Thursday, January 26, 2023

Air-Filled Design idea using PremiumConwin DecoCup™ + DecoStick™

With the continually soaring cost of helium and its lack of availability, finding air-filled solutions is extremely important to the ballooning community.

Creating designs using the PremiumConwin DecoCup™ + DecoCup™ is definitely the way forward, and today, I would like to share two videos with you featuring those accessories.

It's all about the Base! 

In the first video, I will demonstrate how to create the central support for your designs. I have two methods:

1. Using a tile base with 2x DecoCups and 1x DecoCup

2. Using a sand-weight with 2x DecoCups and 1 x DecoCup

I show two different glue options to secure the DecoCups to the tile base.

If like me, you have unused Lomey Adhesive in your toolbox. 
 This works very well for sticking a DecoCup to a ceramic tile base, 
but it can take up to 24 hours to dry! I recommend using packing tape to hold the cup in place on the tile during the drying process.

Gorilla Glue works extremely well when you need to stick two items together that are made from different material. The down-side is the drying time as it can take up to 24 hours for the glue to bond successfully.

Sand-Weights - using kiln-dried sand
A sand-weight makes the perfect weight for a base, unlike a water-weight, a sand-weight can be moulded into shape and flattened and is very stable, it is also quick and inexpensive to make. 

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to make the base element for our air-filled designs.

"With Love" - air-filled Hat Box Valentine's arrangement 

In the second video, I show you how to create this relatively easy design that would be perfect for Valentine's Day or by simply changing the balloons and colours it would be suitable for any occasion!

For this design I have used:

  • Hat Box
  • 7" Qualatex Gold Chrome
  • 5" Wild Berry
  • 260Q Gold Chrome
  • 260Q Wild Berry
  • 260Q Rose
  • 18" Love Gold #16766
  • Pink Organza Ribbon
  • Uglu Dashes 
Check out the video below to find out step-by-step how to make this great design.

I have been creating air-filled balloon designs for many years now, and I have come to have a preference to air-filled over helium-filled designs. I feel that an air-filled design allows for more creativity and detail, and I prefer the end results!

Here are a few more of my air-filled arrangements, some using Deco Cups and Sticks.

The Happy Birthday foil in this design is actually helium-filled, but it could easily be replaced with an air-filled version on a Deco Cup & Stick

I hope that this post has been helpful and given you a little inspiration!

Happy Ballooning!

Follow me @Suebowler

Thursday, January 12, 2023

What is an On-the-Job Risk Assessment and How Do You Prepare One?

In the UK, it is becoming standard practice for a venue to ask event vendors to provide risk assessments along with their Business Liability Insurance documentation prior to working in a venue. Without either of these, some will not permit you to work!


What is an On-the-Job Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is simply a thorough examination of factors in your work that could potentially cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. Workers and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.

In today's world of stricter health and safety laws, there are often requirements for us as event decorators to produce these documents. Preparing a Risk Assessment can sound daunting, especially if this is something that you have never done before, but once you have prepared one you will find subsequent risk assessments much easier.

Accidents will sometimes happen, but by being aware of the obvious dangers and acting to reduce risks, you are creating a safer working environment for yourself and everyone around you.

Clients and insurance companies like to know you are creating as safe an environment as possible for everyone involved. 

The Risk Assessment

A risk assessment highlights: 

  • Potential hazards - who might be harmed and how
  • Risk controls that are in place 
  • Risk rating - low, moderate, high, or extreme
  • Actions – what further actions can be taken to control the risk further

Generally, the Balloon and Party Industry is a low to medium risk industry. However, we do handle gas cylinders under pressure, and therefore we need to ensure that we follow the correct procedures.

For those who work with special effects, these offer different and potentially greater liabilities, so ensure that your insurance policy covers everything that you offer.

Here is an example of a Risk Assessment that I completed for a balloon installation some years ago. You would need to complete all the details such as your company name, the name of the event, the date and the location.

There are many potential risks on any balloon job; here are a few more that you may want to think about and include in your risk assessment if they apply to you. When preparing a risk assessment, think about all the decor, and props that you are installing and all the different processes and equipment that you will be using.
Another item that could be listed under falls would be ladders if you are using them.
These would be listed as the potential hazard, then you would specify who is potentially at risk. A risk control might be the type of ladders. Further action would be to ensure that the ladders are:   

  • Set up correctly  
  • Checked before and after a job
  • Used with care and common sense 

Something that you may not consider being a risk is balloon shining products! The potential hazards are: Slippery floors which can cause potential falls leading to strains and broken bones. Those at risk are event staff and the public when used in public spaces. 

