Thursday, June 25, 2020

How to Make a Styled Framed Number, and Make a Five Year Old Very Happy!

This week, my granddaughter celebrated her fifth birthday! So naturally, I wanted to help to make her birthday very special, especially as having a birthday party during lockdown was sadly was not an option.

I have been seeing some fabulous "Yard Art" decor being posted on the Qualatex Facebook group and decided that I would have a go at making her a Number 5 that stood as tall as her! 

I started by designing the frame. You may remember a blog post from last year that featured a "Number Eight" designed by Alexander Solomatin, CBA, for International Women's day. 

I really love how Alexander styled the frame by using different sized balloons, rather than having all the balloons the same size. View his post here: 

International Women's Day and how to make this fabulous Number Eight Sculpture by Alexander Solomatin, CBA. Click HERE

International Women's Day Number Eight 
Design by Alexander Solomatin

I thought that I would share with you how I designed and created my styled framed number.

Step 1. Choose a Font. Select a font that you want to replicate and then print it. To make it easy for me to get the proportions right, I sized the number so that the length measured 10cm, which allowed for easier conversion of measurements. 

Step 2. Make a Template. Getting the proportions correct will ensure that the finished design will look perfect. It was very easy for me to convert my design. Working in centimetres allowed me to convert the overall length from 10 cm to 100cm and all the other measurements in the same way.

I then drew the design onto a large piece of paper. This gave me a template to use when bending the aluminium rod into shape.

Step 3. Bending the Frame. Find a big enough space that will allow you to bend the aluminium into shape - I use  a 6mm rod that I buy from a metal merchant. I like to purchase rod in 3 or 4 m lengths.

You can use a Pipe Bending Tool to help to give you good angular bends, or you can simply bend the rod yourself. Be very careful to keep the frame flat, otherwise it can distort and not look good.

Make sure that you stay true to the template! All the work and effort put into making a good frame will ensure a great end result.

Step 4. Adding the balloons. When I printed the five outline, I paid special attention to the shape, which helped me to determine the sizes of balloons I would need to recreate the same style as the font that I had chosen. If you look at the photo in step 1, you will see that I have written the sizes that I felt would work best in each section. 

The first thing that I always do when working with framework is to wrap the frame using un-inflated 260Q's. Covering the frame allows it to 'disappear' when you add the balloons (no silver framework will show through) and the balloons grip better to latex, rather than directly onto aluminium.

Because the design was intentioned to go outside, I wanted to ensure that the balloons would survive the sunny weather, so I decided to double-stuff them (by putting one balloon inside another). I also used the double-stuffing method to create a softer, paler pink to compliment the other shades of pink that I used for this design.

Step 5. Adding a Base. For the base, I used an IKEA NOT lamp, with only one riser pole. I slid the pole into the design at the base at the widest part and then secured the pole to the frame using an un-inflated 260Q.

Step 6. The Finishing Touches. I now wanted to bring my design to life by adding some accent detail. My granddaughter loves fairies and unicorns, like all 5 year olds! 
I started by adding 14" Air-Filled Mini Fairy Microfoil™️ balloons.

Qualatex Mini Fairy
Mini Fairy

I then added five 260Q Chrome™️ Gold flowers, and at this point took a photo to see how the design looked and to check if I was happy with the positioning of the elements that I added. I always like to take photos when I am building my designs so that I can see how it developing; it's so much easier to see mistakes on a photo compared to the naked eye!

With a few additional flowers, and some 260Q Chrome Gold Bubbles, I was very happy with the finished design.

Here are few photographs from our birthday "Garden Party", I also added some additional air-filled balloons to our flowersbeds and it looked truly magical... and of course, she loved it! 

I hope you have enjoyed learning how to create this beautiful sculptured number and I look forward to seeing your own beautiful number creations soon! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me on Instagram #suebowler


Unknown said...

Wonderful explanation. Thankyou

Unknown said...

I loved it!
Thank you for your clear and detailed explanation. So beautiful result. LEarning from the best! Thank you very much Sue, I follow you from Barranquilla, Colombia.

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