How To Make Balloon Arches
Have you ever wanted to know how to make a balloon arch? Balloon arches are an inexpensive way to make a big decorating impact at any party of other occasion. All it takes is a little time and some planning and you'll be ready to impress kids and adults alike with these easy-to-follow instructions for making balloon arches. This article has balloon arch instructions as well as some tips for successfully making balloon arches.
There are many different ways to make balloon arches, but here I give instructions for two basic styles. One uses helium and the other uses air. Don't worry, the air needn't come from your lungs. A compressor or small pump used for inflating air mattresses works wonders.
Instructions For Easy Balloon Strip Arch With Helium Balloons
Helium is much more expensive to use, can be unwieldy, and balloons filled with helium also have a shorter life than balloons filled with air. That said, you can bust out a helium arch very fast using a balloon strip. This is a piece of plastic with holes in it. The balloons are put into the holes of this practically invisible clear strip and a standard one holds up to 12 balloons per foot. You should be able to get a strip at any party store. When you secure each end of the strip, the helium causes the balloons to form a natural arch.
Helium arches work well indoors or in outdoor setting with very little wind.
Instructions for Air Balloon Arch Using a Rigid Base
Air-filled balloon arches require a rigid frame. Plastic 1" PVC pipe is easy to work with and economical, but conduit or aluminum or plastic rods would work as well. For stability, you'll need to wire the arch to the wall or ceiling, or attach a sturdy base to anchor the frame.
A free-standing arch needs a fairly broad base, which can be accomplished by making a square out of the PVC. Or you can drill a hole into a heavy square of wood and insert the PVC pipe, aluminum or plastic rod into the hole. The wooden base can also be weighted with small sandbags if desired for extra stability. Bricks or gallon bottles filled with water also make great anchors that can be easily decorated and hidden from view. Another way to accomplish the same thing is to pound rebar directly into the ground (if possible) and slide the PVC over it.
Once you have the frame in place, it's time to add the balloons. This is the fun part!
- Inflate two latex balloons and tie the necks together.
- Repeat and 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. Wrap one balloon around the frame, then twist it around another balloon to lock the cluster on the frame.
- Repeat, adjusting subsequent cluster to fit snugly against the others.
How to Determine Size of a Balloon Arch:
To figure out 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 the same height and width: (1/2 x Height) + Width = Length
- For an arch that is wider than it is tall: Width + Height = Length
- For an arch that is taller than it is wide: (2 x Height) + Width = Length
The larger the arch, the bigger the balloons should be.
Tips for Success for All Balloon Arches
- Inflate all balloons to the same size. You can easily do this by making a template from cardboard. Cut a round hole to match the desired balloon size, and pass each one through when inflating them.
- Arches with one color are the easiest to make, but combining two or more colors in a spiral pattern is not that difficult. You just need to rotate the bunches as you attach them to the frame.
- In general, you will need 4-6 balloons per foot of frame.
- Keep in mind that helium will only float for about 6-12 hours, depending on the size and of the balloons, and the weather conditions.