Party Decoration DIY: Simple Balloon Arch
BALLOONS ARE THE NEW BLACK, PEOPLE!
Yes, confetti balloons have been around for a little while, and still going strong. But balloon arrangements, arches and installations are truly #trending.
I'm not one to love DIY, but I also didn't want to spend the cash on outsourcing. So I drew some inspiration from online, consulted some DIY party decoration pro's, and got to it.
I was aiming for a freeform arch-type thing, to form as a backdrop for my cake table. Here's how I did it:
YOU WILL NEED:
- Balloons - I used about 80 balloons in 2 different sizes, mostly standard 28cm balloons, with about 4-5 40cm ones thrown in for 'depth'. My colour palette was bright and fun, so I chose balloons to match.
- Balloon pump - this is a MUST. They're only about $10, and will save from episodes of hyperventilation.
- Elastic - this elastic was 6mm wide by 8m long. I actually first tried this by cutting up a theraband (you know, those elastic resistance bands), but it kept breaking, so I went to Kmart and splurged on actual elastic. It set me back a mere $5
- Sticky dots - these are the BOMB! They're perfect for filling in the gaps with little balloons, to hide the incredibly sophisticated elastic mechanics of your balloon structure. These were $4 from Big W.
- 3M hooks - I only used two, as it was a simple shape I was creating, but you can use more hooks if your installation is more horizontal, or if you're making it a specific shape. I used the medium sized hooks that hold about 1kg each.
The reason this particular balloon arch is so simple is because it's a simple shape 'adhered' to a wall. If you're after a more complex shape that goes between two walls, or you need something more rigid, you'll have to construct something from chicken wire (or similar). Unfortunately, if my version required a trip to Bunnings, it probably wouldn't have happened. #notahandywoman.
STEP 1: Tie elastic in loops.
Grab your elastic, sit in front of the TV (This Is Us was my show of choice) and tie loops, leaving a gap of about 4cm in between each loop. This will start off a bit shonky, but trust me it will get easier. Don't worry about it being TOO precise; this is what it should look like.
Step 2: Mount your hooks
This might require a bit of imagination. I simply put one hook up near the ceiling where I wanted it to start, then put the other to the opposite side of the dessert table. If you're 'framing' something using the balloon arch (I was framing the cake table), it helps to have the piece of furniture there so you're not guessing. The 3M hooks can obviously be removed, but it's a hassle that I wanted to avoid.
After you mount your second hook, or however many you might need, then test it by popping the elastic on. Pop the first loop of your elastic on the top hook, then guide the elastic down and pop another loop on the second hook. The trick is here is to not have the tension too tight. Don't let it hang, but don't stretch it out either.
You can do this step after you've constructed the first little bit of the arch, so you can see how bulky the arch might be. This is the tactic I used:
Step 3: Mark out positions
While your elastic is in its place, take a sharpie and put a mark on the loop that will sit on a hook (so you don't put a balloon in it). Also, if you're like me and are using different sized balloons, mark out where you think they should go. I only had 4-5 large balloons, so I marked out loops evenly along the elastic, so I'd know to use a larger balloon.
Step 4: Inflate your balloons
It's up to you whether you want to inflate all of your balloons at once, or to inflate and attach them to the elastic, one by one. I did it one by one because Chewie (our pooch) was getting a little scared with balloons flying around.
To attach your balloons, take an inflated balloon and pull the knot through a loop of elastic. Start at one end, and alternate your colours (depending on your colour palette). After a few balloons, this is what it will look like:
Don't worry if there's gaps, these will be filled up by smaller balloons later on.
Keep attaching your balloons, alternating colours and sizes (if desired), until all of the loops have been filled.
Step 5: Mount the balloon arch
Take your first free loop and attach it to the top hook. Next, carefully guide the balloon arch downward and attach your second free loop to the second hook. If it's a bit hard for your free loop to reach the hook, get some more elastic or string and extend the free loop so it reaches. This is what I did as my 'mounting loop' was too short.
Step 6: Fill in the gaps
Here you can have a little fun filling in any gaps you see. You don't really want anyone to see the elastic, so to fix this, you can partially inflate some balloons and stick them to the balloon arch with sticky dots. Simply take one of the partially inflated balloons, line it up to where you want it to be, and put sticky dots on two places that the little balloon can stick to surrounding balloons.
Note: sticky dots can be a little tricky. I used partially inflated pearl finish balloons, and the sticky dots didn't stick to them. They did, however, stick to the standard finish surrounding balloons, so I carefully stuck the dots on there and pushed the pearl finish balloons onto the sticky dots. It worked perfectly.
Don't be afraid to have fun with this step; I've seen flowers, foliage, tassels and more put in the gaps! Just make sure they're adhered properly so you don't have anything falling on guests or desserts during the party!
THERE YOU GO! Overall the balloon arch took me about 3 hours. 1 hour to tie the elastic (in front of the TV), then a couple of hours inflating, adhering and mounting the balloons.
I was actually pretty proud of the end product, seeing that I'm so DIY-adverse. I guess that means that if I can pull it off, then anyone can!!
Need more party planning tips? Then join me on my 30th Birthday Party Planning Adventure!!