Monday, November 28, 2016

Fantasy Rose working with Heart Shape Balloons

Fantasy flowers can be made in a number of different ways. For many flower designs, we use floral wire inserted inside latex balloons to form petal shapes. However, when making the rose using the heart shaped latex balloons, we use very little wire.

Sue Bowler CBA

I first saw this type of Fantasy Rose a number of years ago when Jodie White, CBA, created these stunning designs for a photo shoot that we were both working on. She used 6" hearts to create the rose for this beautiful "Mother of the Bride" corsage.

Jodie White CBA
Mother of the Bride corsage by Jodie White, CBA

This is another beautiful design by Jodie. This time, she created a full bridal bouquet using a variety of fantasy techniques, and this occasion she used the 11" latex heart to make bigger roses.

Jodie White CBA
Bridal bouquet by Jodie White, CBA

A few years ago I taught myself how to make this delicate little rose and even attempted to make a small bridal bouquet which I used in a display at Spring Fair a few years ago. 

Sue Bowler CBA

To make the rose you will need the following items:

  • 6" Qualatex® Heart latex balloons ‑ there are no specific number of balloons for each flower, but I would allow approximately 15
  • Elmer's® Rubber Cement
  • 1.2mm/18 gauge wire - only 1 wire per flower required.
  • Floral binding wire
  • Floral Tape

Check out my step-by-step video to see how to create this lovely little rose.

To find out how to make other types of fantasy flowers check out my early post:
The Art of Fantasy Flowers.

Have fun and happy ballooning!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

So what tools should I take with me when working on a balloon decor job?

Having a well-kitted toolbox might just be a lifesaver when working on a balloon decor job. To find out what essential tools should be included, I asked a group of Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN®) professionals from our QBN Facebook Group to share their expertise on this subject. 

There are a number of things that we should always take with us when we go on a balloon decor job.
  • Job/order sheet with a full description of the decor, client's name, address of the event, and contact details.
  • Loose change for vehicle parking.
  • Balloons, accessories, and spare balloons.
  • Helium.
  • Balloon inflation equipment

What else might we need?

Tapes & Glues 

There are quite a few different types of tapes and glues, each one having a different job to do!

1. Scotch® or Sellotape®- A strong, clear tape. This type of tape can be used to repair a small hole in a Microfoil® or Bubble Balloon
2. Painter's or masking tape - Ideal for temporary use. It is perfect for marking out areas and can be removed quickly and easily. If you work with a die-cutting machine, you can use this type of tape to transfer vinyl onto balloons.
3. Glue Dots - Great for easy application of accent details to balloon designs, such as attaching a bow or a nose to a character design.
4. Duct Tape - A good general tape. Good for strong connections on framework.
5. Gaffer Tape - Like duct tape, it is a good general tape. However, it can be cleanly removed after application, leaving no sticky residue. Ideal when working with the AeröPole System™.
6. Oasis® UGlu Dashes - A personal favourite for me since I found out about them from other balloon professionals. They are easy to work with and very strong.
7. Click-Click™ Balloon Bond - Great for sticking latex balloons to other latex balloons.
8. Click- Click Stretchy Balloon Tape - This truly is an essential tape that all professionals should have. Although it might appear to be expensive, you only need to use a small amount each time. Great for securing Microfoil® balloons together, making strong fixing points on Microfoil balloons, and for repairing Microfoil and Bubble Balloons in emergencies.
9. Low temperature glue gun and glue - Not a glue that I use very often these days, as I believe that some of the others mentioned are better for many of the daily jobs that we do. However, I would use a glue gun to secure floral foam to a base or a container to a base.

To find out more about tapes and glues, check out my post: 

A sticky situation...which glue is best for you and your balloons? Updated October 2016

Everyday Tools

These items are a must for every tool box.

