Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Small Snowflake Design by Luc Bertrand, CBA.

Every year, Luc Bertrand, CBA, of wAw Balloons in Vichte, Belgium, very kindly shares one of his festive designs. This year, he shares his lovely small snowflake!

Material List:

11 -  5" White balloons
12 -  6" White Quick Link balloons


Step 1.

Inflate each of the 5" White balloons with two pumps on a hand pump and tie the balloons as close as you can to the nozzle end.

Step 2. 

Squeeze the air from the balloon so that it inflates the whole balloon, including the neck. 
Now, make two small bubbles (see photo).

Step 3.

Bring the neck of the balloon up below the larger bubble and twist. Pull the neck of the balloon through the middle of the two smaller bubbles to hold these in place.

Step 4.

Twist each of the smaller bubbles into a Pinch Twist. 

Step 5.

Repeat this process with all eleven balloons.

Step 6.

Now inflate the twelve 6" Quick Links with five pumps of a hand pump and tie these into duplets.

Step 7.

Twist all the duplets together to form a Topiary.

Step 8.

Attach the 5" balloons to the tips of each of the Quick Link balloons with the exception of the top balloon. This will enable you to hang it easily.

Thank you once again, Luc, for sharing a wonderful design that we can use this festive season!

Happy Ballooning!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Are You Ready For The Festive Season?

Make the most of the festive season with these top tips.

1. Get prepared

You may feel like Christmas is still a long time away, but before you know it, it will be mid-December! For some small businesses, Christmas can be the busiest time of the year, while others may find that things quiet down in the run-up to the new year. Whichever it is for yours, you need to plan accordingly — especially when it comes to finances. If you’re expecting Christmas to be one of your busiest periods, you’ll need to make sure you have the resources to meet demand — whether that’s time, staff members, products, or anything else.

How fabulous is this festive wreath designed by Tope Abulude, CBA and Dominic Cassidy, CBA! It would look stunning as part of a Christmas display. Did you know that if you are a QBN member you can download the recipe? Just visit www.Qualatex.com, log in,  click on Inspiration, then click on Explore Decor. It's quick to find if you refine your search to "Christmas" in Occasions.
2. Think about your festive marketing
Christmas provides plenty of opportunities for themed marketing events, no matter what kind of business you run. Pick something that works for you and your target audience to make the most of the festive season. Write a festive email newsletter to keep your customers up-to-date with any offers that you are promoting during the Christmas period. It is the best way to get hold of as many of your customers as possible without investing too much money.
For those of you who have a die-cutting machine such as a Silhouette Cameo, consider making window vinyls to display a message or special offers. Snowflakes and a message looks fabulous!

You can download some great files for free from DesignBundles.net, like this Merry and Bright design that would make a great window decal. When you download from FontBundles and DesignBundles, you will get the image in several formats including jpg, png, ai, and svg.

And don't forget to add a festive element to your website! It's amazing how many people forget to update their websites for seasonal events! 
Smilin Snowman by Cam Woody, CBA,
Pioneer Balloon Company
3. Arrange a Christmas Event

Everyone is going to be on the lookout for a great deal this Christmas, so consider arranging a Christmas event where you offer free gifts or special discounts. Offering a free gift when your customer spends over a certain amount in your store will have the power to increase your customers' average spend, as many people will spend over the threshold to get a free gift.

Quick Link Friendly Reindeer
by Cam Woody

4. Be on-trend!

Think about what's hot right now! Giant balloons and giant balloons filled with confetti are one of this year's hottest trends! Make sure that your customers are aware that this is something you offer, along with confetti-filled Deco Bubbles, too! 

The NEW 24" "Frosty Snowflake" Deco Bubble will be a sure hit this winter!

24" "Frosty Snowflakes"
U.S. Patent No. 6,782,675

It's time to get creative and ready for a fabulous festive season! 

Happy Ballooning!



Friday, November 3, 2017

Will it be Pink or Blue? A Little Inspiration for Baby Gender Reveal Events.

Gender reveal parties are relatively new. Over the past few years, these have become increasingly popular around the world.
Photo Credit: The Story of Five
Wedding Banner Love

Gender reveal parties are a great way to celebrate and share the news of the baby's gender with family and friends before the baby is born. There are several ways that this can be done, either through cleverly staged photos or by throwing a memorable gender reveal party.

Here are some great ideas that I have found when researching through various social media channels. 

Box of Balloons

This seems to be one of the most popular ways to announce the gender of a baby. It's fun and very visual and gives you the opportunity to decorate and present the box in your own way! 

Photo Credit: Hellobabymomspeaking.blogspot.co.uk

Photo Credit - Inspiredbythis.com

Photo Credit: Deborah Nagai Photography

Photo Credit: Mandy Kay Photography - Wow, this lady takes awesome photographs!

