This Instructable is a collaboration between leonardo ismael (aka Oscar - Instructables' newest intern) and noahw that was made possible by the good folks over at Cool Neon. In addition to the step-by-step instructions that are in this Instructable, you can also check out the easily printable/portable .pdf directions that are attached to this step.
Step 1: Prep the End of the EL Wire
Some wire may have its' ends already stripped and prepared for you. If your wire has already had its' ends prepped then just skip this step.
First you will start with the bare EL wire pictured below. There are lots of different pictures in each step so click on each of the images below and follow along with the numbered steps.
Now grab a wire cutter and strip off the colored PVC sleeve around half an inch from the end of the wire. Make sure that you do not cut all the way in, just strip off the colored PVC covering.
Now you will see a thinner clear PVC sleeve covering the core wire.
Cut the clear PVC sleeve off, but be very careful not to cut too deep because two very small and fragile wires called angel wires are right underneath it.
Now that you have both sleeves off, you will notice that there is phosphor coating on the thicker center wire. This is not a skin so do not cut it off. Instead, carefully scratch or sand it off with some sandpaper or a razor blade.