Tuesday, July 5, 2016

David Mahoney shows us how to create fabulous decor using the Balloon Overlay technique.

Balloon overlay is a technique that I have seen used by a number of different balloon artists over the years to create amazing logos and two-dimensional balloon sculptures. The techniques used vary slightly, but the end result is pretty much the same.

David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday in Carrolton, TX, U.S.A, is a great friend of the Very Best Balloon Blog. Once again, he kindly shares his knowledge and passion and shows us how to make these wonderful overlays in a few simple steps.

Overlays are a great way to create a custom design, especially if a customer does not have the budget for a three-dimensional balloon sculpture. David has mastered the technique and  acquired many happy customers in the process.


Most of the supplies needed for balloon overlays are available in hardware stores. Foam core or foam board can be found at art supply stores, craft stores, or sign shops. Overhead projectors and transparency film can be purchased at office supply stores or try searching online. Some audio visual stores may also have projectors for purchase or to rent.

1. Find the image you need to create your shape. Copy or print the image onto transparency film.

2. Use an overhead projector to project the image onto your foam core or foam board. 

Trace the outlines with a marker. You'll be tracing two elements separately on different pieces of foam core: the "backing board"
that  the balloons will be added to, and the "detail pieces" that will add depth and detail to the sculpture.

3. Use an X-acto blade or hobby knife to cut out all the foam core pieces.

4. Spray paint the front side of the foam core to match the colour of the balloons that you will be adding.

5. Determine balloon size by finding the largest and smallest width in the design and decide on a size that will fit nicely in both areas. Typically on small designs, the balloons are 3-4". On larger designs, balloons are usually 6-8" in size. Inflate your balloons and tie each one individually, keeping the necks as long as possible.

6. Poke holes so that you can add your balloons to the backing board. To do this, you will need two awls and a foam Duplet template (as shown) that matches the size of your inflated balloons. Position the template on the edge of the backing board and poke the awl through both sides. Remove the first awl and rotate the template over to the other side of the second awl. Poke a third hole. 
An awl is a long, pointed spike.  A Bradawl is a tool for making holes in wood.

7.  Repeat Step 6 until you have poked enough holes evenly throughout the whole backing board.

8. Poke the necks of the inflated balloons through the holes in the backing board, using a small wooden dowel to push them through.

9. On the back side, stretch the necks of the adjacent balloons to tie them into pairs.

10. Once the backing board is covered, add the detail pieces. To do this, tape an uninflated 260Q onto the back of the detail pieces, then use an awl to poke additional holes into the backing board to slide the 260Qs through. Tie the 260Q ends on the back side.

11. Glue 1 x 2" wood strips to the back of the backing board to support and secure Electrical Metal Tubing (EMT) and EMT straps. THEN PLACE the tubing into base plates. 

Balloon Overlay Benefits
  • High impact
  • Ideal for corporate clients and private parties
  • Simple to construct; no difficult techniques or framing required
  • Budget-friendly option for customers who want a custom sculpture
  • Easy to add details on the front to create any image, sign, logo, or character

Here are some more of David's wonderful overlay designs.

Download this great PDF and keep it safe for future reference.

I think that this is a great technique and one that could be used for many different design ideas. Thank you once again, David, for sharing your skills and knowledge with the balloon industry! 

Happy Ballooning!



Betsy D said...

thanks so much for sharing how to do this masterpiece. Please thanks David Mahoney for share his wonderful talent with us.

Best regards,


Honesty said...

Awesome! Thanks Sue and thanks to David!

Christine Maentz, CBA said...

Thank you Sue & David for this post - It's going to come in very handy, very soon!

Animagias - carlos viegas said...

Thanks Sua and David

Unknown said...
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Violeta Mencos said...

Thank you for sharing your knowlage and talento.

Kara Townson said...

mazing x

Kara Townson said...

mazing x

brandigirl313 said...

How do we create the Duplet Template?