Balloon HQ news for June 1999

Extra, Extra, read all about it! This is the BHQ monthly posting with updates, pointers, current discussions, industry announcements, and generally anything that looks useful to share with the balloon industry.

It's newsletter time again, delayed a bit this month by my trip to South America and Europe, plus Mark's trip to Maui. Our big news this month is that BHQ has hired its first employee. Jacob Levine came on board with us a few weeks ago and has been rapidly learning his way around the directory tree. We're excited about him joining the team and we're looking forward to the things he'll be able to do for the BHQ community.

Jacob has already helped many of you with email problems. We're expecting that everyone's questions and concerns will get answered faster now than in the past. But for Jacob to really be able to help out, he needs to receive your requests for assistance, problem reports, or opinions on BHQ issues that you are conerned about. We've created an email address

to streamline the process. Jacob will quickly take care of, or direct to the appropriate person, anything you send to BHQ_Admin. Writing to any other address, including the personal addresses of the BHQ staff, may result in your answer being delayed. All of us at BHQ do enjoy hearing from you directly and our mailboxes are always open. However, a properly routed request will be easier for us to handle. Again, welcome aboard Jacob.

Other big news is that the deadline is approaching for the largest prize give-a-way in Balloon HQ history! Westwinds, Premium Balloon Accessories, and Balloons and Parties Magazine have teamed up and donated over $1000.00 of prizes for our Autumn Wedding Centerpiece Contest. This is something that we are really excited about so be sure to enter. See the details below.


The latest article in this series will always be available at

This issue of Balloon HQ News contains the following topics:

Upcoming events mentioned on the lists this month

Mike Decker will be lecturing on balloon sculpture at the Branson's Country Clown Jamboree. There are times scheduled for balloon jamming too! Get more details at

2nd European Balloon Modeling Meeting
For Balloon Twisters, the European Balloon Modeling Meeting will be held in Melle (near Osnabrueck), Germany, November 2-4, 1999. There is a limit of 150 people so sign up soon. For more information contact:
Rüdiger Paulsen
Surprise Balloon Company
33829 Borgholzhausen
phone 05425/6551 (Germany)
fax 05425/7549 (Germany)

Midwest Balloon Arts Contest
Attention all balloon decorators and twisters interested in competing: The KC/Midwest Balloon Professionals Association (a non-profit organization) is hosting the Midwest Balloon Arts Contest August 5 - 8 near Kansas City, Missouri at the Independence Center Mall. Trophy's and prizes will be awarded. BONUS: Jan Iiams will be teaching a class on wedding decor during the event at American Balloon Factory. The class is FREE to contest participants! Call 816-525-6661 for details. For more information please visit Hope to see you there!

Northern Illinois Balloon Network Seminar
On Sunday, July 11th, Ada Paz Olivera, CBA. will teach an Intermediate to Advanced Level "HANDS ON" Seminar entitled "A Year of Holidays & Marketing" For further information and an Registration form, send your name, address, phone number, & FAX number to or

Ballooniversity Millennium Magic Workshop, July 28 & 29, $99
Ballooniversity Millennium Magic Classes, July 30 to Aug 1, $275

The workshop is hands-on learning techniques for constructing the decorations that will be used for the Saturday evening party. You will actually be participating in creating the designs that will be shown. Everyone receives a design book for all the designs used for that Saturday night event. They also have a delivery bouquet competition, buffet centerpiece competition, and more. Call Flowers Inc. (in Georgia) at 1-800-241-2094 for more information

Jim and Pat Skistimas, three-time winners of the IBAC "Designer of the Year" awards, teach eight unique, fun packed classes July 19-20 at the Howard Johnson Plaza-Hotel in Saddle Brook, New Jersey For more information contact: Karen @ (201) 791-2019 or Pat @ (972)317-1965 or E-mail us at SKISTZ @

