Working with the new Qualatex Quick Link balloons is for me a whole new world, different design ideas and concepts and the construction methods are again new, but great once you get the hang of it... and most importantly it's SO QUICK!
So before I show you how I made my very first Quick Link Heart, in fact my very first Quick Link anything, I will share with you some of the great tips, hints and terminology that Lisa Swiger CBA (my Quick Link guru) shared with me. Lisa will be teaching a Quick Link Class at WBC along with Alberto Falcone, who you know will use these balloons in a completely new way... I think both classes will be awesome!
Firstly lets talk about the balloons themselves.
- Quick Links are available in both 12” and 6” sizes (the 6" Quick Links have only just been launched and should be available to everyone by the end of the year, just check with your distributor for a date).
- The revolutionary design ensures each balloon maintains a uniform shape. Having spoken to Ted A Vlamis, he informed me that they made many prototypes before they were happy with the final shape... and what a great shape it is, perfectly balanced for perfect results!
- The balloon shape makes it very easy tying – tip to tip or tail to tail!
- And of course all the colours coordinate with all the entire Qualatex range from latex to Microfoil’s and Bubble balloons.
Now here is where we need to think slightly differently from working with round balloons. When we work with Quick Link balloons, we need to think in chains rather than clusters.
So here are some of the terms that are used:
|Quick Link Chain|
|Quick Link Chain with end connector|
Sue's easy Quick Link Heart
Now, I could have made it very easy for myself and just demonstrate the 'Lovely Heart' that features on the Qualatex Website, but having never designed anything using Quick Link balloons I wanted to see how easy that process was?
|Ken Stillman's Balloon Tools|
As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Ken Stillman's 'Balloon Masters' balloon tools, I think that there is a design tool for just about anything and everything including this type of linking balloons, and it is so very simple to use.
Ken's software is available to purchase, however you can try before you buy to see if it's something that you will use on a regular basis, or you can make a small donation :).
Here is the Tool Box menu and as you can see there are 2 options for designing with Quick Links:
|Ken Stillman's Balloon Tools + Link Designer|
|Ken Stillman's Balloon Tools X Link Designer|
I chose to work with the + Link Designer, I suppose because it showed a heart on the front of the software package, I would like to also try building a heart using the X Link designer too!
Firstly you create the design by adding in the shapes from the left hand side, you will see that you can use a rotate button to move the shapes into the correct position. Once you have completed your design you can add colour, by simply clicking on the 'Paint Palette' on the left hand side and you will see all the colours that you can use to fill in your shapes!
I am unsure how easy it would be to make up a design without creating a working design template in advance of construction, I know that I would find it very difficult, but maybe that is down to experience?
Once I completed my design, I need to start to work out how to put the design together making it as quick and easy as possible, and this is where we need to start to understand the new terminology!
To make this as easy as possible, I decided that I would give each link a colour code and created this 'Multi Coloured Heart' as a template
Lets look at each link and how I constructed my heart.
I started with a 14 balloon chain (red), and connected them all together to create a loop, I then added 4 x duplet connectors (highlighted in dark blue) to give me the shape that I wanted.
I now took a 4 balloon chain, and tied this in to the centre (top) of my loop (red), and then pushed it into the lower section then secured this into position with a duplet connector, these 2 points are highlighted in a darker blue on the picture.
Using another 4-balloon chain (Lilac), add an end connector to each end first (highlighted yellow), now push this chain into position as per the picture and use a duplet connector to secure it into position on the central chain.
This time we are only going to add a 2-balloon chain, again adding a single connector to each end
and securing this in position on the centre chain using a duplet connector.
You are now going to add 2 more chains as shown in Robin's Egg Blue on the picture. Firstly you need to add a single connector to the end of the chain, now connect this 7-balloon chain (the end without the connector) to the first loop chain (red) as shown in the picture, leaving 4 (blue) links, before you connect again to the red chain, pushing into the connection points as you go and then securing each point with a duplet connector, when you get to the end simply twist the 2 end connectors together to form a duplet! Repeat on the other side.
By now I am sure you know what you are doing, but I will complete the step by step! Our final 2 chains are made up of 3-balloons, add a end connector to the end of each chain, tie the top of the chain to the 'yellow' chain, then push the chain into position, adding duplet connectors to secure, and finally twist the end connectors together yellow to lilac to complete the connection!
Using further duplet connectors, add these to all the exposed connections to complete the design.
Obviously, you will not be making multi coloured hearts, but using a colour code really helps to visualise the chains and connectors!
|My colourful Heart!|
If like me you are a little daunted at how to work with these great new balloons, then I hope that this has helped. I know that talking to Lisa (Swiger) and Luc (Bertrand) really helped me to understand the process much better... however I know that I have a long long way to go yet before I can make something as beautiful at the Quick Link Heart made by Serena Balloons of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, who took First Place for Wedding Table Decor at the Slovenia Event 2013.
I am never deterred by a new challenge, I just enjoy the great learning experience and I am sure that over the next few months I will learn lots of new tips and tricks! The one thing I can say is how much I LOVED working with the Quick Link balloons, they are as they say on the packet 'QUICK' and that has to mean that they are PROFITABLE to!
FInally, how about entering the Quick Link Challenge... go on, you know that you can do it, here is a message from the Qualatex Team!
Are you up to the challenge?
We want to see how you transform your decor with Quick Links! Enter the challenge by sending us photos of your Quick Links creations—the winning design(s) will be featured in a future issue of “Balloon Images” magazine! * Please email your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 20.
Multiple entries per person or business are welcome. Photos must be 300 dpi and sent at the highest resolution file size possible via e-mail to email@example.com. Entries will be judged by originality, creativity, and the use of the Principles and Elements of Design. Deadline for photos is December 20, 2013.