How to Make a Rave Totem

How to make a rave totem
How do you make a rave totem? Like many things, learning the basics is super easy. After that, you just get fancy. With totems being a mainstay in festival culture, it’s not too late to get in on the action. Here’s your guide to making your own.

What is a rave totem?

Totems are essentially artistic expressions that people hoist on poles as they rave about at an EDM festival. Whether it be the meme sticks, the tribe flags, or the light-up installations, you’ve definitely seen one in the crowd. It’s used mainly to help you and your people find each other. So if you don’t wanna lose track of the people you came with, or if you’re solo and want to find people to vibe with, a totem is an easy solution.

How do you make a rave totem?

Rave totem supplies
First things first, you’re gonna need a stick. The most popular choice for this part is PVC pipe. Lengths vary as rules on maximum height vary from event to event. A five-foot pipe is great if you’re going to be lifting it up, whereas a ten-foot pipe is great if you’re going to treat it like a staff. If you go the longer route, go with smaller pipes and link them together with connector pieces. Not only will the height be customizable, but it’ll also be collapsable for ease of transport.

How to make your rave totem sign

The next step is to make your sign. Get a material that’s sturdy but easy to cut into different shapes. Cardboard is a pretty common option for this. After you have your material cut to the shape you want, secure your sign to your stick.


Rave totem secured with zip ties
A reliable favorite for most ravers is zip ties. Strategically screw a few holes into both sides of your pole. Match up those holes with holes on the sign where you’re going to tie it. Slide a zip tie through the first two holes in the sign and pole to the second two. Once you have it fully wrapped around, pull it tight enough to prevent movement and cut the excess tie.

Sign design
The last step is to throw up whatever design you decide on. Get artsy with markers and paint or go the computer route and get a print to paste on. You’re really only limited by your imagination here.

There you have it! If you’ve followed the directions, you’ll have your basic totem down and ready for your next festival. As a side note, your supplies don’t need to be specifically from lowes.

Things to keep in mind

A big part of watching someones set at a music festival is the visuals. If you’re planning on bringing a totem, be mindful of others’ lines of sight. Don’t block the view of the stage by standing up front holding a sign with a ten-foot wingspan.

You’re going to be holding it for a while. Make things easier for yourself and use lightweight materials. If you’re feeling really innovative, think about ways to incorporate it into a backpack.

Double-check the height limits before you go. The last thing you want is to get there and someone in Security comes to collect the totem you spent all night making.

You definitely have the right to fill your sign with whatever you want, but using inappropriate content like racist remarks is counterproductive. First off, where is your PLUR, sir? Second, with people like me taking pictures, there’s a strong chance you will be seen by many. Be prepared to stand by it to your employers, family, and friends.

Remember that weather can be very unpredictable. A clear plastic covering like a trash bag can protect against the rain while still showing off your sign.

There are many different ways to make a rave totem with infinite design possibilities.  Experiment with your creative side and make something that’s uniquely you. Watch the video below to see a hands-on demonstration.

What totem designs have you come up with? Share a photo of yours in the comments below!

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