Please consider Smart Balloon Practices when filling a box with helium-filled balloons. Rather than releasing and allowing the balloons to float away, keep the balloons tethered to a weight. 

To find large cardboard boxes, check your balloon distributor as many will carry boxes for balloon deliveries or use your friendly search engine and type the following keywords:

Where can I buy extra large boxes
XXL boxes 
Really big cardboard boxes

Popping Balloons

This also appears to be a very popular choice! Filling a 3' Black balloon with coloured confetti and 5" balloons to reveal if it's a girl or boy!

This is a fabulous video very kindly shared by Tope Abulude, CBA, of Balloon Inspirations Design Studio in Brentwood, Essex, U.K. This shows the fun and excitement a popping balloon can bring.

Photo Credit: Samdobsonwrites.com

This fabulous Qualatex® 3' "Question Marks" balloon # 43400 is perfect for gender reveal popping balloons! 

A popping balloon can be either helium-filled and secured to a ribbon and weight, or air-filled and suspended from the ceiling. Rather than just giving the couple a pin to pop the balloon, why not make a "wand"? This can be easily made by securing a pin to the end of a short wooden stick (protect the pin by placing a cork on it whilst it's not in use) This is also for health and safety reasons, too! Decorate the stick with ribbons and a bow.

Pregnant Balloon Sculpture

And finally, here is another great idea! This fabulous pregnant balloon sculpture is the work of Abby London of Abby London Magic and Balloons in Lansdown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Abby makes one of her fabulous balloon dolls, fills the belly with pink or blue silk flowers and once it's popped, the sculpture remains intact and gets her figure back! 

Here are some great balloons that would be perfect for baby gender reveal party decor.

11" "Baby Footprint & Hearts"

11" "He? Or She?"
18" "He Or She? Footprints"

11" Mustache & Bow Tie
11" Mustache & Ribbon 

Remember, this could be the start of a fabulous relationship with your client. After the gender reveal there is the baby shower, the Christening or naming ceremony, the baby's first birthday, and so it goes on. This could be a customer for a very long time, so make sure that you build a great relationship with them.

Happy ballooning!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How To Inspire Our Clients with Mood Boards and Computer-Generated Decor ideas.

Well, it's that time already, and I am sure that many of you have bookings for Christmas and New Year's Eve parties. Earlier this week I spent the day preparing mood boards and design ideas for a potential client and thought that I would share how I go about the process.

Mood Boards

Mood boards (sometimes called "inspiration boards") are used by a number of creative businesses, such as interior designers, where fabric swatches and paint colour samples are grouped together to show a homeowner what type of atmosphere the new decor will create. I find that I can use mood boards to collect a range of ideas that can offer both me and my clients inspiration.

When a client asks you to propose ideas for their party, we need to establish what style of decor they are looking for. Christmas, for example, can be traditional, contemporary, or have a wintery look. We should never assume the style of decor our clients are looking for, and therefore, we can use mood boards to help to establish this. Here are three Christmas mood boards that I have created using images that I have downloaded from Qualatex.com and then used PicMonkey Collage to create the boards.

It is so easy to download all the different balloon images from the Qualatex website, and they are in a png format, which means that they have a transparent background making it easy for you to drop it into a document or a design! 

PicMonkey makes creative tools for photo editing and graphic design. However, recently they started to charge a small monthly fee. An alternative that I have found that is free is iPiccy.com

Traditional Christmas Board

Contemporary Christmas Board

Wintery Christmas Board

Each one of these Christmas boards offers a different "look," and although these do not show the full product range available within each theme, it will certainly give a client the opportunity to select the style that most suits their needs.

Sometimes we want to show clients other ideas, maybe a trend, accessory, or a design idea of decor that you have never made. Pinterest is a great resource.  our customers use it all the time! Create a Secret Board, add any pins that you want to show your customer, then click on the "+" button that appears in the top right centre. This will allow you to invite people to join your board! Only you and those you have invited can see your board. You can also invite your client to pin ideas that they have seen, giving you both an opportunity to share ideas.

The Design Process

Once we have an idea of the style of decor and the balloons that a client likes, we now have to put our creative skills to work! It might be that you only promote or sell designs that you have readily available to show a customer, and once again, that is where the Qualatex website can really help you! Simply visit the Inspiration page where you can explore Balloon Bouquets and Balloon Decor ideas, and don't forget to use the drop-down menus to refine your search. Once you have found a range of designs that you feel will work for your client, download these and drop the design images into your quote to add visual value - a page of words and numbers is very uninspiring whereas a picture is worth a thousand words and we want to sell the magic of the decor. Using visuals will help to create that magic! 

For me, I like to create my own designs. Rather than pre-make everything with balloons (very timely and expensive) to show my clients, I mock-up my design ideas on my laptop! 

Here is a design that I created.  I have used the wintery theme for this example. I wanted to feature the Qualatex "Snowflakes & Sparkles-A-Round" 3' and 11" balloons and the new 24" "Frosty Snowflakes" Deco Bubbles to create this elegant entrance decor.

I know many of you will say that you do not have the skills to create images like these, but I can assure you that it really is not difficult.

I work on a MacBook in PAGES, which is, I believe, much the same as WORD on a PC. I simply use "Shape" to import the shape that I require for my design, in this instance, a sphere. From there I "build" my decor. You will need to learn how to arrange your shapes - that will allow you to group a number of the shapes together, or send a shape to the back or move forward.

Here is a screenshot of one of the Columns that I made. The pink sphere is the shape that I dropped into my document. I can then alter the shape or colour to suit my design. I then build the style of Column that I want to show to my customer. The 3' Snowflake & Sparkle-A-Round was imported from Qualatex.com

Here is an example of the same style of Column that I designed for a recent Black & White party. This shows the computer image next to the finished result. I think you would agree that this is the perfect way to show customers what you are planning to make for them.

It might seem like a lot of work, but to be honest, I find it so much quicker to do this rather than spend a number of hours face to face with a client trying to work out what they want, and in most cases, they have no idea and are looking to you for inspiration! 

I would love to see how you inspire your customers. Please let me know, and we can feature some of your ideas along with this post! 

Happy Ballooning!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fabulous Balloon Tassels by Kerry Ferguson, CBA, and awesome Confetti Balloons by David Taylor, CBA.

It always amazes me when someone comes up with a fantastic new idea or technique with products that we use every day. 

Kerry Ferguson, CBA, of Pioneer Europe Ltd. recently demonstrated how to make fabulous balloon tassels - one of this year's top trends - using Poly Ribbon during the recent Autumn Fair at the N.E.C. Birmingham, U.K. And David Taylor, CBA, of Mad balloons in Sydney, Australia, recently shared his wonderful technique on how to create confetti-filled balloons. They both have kindly offered to share their videos with The Very Best Balloon Blog! 

For the past few years, we have been seeing the growing trend of big balloons with festoons of tassels flowing from them. You only have to search "Balloons with Tassels" on Pinterest and Instagram to see some truly amazing photographs! 

Kerry shows us how to create fabulous tassels using a product that we work with every day - Poly Ribbon. We use Poly Ribbon to make bows, but did we ever consider that it would be perfect for making tassels, too! 

Balloon Tassels by Kerry Ferguson

Kerry's Top Tips:

  • Use 2" or #40 Poly Ribbon
  • Use one full pump of HI-FLOAT per 3' balloon
  • Inflate 3' balloon to 14" (approximately 35cms) with air before inflating with helium to give a helium-air mix. This will help to reduce helium cost without affecting the floating time of the 3' balloon.

We all love confetti-filled balloons, and so do our customers! Chris Adamo, CBA, showed us in an early blog Tricks of The Trade Part 1 how to make a confetti applicator - a fabulous tool to help us to fill our balloons with confetti. "Mad" Dave Taylor now shows us his wonderful technique to make confetti-filled balloons, and it's very different from previous techniques that I have seen. He also shows us how to save a little helium and gives some great safety tips, too!

Confetti Balloons by Dave Taylor

Dave's top tips:
  • Use 25 grams of confetti per 3' balloon.
  • Use one full pump of HI-FLOAT per 3' balloon
  • Dave uses the Conwin Stretching Tool to open up his balloons
  • Inflate the confetti balloon to 45cms (approximately 17") with air.
  • The overall size when inflated with helium, is 70cms (approximately 27.5")
  • 16" confetti-filled balloons he had named Confetti Puff Balls
  • Use half a pump of HI-FLOAT per 16" balloon
  • Use 10 grams of confetti per 16" balloon.
The great thing about this industry is that we love to share, and both Kerry and Dave have shared two amazing videos that will help us all in our businesses! A huge thank you to both Kerry and Dave!

Happy Ballooning!


Friday, October 6, 2017

Trick or Treat - Inspiration for Halloween 2017!

Halloween offers the perfect opportunity to conjure up decor made from the newest range of Halloween balloons from Qualatex®. Designed by Shoko Ushizaki of Balloon Sketch Limited Company in Morioka, Japan, these bewitching delivery and decor ideas are sure to scare up some profits and leave customers spellbound!

Silly Spooky Tree

This asymmetrical, orange trunk and organically-sized foliage in Shoko's tree are sure to turn heads at any Halloween party! The colours in this versatile design can be tweaked to create a multitude of different effects to fit your customers' needs.