Fantasy Event Productions presents CRUISING AND BALLOONING:
October 18th - 23rd, 1999
The 1st Annual Balloon Seminar at Sea! Travel from Miami, Fla to Grand Cayman, Calica and Cancun aboard the Carnival "Fun Ship" Imagination. Attend over 45 hands-on classes from beginning to advanced levels with many of the balloon industry's most effective and knowledgeable instructors. Treb Heining, CBA Bill McFaddin, CBA Bruce Walden, CBA Ann & Lanette Rajski, CBA's Don Dixon, CBA Troy Apprill, CBA Graham & Mary Queen Rouse, CBA's John & Merrill Belpedio, CBA's Kelli Sipp, CBA Linda Bruce, CBA Jeanne Donato, CBA and Gift Basket Designers - Jeanne Gates & Don Morley Enjoy Fine Dining, Health Spa, Nightly Entertainment, Las Vegas Style Casino, Welcome Aboard Rum Swizzle Party, Gala Captain's Dinner, Fantasy Events Farewell Party, Supervised Camp Carnival for Kids & So Much More !! For more info see

Twist & Shout 2000!
February 4th, 5th and 6th, 2000
Twist & Shout 2000! at the Peabody Marriott Hotel in Massachusetts. Peabody is about 20 minutes north of the Boston Logan International (BOS) airport. The room rate is $74 per night. be ready soon. Visit for the most recent information about Twist & Shout 2000!

More information about some of these events and an updated listing can be found at

Industry Spotlight

This month we've been featuring photos from the 1999 Australian Balloon Convention (ABC) on the Balloon HQ home page. If you haven't seen them yet, check them out to see what you missed, or perhaps to be reminded of the great time you had there.

Also, we've put all the photos that have graced the BHQ home page in one place. If you enjoyed a past feature or if you missed a month, you may access a link for past features at the top of the Feature Photos information page, or go there directly:

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Here are some things that appeared on one list or another, but might be of interest to members of the balloon decorating and balloon entertaining communities.

Other uses for balloons

Have you ever wondered what the rest of the world uses balloons for?

This month we learned that some face painters polish up their full face techniques on nine inch rounds!

Ernie Bell wrote that he had an expensive pen that he never used because he could not hold on to it; it would literally slip through his fingers as he wrote. While playing with some balloon droppings he rolled a broken piece of balloon on the ink pen and found the grip was very comfortable and no longer slippery. This can be done on pencils, or anyother item you may want a good grip on.

And finally Debbie Gower gave us a recipe for making Chocolate Dessert Cups using balloons as chocolate molds! Read about it at

Other uses that people have posted in the past can be found at

Favorite Quotes

   From: David Blasdell
   Subject: Bigger tips
   Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 21:08:35 -0700

   ...I'd like to share a new "tips technique" that I have pioneered
   out here in Arizona. I have taken to choking people that don't tip me. 
   It was a shock (for them) at first, but people are catching on.  Last
   week some guy gave me his whole wallet and I didn't even make him a 
   balloon.  This might not be applicable in all areas, but hey it works 
   for me.
   From: Sean O'Kelly 
   Subject: Re: Balloon sizing
   Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 15:43:24 +1000
   Be brave, take a chance, invent...  If you want a blueprint for every
   thing you build then buy yourself some Leggo.

The ever popular and ongoing BHQ photo contest

The Wedding Centerpiece Contest - recap

For those that haven't been following along, here's the situation. Balloon HQ, Westwinds, Premium Balloon Accessories, and Balloons & Parties Magazine have joined forces to create the largest prize give-away ever on BHQ. We've been accepting submissions for the past three months. The final deadline for photos is June 31. You may still be able to get your photo in under the wire. But remember, there are no extensions, so don't wait.

More detailed information on the contest and submission guidelines are online at

The Wedding Centerpiece Contest - what's next?

Submissions have been coming in, and we're all excited about announcing a winner on August 1, 1999. But, there can't be a winner without your participation. On July 1, voting will begin. Everyone on the 'net is eligible to vote on their favorite wedding-themed photos. Check out the photos as soon as they become available by visiting

Recent twister list highlights

Let's start off with the best joke we saw posted this month:

Q. What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhinocerous?
A. Elephino!
In second place was
Dachshund? Gesundheit!"

