Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee 2022 - How to make the Union Jack Flag

In two weeks time Her Majesty The Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee after 70 years of service. The UK and much of the commonwealth will be celebrating over the Spring Bank holiday weekend from the 2nd to the 5th of June! 

Some years ago, I designed a Balloon Wall to represent the Union Jack flag using the Alternate Size Pack technique. Using this technique allowed me to create a very accurate copy, and I thought that I would share this design with you today! 

Alternate Size Square Pack Garland

When making balloon walls using this technique, you can guarantee that it will be robust and attractive! It is probably the most widely used method of precision wall, and is made by alternating clusters of four balloons in two different sizes packed on to 50lb Dacron line or even thicker line. This technique produces a square shape garland.

Below is a small section of the flag (from the design) to explain how the technique works:

Using this example: each column (as shown below) consists of 13 clusters of balloons. The first and the third columns start with a large balloon cluster and the second column starts with a small balloon cluster. When pushed together these columns interlock to create a strong wall. 

Be aware, the actual flag wall - as shown in example 1, 2 and 3, is a big wall. It uses 33 clusters per Garland and 9 Garlands to create the wall. To decide on the size of balloons to use, I often build a small section of garland to give me an idea on the overall sizing.

Example - small section of the flag wall

The difference in size between the two sets is relative to the size of balloon used.

When the balloons are inflated between 2" - 4½" = use a ½" differential

When the balloons are inflated between 4½" - 7½" = use a 1" differential

When the balloons are inflated between 7½" - 11" = use a 2" differential


5cm - 11.5cm = use a 1.5cm differential

11.5cm - 19cm = 2.5cm differential

19cm - 28cm = 5cm differential

The garlands when built are laid side by side and interlocked, then joined together 

Practice to see which sizes work best for you. I use the paper clip and elastic band method to connect the garlands together as it gives consistency with the tension. Many people use 260Q balloons to link their walls, but be aware that if the tension created when linking the garlands together is off, the end result will be noticeably affected.

Elastic Band and Paper Clip method

The Alternate Size Square Pack Garland method produces quite a smooth design with a flat surface, it allows for good diagonal lines and triangles. However, not all balloon wall types work with different patterns!

You will notice that my design is built lengthwise (using horizontal columns rather than vertical  columns.) This gives me more accuracy within the design, and once constructed it will not make any overall design.

This wall is made up of 9 Garlands, and each garland contains 33 Clusters (see example 3 below)
Example 1
Completed Flag

Example 2
Flag shown as it will be built in downwards columns

Example 3
Flag shown as individual columns

Image 4
Balloon List

This wall was designed on Balloon Pro, which is a fabulous online balloon design tool created by Chris Adamo CBA - If you have never used or tried this fantastic tool I recommend that you test it out with the 7 day free trial, as you can create a lot more than balloon walls! 

Wishing you a very happy Jubilee!

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Father's Day Inspiration for the 'Best Dad in the World!'

When it comes to designing or buying something suitable for men, I personally find that it takes a little more thought!

Father's Day falls on different dates around the world, however, many of us celebrate it on Sunday the 19th of June, so with that in mind, now is a great time to start our marketing and preparing design ideas to promote and sell.

World's Best Dad Personalised Bubble Balloon by
Fizz and Frills Balloons in Stoke-on-Trent, England

Personalised Balloons are always a huge hit with anyone that receives them. Qualatex® Deco Bubble Balloons™️ are the perfect balloons to create magical and memorable personalised balloons. They are extremely versatile, giving you the ability to add beautiful coloured 5" balloons inside... along with many other things too! Personalised balloons are especially meaningful to the recipient. 

If you are worried about using helium due to the rising costs, a great air-filled alternative would be to use a 30" Premium Balloon Accessories Deco Stick with the Maxi Cup ll. I use two Maxi Cups in this case. I glue one to a base that has a little weight, using a small wall tile works well for this, just ensure that you use some sort of protection on the base of the tile as tiles can be rough/sharp and may scratch a surface when placed on it! 
Inflate the Bubble with air and personalise the balloon as usual. Add the Bubble to the second Maxi Cup and secure to the Deco Stick. Add a small cluster of balloons under the Bubble to hide the cup or maybe add a bow or some tassels. You can also add a cluster of balloons at the base once again to hide the cup. When gluing the Maxi Cup to the tile, make sure that you use an adhesive that is strong enough to hold the cup securely. I have used Gorilla Glue in the past and that dries rock solid, but it does take 24 hours to dry! 

For the younger generation, giving a fun design like this to their Dad would be perfect! 

Dad's The Best!
A PANDASTIC design just for his special day.
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

This is such a fabulous design that can be used to make many different balloon characters; it's ideal for birthdays and other celebrations. Simply select the animal head balloon that you want to make and use coordinating latex to create the body of the design.

Here are step-by-step instructions:

Here is a Monkey design using the same technique that I made for a birthday. The only difference is that I used a Deco Bubble for the body rather than a QuickLink balloon.

Monkey Bubble Design by Sue Bowler, CBA

Here are some more great design ideas that are perfect for Father's Day! 

