Balloon Arch Instructions
When planning a balloon arch, there are several things to consider. Before
starting, determine the size of the arch, materials needed for the frame, the color(s) and quantity of balloons, and whether you will fill the balloons
with helium or air. Read through our helpful tips before constructing your
arch. You can print out Instructions,
Size: When deciding on the size of your balloon arch, measure the height and
width of the area where it will be displayed. To estimate the approximate
length of the arch, use the following calculations.
For an arch with the same height and width: (1/2 x Height) + Width =
approximate total length.
To make an arch that is wider than it is tall: Width + Height = approximate
For an arch that is taller than it is wide: (2 x Height) + Width =
approximate total length.
The size of your arch will largely determine the size of the balloons that
are necessary. For a small arch, the balloons do not need to be inflated all
the way; the larger the arch gets, the bigger the balloons should be.
Note: Make sure all balloons are inflated to the same size. One way to ensure
you are being consistent is to make a template from cardboard. Cut a round
hole to match the desired balloon size, and pass each one through when
Frame: Air-filled balloon arches require a sturdy frame. A strong, flexible
material such as conduit, PVC pipe, and aluminum or plastic rod will work
well. For additional support, youíll need to wire the arch to the wall or
ceiling, and/or find a sturdy base to anchor the frame at the bottom.
If you choose to fill your balloons with helium, the gas will hold the
balloons up without additional support; all youíll need is heavy nylon thread
or twine to tie the balloons together, and two ground supports to tether down
each end of the line.
Color: Arches with one color are the easiest to make. If you have made a
balloon arch before, try combining two or more colors to create a spiral
Balloon Quantity: The size of your arch will determine the number of balloons
you need as well. In general, you will need 4-6 balloons per foot of frame.
Air vs. Helium: Balloon arches filled with air last much longer than those
filled with helium, but require more support. It also takes a lot of people
and energy to blow up dozens of balloons, unless you decide to invest in an
electric air pump.
Arches made with helium-filled balloons effectively fill large spaces and
require less support than air-filled creations, but can be trickier to handle
and put together due to the heliumís tendency to rise.
In addition, helium is
more costly than air and will only float for about 12 hours.
Determine the approximate length of the balloon arch. (See sizing
calculations above for help.)
Set up the frame for your balloon arch. If using helium, stretch out your
line and secure each end to a heavy object. Leave plenty of extra thread at
each end, so it will be easier to move and tie down the arch in its permanent
For air-filled arches, set up the frame in its permanent location, if
possible. If not, lay the frame flat so that balloons can be easily attached.
(Note: If using an aluminum rod frame, the balloons can be attached before
shaping the rod into an arch.)
Inflate two latex balloons and tie the necks together.
Repeat step 3. Cross the pairs of balloons in the middle and twist them
together to make a cluster of four.
Starting at one end of the arch, place the cluster against the frame, or
line. Wrap one balloon around the frame; then twist it around another balloon
to lock the cluster on the frame. If using helium, tie the cluster securely
to the line.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 to make another cluster. Place the second cluster
against the first and secure it in place. Adjust the second cluster so it
nests snugly against the first.
Continue adding clusters, until the entire length of the arch is filled. If
using helium, carefully untie the line from its anchors and move it to its
permanent location when completed. Bricks, gallon bottles filled with water,
etc. make great anchors that can be easily decorated and hidden from direct
Other Balloon Decorations
Attach balloons in clusters, as described above for balloon arches. Clusters
of three, four or five balloons are workable; the most commonly used number
Garlands - Use air-filled balloons and attach clusters to a nylon line as
described above for helium-filled arches. When garlands are desired length,
string between the corners of the ceiling, allowing garlands to drape evenly
on all sides of the room.
Shapes - Aluminum rod is the best frame for shaped balloon decorations
because it is flexible. Fashion the rod into a heart, number, or other shape
before attaching clusters of air-filled balloons.
Columns - Attach clusters of helium balloons to a nylon line and tie down one
end. Or, use balloons filled with air and attach them to a vertical frame
anchored on a sturdy base.
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