The cutest sculpture idea was the Texas mosquito - a humming bird with a ball or bubble inside. Say the skeeters in Texas are big enough to eat (butterball turkeys, baseballs, golf balls, tumbleweeds, etc.)

This past month we discussed how to make Darth Maul's double-bladed light saber. We also discussed how to make Darth Maul's double-bladed light saber, and again how to make Darth Maul's double-bladed light saber. Fortunately a few posts got through that had nothing to do with Darth Maul's double-bladed light saber. Here's the edited down best of them:

Your twisting heart
Can make me weep...

You can twist the lobes of hearts together to form a nice parachute, basket, skirt on a human figure, etc. You can find figures made using this "tiling" principle in the photos section of the Balloon HQ website, plus you can find a description of the technique in the balloon fabric tutorial link on the BHQ Highlights page ( You can even access a video clip of how to tile (twist) hearts.

Larry Moss has been twisting hearts for some time now. Larry's CD, Attack of the 50 Foot Demon, includes additional figures based on 6-inch heart ballons. The CD can be ordered at

Neat New Pump Ideas
We heard of a pump available through Morris Costume Supply in New York that is built into a small magician's style table. The pump is actually the stand, with the nozzle sticking up through the center of the table!

A new cordless, portable pump came out from Black and Decker called the Multi-Purpose Cordless Inflator. Cost of the pump, 2 batteries (2 required at a time) and battery charger is under $30.00. The pump is fairly light weight and quiet (for a pump). It has a 12" retractable hose but you have to make your own adapter for inflating balloons.

How to Incorporate a Pump into Your Show
Some interesting ways to incorporate pumps into a show were posted this month: You can:

Summer's comin'!
Remember not to twist in the sun without proper protection or you'll get burned!

Avoid keeping balloons in your car! When you pack up your car to go to a gig, be sure balloons are one of the last things you put in your car. When you get home from your gig, be sure balloons are one of the first things you take out. Nothing kills balloons faster than the hot interior of a car parked in the sun.

To keep balloons fresh in warm weather, try this: Place one of those blue ice things at the bottom of a Coleman cooler. Cut a piece of stiff material to fit the bottom and hot-glue some cardboard dividers to the stiff material, using the same principle as candy box dividers. This way you can keep balloons separated by color or style. The advantage to this is that you can quickly and easily find the one you're looking for, plus you can also see at a glance, which colors or styles are running low. The material over the blue ice keeps condensation on the blue ice from wetting your balloons (water isn't the best thing for the balloons). With this system you can work for hours in 105 degree weather and still have cool, strong, balloons.

Having trouble with those tricky twists? Try this!
If you have trouble getting my tulip twists to stay, try rolling the knot back up inside the bubble after you pull your finger out and twist it. You can even make it more stable by poking the knot out the top, (where your finger first went in,) and giving it a couple of twist there, then rolling the knot back into the middle of the bubble.

If you're breaking a lot of pinch twists, it may be that the bubble of the pinch twist is rubbing against the adjacent bubbles too hard. Pull on the pinch twist ever-so-slightly as you make it so that the bubble clears the rest of the balloon and you don't get the friction that causes them to pop.

Balloon Twisting Societies
This month we learned about two existing societies for balloon twisters. In the Netherlands we have:

TWISTER, the Dutch Balloon Twisting Society
Guido J.P.M. Claassen
Meeuwstraat 96
1444 VH Purmerend
fon +31 299433655

and in Germany there is a four year old organization that was formed "To promote the art and craft of balloon sculpting in Europe." Last year they held their first convention, The European Balloon Modelling Meeting, and are planning their second convention, Euro jam `99, November 2-4, 1999. For more info contact Rüdiger Paulsen (for contact info, see the events section of this newsletter).

This month there was talk of forming a third society for balloon twisters. To join the committee discussing the formation of this association, go to and subscribe to the ISBA mailing list. Once subscribed you can send email to and it will go to all the subscribed members. Discussion so far as focused on what that organization might be able to offer to the balloon world that BHQ doesn't.

