Monday, January 30, 2012

Balloon Walls Part 1

How to make a Duplet Square Pack Wall.

Since posting the Clown balloon wall that I taught at the Balloonland Event, Israel, January 2012, I have had many requests asking how it was made. So here is the first of 2 blogs showing 2 different wall techniques, with a little introduction to balloon walls. 

Sue Bowler CBA
Clown Balloon Wall created by delegates at Balloonland Israel January 2012

There are many different ways to create walls with balloons! We can use latex rounds, non-rounds and foil balloons such as Qualatex Starpoints and others too! So, we need to determine which type of wall we want to create or more importantly, which wall best suits our or our customers needs?

So why are we proposing a balloon wall to our clients... a client will never ask you for a wall, it is your job to sell what it can do for them... sell the emotion and not the product!
  • To create their corporate logo?
  • To create a theme background?
  • To create a theme entrance?
  • To create a photo or stage back-drop?
  • To enhance a trade show or exhibition stand?
Balloon wall techniques using latex round balloons:
  • Duplet Square Pack
  • Alternate Size Square Garland Pack
  • Traditional 4-Balloon Garland Pack
There have been a few people during my career as a Balloon Artist who have inspired me to create balloon walls, Ian Herd CBA and Bruce Walden CBA.

Bruce Walden created this Balloon Wall Mural Paper, and this proved to be very important to me when I first started to design walls, without this, it was extremely difficult to determine which type of wall best suited the design or logo that I wanted to build within the wall. Today, I have created my own 'Mural Paper' on my computer, which saves me a great deal of time when creating a design!

As there are a number of different techniques, I am going to focus on each one separately, today we are going to look at how to create a DUPLET SQUARE PACK WALL.

Duplet Square Pack Wall 
Sue Bowler

Flat Surface
Straight Sides
Good definition on straight lines & Diagonal lines
Wall can be made with a double sided pattern or with a plain back.
Not as robust as other wall techniques.
The Mardi Gras wall above is an example of a wall that has been made using the Duplet Square Pack technique. It features with Step-by-Step instructions in the Master Series DVD available from Qualatex distributors.

Sue Bowler
Here is another example this time with a logo built into the BAPIA logo built into the wall.

Regardless of which technique you use there are a few simple rules when making a wall:
  • The balloons MUST be inflated with precision, every balloon must be accurately sized!
  • I will only make garlands/ Columns/ walls using Dacron line and not monofilament. Dacron is strong, yet soft against the balloons, it will not stretch when under tension.
Wall Construction - How to fix the columns together.

This is such an important part of the wall construction, if done badly the wall can distort and not look good. The following technique was taught to me by Ian Herd, there are many people who use 260Q to fix a wall together, but for me the elastic band and paperclip method is the best technique!


I recently designed a wall for a class that I taught at the Balloonland Event in Israel, I knew that it was a pretty complex design and a great challenge for the class!

First I needed to get my inspiration. I knew that I wanted to create a wall with a clown face. To help me with my design I found a clown face Cross Stitch pattern on the internet! This design is far too detailed for my wall, but I liked the shape and features, so I down scaled the design to work for me.

Cross Stitch Pattern

Sue Bowler
My version of the Clown Face

Here is my interpretation of the Happy Clown design featured above. Once I have created the design that I want to make on the mural paper, I now break the wall down into columns, this makes it much easier when building each of the columns.

Sue Bowler
Now I can easily see the balloons required for each of the columns! Looking at the columns above you can see 18 columns, each column has 44 duplets - 88 balloons per column! This whole wall uses 1584 balloons!

Black - 1086
Orange - 114
Blush - 189
Yellow - 22
Lime - 48
Rose - 8
Robin's Egg Blue - 40
Purple Violet - 8
Blue - 8
White - 44
Red - 17

If you count the balloons that you can see, you will only count 792 balloons, this is because every balloon you see has one behind it! To make this wall easier, we used Black balloons as the back balloon.

This picture shows balloons being counted out to make the columns.

This  shows how important it is to 'read' the pattern as you go!

This shows the columns being linked together with the elastic bands and paper clips

The Clown wall that we made was not perfect, it was a group exercise with 20 people working on it. When you work on your walls, I recommend that if possible only 1 person packs the balloons on to the Dacron line, everyone has their own tension, varying tensions will effect the overall look of the finished wall...

Example of Technique

Here is a small project that I have put together to help explain the technique with a short DVD. You might find it useful if you right click on the design and print it off whilst you watch the DVD so that you can follow the pattern as I make it, I think that you may find it easier to understand it a little easier.