1. Qualatex
® Hand-Pump -  Dual-action pump has a tapered nozzle for easy inflation of 5", 6", 260Q, 321Q, and 350Q latex balloons.
2. Qualatex Pocket Pump - Suitable for inflating 160Qs and 260Qs.
3. Scissors - I personally like to use floral scissors. Floral scissors have a wire cutter built in, so they are perfect when making fantasy flowers.
4. Monofilament line, fishing line, or nylon line - Best used for Single Pearl Arches (SOP).
5. Dacron Line - Best used for outdoor Arches, Garlands, and Columns.
6. Safety Pins - Ideal for fixing fabric and ribbons when dressing tables.
7. Balloon Weights - Decorative weights can be used to hold down balloon bouquets and arrangements.
8. Fishing Weights - Ideal to weigh down helium-filled balloons when being dropped into a design or floral arrangements.
9. Washers - These can also be used to weigh down helium-filled balloons into a design or arrangement.

Other Essential Items

1. First Aid Supplies - Just in case!

2. Hand Cream - Hands often dry out when working with a lot of latex balloons.
3. Cloth towels that can be dampened down to help remove static around working area.
4. Someone suggested mints to freshen your breath before speaking to your clients.
5. A copy of your Public Liability Insurance certificate.
6. Don't forget your mobile phone; will also act as a camera if you forget to bring one.
7. Water — you may not be able to get a drink when working.
8. Care cards to inform your customers on how to get the best from their balloons and a few do's and don'ts.
9. Business Cards - You may get asked for your business card when on a job. Make sure that you have plenty!
10. A good camera -  A smartphone is good, but good quality photographs are essential for a high-quality portfolio, so consider using a better camera for taking pictures of your work.
11. Pens - Great for adding detail to balloons such as faces. You also might need to leave a note on your car or van stating where you are working.

More Tools & other useful items.

1. Hammer.

2. Nails or tacks.
3. Pliers.
4. Cable Ties.
5. Tape measure and a spacing stick to help you to accurately measure the distance between balloons in an Arch.
6. Pipe Cutter - perfect for cutting aluminium rod and tubing.
7. Wrench - This can be very helpful if you have a helium cylinder that is difficult to open.
8. Laser pointer - This was a great tip! Perfect for pointing to the ceiling to indicate where you want to connect a magnet! It will also help you to locate the magnets ring when removing decor after a job.
9. Power extension cable - Power sockets are never where you want them to be!
10. Magnets, MagMover®, and Mag Pole for rigging at high levels.

I am sure that you will have other essential items that you include in your toolbox. Let me know what they are, and I will add them to the list!

Thank you to all the QBN members who assisted me with this list.

Happy Ballooning!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tips and Tricks of the Trade - Part 3

Learning how to do things easily or in a better way can take many years of trial and error. Today, we are very lucky. We have great educational classes, YouTube, and many fabulous artists who are willing to share some of their fantastic techniques and new found skills.

"Tips and Tricks of the Trade" is a series of posts that will help you with a variety of different techniques that will make life easier and your work look better.

In Part 1, of this series, Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online, in Sydney, NSW, Australia, shared some fabulous techniques for filling latex balloons with confetti and how to easily apply vinyl to foil and Bubble Balloons. This is a must read post for anyone who works with confetti-filled balloons, and for those of you who personlise balloons. To view this post, click HERE

In Part 2, I show two different techniques on how to cover a base board using latex and foil balloons. These techniques are perfect for those who make centrepiece designs. To view this post, click HERE.

In part 3, we are going to look at two different techniques for wrapping a pole with 160Q or 260Q balloons.

The first techniques is shared by Cam Woody, of Pioneer® Balloon Company.

"I learned this cool technique from Aleks Hernández of Waikify in Guadalajara, Mexico, while I was teaching in Brazil earlier this year.

It's a 3-balloon spiral, a little different from the usual 4-balloon spiral.  I think it actually works best on a smaller size pole, like 1/4" aluminum, but it also works on the 1/2" conduit."
Step 1: Tie all 3 260Qs together and create a spiral braid with 2 of the balloons.

Step2: Wrap the braid onto the pole.

Step 3: Wrap the 3rd balloon in the gaps that are left. This makes a nice tight spiral.

Some years ago, I posted a blog on how to make the 4-balloon spiral column. I used this as a pedestal base to display a Number One balloon. This technique is built directly onto the pole.

These are both great techniques and can be used in a variety of ways to cover poles in decor designs.

Here are a few of my favourite designs using this stunning spiral technique. It can be used to create designs that are soft and elegant, which are perfect for weddings, as well as those that are bold and classic, ideal for corporate and black tie events!

