Thursday, July 9, 2015

How to make balloon dreadlocks

Supplies: balloons, an air pump and scissors.
Praveen Gurnani asked me to make Jamaican rastaman cap with dreadlocks. I have never before made rastaman cap. And I never even thought about making dreadlocks (I have straight bold hairstyle for the last couple decades ;) We can make the Jamaican rastaman cap using one of the balloon weaving techniques that we used to make flags or cake. In one of the future instructions I will show how it can be done. In my opinion 
(my inner bold head thinking) the real challenge is to make the dreadlocks. I have a couple of ideas how we can make dreadlocks. And that is what I want to share with you in this instruction. The dreadlocks looks as a snakes or as a caterpillar. There are couple of ways to make caterpillars. I think that we can use one balloon caterpillar body to make the dreadlocks. Inflate a balloon making about 20 - 25 cm bubble with long flat tail (Pic 1).

We are going to twist all bubbles of the same about thumb nail (up to 2 cm) size. Twist the first bubble (Pic 2).

Force the first bubble about 3 cm deep inside of the balloon (Pic 3).

Twist the second bubble (Pic 4). 

Force the second bubble about 3 cm inside of the balloon. Work in this way to make 5 or 6 bubbles. Make sure to keep about 2 cm flat tail at the end of the balloon. Force the last (in this example it is the sixth) bubble inside of the balloon deep enough to cover the last bubble, but nor any deeper (Pic 5).

Use scissors to cut a little hole at end of the balloon (Pic 6).

Deflate the balloon. You have to force the air from the balloon starting from the last bubble (Pic 7). Congratulations, we have made the simplest one balloon caterpillar. Make as many caterpillars as many dreadlocks you want. 

We can make dreadlocks of any length. All you have to do is to attach one caterpillar to another. Let's make the second caterpillar (Pic 8 - 10).

You have to force 5 - 6 bubbles inside of the balloon. Make sure to keep about 2 - 3 cm flat tail at the end of the balloon. In this example I force six yellow bubbles inside of the balloon. Take the first (green) caterpillar (Pic 10).

Force the last (the sixth) green bubble inside of the second (yellow) balloon. Make sure the sixth green bubble is fully covered by the yellow balloon (Pic 11).

Cut a hole at the end of the second (yellow) balloon (Pic 12).

Deflate the second (yellow) balloon starting from the last bubble (Pic 13 and 14).

Congratulations, we have made the dreadlocks! The connection between two balloons is hardly visible if you use the same color balloons (Pic 15). You can make the dreadlocks of any length by attaching as many caterpillar bodies as you want. I think it is important to keep about 1 cm flat tail at the end of the dreadlocks. You can use it to attach dreadlocks to the cap. I work with 260's balloons to make all balloon sculptures. However, for this particular sculpture I would suggest you to use 160's balloons. Please, let me know how it works for you.

There is another, much faster and simpler way to make the dreadlocks. Inflate balloons without making any bubbles! Simply fill balloons with air. The balloons prepared in this way are long enough to represent dreadlocks. And they look good and feels and moves as dreadlocks! I like dreadlocks made in this way better then the caterpillar bodies. I will let you know if I find any other way/s to make dreadlocks. I hope this instruction helps you to make your balloon sculptures. Have fun and happy twisting :)

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