Sue Bowler

I hope that you have found this blog useful? There are many different walls to create walls and other techniques for creating a Duplet Square Pack wall. I always recommend that you use the technique that suits you best.
Start with a simple project to learn and perfect the technique before you embark on a large scale project for a customer.

Good luck!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Building the Titanic... an incredible project!

2012 is a year filled with landmark celebrations and events such as The London Olympics and Paralympics, the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic! 

This is a year when many of us can take advantage of these celebrations and offer exciting and unique decor...

I am very excited, I have been asked to be part of the team that will rebuild the Titanic... but this time totally out of balloons, approx. 14,000 give or take a few!

Fiona Fisher
Fiona Fisher CBA
Fiona Fisher CBA of Worldwide Balloon Decor with her husband and business partner Rodney were approached 4 months ago by Victoria Square, shopping centre, Belfast, Ireland, to create a balloon sculpture of the iconic ship TITANIC! Just a few hundred yards away from Victoria Square is the slipway where the Titanic was originally built and launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in 1911. The Titanic's first maiden voyage was on the 10th April 1912 and then tragically sank only 5 days later on the 15th April 1912!

Fiona said "I am really looking forward to the challenge of building the Titanic in Victoria Square, Belfast, as it's so close to where Titanic was originally built.
 All of my projects have to be thoroughly researched, but there is a special pride in this one. Now that I have discovered the amazing skills of the people who built Titanic, I dedicate this project, as a tribute to them, the great ship building empire that we once had in Northern Ireland and to all those who lost their lives on the fate-full maiden voyage. When the public see our scaled down model of Titanic and study all of the background information in Victoria Square, I think a lot of them will be surprised as to how enormous this magnificent ship really was".

Rodney Fisher
Rodney Fisher
The frame will be built in Portadown during March and transported to Victoria Square on the 1st of April, ready for the balloons to be added by the rest of the team... that's me and John (I think they call it a busman's holiday)!!

Rodney is really pleased to be involved in this particular project as Titanic has a special place in history, not just in Northern Ireland but in many countries around the world.
"I know that lots of people from all around the globe will be watching our progress and I hope we can give them an insight into how we go about creating a balloon sculpture of this scale and size".
So what does it take to create such an awesome balloon sculpture? As with all sculptures that Fiona and Rodney build, a great deal of research as taken place. Rodney studied the fabulous book "Titanic the ship magnificent" and spent a significant time doing further research on the internet.

 "We can only use round balloons (Qualatex of course) to build the sculpture. Victoria Square is open on three sides and can have strong winds blowing through plus a large temperature fluctuations at this time of year".
Fiona & Rodney work extremely well as a team, Rodney designs the frames and Fiona works out how she wants the sculpture to look with the balloons added... sometimes an initial idea on how it will all fit together just doesn't work, so they allow plenty of time to play around with ideas so that they get as close as possible to the end result.

Rodney has kindly shared some of his working plans, I am in awe of the amount of pre-planning and designing that has already taken place!

Rodney Fisher-

Rodney Fisher

Rodney Fisher

Rodney Fisher

Rodney Fisher

I will keep my blog up-to-date with progress on this project, and I will also give a day by day report when we are working on the project in April... along with many many photo's!

If you would like to read more about this amazing balloon project visit

Do you have any exciting projects in the planning stages for 2012 that you would like to share within the balloon community... we would love to hear!

I will be looking at the other 2012 MILESTONE celebrations and share some of my ideas with you over the next few months!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bride & Groom Balloon Sculpture Recipe

Original Bride & Groom
Some years ago... I cannot exactly remember how many, maybe 15 or so years ago, I designed a Table Top Bride & Groom sculpture for a competition. It did not win any prizes then, but for me it's been a 'winner' in it's own right! 
I have been teaching this design to balloon artists around the World for more than a decade, I see it on MANY websites and Facebook pages and it still proves to be popular with both customers and balloon artists alike!

Over the years I have adapted and modified the design, making it quicker, more robust and using the many skills that I have learned along the way... I do not use glue anymore for example which is a great improvement!

Newest version of Bride & Groom
Recently I was asked if I would share my recipe with another balloon artist and thought that maybe others might like it too, so here it is! Above is the newest version, which I am teaching in my new 'Simple Balloon Twisting Skills Course', later this month (check out my website for details)! 

Bride & Groom 2
The recipe below is for the Bride & Groom 2 version. It can be made into a floor standing version by using 646Q balloons.