Other mailing lists
We also learned of other mailing lists that might be of interest to BHQ subscribers:

(*) Learn more about all lists with the domain by visiting

Dry hands and rough fingernails
Dry hands and nails are a problem for balloon pros. Not only can you pop balloons, but finger tips as well as nails can split which is very painful! The powder that keeps the balloons from sticking also contributes to drying out your hands. Here is a long list of suggestions and home remedies to combat this problem:

Sometimes you are scheduled to perform at 3p.m. (for example) but when you arrive on time you find the guests aren't there yet, or that your show will be delayed through some fault other than your own. It's a real problem on weekends when shows are booked all over town and scheduling is tight. Beyond the common sense answer of gently telling the client beforehand that "We'll need to start at 3:00 sharp", what do you do? Here are some suggestions:

Once in a while people make you wait 15 to 20 minutes for payment. They think nothing of keeping you waiting when you've got other jobs to get to. Here are some suggestions for handling this situation:

Get away from me kid, ya bother me!
At least one kid always wants to be my "helper", but they seem to get in the way more than help. They want to use my supplies and blow up the balloons. I just don't have the heart to tell them to scram. I don't want to appear mean, but I don't want them to waste my things. Is there a way of giving them something to do and not get in the way? Here's the word on the street:

Recent decorator discussions

Reading the deco list has become an increasingly educational experience lately. This past month we discussed a wide variety of topics in great detail. The quality of the posts has improved so dramatically that we're having trouble deciding what not to re-print in this section of the newsletter! Here are some random snippets, but the rest of the best will eventually make its way into the "Balloon Sculpture Decorating" chapter of the Guide to Balloons and Ballooning at

Contract Issues
As a rule we request a reasonable deposit at the time of placing an order. This represents the client's firm commitment to the order. We say the job remains an ESTIMATE ONLY until a deposit is paid. The materials will not even be packed until the job is classified as an order!

Always put everything in writing. QBN tape #5, The Business Side of Balloons, tells you the five things you should have in your contract:

Make it quite clear that PAYMENT IN FULL is required PRIOR to the date of the event. When large companies ask us for 30 day accounts, we say that our small business is not partial to financing big business. All large corporations have the means to pay at a moments notice if necessary. And do you need work so bad that you are prepared to wait 4,6 or 8 weeks to get paid?

How do you do you cover yourself when you're half done with a job and for some reason you realize that it can't be completed? Our contract states that we cannot be held liable for actions by others, or weather conditions beyond your control. In such a case you retain the right to abort the project at any time should you believe that to continue may damage the reputation of the client and/or your company. Compensation must be fairly calculated and based upon the amount of work completed and financial loss incured prior to the decision to abort; and subject to auditing by a mutually agreeable arbitrator in the event the client disputes the compensation claim.

76 Trombones in the Big Parade...
Doing a 4th of July Parade? Don't bother with a float, make columns of helium filled balloons which when put together make a flag, only don't assemble them together. Just have each of your "marchers" carry the columns side by side, or have them walk down the street in an "S" to make the flag wave!

Wrapping Columns
Decorating columns received a lot of attention on the list this month. Here are some general suggestions for wrapping your column:

The length of a square pack garland wrapped around a circular column can be quickly calculated as follows:

                                /  2           2
      Garland length =  T x    /  L  + 9.87 x D


  T = number of Turns around the column

  L = garland Lead = vertical distance the garland rises in one turn
  D = garland Diameter = (Column Diameter) + 2 x (Balloon Height)

Note 1: You can substitute 10 for the 9.87 without introducing any
significant error.

Note 2: This formula works with any consistent set of units, ie., use
inches for the lead, diameter and height, or use feet for the lead, 
diameter and height, or use meters for the lead, diameter and height, etc.

When you are confronted with a large diameter column, it's often easier to
measure its circumference than its diameter.  Here is a second version of
the formula that you can use with the column circumference.

