Thursday, March 11, 2021

Ballooning Tips & Tricks - Learn a Few Tips about Mixing Helium & Air, is Static a Friend or Foe, How to Resolve a Closed Foil Balloon Valve and Much More!

It can take a very long time to learn and build up knowledge in any area. Experiencing those "light-bulb" moments is very much part of the learning curve, I know well from my own personal experiences; like when I was decorating for an event and the 5" balloons inside a 3' helium-filled balloon unexplainably started popping... I had to find out why! Today, I would like to share some "tips & tricks" that will help you when working with balloons! 

Let's start with the popping 5" balloon story!

Mixing Gases

I am not sure is this is a tip or trick, but it is certainly something that we all need to know! 

Helium, or Balloon Gas is lighter than air, and air molecules are much bigger than helium molecules. Each of these gases react differently inside balloons. 

Helium inside a latex balloon moves around and gradually escapes (diffuses) over a period of time through the natural pore of the balloon. That is why the average floating time of an 11" helium-filled latex balloon ranges from 18-24 hours, as the helium escapes, the balloon will start to get smaller and eventually fall down.

Air inside a latex balloon lasts much longer, as air molecules are big and it takes a longer period of time to escape from a latex balloon - weeks and months, rather than hours. The balloons will gradually get softer but they stay inflated for a much longer period than a helium-filled balloon.

So when you put 5" balloons inside a larger balloon, it is essential that you use the same gas in both balloons! 

When you put helium-filled balloons inside an air-filled balloon, the helium escapes (diffuses) from the helium-filled balloons and the balloons will go down, the same as they would if they were outside of the larger balloon. Have you ever tried putting helium inside a 5" balloon? It will float for around 2-3 hours before it gently drops down.

When you put air-filled balloons inside a larger helium-filled balloon, a process called 'diffusion' occurs. This is when the helium naturally moves and filters through and into the latex of the smaller balloons, which causes the smaller balloons to expand and eventually pop! This is exactly what happened to me! 

Static - friend or foe? 

Static can definitely be a problem when it comes to balloons! I have heard of balloons randomly popping due to high levels of static in a room.

Static does not like moisture or humidity, and therefore water can be used to reduce the amount of static in a room, a humidifier works well, and a fine water mister spray will help when working on site. Dryer sheets can also reduce static on balloons. Some decorators carry Static Guard with them on balloon jobs, as this can eliminate static and help prevent it from building! 

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

Static is definitely a friend when making confetti-filled balloons. To make confetti stick to the inside of a balloon you will need to build a little static within the balloon. With air-filled balloons it's easy; simply rub the side of the balloon with your hand, a cloth, or even better, bubble-wrap packaging - this works every time for me! I have also heard that placing balloons inside a plastic bag will help to build the static. When making helium-filled, confetti-filled balloons, you will need to ensure that you add a small amount of air into the balloon, as static cannot build in pure helium! Simply use a hand-pump and add a few pumps of air - not too many as it can make the balloon too heavy and it won't float!

If you would like to learn how to make a confetti-filled Deco Bubble, check out the great video below. 

What should you do if the valve on a foil balloon does not open easily?

When the valve of a foil balloon does not easily open, first be ultra-careful not to damage it. Sometimes these appear to be stuck closed, but with a little help, we can usually open them. The temptation is to try and open the valve using a pencil or straw, but be aware that the valves in foil balloons are very delicate and can be easily damaged. For best results, use something thin and flat such as a folded floristry wire. 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. If you don't have any floristry wire, try a flat beverage stirrer, like the wooden ones supplied in coffee houses. 

Using a floristry wire, bend in half and carefully
insert it into the valve of the foil balloon.

Cold Latex Balloons

Latex balloons last longer when they are stored in a cool and dark environment, as this helps to preserve the balloons shelf life for longer. However, if balloons get too cold, they can become hard to the touch and almost impossible to inflate, like the three balloons on the left. You can easily resolve this by warming up them up! Either put the balloons somewhere warm, like on a radiator, or place them into a tumble dryer for a few minutes - et volia,  your balloons will be back to normal and as good as new! 

Stretched Balloons

Here is another great tip about warming up balloons: when you pre-inflate latex balloons, they becomes stretched and lose their original balloon shape (see below left.) These balloons are still perfectly good, and can be used for your decor and balloon design. However, if you want the balloons to return to their original balloon shape, simply warm them up using either of the techniques above.

Making a balloon round rather than traditional balloon shape.

Some balloon decor styles, such as Balloon Columns and organic décor, look better when made with a rounder shape rather than the traditional balloon 'teardrop' shape. This can be easily achieved by how you inflate the balloons. Check out the video below to see how you can achieve this. If you do not have an electric pump, you can achieve the same results using a hand-pump, following the same principle.

Did you find this post useful? I would love to get some feedback! 

Happy Ballooning Everyone and thank you for reading the Very Best Balloon Blog! 

Follow me @suebowler


Unknown said...

Great info
Thank you

Unknown said...

Great info thank you

Unknown said...

thank you!

Unknown said...

Amazing thank you for sharing 😍

Suliva Sudaryu said...

Thanks for yr sharing...
Many blessing of U all

Unknown said...

Bedankt om jouw " tips" met ons te delen.
al veel geleerd uit uw ervaringen!!

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