Bone Shakin' Centrepiece

Throw your business a bone or two with this skeleton-themed delivery! Shake up any party with this design featuring the "Halloween Skeleton Mirror" Microfoil® and "Dancing Skeletons" on Orange, Lime Green, and Purple Violet latex balloons. The twisted White 260Q bones along with the Deco Bubble base will have party goers praising this piece as they shake, rattle and roll on Halloween.

Eight-Legged Delight

Create this creepy-but-cute delivery for Halloween featuring a few adorable little spiders. This designs pairs Orange, Lime Green, and Purple Violet latex balloons with a "Spiders Web" Bubble Balloon® as its base. It's an entertaining piece that's sure to entangle lots of customers into your business web!

Tricky Treats

Make this monster mash delivery drum up cash for your business. The "Halloween Message & Icons" Bubble for the base, helium-inflate "Halloween Line-Up" Microfoils, and Orange and Lime Green "Halloween Fun!" latex balloons make this a treat for customers. Plus, you can sweeten the deal even more by adding a couple of candies made with 260Q balloons.

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

Double, double, Halloween decor will be no trouble! The new "Oopsie Witche's Brew!" Microfoil is a cauldron-full of fun and the Red Orange Rainbow SuperAgate®  adds a fiery ambience. Your customers will love the spooky simplicity of this creepy column!

Macabre Monster Party

Make any party a Halloween party with this frightfully simple design, featuring the cute new "Halloween Line-Up" Microfoil. It requires minimal effort for maximum impact! Created using helium-filled 646Q weighted with a rubber ball, the coordinating monster, ghost, and jack-o-lantern figures move, sway, even travel around the room as guests walk by them, creating an eerie effect your customers will love!

To check out the full range of Halloween, Christmas, and New Year Collections click HERE. Please note that not all balloons are available in all territories. Check with your local Qualatex distributor.

For quick reference, here are the balloons and codes for the designs featured above.

This article was first featured in Balloon IMAGES Magazine April/May/June 2017. 

Happy Ballooning!


Friday, September 29, 2017

Pineapples - A Delicious Fruit or a Top Trend?

No longer are pineapples just a delicious fruit, but also one of today's top trends! Check out Instagram; there are almost five million posts with the #pineapple!

44" Golden Pineapple

Historically, the pineapple started out as a status symbol, as it was one of the fruits Christopher Columbus and other European explorers were bringing back from the Americas. In the late-seventeenth century, having a pineapple in your home was a big deal!

The pineapple became part of a tropical trend, which is believed to be influenced by the 2016 Brazil Olympics and the growing interest in South America. Pineapples and the "Golden Pineapple" are regularly used in fashion, home decor, and of course, party!

Elegant or fun, this trend can work both ways!

"Birthday Luau"
44" "Golden Pineapple" - #57362 (package) #57359 (flat)
18" "Birthday Hibiscus Stripes" - #57280 (package) #57278 (flat)
11" "Birthday Shining Star" -
Assorted Pink & Wild Berry
#25588 (25 ct.)
#37500 (50 ct.)
"Cool as a... pineapple?"
18" "Mr Cool Pineapple" - #57271 (package) #57269 (flat)
11" "Smile Face" - #85986 (50 ct.) #39803 (25 ct.)

Luc Bertrand, CBA, of wAw Balloons in Vichte, Belgium, shares one of his newest designs, showing how to display the fabulous new "Golden Pineapple" Microfoil® balloon on an elegant Taper balloon pedestal - without breaking the California Law!

Material List:

8 - 11" Gold #43749
4 - 5"   Gold #43560
1 - 27" Metallic Gold Taper #17133
5 - 13" Metallic Gold Tapers #17125
1 - 44" Golden Pineapple #57362 (package) #57359 (flat)

  • Create a 4-balloon base cluster using the 11" Gold sized to approximately 8".
  • Create a second 4-balloon cluster using the 11" Gold sized to approximately 6". Connect both the base and the second cluster together.  Add a weight.
  • Air-fill the 27" Metallic Gold Taper and secure to the base using a scrap of 260Q.
  • Air-fill and heat seal the 13" Metallic Gold Tapers and add these into the base.
  • Create a 4-balloon cluster using the 5" Gold and inflate to 4". Secure this cluster to the top of the Taper balloon.
  • Helium inflate the 44" "Golden Pineapple" and secure this to a small weight that can be hidden easily inside the top cluster.  (See image 1.)
  • Hide the weight inside an uninflated 5" balloon. (See image 2.)
  • Attach to the design. (See image 3 & 4.)
This is such an elegant design, perfect for party decor. Thank you Luc once again for sharing one of your designs with the Very Best Balloon Blog readers! 

I hope that you are enjoying all the fabulous new Qualatex balloons that are being released. If you are looking for more inspiration don't forget to check out the Inspiration pages on the Qualatex website. It's packed with Balloon Bouquets and Balloon Decor ideas plus Trending Inspiration

Happy Ballooning!