                             /  2     2
    Garland length =  T x   /  L  +  C


  T = number of Turns around the column

  L = garland Lead = vertical distance the garland rises in one turn
  C = (Column Circumference) + 6.28 x (Balloon Height)

Note 1: This formula also works with any consistent set of units,
ie., use inches for the lead, circumference and height, or use feet 
for the lead, circumference and height, or use meters for the lead, 
circumference and height, etc.

What to do with those pesky phone calls when you're busy

There seem to be some conflicting opinions on this. Some people with home-based businesses have their business phone forwarded to their cell phones so that calls from important clients never go unanswered. Of course, taking calls means you can do something about them. One suggestion was to take the job and sub-contract the work. This ensures that the client isn't lost to another business and the other business is likely to be pleased with you for the extra work.

An alternative is to change the recording on the answering machine. State why you're out of town and when you'll return. Call back the people that need attention immediately. Most people that are aware that you're gone will try to call back when you're available if at all possible. In fact, letting people know in your message that you're at a balloon convention, or competing in a balloon competition often stirs up enough interest in the potential client that they'll be sure to call back later.

How to ensure repeat sales
From the delivery person to the bouquet itself NOTHING should leave the shop whether on a delivery, on a centerpiece or on an arch, without our name and phone number on it!! "Address" type stickers can be used on the bottom of every piece of table decor underneath, so instead of MADE IN CHINA it says "CUSTOM DESIGNED by Your_Company_Name_Here" and includes a phone number. A flyer on the delivery tells them how to care for the balloons and to please not release them into the environment, plus it includes a small paragraph about who we are and what we do. Finally there's a form to fill out and mail in as to how pleased they were with the delivery. When they fill it out and return it we send them a coupon for 10% off a bouquet and their name is in the mailing list for all holidays.

R-E-S         P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me!

How do we gain respect from the general public?? People who wreck or steal balloon decor prior to the close of the party are a pain and a problem! It never ceases to amaze me that parents feel they can just SNIP off a balloon from an arrangement and give it to a child. It's infuriating! Some examples include:

The public seems to work on the idea that "they're just balloons". People are attracted to the balloons and think that they are FREE, or something that can be touched or taken at will. We advise our clients about this ahead of time and we photograph every job upon completition so we have "proof" that the job was done as contracted and that we left the site in perfect condition.

How do you make new sculptures? The first step is to draw a sketch of the animal you want to create Then expand the sketch to three dimensions. Once you have a 3D picture, take a different color pencil and create a skeleton inside the drawing.

Once you have your picture and skeleton, then take 1/2" emt and actually duplicate the outline of your skeleton. Fill in with something smaller like 1/4' steel rod or 1/4" to 5/16" or 3/8" aluminum rod. Attach all together with duct tape, weld, tie with string or wire.

Next cover the frame with.... bird netting, agricultural netting, packaging netting, chicken wire, 2 x 4 fencing material or anything else your imagination can dream up.

Next attach balloons by tieing, or paper clilpping or quickie clips. To insure that what we create looks like what we intended to create, start with a drawing in a side view, a front view and if necessary a top and bottom view. Remember to back out for the height, not width, of the balloons when you create the frame. Doing this will keep the detail you are trying to create on the outside surface of the sculpture.

An alternative for the balloon skin on some sculptures is to use some sort of matrix system (SDS, RMS, or home-brew). Since you can just build the frame and lay sheets of a balloon filled matrix on it, it usually requires fewer balloons and less framing. In this approach you would "sew" the balloon/Matrix sheets to the frame and to each other with cable ties as you go. You could use scissors to cut out for tucks and pleats as you go, and fill in any irregular spots with smaller balloons.

Every product or technique has its virtues, its limitations and its "gray" areas where a decision has to be made whether it is worth the effort to pursue the challenge. This decision is usually based on experience, what there is to be gained, and the actual element as a design. These are realities of design and structure. While you can create sculptures with Rouse Matrix Systems Banners or Builders and with Flex-Frame SDS, they could be difficult to understand during construction. They are very specific as to where the balloons should be placed and how the framework can be covered.