Always On Point!
A whimsical design to show dad how awesome he is!
Designer name: Eve Antonello, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

One Ale of a Good Dad
Cheers to dad on his special day!
Designer name: Eve Antonello, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

Let's talk a little about marketing...

It is important to get ready for Father's Day ahead of time, and any marketing that you do beforehand serves as a reminder for consumers that Father's Day is coming soon! 

One of the easiest things that you can do is to prepare a cover for your business Facebook Page!  This is a great way to kick start your marketing! 

Maybe try running a Father's Day social media contest! 

The great thing about running a contest is that you create natural customer engagement! 

For example you could compel your followers to share their “favourite dad moment”, “dad image”, or even “dad joke” in a social media contest. Remember to think of a clever #hashtag and associate it with the campaign and get them to use it in their posts (e.g. #mydadiscoolerthanyourdad). Also, encourage them to share the post with their own followers.

Inspire your customers with a gift selection guide!

As I mentioned earlier, buying for a man is definitely harder than buying for a woman! Showing a great selection of balloon designs is vital for a successful campaign. Remember, people not only buy for their dad's, they buy for granddad's, step-dad's first time dad's too! This is where personalised balloons are a winner! It is important to show all the different options that you can offer for personalisation.

One of the best way to get your message in front of a more relevant audience is through Facebook Ads. If you choose to boost a post instead, your targeting options are limited. But by utilising Facebook Ads, you have more advanced customisation solutions such as ad placements, ad objectives, opportunity to add a "call to action" button, and so much more. If you have never used Facebook Ads I can honestly testify that they work and they really don't cost a great deal... you only pay what you want to pay! 

I hope that you have a happy and successful Father's Day! Make sure to try out something new in terms of marketing, and make sure that you measure the results!

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Trendy Printed Balloons to add a little Pizzazz to your Decor!

When added to a balloon display, printed balloons can truly bring any decor to life! By simply adding in a few themed balloons, you can easily take an already awesome display to a whole new level! 

Sometimes we look at printed balloons and cannot see beyond what they are. For example, it would be easy to assume that we only use 'cow' prints for children's birthdays and farmyard style decor. However, looking at the decor below proves that we can take a theme and use it in more ways than meets the eye!

Here is a fantastic example: Cam Woody, CBA of Pioneer Balloon Company has used the Qualatex 11" Holstein Cow print balloon along with some 14" Contented Cow head shapes in her traditional baby crescent moon display, to create this adorable cow-theme baby design... what's not to love about this display! 💕

Over the moon with love!
Dreamy pink paired with cow-theme decor makes for a fun and lovely surprise, perfect for all kinds of occasions.
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

If you would like to learn how to create a Crescent Moon Frame Shape, check out my blog post: 

Part 1. Baby Moon Design - Step-by-Step Tutorial - How to Make the Frame

Sam Jossie, CBA of Pioneer Balloon Company also used the Qualatex Holstein Cow print balloon in his display, this time the display is a trendy, elegant hoop display for a 30th birthday celebration! He also featured double-stuffed latex balloons to create some fabulous pastel tones that complement the Rose Gold Number 30 and the Taper balloons.

Mooove over for #30!
Celebrate your next big birthday in style with trendy Holstein cow print and customised pastel and rose gold tones!
Designer name: Sam Jossie, CBA, Pioneer® Balloon Company

Holstein Cow
Size and shape: 11" Round
Color: White
Package item #: 11633
Package Count: 50

When it comes to creating Jungle Theme decor, we are absolutely spoiled with choices! We of course can use Safari Assortment with Leopard Spots, Zebra Stripes, Tiger Stripes and Cheetah Spots. We could also use Green Rainbow or Black & White SuperAgate and the Tropical Greenery print too! 

Here is another fabulous example of printed balloons used within a display to create opulent themed decor. Anne McGovern, CBA of Elegant Balloons has added Black & White SuperAgates and Leopard Spots printed balloons to her table Arch, along with some confetti-filled balloons and greenery to create this sophisticated decor! 

Wild About You!
This arch is a natural for any occasion!
Designer name: Anne McGovern, CBA, Elegant Balloons

Here is another great example of a table arch. This Panda theme table decor was created by Cam Woody. Cam uses the Tropical Greenery printed balloon to compliment her design with the addition of the 21" Tropical Phildendron leaves! The curly 260Q balloons on the arch gives it great visual movement!

Life is Better With a Panda!
It’s a happy day made better with this lovable bear!
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA.

And finally, I wanted to conclude this post with this fabulous mash up of printed balloons! I would never have thought to do this in a million years, but I love it and I think that it works so well! It's bright, fun and very colourful! Well done Bangin Balloons in Ottawa, Canada.

I must confess, when it comes to printed balloons, I have never really experimented or used a print in a random or unexpected way. Seeing all these amazing designs makes me feel inspired to play more, which I will definitely do once I get my new studio set up and ready for some ballooning action! 

I hope that these designs have inspired you as much as they have inspired me! To read more on this topic, check out the Trends & Themes section on the Qualatex Website;

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler