The art of balloon sculpture is one long-established in the world of magic – specifically, those who entertain at children’s birthday parties. While it is an art and can be difficult to master, it is one which certain aspects can be picked up in an hour or two. The results can often seem magical to the layman. As a consequence, aspiring magicians – and people who just want to be able to impress their friends – would be well advised to give it a try.
In order to make balloon sculptures, you will need balloons. A very specific sort of balloon is required for this – Latex Modelling Balloons can withstand a great deal of bending and folding. Fortunately, they are available in packs on the Balloons Galore Online Party Shop and marketed for just such a purpose.
The dog is perhaps the most famous of all balloon animals. Aspirant balloon sculptors learn it first, and for good reason; it is simple to make and can be easily adapted to form other animals, such as the giraffe, sausage dog and mouse, along with a varied bestiary of others. This is just as well, because the dog itself is ubiquitous to the point of cliché and more apt to inspire derisive groans than cheers – everyone’s already seen this one. For this reason, the dog should be viewed only as a starting point toward more interesting variants.
- First inflate the balloon. You do not want to inflate it entirely – leave a couple of inches at the end. If you don’t, the balloon will not be pliant enough to sculpt and it liable to burst.
- Make three twists in the balloon. The first should be two inches from the end, the second about an inch further and the third an inch beyond that. These are, respectively, the snout and ears of the dog.
- Hold the snout against the length of the balloon, so that the two ears are at the end. Now twist the two ears so that they lock into place. You’ve now formed the head of the dog.
- You will now need to form the dog’s neck and front legs. This is done in the same way – make three twists – but make them longer. Around four inches each should suffice. Now hold the balloon in place and twist.
- You can now make the hind legs and tail. Make three twists and then hold the balloon animal so that the two twists are adjacent. Then twist!
- If you’ve done it right, then the result should be a magnificent balloon dog. Congratulations!
Once you’re done all of this – you can begin to expand your repertoire. Perhaps you can give the dog long floppy ears, like a dachshund.
The elephant is basically a dog with a longer nose and bigger ears. It is made in almost exactly the same way as its cousin and will require much of the same fold and lock twists. If you wish to experiment, then you can create other animals, like giraffes, in much the same way.
The monkey is a dog-variation which is distinct in that it can be made to cling to a suitable pole – usually in the form of another balloon – just like a real monkey would cling to a tree! For this reason alone they are guaranteed to please sceptical children, who can easy hold them up and carry them around.
The poodle, as one might expect, is a variation on the dog – though the method through which it is created is distinct enough that the poodle should merit its own category. Unlike its more traditional cousin, the poodle is extremely difficult to make and so should only be attempted by advanced balloon artists.
The swan is different to the dog and so requires some further explanation. The trickiest part comes from getting the curvature of the beak correct – this will come with practice!
You will need to first make two twists – the first about an inch from the end of the balloon, the second around four inches beyond that. Now twist the whole thing around to form a three-balloon twist. This is the swan’s tail.
For the neck, you will need to temporarily curl the remainder of the balloon up. The severity of the curve will depend on how long you hold it for. It is important to get this right – too long and the swan will look as though it is decrepit, not long enough and it will not look like a swan at all.