If contemplating using RMS it is helpful to build a paper scale model before you build the real sculpture. 1" = 1' is a good scale to use. If you can create a natural, realistic form out of sheets of honeycomb graph paper available at then chances are you can create a natural, realistic form on a larger scale out of sheets of Rouse Matrix and balloons. Try to match scale in your framing as well. Make your model frame out of drinking straws, balloon straws, clothesline wire from the hardware store, or maybe even heavy gauge floral wire. Cover it with honeycomb graph paper skin. You will be able to see just how things will go together and where your problems are likely to be.

Arches also received a great deal of attention this month. Here are some of the best tips.

When making SOP arches, space the balloons(11") 1 foot apart until you get to the length you need. NOTE: You should always use an ODD number of balloons, ex. 15, 25, 33... this way you have a center balloon to work from. This makes it easy if you're following a color pattern. Remember, keep it simple!!!

Use the monofilament that has black marks every 11 or 12 inches. This makes it extremely easy to position the balloons on the line - you do not have to reposition and straighten them out every so often. The only negative I have with the product is that it is only 30 pound test.

When doing a string of pearls arch made with foil hearts, you'll want them all to face the same way. Use double sided tape on the back of the 'neck' and then fold the 'neck' over itself with the line on the inside. The 'neck' is kept flat thus preventing twisting, the double sided tape prevents it from slipping along the line and if you can retrieve the arch you can deflate and reuse with all the foils already in place. We use double faced foam tape (Magic Tape) to keep the balloons from turning. (Or use Balloon Stick'ums by AJ Ganz. They're better and more reliable than ordinary double sided tape.) Helium inflate your mylars and fold up the neck in 1/2" (2 cm) folds toward the balloon. Use a 1/4" (1 cm) piece of double faced foam tape and stick it lengthwise across the fold line with half on the fold and half on the upper part of the neck. Bag them up. On site, simply peel off the backing on the neck and place onto the line. If you want to add ribbon or other accents, put them in place under the line before you press the tape to the neck. It's a cleaner look to tape the balloons on the same side down the entire length of the arch. This is a great do-ahead design component because the bagged balloons can be done a couple of days ahead to weed out any defectives. A few other positives -- it's really simple to exchange a deflated balloon with a new one & take the deflated balloon back to reinflate & use again. We've kept arches going for months in malls with very quick maintenance & replacement reusing the same balloons over and over again. And of course, when it comes down, just dust them off and the balloons can be reused in another job or donated to a worthy group/cause.

You can view a color photo of a Queen's Arch online at The RMS Queen's Arch uses a combination of balloons inflated 7", 8", and 9". For the arch itself (the half circle on top) it takes 96 balloons. We recommend underinflated 11" balloons tied in doublets. The columns that support the arch are made from a single RMS Builder. It takes a little less than one half a Builder to make a supporting column. We usually use a total of 100 balloons sized to 8" to make the two columns. We recommend underinflated 11" balloons tied in doublets. The RMS Queen's Arch and the RMS Builder are sold separately. The instructions which come with the Queen's Arch give detailed information on sizing, tying, and installing the balloons in both the arch and columns. You will get the best results if you follow the tips in the instructions. The triangular cross section of the columns and the arch give a very sophisticated look. For the best results, it is important to coat both sides of the Matrix used in the Queen's Arch with spray adhesive before you stretch it open. While the arch section is self-forming and self-supporting, it is necessary to use base plates and pipes inside the two columns to stabilize the structure.

Sign your Arch
We had latex imprinted with our company name as a TOP PRINT. When we build an arch we include one of these balloons in the bottom right hand corner. that way every arch, sculpture, column etc. etc. has an artist's signature. We have gotten tons of jobs from this small imprinting investment and the clients do not mind at all. It makes them feel as though they have purchased a "designer" piece and our competition cannot take credit nor can they mistake it for shabby work done by another at the same location... such as a bridal show, trade show or in a mall.

Arch Length
Need a formula to calculate the length of line, and balloons needed for an SOP arch?

Here's one for the length of an arch that can be programmed into a spreadsheet.