I hope that you are enjoying these fabulous "Tips and Tricks of the Trade." We have even more top tips that will be featured soon!

Happy Ballooning!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Disney•Pixar Finding Dory - The Latest Trend for Birthday Parties

"Disney·Pixar Finding Dory" Bubble Balloon® #44146
U.S. Patent No. 6,782,675

Disney•Pixar Finding Dory has finally arrived in cinemas. The release of any new blockbuster film gives us many new sales opportunities. Children become infatuated by a film's characters, leading to the desire of wanting everything in their lives to be based on a film and the characters within it. In my early childhood, it was A.A. Milne's, Winnie-the-Pooh who rocked my world, and secretly, he still does!

It is very important as retailers and event decorators that we capitalise on these sales opportunities. It is easy to think that by simply stocking current trend balloons and partyware it will simply "fall off the shelf," and "sail out of the door," but in reality it rarely does. Customers need to be inspired and captivated by what they see, and part of that is to see these beautiful balloons inflated, and remember; we don't just sell balloons, we sell the emotion that the balloons create. In this case, probably a very happy child!

If you have a store or shop, this is the perfect time to create a wonderful window display showing a range of different designs suitable as a gift, or decor ideas for a Disney•Pixar Finding Dory theme party. If you sell the Disney•Pixar Finding Dory partyware range*, this is the perfect opportunity to get creative and show off your skills designing a tablescape. *Disney•Pixar Finding Dory partyware range is currently only available through Qualatex® distributors and Qualatex Direct in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Instructions to make this wonderful design by Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company,
can be found in the Jul/Aug/Sep 2016
Balloon Images magazine.

If you are a home-based decorator, you should use your social media channels and your website to show your client base what you can offer. If you have a Pinterest account, why not start a "Children's Party Ideas" board, add a good range of relevant balloon designs and decor ideas, and also re-Pin ideas and suggestions from other boards, such as themed party snack suggestions, party games to play and other non-balloon related items that will draw interest and engage visitors to view your board. Pinterest boards should always have mixed content; it is all about lifestyle and not just an advertising platform. The most important thing about Pinterest is to ensure that all your design images have a link back to your business website so customers can easily find you!

Displaying partyware is a whole new challenge for me, but I like to learn new skills and enjoyed creating a small tablescape using a variety of the Disney•Pixar Finding Dory partyware products. The objective was to show customers the range of products available and how they look when placed together.

Tablescape by Sue Bowler, CBA

Sourcing props to help you with your displays is the key to success. Remember, IKEA is great for inexpensive items such as small tables and storage boxes that can act as shelves within a display to give height and variation.

Here are some other great displays and tablescape ideas using a range of the Disney•Pixar Finding Dory partyware products.

To find out more about Disney•Pixar Finding Dory partyware range  and other collections, click HERE

The Disney•Pixar Finding Dory Qualatex Bubble Balloon is filled with vibrant colours and can be easily complemented with balloons in the Tropical Assortment range such as the "Birthday Classy Script" balloons shown in the bouquet.

For Disney•Pixar Finding Dory theme parties, I think this fabulous arch by Cam Woody, CBA, would make a great focal design. Children will have so much fun playing "under water!"

To learn how to make this Criss-Cross Arch by Cam Woody, click HERE

Here is another great idea that can be easily adapted to suit this very popular theme. This can be used as a centrepiece design or as floor-standing decor.

To make your own wonderful fish, you can simply follow this easy step-by-step recipe. You can make the fish in a variety of different sizes from 5" to 16", these make great accent details for designs, the 16" version is ideally filled with helium and the smaller versions with air.

Here are some more great design ideas!

This lovely design was made by Patrycja Lipińska of Patrycja Lipińska dla Dzieci in Warsaw, Poland. Patrycja has made some lovely fish using 6" Hearts for the bodies, a slight variation to the design shown above.

Good ideas come from everywhere, and your business can benefit from the latest blockbusters whether or not you’re a fan of the silver screen. From fabulous in-store window displays to Pinterest boards, there are no shortages of ways to attract customers with some movie magic.

Happy Ballooning!