Friday, July 17, 2015

How to blow balloons


I want to answer a couple of common questions. Should you use an air pump to inflate balloons or should you blow balloons with your mouth. And what kind of an air pump should you buy.
There is an official warning on each bag of balloons:
Children under 8 years can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons...

I assume that you are older then 8 years and therefore balloons are not chocking hazard for you anymore. And I am sure, you are not crazy enough to choke or suffocate yourself with balloons. Should you use an air pump to inflate balloons? Yes. Never put balloons in your mouth. Always inflate balloons using an air pump. The reason to use an air pump for inflating balloons is much simpler than choking hazard.

Let's do a simple experiment. Inflate a balloon leaving about 2 -3 cm flat tail. I use 260's balloons. You can use balloons of any size, any color, and any brand. Make any size bubble closer to the end of the balloon. Take scissors. We are going to cut off the flat end of the balloon. As soon as you cut the flat end the air will escape from the balloon making a cloud of dust. The dust comes from inside of the balloon! This dust is a special coating or powder (talc) that prevents flat balloons from sticking to each other. It also prevents inner walls of each balloon from sticking. Balloons of all size and colors of all brands come fully covered with this dust. Even if you simply hold inflated balloons in your hands for 10 - 20 minutes your hands get dusty! The entire balloon - inside and outside of each balloon is coated with powder/dust/talc. I don't know if it's harmful or not. I am not sure if it does any good for you to eat this powder. All I know this powder does not test good and it is not a part of my diet. Never put balloons in your mouth. Period. Always inflate balloons with an air pump.

You can inflate balloons using any air pump. Of course there are air pumps designed specifically to inflate balloons. There are two major types of air pumps: electrical and mechanical. The portable electrical air pumps are the most expensive. They may cost you a couple hundreds of dollars. Usually they come with set of different size inflators (tips) to fit different size balloons. You can use portable electrical air pump to inflate any size balloons starting from the smallest 160's and up including round balloons of any size.

Should you buy an electrical air pump? You need an electrical air pump (or an assistant :) if you have to inflate on regular basis a lot of balloons in limited time. Consider this: you have to inflate a couple of bags (a couple hundred) of balloons in one hour. Using mechanical air pump you will get physically tired before you get half of those balloons done. And you will have no time to make any balloon sculptures! Should you work under such conditions more then one hour - you will have to get the electrical air pump and it better comes with an assistant.

All balloon twisters use mechanical air pumps. There are two types of mechanical air pumps: single action and dual actions. The single action air pump works only when you move the pump in one direction (pull or push). The dual action air pump works every time you push or pull the air pump. Therefore, you can inflate a balloon with the dual action air pumps twice as faster than with the single action air pump.

 There are many different design and different size air pumps. I used to work with a large stationary air pump designed to work with 260's balloons - it was too large for my test and hard to care around.
About eight years back, (in 2007) I purchased a couple dozens of professional grade dual action air pumps Qualatex designed to work with 260's balloons. Back then I pay about $4 - 5 for each air pump. It was and is my favorite air pump (purple). I've been using them through all those years to inflate hundreds if not thousands bags of balloons. I let many thousands people of different age use my pumps at free balloon twisting workshops. The air pumps never let me down. I still have all of them in GOOD WORKING condition - it says all about the quality. The pump made of plastic. And it can break if you bend it. It has air holes on both ends of the tube. The air gets inside of the pump through those holes. You should never block the air holes. I use this air pump to inflate all size balloons starting from 160's and up including round balloons of different sizes. It takes about 1 or 2 minutes to inflate a punch ball using this pump. However, it's not designed for this size balloons - you have to fold the nozzle of the punch ball to seal it on the inflator. It's also hard to fit nozzle of 160's balloon on this inflator - it is designed for 260's! Occasionally you can do it. Though if you work a lot with 160's balloons then you should buy a pocket size air pump designed to work with 160's. The same brand works well.

Where to buy air pumps? The same place where you buy balloons. The same distributors sell balloons and all kind of air pumps and accessories. You can find list of official balloon distributors on websites of balloon making companies. In USA: Qualatex (or pioneer balloon company) and Betallic (betallatex). You can always find some better deals online. Just remember the rule number one and only the rule: never put balloons in your mouth. Use air pump to inflate balloons.
Have fun and happy twisting :)

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