H = height

W = width

L = length

L = W/2*SQRT(1+((4*H/W)^2))+(W^2/(8*H))*LN((4*H/W)+SQRT(1+(4*H/W)^2))

SQRT is the Square Root function, LN is the natural Log. You can set up the spreadsheet so that you can enter the height and width and it will give you the length of line.

In the QBN curriculum there's a much less technical approximation for the length of an arch. If the width is longer or equal to the heighth, just add those 2 numbers together to approximate the length. If the width is shorther than the height, double the height and add the width to approximate the length.

You can also find the length of an arch by building a scale model. Say you want to find the length of a 15 foot wide, 9 foot high arch. Let 1 inch of string equal 1 foot of arch. Draw a 15 inch wide by 9 inch high rectangle on a piece of paper. Hold the paper against the wall and stick pins thru the top two corners of the rectangle and partway into the wall. Tie a string to the left pin, and holding the right end of the string, let the string drape over the right pin. With the string hanging freely on the pins, adjust the string until its lowest part touches the bottom line of the rectangle. Gravity pulls it into a shape that is proportional in all respects to your desired arch. Mark the string where it passes over the right pin, and measure its length to this mark with the ruler. It should be about 25 inches long, so your arch will be about 25 feet long.

Useful Balloons, Tips and Tricks
Clear latex balloons with white polka-dots allow one to "create" any color polka dot desired by double stuffing. You can order these useful balloons from:
Crown Rubber
Milwaukee, WI
1 800 525-3114

Unique Balloons are the main supplier for Party City Stores. Unique makes the "Numbers All Around" balloons which I use in bouquets that I make for children's birthdays. Unique has a catalog with plenty of party items in it at (Cheaper than Amscan).

To create Periwinkle at a wedding, I put the Qualitex pearl spring lilac inside the pearl blue azure. Then inflate the balloon to the needed shade. ( Starts off blue then the larger you inflate the balloon the more purple tint will show through) I have also found for the darker blue tint of Periwinkle you need to use a larger size blue azure balloon. Such as for a 10 inch size balloon you will need a 16 inch pearl blue azure. This keeps your blue color thicker so the purple does not show through as much. If you need more of the purple shade of Periwinkle use the regular size balloons and inflate to correct shade.

A problem with Qualatex 11" pearl/metallic
It was reported by several people that Qualatex 11" pearl/metallic balloons have trouble clearing a 10" sizer. They 'shred, fall, splat' if inflated to 11". Additionally, it was stated that if the balloons need to be combined with any regular or jewel tone, the sizes and shapes (the pearls/metallics look pointy at the neck end), as well as the float times, are different.

The 'pearlising' retards the balloon from expanding to its true size and the only way to overcome it is to pre-inflate with air or for the manufacturer to have a larger set of molds for the pearls/metallics.

How to solve the problem

Deflating Mylar (Foil) Balloons
Exactly how does one 'deflate' a self sealing microfoil balloon for reuse another day? The simplest method is to insert a 'straw' or balloon stick up the valve and let the air escape. Putting a book on the balloon helps speed the deflation. Alternately, put a long balloon straw partially inside the hose of a vacuum cleaner and taped it in place and all around it so that the vacuuming was through the straw. (We taped the hose to the edge of a counter so that we could put the straw inside the balloon without having to juggle the hose and the balloon.) put the straw inside the balloon and suck away. A word of warning. don't suck too far, or the balloon crinkles up.

New products or other announcements

Millennium Kit from Qualatex
Qualatex makes it easy for retailers to sell balloon ideas to their customers with the Party 2000 merchandising program. The program includes the Party 2000 Idea Booklet, Counter Display Box, CBASM Brochure, and Party of a Lifetime Catalog.

The Party 2000 Idea Booklet for customers to take home features mix-and-match decor ideas that are simple for retailers and exciting for their customers. The Party 2000 Counter Display Box holds 100 Idea Booklets and is ready to display on the sales counter, or leave with bridal and tuxedo shops, catering managers, banquet hall directors, etc.

