Friday, October 29, 2021

Christmas and New Year's Deco Ideas using Qualatex Taper Balloons

I love the Qualatex Taper balloon! I believe that it is a balloon that sadly goes unnoticed, as many people are often unsure what to do with it! This is probably why the colour range has been gradually discontinued over the years. Today, I am going to share with you some ideas featuring this versatile balloon that you will hopefully enjoy making, and that will look perfect at your Christmas and New Year's events!


This ingenious entrance decor was created by Luc Bertrand, CBA, of WaW Balloons in Vichte, Belgium for the Qualatex Event Germany a few years ago!  It really created a sense of fun and excitement when you walked through it into the main party room! 

Please be aware that some of the colours of Taper balloons that I am showing in this article are no longer available; however, all designs are easily adapted by simply changing the colours. 

Let us start by looking at what is available in this range! 

Rose Gold, Metallic Gold & Silver
available in 13" 27" and 38"

  • 38" - Suitable for helium or air filling. I like to use 38" Tapers helium-filled in my centrepiece arrangements to create long and elegant lines.
  • 27" - Suitable for air filling, will not float if filled with helium. These balloons do have a valve but do not be fooled they do not float when filled with helium.
  • 13" - Suitable for air filling only, great for accent detail and centrepiece designs. These balloons require heat sealing.

One of my favourite designs using Tapers is the air-filled Galaxy Ball! These can be made using all the different sizes of Tapers, giving you a small medium and large versions. When made using the 38" balloons, they are an impressively size and work extremely well in large venues where you want to fill ceiling space! One of the best things about this design is that it is very long lasting! Below is a video featuring Mark Drury of Qualatex, who demonstrates how to make the Galaxy Ball on a past episode of BMTV.

Here are a few table arrangement ideas.

The first design is a prototype of a design that I created for the Gala Ball at the World Balloon Convention (WBC) and was even featured on the Oct/Nov/Dec 2010 cover of Balloon IMAGES magazine.

If you would like to learn how to make this design, check out my postAn elegant centerpiece idea for a New Year's Gala Party! or click HERE for a direct link.

Another noteworthy piece that is worth recreation is this unique flower design, which uses 13" Tapers to extend the petals to create this impressive centrepiece! Helpful hint: use the Metallic Gold Tapers and Chrome Gold 7" latex to transform this piece into a fabulous New Years design! 

This eye-catching entrance Arch would be fantastic for either a Christmas or New Years Eve event, simply change the colours like I have done on my computer generated image (see below) to show my client how it would look in the colours of their choice! 

To create inspirational design like this, I have used Chris Adamo's Balloon Design Tools

And finally, I want to show you this fabulous idea of using a Galaxy Ball as a rotating mobile! 

Using a small rotating motor was a great way to bring this mobile to life! The designer used the same technique as you would use to create a Galaxy Ball (see above), but used fewer balloons so that it was not so full. This decor was created for a Christmas party that is held annually for children being treated at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, London.

If you have never worked with Taper Balloons before, you should definitely try them for your next event. You can easily make some truly impressive decor with them! 

Happy Ballooning! 

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Sell a Smile

We all know that trends are always changing and transforming. However, there is one icon that will never go out of fashion - the Smile Face! No matter what the age or the occasion, these balloons have "smile appeal"! 

So why do we all love a smiley face? I am not sure about you, but I love to use a 'smiley face' emoji 🙂 in my text and posts to convey a happy and positive thought. Much can be said about using Smiley Face balloons to create fun and unique designs, like the ones featured below.

These Happy Numbers are an inspired creation by Luc Bertrand, CBA, of WaW Balloons, in Vichte Belgium. Luc first created these for a New Year's window display in 2012, however, they are also perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special milestone occasions. 

Start with weighted 4-balloon clusters, and then tie in the Microfoil® Number Shape for the 'body' and top with an 18" "Smile Face" Microfoil. Then make simple "arms' and "hands" with 260Q and 5" balloons. To create an attachment points, use Stretchy Balloon Tape and a small piece of 260Q.

Gentleman with Flower 

If you would like to learn how to make this "Gentleman with Flower" design by Vadim Shushkanov, CBA, in Moscow, Russia, check out the video below. There are four designs within this 5" Smile Faces Assortment.

Smiley Faces Assortment
5" Yellow #57961

Bright Smile Face Stand-Up

This Bubble Balloon stand-up is sturdy design perfect for delivery or cash-and-carry.

With "Movember" starting in the next few days, we can support this great cause by creating a whole bunch of Smile Face Mustache Men and help to raise funds and awareness for Men's Health issues. To find out more click HERE  or go to

A few years ago a had great fun creating these characters and gave each one a name!

