LED Throwies

A group of us were interested in the Graffiti Research Lab's Throwies and decided to try some for Fiesta in San Antonio. A throwie is an LED, small battery, and a strong rare earth magnet. The cost on all of these items is now low enough that you can make the throwies for under 50 cents each in quantity.
IMG_3303.JPGWe started out the evening at La Tuna to assemble the throwies and discuss our plans. After building almost 200 throwies we started talking about where to toss them. At least a few of them went on the outside of La Tuna while we made up our minds. We all piled in the van and made our way to the Riverwalk.

133287772_8a8aecba7e.jpgAt first we just experimented with lamp posts, street signs (most are aluminum) but we soon came to one of the tressel bridges over the Riverwalk. We used up about a third of them on the top of the bridge, handing some to passer-bys that looked interested. Many strangers joined in the fun by throwing ones we gave them and picking up fallen throwies. Everyone thought it was great fun and a cool idea.

Next we trapsed around the river where we tagged a number of fence posts, signs and various vendor and restaurant carts. The undersides of most bridges turned out to be too crowded to risk throwing things but we did manage to light up the beams under at least one bridge.

Before the night was out we returned to the original bridge to see how many LEDs had gone missing. Most of them were still there (the ones up high) so we handed out a few more and added more color to the bridge before heading back to La Tuna. We lit up the back wall at La Tuna with the remaining LEDs before calling it a night.

The whole evening was a lot more fun than I expected with much of the thrill of graffiti without the permanent damage that paint causes. The LEDs should shine for close to a week at which point we'll go back and recover as many as we can to to be recycled and reused.

For some more information about Throwies check out these links:
http://www.instructables.com/
http://graffitiresearchlab.com/
http://www.makezine.com/

[Update:]

Another post about the evening here: http://sweaterproject.org/2006/04/24/concerning-throwies/

6 thoughts on “LED Throwies

  1. I went back to two of the crime scenese yesterda – La Tuna and the bridge. At the bridge, *all* the throwies were gone. There were one or two left up at La Tuna.

    Either they’ve gone on to new homes, or our fingerprints are being lifted as we speak . . . 🙂

  2. Pingback: Sweater Project » Blog Archive » Concerning Throwies

  3. Pingback: edspace » Throwies!

  4. You say that this is better than paint, but it isn’t that much better. If you are using rare earth magnets, those are damn near impossible to seperate from a metal object, not to mention a bridge 20 or 30 feet of the ground…

    You can try to justify it as much as you want, but it is still graffiti. Graffiti is vandalism and is against the law. You should know that.

  5. Will,

    The magnets are rather small and have at least one wrap of tape around them. They do not stick well at all and have to be gently tossed or they bounce off the metal.

    We didn’t toss them 20 or 30 feet up, most of them were just 8-10 feet up.

    As David stated above, less than 24 hours later all of the throwies had been removed. We saw plenty of people take interest in them, take them down and toss them back up, I assume later people started taking them home.

    Assuming that throwies are illegal, it would be a littering violation, not vandalism. We did no damage at all to the surfaces we “colored” and planned to return to collect them all a few days later. Unfortunately some other people beat us to it.

    Next time we’ll just stick to La Tuna and it’s corrugated tin walls. The live music was great and all the locals were fascinated with the throwies.

  6. Hey,
    I’m thinking about using some LED throwies for a stunt over here in Scotland.
    Your post was a lot of help.

    Im an avid of all street art and this is something you don’t see over in the UK so I’m definatley going to get involved….

    All the best
    and thanks

    Tragic

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