Create Balloon Arrangements Like A Pro

Create Balloon Arrangements
Create Balloon Arrangements Like A Pro

When I think of February a few things come to mind: garden prep (and hopefully the warmer weather that comes with it), Valentine’s Day, and my daughter’s birthday.  For the last two, balloons are usually involved and who doesn’t like balloons! Now I am probably going to date myself by saying this, but back in college I worked at a party store to earn extra cash.  We helped people pull together party supplies and ideas, gift wrap, and create balloon arrangements.  I’ve blown up thousands (yes, thousands!) of balloons while I worked there.  The balloons were probably my favorite part and has stuck with me throughout the years.  There were so many events: weddings, graduations, retirements, birthdays, Valentines, thank-yous, just because…the list goes on and on, but all celebrated with balloons.  And in all of my time working there, I don’t think I ever saw anyone pick up balloons without a smile (even the brides-to-be who were running late).  Here are some tips I learned that will help you create the best balloon bouquet on any budget.

FOR CUTE CARD PROJECTS TO GO WITH THE BALLOONS:


Creating the Best Balloon Arrangements

Types of Balloons

When you go to the party store or other places that sell helium balloons you will typically find either latex or foil (also called Mylar) balloons.  There are pluses and minuses to both:

Latex
  • Come in a number of sizes (i.e. 9″, 12″, etc) and are usually sold in either packs or individually
  • Have a ton of colors and several finishes (solid/flat, pearl, or printed)…BIG fan of the Pearl!
  • Are the most reasonably priced, so very popular option if you’re trying to cover a large area
  • Last the shortest amount of time (the latex balloons I bought for the pictures below were already starting to fall less than 24 hours later)
Foil or Mylar
  • Come in a variety of sizes and shapes and sold individually
  • Typically printed with characters and/or sayings, but also in select solid colors
  • More expensive than latex and can get extremely expensive with the large specialty shapes
  • Lasts longer than latex, sometimes up to a week or two.
  • Only type of balloon allowed into a hospital due to latex allergies (something to keep in mind for those Baby and Get Well arrangements)

It’s All In The Details

When you are getting balloons there are a few details that help make your arrangement look more pulled together.

  • Matching or Complementary Ribbon Color – A balloon with matching or complementary colored ribbon always looks sharp.  Unless you are planning on re-tying the balloons when you get home with new ribbon colors, you may want to suggest or instruct the person who is blowing your balloons up on what colors to use with which balloons.
  • Long, Curled Tails – When you request the ribbon colors, it is also a good idea to ask that the tails be left a bit longer so you can curl them with a scissors when you get home.  If you look at the picture on the left, without curl and some a bit too short, versus the curled tails on the right, it is pretty easy to see what’s more appealing.  TIP:  If some of the tails are too short, like mine were, you can use the rest of the ribbon to re-tie and make a longer one.  I think there was enough ribbon on each balloon for a 20′ ceiling!

    Adding curled tails to balloons
    Adding Curled Tails To The Balloons
  • Hi-Float (If You’re Using Latex) – For an extra fee per balloon, a gel called Hi-Float can be squeezed into each balloon and, once rubbed around to coat, will help the helium stay inside longer.  This is especially useful for long day events like weddings and other parties.
  • Odd Number Of Balloons – With the exception of a very few arrangements (which I’ll point out below), odd numbers of balloons always look better!  I’m not exactly sure why, but over  the years I’ve found it to be true.  So, 3, 5, 7, etc. in one arrangement.

Different Ways To Arrange

Once the ribbons are the colors and length you want and the tails are curled, now is the fun part:  arranging the balloons.

Staggered

This is probably the most common arrangement and the easiest to do.  Any amount of balloons will work as long as they’re an odd number.  I originally purchased 7, so I could show you what 5 and 7 look like, but unfortunately my daughter started playing with them first…so I can only show what 5 looks like.  Oops!  You can also mix and match latex and foil or just use one or the other.  It’s really up to personal preference and budget.

1. Start with the most important balloon you want to highlight and make that the highest balloon in the arrangement.  If  you are using a mix of latex and foil, like I am here, then I always grab my favorite foil in the bunch first.  Next, grab another foil (if you have one) and stagger the balloon below the first one, so it is still touching a bit.  Repeat with a third balloon.

Arranging Foil Balloons
Arranging Foil Balloons

2. With the remaining balloons start to fill in the arrangement to make it fuller.

Adding Latex Balloons To Arrangement
Adding Latex Balloons To Arrangement

TIP:  3 balloons high is usually a good height if they will sit on a table.  If the balloons will sit on the floor or in a room with a high ceiling, then you can usually pull off 4 balloons high (meaning in step #1, repeat with a fourth balloon).

Here is the same set of balloons with all of the foil ones on top.  See, the possibilities are endless…

Another Way To Stagger Balloon Arrangement
Another Way To Stagger Balloon Arrangement

Rings

I don’t think there is an official name for this arrangement, so I’m affectionately calling it Rings because of the rings created by the balloons.  In this arrangement, you will need a specific number of balloons and that number could be odd or even depending on how many rings you want.  Usually, there are 3 balloons to a ring with an additional balloon at the top, so 1 ring (3 + 1 at top = 4 total) or 2 rings (6 + 1 at top = 7 total).  You get the idea.  This arrangement works best with latex balloons and either a foil or another latex balloon at the top.

1. Start with the top balloon.  Next, grab the 3 balloons that will become the “ring” below it and adjust the ribbon so the 3 are at the same height.  Place the top balloon in the center of the 3 and make sure that they are just slightly touching, like the picture below.  Tada!  If you are creating a single ring of balloons you are done!  If you are creating a 2 ring arrangement, grab the second set of 3 balloons, make the balloons all the same height and place below the first ring.  Be sure to rotate the second set about 30 degrees, so the two rings fit together nicely.

Starting Ring Balloon Arrangement
Starting The Ring Balloon Arrangement

Finishing Touches

After you’ve finished arranging the balloons, there are a few things you can do to add that last bit of polish.

  • Secure the Balloons to Sturdy Weight – You can use a weight purchased at the store, but I prefer to use a bag of candy or a basket/bucket with a few small gifts.
  • Curling Ribbon Ends – Once the balloons are secured (be sure to give them a good double knot!), curl the ends of ribbon.  This will make them match the curls on the balloons and really finish the look.

Well, there you have it.  I didn’t think I could write this many words about balloons, but I hope you’ll find these tips useful when putting together your next balloon arrangement!  What occasions do you buy balloons for?  Let me know in the comments.

Have fun and put a smile on someone’s face!    Nikole

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