 Big Tom - the Vegetable Farmer (centre)
Harry Moustache - Harry works in the city and is a 'dapper Chappy'! (left)
Monty Moustache - Monty is a flamboyant character, his favourite colour is Wild Berry!
  • Remember, you can easily market smile face balloons all year round. They are available in latex, Microfoil and Bubble balloons. 
  • Select a specific smile face delivery as the "Smiley Special of the Month" and promote this special through your website, on your social media page, and in your store window.
  • Display a variety of inflated smile face creations for impulse purchases. They make great last-minute gifts for a variety of everyday occasions.
Never underestimate the power of a smile or a Smiley Face balloon! 

Happy Ballooning! 

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

It's All About the Framework

I am always in awe of the incredible balloon sculptures and those who build them. I have to confess, this style of balloon design is definitely not something that is within my skill level. There is a great deal of detail in the planning and preparation.

Something that I was told very early on in my ballooning career is that a balloon sculpture is only as good as the frame that it is built on, and I could not agree more! 

At the recent Moscow Balloon Festival, the Qualatex sponsored team, Alexander Solomatin, Vadim Shushkanov, Dmitry Novikov, Vadim Nesterenko with other fabulous artists created this incredible Gorilla sculpture! I have always loved the work of Alexander Solomatin, Vadim Shushkanov and Dmitry Novikov. Every sculpture that they have ever created has been outstanding, but for me, this has to be one of their very best! 

When I first saw this sculpture, I was as impressed with the framework as I was with the end result! 

As I stated at the start of this post, it's all about the framework, so today, I would like to talk a little bit about frames and what you will need to make them.

As with any design, you will first need to determine what you are going to make. This could be something specific for a client or it might be your opportunity to build a sculpture for a competition.

You first need to determine how your sculpture is going to be supported. For example will it be suspended or freestanding? Taking all aspects of the job into account will help determine how ridged the framework needs to be.

The three basic framework materials that are used by balloon specialists are PVC pipe, EMT (or conduit); and aluminium rod. Looking at the framework below, the majority of the frame is made from different thicknesses of aluminium rod, with thicker rods for the main structure and thinner rods for the detail on the face and arms. Once the frame structure is made, it is carefully wrapped in a strong netting or sometimes chicken wire, which is how the balloons are attached.


PVC pipe is the white plastic pipe commonly used for plumbing and drainage, and is readily available from home-improvement stores. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. PVC has an extremely durable nature, and is lightweight, making it an appealing material when constructing sculpture frames. It comes in many different sizes, but the most commonly used in the balloon industry is the 1/2" - 3/4" piping as you can easily add balloon clusters and it is also easy to cut and bend. PVC piping can be used to create arches and circles, and when heated you can create right angle bends and curves within the piping.


EMT, also called conduit, is tubing used by the electrical trade to encase electrical wires. It is readily available for purchase from hardware and home-improvement stores.
Like PVC, conduit comes in many sizes from 1/2" to 1" and in a variety of different lengths. 
EMT can be bent using a pipe bender tool, these are also available from hardware stores. Conduit can be cut with a hacksaw, but the preferred method is to use a pipe cutter.


Aluminium rod and bar is produced by several different processes namely extrusion, rolling and coiling, or drawn directly from molten aluminium. Aluminium wire is used primarily in electrical transmission applications due to its superior conductivity and non-corrosive nature. Though aluminium rod is generally not available from hardware or home-improvement stores, some balloon wholesalers also sell it and it is also available from metal suppliers.
The most common sizes of aluminium rod used by balloon artists are 3/16" (4.76mm) , 1/4" (6.35mm) and 5/16" (7.93mm), however, there are many sizes available. The thicker the rod, the more difficult it is to bend.
The best way to cut aluminium rod is with bolt cutters. Investing in a good pair will help you to save time and energy! 
The easiest way to bend aluminium rod is to place a 4" - 6" length of EMT over the rod when bending to give you leverage. Make sure to keep the rod flat when bending it so that the frame does not warp. With lots of small bends, patience, and practice, you will create some great looking frames! 
Duct tape is the best method for securing aluminium rod frames. When taping two parallel pieces of rod together, overlap them by at least 4" - 6". If you are taping two perpendicular pieces of rod together, male and "L" shape first, then tape both ends securely. Duct tape can also be used to cover the sharp ends of the rod and EMT too.


To support your framework construction, you will need heavy bases. These are not so easy to buy off the shelf these days, so you may need to look into having some made for you. Steel base plates are the best, especially for outdoor work. Wooden bases, though not as heavy as steel can be weighted down by adding additional weights. 

When I visit events such as the Moscow Balloon Festival, the World Balloon Convention and other ballooning events, I love to watch the sculptures being made. 

Who cannot be spell-bound by those riveting eye's in the picture above! And for anyone who loves Fantasy Flowers, those leaves are made from 3ft balloons stretched on an aluminium rod... I tried this once without much success.

The Team!
Alexander Solomatin, Vadim Shushkanov, Dmitry Novikov, Vadim Nesterenko, 

I know that the Russian team loves to compete, and I asked Vadim to explain why?

