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How To Make Balloon Arches

Updated on May 31, 2009
Photo: blamstur, Flickr
Photo: blamstur, Flickr
 

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.

Comments

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  • profile image

    jlynrayne 6 years ago

    Thank you for the instructions. I only have a couple of questions. How long of a PVC pipe do you need? Also, could you slide the PVC pipe into the balloon structure once you're done or do you have to attach the balloons around the pipe? Meaning, if you have an 5ft arch, would the PVC pipe be 5ft also? Probably a silly question but the only thing I can't figure out. :)

  • profile image

    stessily 6 years ago

    Lela Davidson, These balloon arches are spectacular! Your instructions are clear. This is doable!

    Thank you for sharing.

  • TheWeddingPlannin profile image

    TheWeddingPlannin 6 years ago from Canada

    What a great idea. thanks for sharing.

  • profile image

    sheetal kurup 7 years ago

    wow....how simple it seems now to make the balloon arch.. My daughters birthday is coming up in 2 weeks time and i am definitely going to try this out.

    thanks so much

  • profile image

    jade 8 years ago

    Your ballon arches are fantastic. I'm a teacher and I'm going to pass this information on.

  • profile image

    kelly slachter 8 years ago

    We are planning a 50's dance for my daughter school and this info was a great help.

    Thanks

  • fiona_33 profile image

    fiona_33 8 years ago from UK

    Wow, I'm going to try this for my daughter's birthday. Thanks so much.

  • profile image

    josephine 8 years ago

    Thanks for the tip on making balloon arches Iam good at fabric draping but could not figure out the balloon bit now I know.I am now in business

    Thank you

    Josephine

  • profile image

    deeds 8 years ago

    savior of my life! will you marry me?

  • profile image

    MRS OLAPOJU ABOSEDE IYABO 9 years ago

    i just want to say a big thank you for teaching me how balloon arches are made.Av been wondering and thinking on how it was made .Now i got it more perfectly.From NIGERIA,LAGOS-STATE.

  • Lela Davidson profile image
    Author

    Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    I would tie it. However, if you're attaching it to a place you can staple to then try it. It mostly depends on the durability of the strip you're using.

  • profile image

    onyai 9 years ago

    thanks for the information!i was just wondering how do u hold the strip in position?is it tied to an object or stapled?

  • RyanRE profile image

    RyanRE 10 years ago from Bellingham, WA

    You just don't see enough balloon arches these days. Really, I haven't actually seen one in years. Thanks for sharing the How To :D

  • profile image

    Lis Sowerbutts 10 years ago

    What a very cool idea ;I have always been useless at flower arranging but I feel like Icould acutally make one of these Thanks!

  • Sakari profile image

    Sakari 10 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Nice info! :D This gave me good ideas :)

  • MasonsMom profile image

    MasonsMom 10 years ago from U.S.A.

    Loved the balloon arches at TAT! ;)

  • beachbum_gabby profile image

    beachbum_gabby 10 years ago

    cool idea esp for parties! Thanks Lela.

  • Lela Davidson profile image
    Author

    Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    anne0neemus - it's more like a strip with holes that the inflated and tied balloons are fitted into - the air doesn't actually go through the strip into the balloons. Hope that helps!

  • anne0neemus profile image

    anne0neemus 10 years ago from San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines

    I've never thought there was such a thing as the clear strip. If I imagine it right, all balloons are attached to some protruding "tubes" so there will only be one hole for the air source and all balloons inflate. My imagination is running wild now. I've been holding Family Day activities every year for 5 years now and the decoration is also part of my assignment. Thanks for the crash course! :)

  • Destinee707 profile image

    Destinee707 10 years ago from California

    Wow, great information on the science of ballon arches. Now, I see how it is done. I've always wanted to learn the technique, this would be great for a festival, thanks so much.

  • Lela Davidson profile image
    Author

    Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Glad to be of service!

  • Mary K Weinhagen profile image

    Mary K Weinhagen 10 years ago from Minnesota, usa, Planet Earth

    WOW - I have wanted to know how to make balloon arches for a long time and have simply never taken the time to search out the information.

    Now here you are making it all easily available and well explained!!!

    THANK YOU! ;-)~~Mary K

  • inkcarts profile image

    inkcarts 10 years ago from Louisiana

    My wife and I are going to build one of those for my son's birthday! Thanks for the tips!

  • profile image

    Amy_Roberts 10 years ago

    Looks great! Thanks for the info!

  • MarcyL04 profile image

    MarcyL04 10 years ago from MIdwest smack dead in the middle of corn country LOL

    Thanks, for sharing this. I am going to do this on the next grandkids birthday, so you know they will all want one on their birthdays. Then I will be known as the cool grandma :)

  • Lela Davidson profile image
    Author

    Lela Davidson 10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Yes, balloons give a lot of bang for your buck! Stayed tuned for more balloon decoration Hubs!

  • Minnie's Mom profile image

    Minnie's Mom 10 years ago from Seattle, WA

    I agree, what a great way to decorate on a budget

  • donnaleemason profile image

    donnaleemason 10 years ago from North Dakota, USA

    Looks like a great idea for the next b'day party. Thanks.

    Donna

  • msms profile image

    msms 10 years ago

    The art and science of making Balloon Arches is limited to the professionals so far you have made it available to all Hubbers.Great work Ms Lela Davidson. Your efforts are admirable.

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