottom-left: translucent blue vinyl... bottom-right: mylar

The dome in all its glory with the various materials.

Two trapazoidal pieces of silver/brown tarp.

The entrance with all the materials... blue vinyl, mesh netting, and Mylar.

Blue vinyl entrance

A look at the silver/brown tarp from the inside...

Me, Alex, Steve, and Koppány


© 2004 Ben Burton