How To Impress With A Balloon Arch At Your Next Kid’s Party
by Ann Mifsud
Balloon arches will turn your usual party decor at home into an impressive experience for all your guests. At first glance they seem very complex to make, but in actual fact they are quite easy to create. If you want to give an imposing impression to your party environment, go for a balloon arch.
Standard balloon arches can be made from air or helium-filled balloons. They can be set up from 2 to 5 days in advance and some 104, 11 inch (28cm) balloons are needed to assemble a 20 feet (6m) long arch. It will cost between $10 to $20 per linear foot (30cm) to commission a ready-made one, but it will get much less expensive if you learn how to do it yourself.
Here, we will show you what you need to know so that you can include an enchanting balloon arch as part of the decorations for your child’s next party, even if you have never done it before. We will go through the different patterns of balloon arches and how they are made. We will reveal how you can easily calculate the number of balloons needed for the (most common) 4-cluster balloon arch. Prolonging the longevity of this decorative structure is also another point we will be expanding on, together with the approximate cost you need to budget for.
Contents in this article
Standard balloon arches can be as simple as to one-color arrangement to a patterned one. The most common patterns for a balloon arch are the spiral and the flower.
How do you make a balloon arch?
Some balloon arches are made of helium-filled balloons so that the floating balloons will form the arch. However, regular air-filled balloons can be easily used to form an arch even without a stand or without it leaning to a wall. Here’s how…
Then if you wish to build a spiral patterned balloon arch, this is how you go about it…
And this is how a flower pattered balloon arch is done…
How many balloons do you need for a balloon arch?
First you need to know the length of the arch from one end to the other. We suggest one of these two methods.
Use some PVC pipe/s to get an idea of how big you want your balloon arch to be. Bend the pipe to form an arch in the same place you wish your balloon arch to be set up. See how it looks and if you’re happy with its size, measure the whole length of the PVC pipe that was used. (Later on you can use the same PVC pipe as a stand for your arch. This is highly advisable if you’ll be setting up the balloon arch outside where it can become windy or where you’ll be having kids – or adults – running around in close vicinity.)
Alternatively, you can get a rough idea by measuring the height and width of the arch you need in the following manner…
1. If you want a wide balloon arch, just add the height and the width of the area where the arch is to stand to get the approximate total length of the balloon arch.
2. If then a round balloon arch is what you need, multiply the height by 1.5 and add it to the width.
3. To make a balloon arch that is substantially taller than it’s wide, add twice the height to the width, to get a good estimate of the length of the balloon arch you require.
A balloon arch can be made from clusters, each consisting of four balloon tied to each other (see videos above).
So next, to determine how many balloons you need for your arch, divide the length (either in inches or cm) with the diameter of the balloons you have chosen (also in inches or cm). By that you have calculated the number of clusters needed to complete the balloon arch. Then, multiply the result by 4 – the number of balloons in each cluster. We recommend to add a 20% to this result, to make sure you have a compact balloon arch.
So for instance, if you need a 25 feet arch using small 5 inch balloons…
1. Length of the arch in inches = 25’ x 12” = 300”
2. Divide total length with the diameter of balloon = 300” ÷ 5” = 60 clusters
3. Multiply the clusters by 4 balloons = 60 x 4 = 240 balloons
4. Add 20% to the total = 240 x 120% = 288 balloons
To take another example, let say an arch of 12 meters is required, utilizing 11” (28cm) balloons…
1. Length of the arch in cm = 12m x 100 = 1200cm
2. Divide total length with the diameter of balloon = 1200cm ÷ 28cm = 42 clusters
3. Multiply the clusters by 4 balloons = 42 x 4 = 168 balloons
4. Add 20% to the total = 168 x 120% = 200 balloons (approx.)
The standard sizes in diameter of the balloons are, the 5”, 9”, 11”, 14” or 16”. Having said that, you can decide to blow 11” balloons up to, say, 10”. Needless to say you would need to work out the above formula accordingly.
If you’re still unsure how to calculate the amount of balloons you need, we’ve worked out the total number for a handful of balloon arch lengths.
