Saturday, March 9, 2013

How to make balloon column

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Materials: balloons, scissors and an air pump.
This instruction was prompted by a question from Lymari Aguirre, a balloon twister from Puerto Rico, who emailed me a photo and asked how to make a chain (a part of a bigger sculpture) shown on the photo. I don't know origin of the photo and I don't have online link to the photo. So, there is nothing that I can refer you to show what the original sculpture was. However, let me reassure you that this instruction fully answered the question. Big smile of the kid holding the sculpture confirmed it. 

Many thanks for the question and for the photos. I am glad that I was able to help. The chain in questions was made with at least six balloons of the same color. For purpose of this instruction we are going to use different color balloons. Inflate all six balloons leaving about three-inch flat tail (Pic 1). Basically we are going to make this chain in the same fashion as it was described in previously published instructions "Arch 2, Chain 2, Hat 7" and "Arch 3, Chain 3". The main difference is the number of sets we use to make the chain. Back then we used two sets of balloons.

Make three sets of two balloons in each set. I am going to use one color balloons to make each set. Tie nuzzles of two balloons of the same color in one knot (Pic 2 and 3). We have made the first (yellow) set.


Make the second (red) set of two balloons. Place the second set on top of the first set (Pic 4). You have to hold both sets in one hand at the center.

Make the third (pink) set of two balloons. Place the third set on the top of the second set (Pic 5).

Fold the yellow balloons (the first set) together and hold them in one hand at the spot where you are going to twist the first yellow bubbles (Pic 6).

Twist and lock the first yellow bubbles in one motion (Pic 7). We are going to twist all bubbles of the same about six-inch size.

Fold the red balloons together (Pic 8).

Twist and lock the first red bubbles in one motion (Pic 9).

Fold the pink balloons together. Twist and lock the first pink bubbles in one motion. We have made  the first link of the chain (Pic 9 through 11).



We work the rest of the sculpture in the same fashion as described above (Pic 12 and 13). We can finish the sculpture at any time. Just cut off the rest of the balloons and tie of the ends. As well, we can make the sculpture of any large size. Just add new sets of balloons as you need it. I am going to keep the ends of the balloons. It may help you to understand how the sculpture and the color pattern is done. As you can see in this example we made straight lines color pattern.


The chain is very flexible and sturdy. We can use it to make poles, arches, hats, parts of body and etc (Pic 14).

Here is example of the same sculpture made with all six balloons of the same color (Pic 15 and 16). It creates optical illusion. Depending on how you perceive the sculpture you may see straight lines pattern or spiral pattern. 


Here is an example of sculpture with more obvious spiral color pattern. Here I use six balloons of two colors. Each set of balloons made of two colors (pink and blue). I keep the same color balloons together on one side. You can see how I have arranged colors in each set by looking at the ends of the balloons at the end of the sculpture (Pic 17 through 19).



So far, we have made three color patterns (Pic 20). We can make many more different color patterns. It is important to understand that we can use more than three sets of balloons and more than two balloons in one set to make chains in the same fashion. Also, we can use sets with different number of balloons in each set. I suggest you to try it, or you can wait for me to make instruction. There are so many different variations of chains that we can create in this fashion that I simply can not mention all of them in one instruction. 

Among all color patterns the spiral pattern is one of the most interesting in my opinion. Most certainly, it deserves our attention. In following example I am going to use twelve balloons to make a chain. Make three sets of four balloons in each set. I am going to use four colors to make each set: blue, yellow, pink and red (Pic 21).

Place the second set of four balloons (the same colors) on top of the first set (Pic 22).

Place the third set of four balloons (the same colors) on top of the second set (Pic 23). It is important to place balloons of the same color on top of each other. We are going to make the sculpture working exactly in the same fashion as we did previously. Now it is time to decide in what direction you want the spiral to go (clockwise or counterclockwise).

Fold together balloons of the first set and hold them in one hand at the spot where you want to twist the first bubbles. Once again, it is important for this color pattern to keep the same color balloons together on the same side (Pic 24).

Twist the first bubbles of the first set (Pic 25 and 26). It should be enough to make one full turn to complete the twist. Again, make sure to place the same color balloons on top of each other. We are going to twist all bubbles of the same about six-inch size.


Fold together balloons of the second set (Pic 27). Keep the same color balloons together on one side following the same direction.

Twist the first bubbles of the second set (Pic 28).

Fold together balloons of the third set. Twist the first bubbles of the third set. We have made the first link of the chain (Pic 29 and 30).


Twist the rest of the sculpture in the same fashion (Pic 31 through 35). Once again, we can add more balloons to make long chain or we can cut off the rest of the balloons and tie off the ends at any time. I am going to keep the ends of the balloons.





In the following example I cut off the ends of the balloons (Pic 36). It is done in simple order. First we cut off the ends of one set of balloons. Twist the last bubbles of the next set. Cut off the ends of this set of balloons. Twist the last bubbles of the last set of balloons. Cut off the rest of the last set of balloons.

As I have mentioned previously, we can make sculpture with any number of balloons in a set. Well, it may get tricky to twist too many balloons in one motion. You may need to use more than two hands to make it. Or you can twist each balloon separately and then lock them. In the following example I use three sets of six balloons of six (rainbow) colors: yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and red (Pic 37 through 41). Work this sculpture in exactly the same fashion as we did the previous sculpture with three sets of four balloons. Also, in this example I keep ends of the last set of balloons, just for fun. Have fun and happy twisting :)




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