Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tricks of the Trade - a few great tips and ideas for balloon artists!

I would like to start this blog by giving a big 'shout-out' to all our QBN Facebook members! Face book Groups are an amazing way to bring people together and create a strong community for like-minded people who have the same passion, and the great thing about the QBN Group is the way that our members help and support each other whether it's a design problem or motivational issue, there are plenty who regularly jump in and freely offer their help!

A few years ago the group collectively created a list of their favourite ballooning tips, their tricks of the trade, I have selected some of these to share with the Very Best Balloon Blog!

Tricks of the Trade 

1. To prevent static on your ribbon, wet your scissors before using them to curl the ribbon. (Dip the tip of your scissors in water).

2. When you finish something off with wide ribbon and you use two lengths together, remember to turn one around so they fall nice and do not stick to each other.

3. When the valve of a foil balloon does not easily open, then do not damage the valve by sticking in something thick like a straw. Use something thin and flat. You will have the best result with a florist wire folded in two. Hold the valve between two fingers and gently slide in the wire with the folded side. This should go very smoothly without ruining the valve. 

4. In the winter and on cold days, make sure that your latex balloons are not cold (if they feel hard to the touch). Warm them up by putting them in a warm place to soften up, a clothes dryer works very well!

5. If you want to add a 'raisin' or bead inside a foil or bubble balloon, do not push the 'raisin' or bead through the balloon's valve, position it at the entrance of the valve and then using a hand pump, gently pump a little air and this will send the 'raisin' or bead inside the foil... without any damage to the valve! You could also consider in buying a NicoLoon Tool for working with raisins in every type of balloon - once you get to know it well - it will save you a lot of time fumbling inside a foil for instance. You find it at

6. Remember not to refill foils in cold weather. If you fill them in a warm place and transport say a bouquet to a customer in your van and think that they have gone down and refill them in the cold van  - then you get a big problem when you deliver. (the helium will expand in the heat and then they will pop).

7. To cut feather boas with less mess, part the feathers where you intend to cut and spray with Aqua Net hair spray, seal ends with a dot of hot glue.

8. Use Clik-Clik magnets to organize precut ribbons - double knot when tying on makes a perfect dispenser when you need one of each color. Most sheet rock corners are magnetic - great to grab and use in the van for on the go !

9.  When I go on a job site visit (prior to the event of course) I make certain to take all of my measurements, find out where all of the plugs are, where the best place is to unload and set up.  I also take my click click magnets to see if they will stick to the ceiling but if the ceiling is high I have trouble seeing the ring on the magnet and sometimes it takes a while to get the magnet down so now I tie a long piece of dacron arch line onto the magnet ring so I can quickly pull it down.

10. If you get a cut in a foil balloon, use the Stretchy Balloon tape to seal it up.

11. When I go on a site visit, I bring my cell phone and try to take pics from every angle. Often I find that I need to know a detail I didnt think about, and I can refer to my phone (for ex. if they want to change a location of something, or I need to see rigging points, etc.). I also bring a notebook and my laser ruler (one of my favorite toys!). I measure everything with that!

12. Save your old/broken foils to use later... you can cover your balloon weights with them, looks nicer than a latex sandbag ;)

13. When transporting helium filled balloon arrangements, we use empty paper tubes to wrap the long ribbons around then using the Premium clips, we clip them to keep the ribbons short where they don't entangle with the other balloons during transport, then as we deliver them inside, we simply unclip and they are tangle free.

14. If you are creating a design where you want to stick foil balloons together, you have to try Click- Click's AMAZING Stretchy Balloon Tape! It may appear expensive, but you use only the smallest amount and it's so so strong!

15. Conwin grip tabs become amazingly strong when you heat the glue part, I use a hair dryer and then stick them on to the balloon I am working with!

These are great tips! If you have any that you would like to add we would love to hear them and I will add them to the QBN Groups list!

If you are a QBN Member or CBA and have not yet requested to join the group please come along and join us today, we truly are a friendly bunch! 
(To qualify as a QBN member you must have completed the QBN Balloon Basics Kit and passed the online test with a score of 80% or higher, you will then be sent your exclusive QBN membership number).

If you would like to know how to become a QBN member click HERE

Happy Ballooning!


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