You need to keep scrolling down to see all the instructions, there are 6 pages in total! You should be able to right click on each of the instruction sheets and save them to your computer.
646Q Bride & Groom

I would love to have any feed back from you regarding this or any of my versions of a Bride & Groom sculpture if you have been making them.

  • How successful has this design been for your business?
  • What changes have you made to make the design your own?
If you are willing to share a photograph of your version please email it to me with the header "Bride & Groom" to and I will display them in a future blog along with your comments! 

Here are a few pictures from my recent Simple Balloon Twisting Course, where all the delegates made a small bride.

Good Luck!



Monday, January 2, 2012

Love is in the Air! ... Valentine's Day is one of our biggest trading days of the year!

I Love You Sparkle Filigree # 29347

Valentines Day, is probably one of the biggest balloon selling opportunities that we have. With Christmas over and the new year just starting it's time to starting working on our Valentines campaign! If you do not have the Qualatex 2012 Valentines Collection download it today! Please remember to download the correct brochure for your country, as not all the balloons are available in different countries.

Who are our competitors... florists, the gift, sweetshops and candy stores and not forgetting the card and multiple retailers too! If you have a shop, plan your shop and window displays, these should be changed on a regular basis, changing your display during a seasonal period or campaign such as Valentines could stimulate increased customer footfall and new sales!

Keep your displays fresh, here’s a few tips.

Air- fill latex with nitrogen rather than air for longer lasting balloons. Nitrogen is an inert gas; it is also know as dry air, therefore keeping the balloons plump and full with little or no reaction to temperature change - ideal for window displays!  Did you know that the Dual Split Second Sizer and Duplicator 2 can both be used with nitrogen to air fill balloons, saving you crucial prep time! Another great tip is to use Hi-Float in air-filled balloons that you want to last, such as 160Q & 260Q's that would can lose their plumpness within a few days.

Keep your latex balloons shiny and clear. Work with a product such as Balloon Shine, which helps prevent oxidation.

Use Qualatex Bubbles and Deco Bubbles. These can float for up to 5 weeks! Deco Bubbles can be used to show Gumballs and Double Bubbles, like the 15" Heart inside the 24" Deco Bubble shown below!

Be creative!

Like a good Portfolio with designs and decor, displays really can help you to sell, so here’s your opportunity to sell your creative skills and bring your balloons to life!
Sue Bowler
'Love Bug'
The recipe for this design can be found in my recipe section!

Here are a few simple ideas that will bring new sales and greater profits!

Gift Wrapped Balloons, this was something I saw in a Japanese  party store some years ago, wrapping balloons in cellophane or using a pre-made cellophane gift bag really adds value to a product with very little extra cost or preparation time.
Sue Bowler
Vase of gift wrapped 4" Hearts!

I created a beautiful vase of balloons by simply working with 4” hearts – you will need to heat seal these –‘did you know that a heat sealed air filled foil will last forever! This is a great selling point!’ With the simple addition of beautiful ribbons and bows you have the perfect gift. Gift wrapped hearts make fantastic add-on sale for Valentines day, also wedding favours and a gift wrapped star makes the perfect wand for little princesses!

Use the Qualatex Valentines Seasonal Bouquet Idea's for inspiration, there are so many great bouquet designs for you to sell!

Display what you want to sell, some design tips for a Valentines window display.

Don’t overdo it. Less can be more, or at least more easily discernible to the eye. A cluttered window loses appeal and featured items can get lost. 

Air-filled display’s will stay fresh and look good throughout your Valentines marketing campaign!

Make ‘REAL’ merchandise the focal point! Make your displays ‘sellable’ and appealing to everyone.

Valentines day evokes different emotions, romance, fun and sometimes embarrassment too, so ensure you cover all angles as it may take only one item on display to bring a customer through your door!
Frog-Kiss Me Princess # 29351 39"

Accentuate products with good lighting. Whether the window is recessed or under a spotlight, the goal is to highlight the products within the overall display. Remember that even when your shop is closed your window is still ‘working’; it’s your 24 hour & 7 days a week silent salesman, so make sure that it works hard for you!

Stack products or use a pyramid. Place items in the window at varying heights and depths to catch shoppers' attention and make the overall display inviting to the eye.

Have fun with mannequins. If you are using mannequins, create interesting poses, and make sure that each one is well lit and easily visible to customers passing by.

Be creative. Let your imagination run free — as long as you don’t lose sight of the objective — and draw customers into the store with innovative, attractive, and compelling displays.

Don't delay, start your Valentines campaign today!

I will share some new Valentines day designs over the next few weeks... so keep on reading 'The Very Best balloon Blog!

Sue Bowler