Tuesday, November 22, 2016

So what tools should I take with me when working on a balloon decor job?

Having a well-kitted toolbox might just be a lifesaver when working on a balloon decor job. To find out what essential tools should be included, I asked a group of Qualatex Balloon Network (QBN®) professionals from our QBN Facebook Group to share their expertise on this subject. 

There are a number of things that we should always take with us when we go on a balloon decor job.
  • Job/order sheet with a full description of the decor, client's name, address of the event, and contact details.
  • Loose change for vehicle parking.
  • Balloons, accessories, and spare balloons.
  • Helium.
  • Balloon inflation equipment

What else might we need?

Tapes & Glues 

There are quite a few different types of tapes and glues, each one having a different job to do!

1. Scotch® or Sellotape®- A strong, clear tape. This type of tape can be used to repair a small hole in a Microfoil® or Bubble Balloon
2. Painter's or masking tape - Ideal for temporary use. It is perfect for marking out areas and can be removed quickly and easily. If you work with a die-cutting machine, you can use this type of tape to transfer vinyl onto balloons.
3. Glue Dots - Great for easy application of accent details to balloon designs, such as attaching a bow or a nose to a character design.
4. Duct Tape - A good general tape. Good for strong connections on framework.
5. Gaffer Tape - Like duct tape, it is a good general tape. However, it can be cleanly removed after application, leaving no sticky residue. Ideal when working with the AeröPole System™.
6. Oasis® UGlu Dashes - A personal favourite for me since I found out about them from other balloon professionals. They are easy to work with and very strong.
7. Click-Click™ Balloon Bond - Great for sticking latex balloons to other latex balloons.
8. Click- Click Stretchy Balloon Tape - This truly is an essential tape that all professionals should have. Although it might appear to be expensive, you only need to use a small amount each time. Great for securing Microfoil® balloons together, making strong fixing points on Microfoil balloons, and for repairing Microfoil and Bubble Balloons in emergencies.
9. Low temperature glue gun and glue - Not a glue that I use very often these days, as I believe that some of the others mentioned are better for many of the daily jobs that we do. However, I would use a glue gun to secure floral foam to a base or a container to a base.

To find out more about tapes and glues, check out my post: 

A sticky situation...which glue is best for you and your balloons? Updated October 2016

Everyday Tools

These items are a must for every tool box.

1. Qualatex
® Hand-Pump -  Dual-action pump has a tapered nozzle for easy inflation of 5", 6", 260Q, 321Q, and 350Q latex balloons.
2. Qualatex Pocket Pump - Suitable for inflating 160Qs and 260Qs.
3. Scissors - I personally like to use floral scissors. Floral scissors have a wire cutter built in, so they are perfect when making fantasy flowers.
4. Monofilament line, fishing line, or nylon line - Best used for Single Pearl Arches (SOP).
5. Dacron Line - Best used for outdoor Arches, Garlands, and Columns.
6. Safety Pins - Ideal for fixing fabric and ribbons when dressing tables.
7. Balloon Weights - Decorative weights can be used to hold down balloon bouquets and arrangements.
8. Fishing Weights - Ideal to weigh down helium-filled balloons when being dropped into a design or floral arrangements.
9. Washers - These can also be used to weigh down helium-filled balloons into a design or arrangement.

Other Essential Items

1. First Aid Supplies - Just in case!

2. Hand Cream - Hands often dry out when working with a lot of latex balloons.
3. Cloth towels that can be dampened down to help remove static around working area.
4. Someone suggested mints to freshen your breath before speaking to your clients.
5. A copy of your Public Liability Insurance certificate.
6. Don't forget your mobile phone; will also act as a camera if you forget to bring one.
7. Water — you may not be able to get a drink when working.
8. Care cards to inform your customers on how to get the best from their balloons and a few do's and don'ts.
9. Business Cards - You may get asked for your business card when on a job. Make sure that you have plenty!
10. A good camera -  A smartphone is good, but good quality photographs are essential for a high-quality portfolio, so consider using a better camera for taking pictures of your work.
11. Pens - Great for adding detail to balloons such as faces. You also might need to leave a note on your car or van stating where you are working.

More Tools & other useful items.

1. Hammer.

2. Nails or tacks.
3. Pliers.
4. Cable Ties.
5. Tape measure and a spacing stick to help you to accurately measure the distance between balloons in an Arch.
6. Pipe Cutter - perfect for cutting aluminium rod and tubing.
7. Wrench - This can be very helpful if you have a helium cylinder that is difficult to open.
8. Laser pointer - This was a great tip! Perfect for pointing to the ceiling to indicate where you want to connect a magnet! It will also help you to locate the magnets ring when removing decor after a job.
9. Power extension cable - Power sockets are never where you want them to be!
10. Magnets, MagMover®, and Mag Pole for rigging at high levels.

I am sure that you will have other essential items that you include in your toolbox. Let me know what they are, and I will add them to the list!

Thank you to all the QBN members who assisted me with this list.

Happy Ballooning!



SOFIA said...


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Animagias - carlos viegas said...

Thank you Sue. Very good information. Excellent blog and reminders

Unknown said...

Pack a rubber door stop to help with your load-in. I pack gray or silver 260s; they can be used to rig or hold things together. I like those colors because they 'disappear" rather than stand out. If your inflators have a three-prong cable end, take a 2-prong backup if needing to inflate at the venue. I like my folding camping table and collapsible wagon for convenience. If inflating and building onsite I take 1-2 queen size flat sheets to keep the balloons clean and off the (sometimes not so clean) floor.

Unknown said...

Hi Sue! I just discovered your blog and it is a treasure trove of wonderful balloon info. My friend and I are co-chairing the decor committee for our children's upcoming school fundraiser auction. The theme is a birthday party theme (as it is the school's anniversary). We are using tons of balloons to decorate. I have a couple of questions that we hoped you could answer or point us in the right direction:
1. What type of monofilament should we use to string a single 11" balloon? Can we use the same type of monofilament to hold a single 40" foil letter? (there are some areas of our design that we want an "invisible" floating balloon effect).
2. If you under inflate 11" balloons to 9", will they float less than a true 9" balloon fully inflated? (we're trying to decide if we should just buy all 11" balloons and just inflate them less, since we have areas where we want a smaller diameter; we need the balloons to stay inflated for at least 12 hrs ideally)
3. We did buy Ultra Hi-float and have tested it out, with mixed effects. Would you recommend using only 1/2 a pump with the purple attachment on 11" balloons? Would you recommend pretreating the balloons w/ Hi-float the day before vs day of?
Thank you so much!