"For me, there are two of the most important benefits of balloon contests. First of all, every competition is a great opportunity to create a sculpture you hardly ever make in different circumstances. Almost all of the balloon competitions in the world relate to art, not business. There are no customers with their wishes and requests, you don't need to think if somebody can buy your work, you're completely free to share your thoughts and ideas through balloons. Isn't it the best option to feel like a true balloon artist?

And secondly, each competition makes you improve your professional skills. If you would like to build an impressive sculpture, you have to solve a lot of problems. You need to search and try many colour combinations, balloon technics, methods and materials for frames or create something completely new. This sort of experience always rises your professional level and gives a huge background for using in everyday work."

I hope that you find this sculpture as incredible as I do! If working on a large sculpture like this is something that appeals to you, I recommend that you attend a balloon event/convention that has a large sculpture competition and sign up as a helper. It will be one of your best experiences ever, and who knows, it may lead you to entering  your own sculpture one day! 

Happy Ballooning! 


Follow me @suebowler

Friday, October 8, 2021

Colour Creates Ideas, Expresses Messages, Sparks Interest, and Generates Certain Emotions... be inspired by colour!

We often get to see so many incredible and eye-catching balloon creations on social media, and in most cases, it is the colours rather than the actual design that catches our attention first! 

I remember when
Elari Events posted one of their beautiful balloon designs a few years ago in fabulous shades of dusky pinks, greys and silver. It attracted so much attention that everyone wanted to know what balloon colours they had used to create this magical palette! Elari Events continues to produce truly fabulous balloon decor and stunning colour combinations! 

 Zoe Adam-Jones, CBA of JAZ Trading of QLD, Australia, shows how the beautiful Elari decor customs colours were created.

This colour chart was created by Zoe Adam-Jones , CBA, of JAZ Trading .

Custom Balloon Colours

I suppose that we have been creating 'custom' colours for as long as I can remember, however before it became a trend it was only used as a last resort - the extra cost and time involved usually being a determining factor. I once stuffed Orange 646Q inside Yellow 646Q to create the perfect Goldenrod colour for a Giraffe design that I had created. 

However in today's balloon world, that is definitely no longer case! Balloons and balloon décor have become increasingly trendy over the past few years and with this uptick, consumers have become more discerning and often demanding of their requirements.

I love colour and love creating custom colours. Probably one of my favourite custom combination is the Jewel Tone balloons double-stuffed with Chrome balloon colours. I am also a little infatuated with all the stunning pastel colours that you can create.

In the first year that we showed this combination on the Qualatex stand at a UK trade show, the response was unbelievable! I don't think that I had ever before seen such incredible reactions from so many to a display of 11" Jewel Tone latex double-stuffed with Chrome Balloons. Of course, the colours created by this combo are rich and vibrant, with an almost glass-like appearance! I was asked many times "what balloons are they?" I still get the same reaction when I am teaching a class and I show a Chrome balloon inside a Jewel Tone! 

Creating appealing colour combinations is definitely an art, which is probably why I see so many requests on social media from balloon companies asking what colours have been used to create this or that design! 

If custom colouring is new to you, here is a great video clip that shows you how to double-stuff balloons and some of the fabulous colour creations that you can make! 

So how do we know what colour combinations are ideal to create enticing new colours or a corporate colour?

This is much easier than you think, as Qualatex has done all the hard work for us by producing a range of comprehensive colour guides! 

This is the Neutral & Muted Colour Guide - click HERE for a direct link to all of the guides or follow this link

Another great colour tool that Qualatex has recently introduced is the ability to download Double-Stuffed Images! These are perfect to show to your clients when proposing decor and/or a colour schemes! I have to confess, this really excites me, as I really love to give my customers as much visual detail when I am proposing my decor ideas to them, being able to show them, and being able to show them all the different custom colours that I am suggesting is such a huge bonus! 

Look for this Q2 icon for double-stuffed custom colours. You can download any or all of the Qualatex custom colour balloon images for business use. The files are named with the custom colour name, followed by the outside colour, then the inside colour. 

Here is one of the colours that I selected from the Double-Stuffed collection that are available to download as images. This colour is known as Desert Sage and uses a combination of a Spring Green inside a Grey balloon.

Learning about colour, understanding colour psychology (how we react to different colours,) and learning how to make fabulous and harmonious colour palettes work is all available in the latest Balloon IMAGES that is completely dedicated to colour - Paint Your Party with Qualatex. I love this edition, it is packed with so much great information that will truly help you and your business go from strength to strength! And if you are studying for your CBA accreditation, you will definitely find the information within this edition extremely helpful as part of your studies!

I hope that you enjoy using these exciting new resources as much as I will!

Happy Ballooning, and don't forget to Paint your Party with Qualatex! 

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