Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Old MacDonald had a Farm... NEW, Fun Farm-Themed Qualatex Balloons

I would like to start this post with a little farm barn trivia! Do you know why farm barns are always red?

The practice actually started in the late 18th century with New England farmers applying a protective varnish to barn surfaces. The varnish usually contained some mixture of linseed oil, lime, or iron oxide, which, under the sun, would then turn to the red ochre hue that we have become so familiar with.

Children absolutely adore farm animals, and creating farm theme party decor is a colourful and fun way to appeal to children of all ages! 

Earlier this month, I created a range of window displays to showcase some of the new Qualatex balloons that were launched at the Spring Fair at the NEC Birmingham. When I saw the new Birthday-Farm range I knew exactly what I wanted to make and immediately started designing a Red Barn! 

To design the barn, I used Chris Adamo's Balloon Design Tool. If you have never used this tool I strongly recommend that you have a little play using the 7 day free trial. I absolutely love it and use it on a regular basis, it helps me to work out what style of wall that I need to make to ensure that I get the end result I am looking for. This definitely makes it very worth the minimal monthly fee! 

The barn is made using the Alternate Size Pack technique, with my balloons sized at  3" and 4". The Bran is built in columns, and then linked together using the "paperclip and elastic band" method. To give the barn greater stability, I added in two poles and bases and also secured it to the top of the window using 50lb monofilament line just in case someone decided to try and move it - you will be amazed what people will do to get a good photo! 

The window display design was designed around this new 18" Birthday Barn balloon. Look at this balloon and now look at my window display to see the similarities!

18" Birthday Barn

You will see that in my window display, I have added in other elements such as the mini Pig and Cow sculptures and some of the new 14" Retro Daisies to bring this window to life and to re-create the scene from the balloon as accurately as possible.

Here are all the other new products in this range:



And don't forget these other great farm theme balloons! 

Holstein Cow
11" White #11633
Another bit of trivia, this is Qualatex's  No 1. selling printed balloon! 

34" Farm Tractor

30" Playful Pig #16202
14" Playful Pig #41799

32" Hilarious Horse #16210 (Limited Availability)
14" Hilarious Horse #41796

Here are a few more Farm theme ideas! 

Don’t have a cow!
This cow creation makes a big impact!
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

Mooooove over for birthdays!
Adorable cows and pigs make for a fun birthday!
Designer name: Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA

If you are unsure how to make the Alternate Size Balloon Wall, check out my previous post: Balloon Wall Part 2

Creating something fun and new is always very rewarding! Though I am very familiar with creating balloon walls. this Red Barn presented new challenges for me, especially when creating the sloping roof! 

Happy Ballooning! 
Follow me @suebowler

Monday, February 13, 2023

Cupcake Theme Balloon Decoration Ideas!

Last week I attended the Spring Fair at the NEC Birmingham. Spring Fair is an annual B2B trade show where businesses go, and that includes many of the major high street and online retailers as well as small independent stores, to buy new and inspiring products to sell in their stores. The fair is not only balloon and party related, it covers an abundance of products from fashion to jewellery, cookware and thousands of other products! The next show will be from the 4th -7th February 2024, so don't forget to mark it in your diary if you are UK based! 

So what does this have to do with Cupcakes? Each year, for more years than I can actually remember, I have been given the amazing opportunity to create balloon designs for Qualatex Europe's windows at this trade event! Each year I am tasked with creating and designing displays that feature new balloons and products from scratch.

Colourful Balloon Cupcake by Sue Bowler
Balloon Cupcake by Sue Bowler, inspired by Dante Longhi

For my first window, I was asked to feature the new Birthday Ombrè Cupcake, a fabulous new 31" Microfoil balloon.

My Inspiration

Before I even touch a balloon, I start by creating a mood board; this helps me to get an idea of the balloons that I should feature within my displays. I use Canva to create my mood boards. I simply import the balloons and any images that I want to use to help me with my display. This is also a great way to show your clients your ideas when you are still in the development stages of your designs.

Cupcake Window Display Mood-Board 

I knew that Dante Longhi of Dream Factory Balloons in New Jersey, USA had designed and made balloon cupcakes, so this was my first stop, to find out the technique! Fortunately for me, Dante had filmed himself making the cupcake for the QCorner convention last year. 

To learn how to make Dante's 3-D Cupcake Sculpture watch the video below! 

Watching this video was invaluable as it helped me understand the technique that I needed to use. My next challenge was then to work out the balloon sizing, as my cupcake was much smaller than Dante's! I surprisingly worked out the sizing quite quickly and after only a few attempts my cupcake began to take shape! I cannot tell you how much fun I had creating this design and seeing it grow into the final result! 

Here are photos from each step of building the cupcake:

Balloon Cupcake Base Layer
Base Layer

Balloon Cupcake
View looking into the Cupcake

Second Layer Added

Two Layers of Frosting added

And the final balloon added to fill in the top

Here is the final result and my window display!

I did actually make some changes to Dante's original design. I only use four rings, whereas Dante uses five. This helped me to reduce the size and height of the design to ensure that it was in proportion to the window space that I had available.

Colourful Balloon Cupcake by Sue Bowler
Balloon Cupcake by Sue Bowler - inspired by Dante Longhi

Colourful Balloon Cupcake design by Sue Bowler
Window Display created by Sue Bowler for Qualatex Europe at Spring Fair 2023

If you are interested to learn how to make the smaller cupcake design, email me and I will happily share the sizing, just follow the same construction techniques as shown in Dante's video above! 

A huge thank you to Dante for his incredible talent and for sharing this design! 

I will be sharing my other window displays over the next few weeks! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler