Friday, March 1, 2013

Checkered balloon flag


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Materials: balloons; scissors and an air pump.
This tutorial was prompted by comment of YouTube user gbknipify "Now I have to figure out how to make it checkered for a finish line". It may seems simple, but it took me a while to find the solution. And I already see many use for it. Hope you will enjoy it too. Previously we have used different kind of fabrics to make many flags. To make this checkered flag, we have to take different approach. According to wikipedia  "There is no standard design for the checkered flag". It can be square or rectangular shape of any size. It makes it easier for us to make the flag. The challenge is to make the checkered pattern using the fewest number of balloons without cutting them. For purpose of this tutorials we are going to use two black and two white balloons. We will make rectangular shape with sides four by six bubbles . However, as you will see later, it is easy to make smaller size rectangular shape with sides two by four bubbles using just one white and one black balloon. We are going to twist all bubbles soft and of the same about one and half-inch size. Inflate balloons leaving about eight-inch flat tail (Pic 1).

Twist the first and the second bubbles (Pic 2).

Lock all ends of the first two (the first and the second) bubbles in one lock twist (Pic 3). We have made the first pair of bubbles. We are going to use each balloon to twist total of six pairs or twelve bubbles in this example.

We have to make flat spare space between pairs of bubbles. Squeeze the balloon to force the air about two-inch away from the first pair of bubbles. Place three or four fingers between the first pair of bubbles and the rest of the balloon (Pic 4).

Twist the third and the fourth bubbles (Pic 5). It is important to keep the flat spare space between pairs of bubbles. Stretch the spare space slightly to prevent self-inflation. Also, you have to hold fingers between pairs of bubbles while you working with them. 


Lock all ends of the last two (the third and the fourth) bubble in one lock twist (Pic 6). We have made the second pair of bubbles.

You can see the spare flat space between pairs if you stretch the pairs apart slightly (Pic 7).

Work the rest of the balloon in the same fashion. Squeeze the balloon to force the air about two-inch
away from the last pair of bubbles. Place three or four fingers between the last pair of bubbles and the rest of the balloon (Pic 8).

Twist the fifth and the sixth bubbles. Lock all ends of the last two bubbles in one lock twist. We have made the third pair of bubbles (Pic 9).

Squeeze the balloon to force the air about two-inch away from the third pair of bubbles. Place 3 or 4 fingers between the third pair of bubbles and the rest of the balloon (Pic 10).

In this example I hold three fingers between the third pair of bubbles while I twist the seventh and the eighth bubbles (Pic 11 and 12).


Work the rest of the balloon to make total of twelve bubbles or six pairs (Pic 13).

Cut off the rest of the balloon and tie off the end (Pic 14).

Once again, we can see the spare flat spaces between pairs only if we stretch the balloon (Pic 15).

Prepare two black and two white balloons working them in the same fashion as described above (Pic 16 and 17).


We are going to use spare flat space between pairs of bubbles to connect balloons to each other. I am going to start by placing the first black pair of bubbles at the top left corner. Place the first white pair of bubbles directly below it (Pic 18).

Stretch the spare space between first pairs of bubbles and the second pairs of bubbles. Lock the balloons. Alternate the sides. Place the second white pair in the top row. Place the second black pair in the second row (Pic 19). It is simpler and faster to make small size rectangle working in this fashion using just one black and one white balloon. We can make the rectangle with sides two by four bubbles. 

We are going to make rectangle with sides four by six bubbles. Attach the first pair of the second black balloon (Pic 20). Attaching balloons at the center of the spare flat space could be a bit hard if it's short. I suggest to make the connection slightly to the left side. This way it would be easier to connect next pairs.

Attach the first pair of the second white balloon (Pic 21). We have made the first column.

Remember to alternate colors to make the checkered pattern (Pic 22 through 27).

Fix all bubbles in proper positions. In this example each bubble has short and long side. I fix all bubbles in the same direction. The long side of each bubbles goes along the long side of the rectangle. Congratulations, we have made the flag with sides four by six bubbles (Pic 23).




In following example I cut out flag between the fourth and the fifth column to make two flags Pic 28).

The smaller part has sides two by four bubbles. The long side of each bubble goes along the short side of the flag (Pic 29). It is an example of two balloons sculpture.

And the larger part has sides four by four bubbles. The long side of each bubble goes along the long side of the flag (Pic 30). In this example, the four by four sides does not make the square shape! Also, we can make very large size sculptures working in this fashion. Though, I think it would make more sense to connect set of two balloons and then use flat balloons to connect all sets. Have fun and happy twisting :)
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