Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Simple ways to DIY balloon animals

Have you ever been to the circus and seen the balloon artists who were strategically stationed around the tent entrances and exits, catching guests as they walked in and out? Those amazingly patient and quick-handed folks who would fold and flip a tube-like balloon for a second or two, and in a flash, hand you the requested lion or puppy you (or your child) asked them for? If you’re anything like us, you probably have a fond memory or two of receiving a balloon animal as a child. Those balloon pets were precious, and you’d watch frantically as each day, the helium became less, and your pet got smaller. Or maybe you were one of the unlucky ones whose pet did not make it long before bursting from overfill, connecting with a sharp object, or malfunctioning.

Balloon animals with drawn faces and googly eyes
Ольга Бережна /Pixabay

Artists wanted

Having that kind of joy again and passing it on to your children is a wonderful way to connect as parents to your children, as well as having some fun while you’re at it. If you have been thinking about learning how to craft your own kings of the jungle or couch surfers, then we have some product suggestions and even a few practical tips and tricks on how to become a successful, at-home balloon artist. Before jumping right into the art of crafting balloon animals, there are a few key things we’d like you to keep in mind.

Quality matters

This is the main component — especially in the process of balloon-animal-making — so you want to be sure to purchase a high-quality balloon. Thickness plays a large role in how well a balloon will be able to be twisted and its shape manipulated before breaking. This is not the product to be frugal with, as even the tiniest of thin material can cause breakage. The best size of a balloon to use is 260Q. This will be referenced in any balloons you purchase when making balloon animals. If you are looking for a great starter kit that gives aspiring balloon artists some great foundational products to get them started, consider purchasing this kit, found on Amazon for under $30.

Pump it up!

As a beginner artist, an elaborate setup is not really needed to make simple balloon animals from the comfort of your own home — and purchasing an electric pump isn’t, either. Simple is best for beginners, as it makes the steps easier to follow and less convoluted. We recommend finding a hand pump that is comfortable to use and that can be run without batteries. These simple, manual hand pumps are a great starter option because they require no additional equipment for usage. They also allow beginner artists the chance to feel each balloon as it’s filled — slowly. This gives them a better opportunity to observe how full it should be when it’s ready for action. For the best and most practical value, we recommend looking into the all-in-one kit mentioned above, which includes everything needed to get you on your way of spreading joy to all your kiddos.

Read up on it

While this may seem as a given to most, some may not understand the art of balloon-animal-making is not as simple as it may look. Though it doesn’t require nearly as much work as other artists have to place into their craft, some guidance and practice are needed for long-term success. Taking the time needed to prep yourself with research will go a long way in how quickly you develop the skills needed to build quality animals out of rubber. We recommend you find as many books, manuals, tutorials, or videos as possible so that you can read/watch multiple times for reference and practice. This book by Qualatex offers readers fun ideas on different kinds of animals to make.

Don’t just sit there, do it!

Once you have read, watched videos, and purchased all the necessary products and equipment for balloon-animal-making, get out there and get your feet wet doing just that! Like so many other hobbies and activities, it will take a beginner some time to become proficient in the art of balloon-animal-making. Don’t be afraid to make some mistakes, as they are quite possibly the best learning tools in being successful in any endeavor, not just balloon-animal-making. No great artist, inventor, or creator ever did so flawlessly. It’s through these mistakes that the greater lessons are learned, the ones that make you stop and think before continuing.

Editors' Recommendations

Emily Pidgeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Emily's work has appeared in the Tube City Almanac, Tube City Online and our Affinity Sites. When she's not writing, she is…
5 fun games for kids to play when it’s snowing outside
Ways to keep the kids entertained when it's snowing outside
Kids enjoying snow as an outdoor activity

Whether you’re just getting a light dusting or an all-out blizzard, if it’s snowing in your neck of the woods, chances are the kids are ready to play. With Christmas break upon us, having some fun games for kids to play when it's snowing outside is a great way to keep them busy and active both indoors and out. Whether they’re bouncing off the walls during a snow day or just heading outdoors for some snow-time fun, here are five fun snow games for your kids to play.

Indoor snow day games
While most kids really want to get outdoors when it’s snowing, sometimes it’s just not possible, whether due to a lack of available supervision, bad weather conditions, or something else. When that’s the case, let the kids have some fun away from their screens with a few indoor snow day games.

Read more
Follow these kid sledding safety tips if they plan on going out this winter
Go over these sledding safety tips before the first snowfall hits
A group of children running across the snow carrying sleds

One of the best ways to make winter fun for the entire family is to embrace the colder weather and snow and spend playtime outdoors. One of the most enjoyable activities kids love to do during the winter is to go sledding. It also could be one of the most dangerous, too. Sledding safety is important for everyone involved because while sledding is a great way for kids to spend the day outdoors, it's important to know how to keep everyone safe.

It may be hard to believe, but on average over 20,000 children under the age of 19 are treated in hospitals every year for sledding-related injuries, according to a study done by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Follow these kid sledding safety tips to make your trip to the family's favorite hill an enjoyable and safe one.

Read more
5 winter crafts for kids to make when they’re bored and stuck indoors
Too cold for sledding? Then do these winter crafts for kids
Adorable felt snowman craft

There is definitely a "sweet spot" when it comes to winter weather. It's either time to embrace your inner Queen Elsa and truly enjoy all the cold weather and the snow have to offer, or it's so frigid that everyone would be happier indoors. But no matter the weather, you can still have fun and enjoy the winter season.

Coming up with new, fun, and easy winter crafts for the kids is one way to keep them from being bored if you're stuck indoors. If you've been looking for some new inspiration to step up your craft game during the winter season, try these winter crafts for kids on your next snow day.

Read more