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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.

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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…
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