Additionally, a Party 2000 CBA Brochure is available exclusively to CBA's. It offers up-selling opportunities with multiple balloon arches, SDS walls, sculptures, balloon columns, full room decor, and more.

The Counter Display Box, with 100 Idea Booklets, is available for $9.95 plus s&h, the 100 Idea Booklets alone for $8.95 plus s&h. Also included with every Party 2000 order is the Party 2000 Profit Guide, featuring tips on how to maximize customer marketing and increase sales for the new Millennium. CBAs save $6 on their Party 2000 material order. QBN members save $4 on their order. To order Party 2000 materials call 1-800-356-0901.

Qualatex Premium Balloon Stem Kit
Premium Balloon Stems, created by Premium Balloon Accessories®, offer support for incorporating small air-filled latex and Microfoil® balloons into arrangements. The flexible material allows designers to quickly mold the Stems into unique shapes. Available in colors suited to blend in with floral arrangements, the Stems eliminate the need for floral tape. A special collar on each Stem hides the mechanics, offering a finished look.

Now you can add the color and excitement of balloons into all of your centerpieces and arrangements quickly and easily with the Qualatex Premium Balloon Stem Kit. This Kit contains a sampling of Qualatex latex balloons and the new Premium Balloon Stems.

Qualatex Premium Balloon Stem Kits are available from Qualatex distributors. For the name of a Qualatex distributor, call Pioneer Balloon Company at 1-800-356-0901 or 316-685-2266.

Wait, There's Even More From the Big Q!!!
Qualatex has introduced new Specialty Shape balloons and ribbon for Fall. The new "Fall Leaves" balloon features a unique shape and comes in both 9" and 20" sizes in three vibrant colors: Citrine Yellow, Orange, and Ruby Red. It is also available as the "Holly Leaf" shape in Emerald Green, appropriate for both fall and Christmas events.

Qualatex has also introduced the "Frank & Friends Design Assortment" of latex balloons; three unique designs printed on Onyx Black, Mandarin Orange, and White latex balloons.

Qualatex offers an exclusive new size in latex balloons: 24". Created in the traditional Qualatex tear-drop shape, this balloon can be used in a multitude of ways to enhance Halloween celebrations. It offers customers a lot of color, drama, and excitement for their money. Applications for the 24" include arches, column toppers, ceilings of balloons, garlands, and balloon kites. The 24? latex is available in Onyx Black, Mandarin Orange, Orange, and Quartz Purple colors for Halloween, each in 25-count packages.

Finally, the new "Halloween Treats" Qualatex Master Bow Ribbon is a Qualatex Coordinates design. The #40 poly print (approx 2 1/2 inches wide) is available in 200-yard rolls and can be mixed and matched with an array of Qualatex balloons to create designer-perfect ensembles and decor that customers love and appreciate. Call Pioneer Balloon Company at 1-800-356-0901 or 316-685-2266 for more info.

Ride Inside Sculptures
Fred "Balloon Dude" Harshberger has a new book out entitled "The Ride Inside Sculptures: Intermediate to Advanced Multi-Balloon Sculpture Designs." Fred explains a novel idea for sculptures that you can ride inside. An example of a Ride inside that Fred constructed can be viewed at: The book is available from T. Myers Magic and from several other suppliers. Contact Fred Harshberger at for more information.

New Bruce Walden Balloon School Videos
Volumes 9 - 12 of Bruce Walden's Balloon School Video Collection have now been shipped to all the major balloon distributors. All of the new high quality digitally-mastered videos feature Bruce working with expert guest artists. Tapes 9 and 10 feature great twister and teacher Jody Braxton:

Tapes 11 and 12 uncover the amazing secrets behind Jim & Pat Skistimas' work:

To place an order just call your balloon distributor. They set their own rates, but most sell the tapes at the same price as the original 8 in the series - typically $39.95 (US) for single tapes, and $139.95 (US) for the 4 video set. If you have any questions on the Balloon School series, feel free to call (1-800-268-7084) or e-mail Bruce Walden at (

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