Further action to control risks are:

  • Ensure that when balloon shining solutions are used that all surfaces are protected and covered.
  • Restrict access to areas during spraying process
  • Should floors or surfaces become slippery, floors should be cleaned immediately with a soapy solution and allowed to dry before anyone can walk on them.
Also be aware that balloon shining products can damage soft furnishings and wall finishes, should you damage either of these when working on a job you could be liable for cleaning or replacing! 

Not only should we identify all the risks that could occur on a job, we should also make sure that any staff working with you should be aware of the risks, and how to prevent them from happening.

Methods Statement

This works in conjunction with the Risk Assessment and it is a document that details the work that is to be carried out :
  • A brief description of work to be undertaken
  • Your company details, logo, name, and address, etc 
  • Start Date & Completion date, if applicable 
  • Site address 
  • Site contact number
  • A summary of the main potential hazards and the control measures that must be implemented. 
  • A list of electrical equipment, gases, and regulators you will be using. If using helium, you can state that helium is an inert gas! 
The information for this can be extracted from your risk assessment document. You can also detail any Environmental or Quality procedures that must be taken during the task.

Environmental: you can state what materials you are using and if they are biodegradable or non-biodegradable. You can state that balloons should not be released into the environment and how they should be disposed of after an event.

Quality: this defines very simply what tasks you are required to perform to complete the job. This could include how materials and equipment will arrive at the venue, and where the construction will take place.

There are a number of free Risk Assessment templates available on the internet, you can use one of these or use one as a sample to help you create your own. The example above was created using CANVA. Once you have made your own template, keep it safe and amend it each time you require it for a job.

As I said at the beginning of this post, if you have never had to provide a risk assessment before it can feel like a daunting task, but to be honest it is extremely logical and it really does help you to think through everything before you start a site-base job! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler

Monday, January 9, 2023

Step-by-Step Air-Filled Valentine's 'Love' Arrangement by Sue Bowler

'I Love You with Love' is a design that I created last year for the Qualatex Online Education video program that is available on Vimeo, called Expressions of Love! Today I am sharing one of the designs from that program.

This year, with the continually soaring cost of helium and its lack of availability, we will all be looking for exciting air-filled designs that can be recreated quickly, with much of the prep work done in advance, and this design ticks all of those boxes! 

Material List:

58271 7" Gold Chrome
99352 5" Pearl Magenta
59570 16" Northstar Magenta L Shape
59590 16" Northstar Magenta V Shape
59556 16" Northstar Magenta E Shape
16766 18" Love Gold Heart Shape Microfoil™
58283 260Q Gold Chrome
25577 260Q Wild Berry
36336 4" Metallic Gold Hearts

Check out the video below for full step-by-step instructions on how to make this design.

To view the other designs on the video visit, or if you are a Rockstar Member of Q Corner you can watch the whole video as part of your membership!

Here are some more inspiring design ideas using a similar style and techniques.

All my love to you!
This love-filled design is a little extra, perfect for a Valentine!
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

A New Kind of Love Letter…
What better way to show your love than with love-letter themed balloons?
Designer name: Eve Antonello, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

Love is Golden
Do something a little different for your love!
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

Together Forever, and Ever
Make a statement with this design!
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

Gnome body loves you as much as I do!
Designer name: Julie Dunham, CBA, Pioneer Europe Ltd.

And don't forget, Qualatex has a great selection of FREE marketing materials available for you to download that will help you to promote your Valentines campaign, as well as other seasonal events! 

Facebook Cover Photos

Download beautifully crafted cover photos, created by a professional graphic designer at Pioneer, and upload it to your Facebook page.

Ready-Made Social Media Posts

Qualatex has created simple social media posts using the latest Qualatex bouquets with fun headlines within the graphic. These designs make it simple to promote products with minimal effort on your part.

Qualatex Lifestyle Images

Many of the lifestyle photos used on the Qualatex social media accounts are available for you to download and share on your social media account!

I hope you find the video and the inspiration helpful! Be sure to use the great resources available on for all your holiday needs!

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me on @Suebowler