Balloon sculpturing

Balloons signify a celebration--be it a birthday, graduation or festival.  They come in all sizes and colors of the rainbow.

Balloonology : 32 fun projects to take you from beginner to expert
Jeremy Telford ; photographs by Zac Williams.
Layton, Utah : Gibbs Smith, 2010.

Balloonology goes beyond just teaching balloon twisting techniques and how to make the projects in the book. Professional balloon twister Jeremy Telford provides 32 projects-a flamingo, a princess, a jet with pilot, and many more-with easy-to-follow instructions and how-to photos that teach not only the most useful twisting techniques, but also how to design new balloon sculptures. Telford also gives information about twisting balloons professionally, including how to find and book gigs, what supplies are necessary, and how to entertain an audience.

Totally way cool balloons : balloon figure-tying for intermediate to advanced balloon twisters
text and illustrations by Harry Walmsley, Arlene Powers, Yvonne Brogdon.
Seneca Falls, NY : Parma Pub. in association with Fooled Ya!, c2000.
The way Cool art of balloon twisting is now taken well beyond the traditional balloon dog. The authors of this book started writing in 1995 with contributions to an Internet discussion group. Before long it was clear they had acquired a serious following of fans hungry for more written material. Their first books were born out of this hunger from their fans, the original material posted to the 'net, a word processor and a copy machine. The popularity of these early books was evidence that a larger, more complete work was needed. Some of the most popular items from those early books, known as the way Cool Balloon Series and some totally new figures were combined into one collection.
Balloon sculpting : a fun and easy guide to making balloon animals, toys and games
by Dr. Dropo (a.k.a. Bruce Fife)
Colorado Springs, Colo. : Piccadilly Books, c1994.
Rubber rabbits... bubbly bees... balloon dogs, camels, and frogs. These are just a few of the colourful, rubbery animals that can be created out of simple balloons. Used by clowns and magicians to delight and entertain audiences, the art of balloon sculpting is now available to all. In this delightful book clown balloonologist, Dr Dropo, shares his secrets for making dozens of popular balloon figures. Includes the following: giraffe, mouse, swan, ladybug, squirrel, hummingbird, bumblebee, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, alligator, cobra, parrot, penguin, seal balancing a ball on his nose, Captain Marvel, extraterrestrial, troll, Bubbles the clown, aeroplane, flyers, spinners, whistlers, pirate sword, a balloon gun that shoots bubbly bullets, and many others. Over 50 figures in all. Easy-to-make, fun-to-create.

Balloon sculpturing uses the long skinny type balloon. They are  identified by a three-digit number. The most common number is 260. This number indicates two things when the balloon is fully inflated. In inches, the first number, 2, is the diameter and the following numbers, 60, the length.

Blowing up balloon after balloon can be tiresome so invest in a small pump to save your breath.

Once you have the balloon inflated you will twist it into bubbles. Bubbles are arranged to form a figure. They can be any size and shape such as oval, round or tube-like. After deciding the type of figure you want, there are a couple of techniques you need to learn:

  • The basic pinch - pinch the balloon with your forefinger and thumb and twist with your other hand. Always twist in the same direction.
  • Twist and lock - twist and lock two or more bubbles together keeping them in place. Twist at least three times.

Balloon safety

Store balloons in a cool, dry place
Twist ballon away from face
Use non-alcohol marker to draw on balloon
Pick up all pieces if balloon bursts

One of the simplest figures to create is the dog. Once you have that mastered, you can sculpture a zoo full of animals just by changing the amount and size of the bubbles.

With a balloon and few simple twists, you can sculpture balloons and create a decoration or toy at your next celebration.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff