To get the longest life out of your latex balloons, they should be stored away from extreme temperatures (hot or cold) and away from light.Storing Uninflated Balloons So They Last
"Correct Change: For the traveler who can't get their lire and pounds straight, Magellan's offers the Five-Pocket Pouch by Baggallini. Each pocket has a different colored zipper so you can store a different currency in each pocket. Carry your marks in the blue pocket, francs in the orange pocket and be currency correct on the road. $9.85. 1-800-962-4943."
(Remember, five pockets can easily separate 10 colors, if you store a light and dark color together). The pouch is 5 by 7 inches, with two pockets on one side, and three on the other. It weighs 1 ounce. Shipping costs are an additional $3.95, but that covers shipping for however many of these you would wish to order. http://www.bonaventuretravel.com/store.html
Take your nylon cord and roughly measure around yourself. Attach one side of the snap to one end and then slide each of the colors onto the cord by sliding the nylon cord through the center of the geo. When you have all the colors, attach the other half of the snap to the other end of the cord, and you now have a great way to keep balloons around your middle. When you need one, just grab the nozzle end and give a tug. The balloons will slip out easily. It looks very colorful, and you can easily walk around when twisting. I can fit about 16 different colors around my waist and still have access to them. It also shows those waiting in line what colors you have available. It also helps me find the dark colors quickly. The dark ones next to blue are purple. The dark next to white are black and the dark ones next to yellow are green. I wear this both twisting as "Buttons" and twisting as myself.
______________________________________________________ [X]________________| |___________________[X] |__~__.__~__.__~__| |__~__|__~__|__~__| |__~__|__~__|__~__| |__~__|__~__|__~__| | | | ^ | | | | | | !_____!_____!__|__! | front | | | | | _ | || _ <----+-------+-- typical location of loop ||| _ <---' of colored satin ribbon |||| _ ||||| ||||| ||||| side (shown before stitching together)I make my own aprons out of black trigger (a cotton - polyester blend) which is very washable, doesn't need to be ironed and wears like iron. The dimension of the bottom layer is 21 by 15, the next layer is 21 by 13, then down one and one half inch increments. I make five layers of pockets, then sew through all five layers, dividing the pockets into seven inches wide (outline the apron and layers with double wide bias tape). That way I can get my hand in them to load and unload easily. My 260's are in the top two layers, two colors to a pocket (a light color and a dark color). I load the balloons long wise with the nozzle end sticking up, about one to two inches protruding from the pocket. Fifty of each color will fit easily. This leaves three layers for specialty balloons, tip pocket, trash pocket, and pocket magic... or whatever. I make these for my clown friends out of their clown costume fabric. For the first apron, I made four inch pockets, but I had a hard time getting my hands in and out of them. So, now, I go six to seven inches wide at least. I also make a little teeny pocket for business cards, and a small scissors pocket. I don't have the hand strength to break them like a lot of you guys do, so I carry a little pair of Fiskars children's scissors with me. I also put a piece of Bounce (dryer sheet) in one pocket because it is VERY dry here and static builds up fast.
"But Wait!!!!" you're saying. "Where do the 260's go????"
That's the unique part. I HATE trying to find the color I want, even when the balloons are sorted two or three colors to a pocket. So, I buy solid color bags, and keep them separated on my apron.
The best way I've found to do this is to put 50-60 of each color through the center hole of a 6" geo blossom. Pearl tones work best, they seem to be able to handle the stress of stretching over the 260's better than the jewel tones. This also allows me to "Label" the dark colors - I use a light green blossom to hold the green 260's, a pearl lavender for purple, and so on. I use white blossoms for black, and clear for brown. I have found this eliminates searching for the color I want, and trying to guess green from black from sapphire. I also use a blossom to hold my 130's and another for my 350's.
To attach the blossoms to my apron, I tie two 350's together to make a long elastic cord. I tie the ends of this to the straps of the apron, so the 350 band stretches across the front of the apron. Then I tie the neck of each of the geo- blossoms to this band, spacing them about 2" apart. The resulting apron looks like a GIANT KOOSH, but that's part of my look.
I have found that I can spend 1 hour "loading" my apron this way, but I have enough balloons to last 12-16 hours of restaurant work. The only drawback is that, when you have fewer than 10 balloons left in a blossom, they tend to fall out on their own. Otherwise, I love this system, and customers are amazed at the variety of balloons I have.
The Creation Station
Bucket O' Balloons
The bucket is a 5 gallon white paint bucket fastened to a 1" wooden dowel that is fastened to a round piece of particle board. You could go into Michaels Arts & Crafts and purchase one of the their ready- to-finish bird houses and replace the bird house with the bucket. I painted the dowel and bottom piece dark blue.
For the color pouches, I used felt squares 10-20 cents each at craft or fabric stores. I cut them to about 3 1/2" wide and 7"(finished length) long with the bottom of the pouch folded up to about 5".
I drilled holes in the pouches and the bucket and have strung 8 different colored pouches on the outside of the bucket and the remaining pouches inside the bucket.
Inside the bucket is also room for my keys and personal items at the bottom, pumps for 260's and 130's, business cards, and balloon straws that I put all scupltures (except for hats) on. The balloon bucket is quite an attraction in a restaurant. I pick it up from the dowel and set is down next to their table. I reach in and select whatever color balloon they desire, a business card or coloring page, and depending on the location, a small magic trick or two. While I'm inflating or twisting, the bucket is nearby but not the most important part of my entertaining. I usually have a few samples on straws sticking out of the bucket which helps people make choices so I can easily move from table to table.
I made the bucket for use at the 1997 Rose Parade event here in Pasadena but had to carry the bucket over my head to get through the crowds. Yes, I had bought a permit from the city to sell balloons on 1/4 of the parade route. I'll do it again next year, but I'll put wheels on the bottom of the bucket and get a loud horn so people will let me by. Lifting that loaded bucket over my head made me aware of sore muscles I didn't know that I had ever used before.
You can find these bags at industrial hardware and home & builder supply stores, or write:
Portable Products Inc
58 E Plato Blvd
St Paul, MN 55107
I also keep business cards in there too. On the inside lid I put my picture and my name and my phone number and say that I do birthday parties. I stuck bright letters on the outside saying T O M A T O - got them at a balloon store. I also have my menus in the case and lay them at the side and let the people take them if they want to.
I don't use this for birthday parties - only functions where I am ballooning only. It doesn't work for parties. Too bulky and heavy with all my other stuff.
At first, I was going to put all of this on a music stand or microphone stand, but then I thought of an easier solution that won't require me to poke holes in the suitcase. I'm using a keyboard stand. I haven't gotten it yet, so I can't tell you the brand I'm using, but there are some X-shaped ones at the music store that are light, strong and easy to set up.
This configuration also serves the additional purpose of "protecting" one side of me from the crowd pressing in. The Pump1 is out front running interference and the two of them form a nice "corner" that I can use to gain space. I haven't had to ask the kids to move back lately. It's great!
Total Cost is just over $100.00 for the suitcase, dividers and stand.
I bought inexpensive fabric in all the colors of the balloons and made a small pouch of each color that fits the width of the tool box. Using clear plastic thread, I stitched the pouches together. I also have a pouch from heart fabric and a couple of extra pouches.
The child can look at the samples for color or at the balloons sorted by color in the tool box. When I need a purple balloon, I select one from the purple fabric pouch. I also keep my markers, small scissors, and anything else necessary in the tool box. When working in the sun, I close the top between selections.
I also carry a little basket (with a Tomato on it of course), and in this I keep clear 260's, rubber balls. When I am working for tips, I also put a little wire basket in the center for tips.
The kids are fascinated by my red and white polka dotted purses and the fact that they match my red and white polka dotted clown shoes.
For a while I was having health problems and had to use a pump. The guy from "Just for the Fun of it" made me a pump in a fanny pack and it was - ( yes you guessed it) - red and white polka dotted!! I am all better now and blowing the balloons up myself so I leave the pump at home. I will probably use it a lot this summer when it gets hot!!!
BUT WHERE ARE THE BALLOONS!!!
Well... this is a little bizarre, but I keep them up my sleeves. That's right. Nothing up my sleeves accept 260's, which go in my left sleeve (I can hold 2 gross). Being right- handed I just reach in and whip out a balloon. People are amazed. "Where did you get that balloon??" they ask. After doing this for the past eight years, I can do it so fast I can't believe it sometimes. I keep hearts, or other types of balloons, in my right hand sleeve.
As for how to distinguish what color I'm getting, I tell them, "I just reach in and grab a balloon, I never know what's going to come out - because the greens turn into purples and the blacks turn into green and the purples turn into plaid etc..." This is a great line, and it works well. Plus, I don't have to search or pre-sort for that purple/green/black. The kids think they are "Magic Black balloons". I do have enough play in my sleeves however, and have gotten good enough at it, that I can see what color I am pulling out, if needed. If the lighting is bad, and I can't tell what color it is, I reach in and pull out a hand full of "Rainbow Pasegety".
The only draw back to this is that when I first go out I look like Popeye! But I'm the only one who seems to notice. This works for me, but to each their own!!
I like the bags because I can usually find one for the current holiday or season. I wouldn't mind switching to a more permanent bag like a Dr's bag or something, but I have yet to run across anything that caught my eye.
Or I put one color right next to the light version of that color... Midnight Blue next to regular and light blue...Quartz purple next to lavender... Emerald next to Regular green. The color wheel is discussed in the guide at BHQ under "using color to your advantage," in case you dont know how it works.
Admittedly, I've had my tongue jammed firmly in my cheek as I write this, so I hope I haven't insulted your collective intelligence too badly. The bin and kitchen drawer tray thing works great for me. You may have a better system that you like to use. I'd like to hear how others lug their latex around town.
A very helpful book is available at no charge from the manufacturers.
Address: 13025 Middletown Industrial Blvd; Louisville, KY 40223
"Hi I'm POP-O the Clown... Balloon sculpting has always been
one of my favorite crafts, but felt that they didn't last as
long as they should, so I decided to do something about it,
and discovered a way of preserving the balloons with a clear
non-toxic coating that seals the balloons and gives them that
shiny just blown up look for weeks or even months.
Since then, I have been able to supply people with colorful long lasting balloon sculptures, store displays, and memorable party decorations of all sorts, I have also found that, People enjoy making the sculptures themselves once they're shown how. "
POP-O has written down the secret of this balloon-preserving process for anyone who's interested, to get your copy send $4.50 for the booklet to:
POP-O the Clown at PO Box 607, Locust Grove, VA