How To Make Animal Balloon Art

Learn the basic lingo of balloon art and how to create 2 balloon animals of your own.

Learning balloon art is an amazingly easy task once you get over the fear of popping balloons. Not only can learning balloon art be fun, you can also save money by decorating your own parties or make money by starting your own business.

Advancing in this art form is fairly quick after you learn the basics and start with the two easy patterns I have provided. You will soon be looking for many more patterns and trying other twists on your own.

The only required equipment to start ballooning is long balloons. If you want to make it easier, buying a cheap pump will help you save your lungs. I use a double direction pump - one that will blow air while being pushed and pulled, making blowing up the balloons extremely quick.

One aspect of this art is that not only is it fun to do and to watch, it is cheap to start. Most balloons can be purchased in bags of 100 for $8.00 (US dollar) and a cheap pump will cost around $10.00. There are ballooning kits available for around $10.00 to $15.00 and will include a pump, instruction booklet for 4 or 5 patterns and 50 balloons. Kits can generally be found at party creation stores like "Party Tree" or "Dean's Party Mania."

Now that you have your balloons (and maybe a pump), it is time to start learning the lingo of ballooning.

The first, and most critical in not popping balloons is the "tail." The tail of the balloon is the part that is left flat. When you begin to blow up a balloon, it will start filling closest to your mouth/pump and go outward. The tail is the other end. Each pattern will require a certain amount of tail length to be left over.

What helps prevent the balloon from popping is as the air is forced down into the unused portion of the balloon by twisting, the tail will slowly fill up with the air that is being redirected. This will keep pressure in the blown up part of the balloon from building up and weakening the balloon. If there were no tail, the air would have no where to go but out.

"Twisting" is as simple a term to use. This is where you twist the balloon. Take a blown up balloon (with a tail of any length) in both hands like you were putting your hands on the handle bars of a bicycle. Now twist one hand towards your body and the other away. A twist will form in the balloon, separating it into two parts. Usually one or two full rotations will give you a good joint for locking.

Each twist is described by the length of the bubble you are creating. A "1 inch twist" is a twist 1 inch away from the end or previous twist. A "2 inch twist" is a twist made 2 inches from the previous twist or end, and so forth.



Many time ballooners will simplify the "1 inch twist" to a "1 inch bubble", which means the exact same thing. A bubble is the area between 2 twists or an end and a twist.

You might find if you tried twisting the balloon and letting go, your twists will not hold. This is where the "lock" comes into play. A lock is where you have taken two twists, and twisted them together. Lets make an example:

If you make a 2 inch twist from the tied end, make another 2 inch twist from the first, and then another twist (this takes agility because you have to hold all the bubbles in your hands to prevent it from unwrapping), you will have 3 bubbles and the rest of the balloon. To lock the balloon, you will take your first twist and twist it with the third twist. What you have here is something that will resemble legs or ears, depending on the lengths you use for your twists.

You will want to practice twisting and locking before attacking the patterns listed below.

THE DOG:

The dog is one of the simpler animals to make as the bubbles are larger and there are not that many twists involved with little locking.

1. Blow up a balloon and leave around a 6 inch tail

2. Make a 1 inch bubble from the end (twist one inch away from the tied end of the balloon)

3. Make two 2 inch bubbles from the first twist (you will have 1 little bubble and 2 longer bubbles)

4. Lock twist 3 (the last twist) to twist 1 (the first twist you made) - ears and nose of dog

5. Make a 2 inch bubble down to create the neck

6. Make two 3 inch bubbles

7. Lock the last twist to the twist at the end of the neck - neck and front feet of dog

8. Repeat steps 5-7 - back and rear legs of dog

9. With any remaining tail to the balloon, force the air into the tip of the balloon tail to form the poodle puff - done

THE RABBIT

The rabbit is a bit more specific in the tail length, and depending on how much you twist, you will learn how much tail you need to leave. The twists involved here are close to that of the dog, but the bubble lengths are extremely different.

1. Blow up your balloon, leaving a 3 inch tail (4 inches if you are trying to be safe)

2. Make a 2 inch bubble, and two longer bubbles (maybe 4 inches each)

3. Lock twist 1 and twist 3 - face and ears of rabbit

4. Make a 1 inch bubble and two 3 inch bubbles

5. Lock the same as dog (above) - makes neck and front legs

6. Make a 2 inch bubble

7. Force the air into the remaining tail of the balloon and make a 1 inch bubble from the untied end

8. Lock the bubble in step 6 with the last twist - back and back legs

9. Push the front legs in the circle made by the last twist.

Happy Practicing!

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