Total Balloon Arch Length
Total Balloons Needed For Clustered Arch
How do I make sure my balloons are the same size?
Cut out a circle in the middle of a piece of cardboard the size you want your balloons to be. Then when you start pumping them up, check that they fit the hole you made before you tie them up.
How many days in advance can I make a balloon arch?
You can prepare your balloon arch from 2 to 5 days before the event, adhering to some advice below. It is a generally known fact that balloons deteriorate as time passes. You can however, prolong the longevity of your balloons by taking note of these 5 factors:
1. Balloon Type
Latex balloons begin to break down immediately as soon as they are inflated since they are a natural biodegradable product. Foil (mylar) balloons will last a lot longer. The flip side however is that the latter can damage more the environment once they’re disposed of and are much more expensive.
2. Size of Balloon
Larger balloons tend to deflate at a much lesser rate than smaller ones. So if you can, go for bigger balloons.
3. Gas used to fill the balloons
Though helium-filled balloons can create a spectacular overall effect to your balloon arch, it will not last long. No matter what kind of material you choose for your balloons helium will leak out. Air-filled balloons will surely last longer.
4. Balloon Treatments
Usually latex balloons are made to last longer by applying one of two treatments or both. Hi-Float is applied on the inside to seal off pores in the latex and thus slowing down air leakage. Balloon Shine silicone spray is applied on the outside of the balloon to protect it from UV rays, thus slowing down oxidation (decomposition).
5. The conditions the balloons are exposed to
As a rule of thumb one could say that balloons do best in the same type of environment that people are comfortable with. The worst you can do to shorten the life of your balloon arch is to expose it to direct sunlight and outside air. In these conditions balloons will only survive for a few hours. Thus it is advisable that you take out your balloon arch in the late afternoon or early evening. As said above, you can lengthen how good balloons will look by applying treatments. Also, foil balloons are more resistant to outdoor environments than latex ones. On the other hand, you can comfortably prepare your balloon arch from 2 to 5 days before if you are keeping it inside, out of direct sunlight and in cool, stable temperature. If you want to be extra safe, you can air fill the balloons and store them in large, clean plastic bags and assemble the arch later. (These Hi-float balloon transport bags are designed to allow balloons treated with Hi-Float to dry properly.) As said above, this is not to be done if you’re opting to fill your balloons with helium.
Consequently, your best take is to go for foil, treated, air-filled, large balloons kept indoors.
What is the cost of a balloon arch?
If you’re going for a balloon arch you have three options:
1. Buy a ready made balloon arch from a decor company;
2. Buy a balloon arch kit and assemble it yourself;
3. Do it yourself from scratch (as detailed above) – you just need to buy the balloons.
Needless to say, the first option is the most expensive but it will save you a lot of hassle especially on the day, since most companies will deliver the balloon arch themselves and set it up wherever is needed, without you having to raise a finger. Most balloon decor companies will have some sort of balloon arch pricing guide available. Having gone through quite a number of balloon companies price lists, this is how much they charge, on average, for standard air-filled latex balloon arch…
Balloon Arch Length
Be aware that some companies can charge additional fees, such as, delivery charges, extra charges for setting outdoors and for after-normal-working-hours delivery. Some companies will still deliver balloon arches that are commissioned at short notice, but you can expect some additional $50 fee.
For the second alternative you can choose from the many options that are available for some $35. You will have all the accessories included, together with an instruction flyer. These balloon arch kits are also reusable.
Thirdly, may wish to build your balloon arch yourself as explained in detail above. This will not only save you money, but it will also give you some great satisfaction, especially if it is something you never did before and you wish to try it out. Any kind of latex balloons will do the job, but we found that Qualatex are excellent! Remember that you might need an electric air inflator or a hand held air pump and a balloon tying tool as well.
Concluding thoughts about balloon arches
We have walked you through most of what you need to know about setting up a balloon arch at your next event at home. We have focused on standard balloon arches and guided you on what you need in order to accomplish the project, amongst which, the number of balloons you need according to the length of the desired arch, how much in advance it is recommended to set it up, how to increase its longevity and what are the approximate costs involved.
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Hi I'm Ann Mifsud!
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