Bagging customer's orders will set you apart, as well as making delivery simpler, and lessen the stress of wind/ rain/ snow/ tangled/ curled ribbons.
Some of the following comments include amounts of money in the
imaginary unit called "C-shells." These units are used to avoid
any hint of illegal price fixing in the balloon industry.
- Research your balloon machines. There are a number of
manufacturers with various sizes and prices. Any type of stuffing
machine will do fine if you just want to sell an occasional stuffed
balloon to your customer. If you are handy with tools, they can be made
from an acrylic aquarium and a vacuum motor.
- All balloon stuffing machines use a vacuum to suck out the air
to expand the balloons. They have various neck sizes to allow
inserting items in the balloons. I suggest you call each company
and ask for their information. They run specials and reduce the
prices at times.
- Balloon stuffing adds great sales and offers a unique idea to your customer.
Be very careful in buying used equipment though cause even a small crack
will cause you to lose your suction in the base. I had a compact pro and
loved it! We increased our valentine's sales tremendously with it.
- I have been stuffing gifts inside of balloons for 10 years now. I actually
started my first balloon business doing only that! For me it has been VERY
profitable. I would suggest not spending over $500 on a machine though. I
mostly wrap gifts to order but if you have a store front you need to ALWAYS
have a couple made up so people will know you can do them!
- Anything you place in a balloon should not be able to break
down the balloon membrane (obviously) but
Anything you place in it will be transformed to have an incredible mystique!
- I really recommend a company named Balloon Wrap. It's located in Yorba Linda,
CA. #714-993-2295. I had my machine for 3 yrs. I think it's much better than
the others on the market. Give them a call. Talk to Len Wigger.
- I have the Balloon Wrap machine myself. I love it. It realy is the best on
the market. Les Wigger is the one you would need to talk to.
- I've had my Balloon Wrap machine 10 years. It is the best! In my opinion.
Incredible Balloon Machine Company
- The Incredible Balloon Machine Company used to make the
Balloomers stuffing and the PuffPAC mylar gift wrapping
- I have invested in a Balloomers, Incredible Balloon Machine Co.
Balloon Stuffer. I like it because it is up off of the floor and
the bubble is detachable from the base for easy transportation.
The machine also comes with tubes to make the roses in the balloon,
both the small and the large sizes. It also comes with a balloon
stretcher. Its opening is 5 inches. The company is in California
and they have a home page on the internet. Comparably priced with
the Classy Wrap.
- I've tried a bunch of machines and the Bloomers stuffing
machine is superior. The Incredible Balloon Machine Company has
everything you could ever want that has to do with balloon
- Treasure Masters is the wholesale company that owns Le pouf. They also
sell wedding supplies that your brides purchasing balloon decorations for
their wedding might also be interested in (gobleets, knives, etc.)
The above address will take you to Perfavore
You can order the Le Pouf Machine from them.
They also carry all the supplies you need,
Instructions (with photographs) for a variety of favors are also on line.
- Maxim produces three different models: the Classy
Wrap, Snappy Wrap, and Jiffy Wrap.
331 W, 2700
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
- Maxim Classy Wrap system. Runs about $995.00, they also carry
needed supplies and they have sales support and a marketing plan.
- Maxim Classy Wrap is box-shaped and low to the floor. Unlike
the Compac Pro, it cannot be set upon a desk or table as it is too
tall. At $1,295 it is more expensive and more bulky. In order to
do the roses in a balloon, you will also have to purchase the Jiffy
wrap system separately for system $149. The Snappy Wrap is
smaller, costs $495, and is more like the Compac Pro.
- I've used a Classy Wrap machine in my store for about five or
six years now. It is a wonderful machine. It can be easily
dismantled with some basic tools. It is very durable and the people
at Maxim are wonderful to do business with and they stand behind
what they sell. Our machine had to be sent out for service twice.
They gave us a loaner machine so we would not lose any business. I
would not hesitate to buy another machine or to recommend this
product to anyone.
- The Classy Wrap is a *floor model* unit, stands about 3.5 feet
tall by 20" x 20". It does not dismantle. It is illustrated in the
US Balloon Catalog. I have no experience with it, but I do have
the *easily portable* tabletop version... the Snappy Wrap, which I
- For being able to stuff larger items into a balloon and for larger jobs, we
use the Classy Wrap, which is a wonderful machine. It has a huge opening, is
easy to move or transport, and again is well made.
The Classy Wrap is available for aproximately $995 from several balloon
- I have had my Snappy Wrap for 5 years and it does the job for
me. It is perfect for making up gumball balloons as well as gift
wrapping plush, etc. I think it is now available for $500.
Included were 3 tubes for doing smaller stuffing, roses in a
balloon, etc. Balloons from 5"- 16" can be used.
- Snappy Wrap
Pros: portable (comes with a carrying case which you can toss over
one shoulder), inexpensive, durable
Cons: only takes 18"
balloons (many models will take 16", 18" and larger), opening is
just 5 inches, balloons are attached manually.
- If doing high volume gift wrapping, then you might want to
consider a deluxe model, like the counterpart to the Snappy Wrap,
the Classy Wrap. The Classy Wrap will take 16" and 18" balloons and
attaching the balloons to the unit is simplified by a stretching
- We have had at least one Classy Wrap balloon stuffer in our
business from the first year we opened. At one point, we owned 10
of them! We now own stuffing machines, both of them are Classy
Wraps and one is still our original dinosaur from 1990! As far as
durability, reliability, efficiency, and user friendliness, we feel
the Classy Wrap is about a 9 rating. The only problem we have
experienced is that one must periodically replace the top seal, as
it tends to wear out with use. Although Classy Wraps are initially
an expensive investment, we feel they are worth the price. You can
frequently find one used at 25% to 50% off.
- When asking people about the stuffers they had, the responses
from the owners of the Classy Wrap had a lot of good things to say.
In fact, a few that sold their businesses have kept their Classy
Wrap machine, because they did not want to give them up.
- We have a Classy Wrap and love it. It's five years old and
still in great condition, and we've even "shlepped" it to jobs with
us as we use it for centerpiece work (a plant inside a balloon
etc.). Its drawback is that sometimes, because it is on the
floor, it's a little hard on the back when you work with what you
are putting inside. Otherwise it's very durable and can really take
getting knocked around.
- A quick search on yahoo turns up 11 listings for this toy balloon stuffer
that was listed as one of Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products for 1995
(recommended for children 8-12 years old).
Faballoon Balloon Maker
Creative craft(8-12) $26.93
Fabulous balloons turn into gifts, centerpieces or hanging decorations.
Everything needed for 8 balloons plus pumping unit, wand,
decorating pen, shredded paper and a color creativity guide.
Refill sets are available. These are delightful projects that are more fun
to do together and a terrific way to celebrate the next birthday.
The manufacturer is:
THE OHIO ART COMPANY
P.O. Box 111, One Toy Street
Bryan, OH 43506
Tel: (419) 636-3141 Fax: (419) 636-7614
Web Site: http://www.world-of-toys.com
Products: Making Creativity Fun Line of Activity Toys and Kits, Including
Etch A Sketch Brand, Faballoon, and Sand Kingdom.
- At our Costco/Price Club, I got an Ohio Art
FABalloon unit for close to $20. The
neck opening of the balloon is extra wide, about the same as on a
36" balloon. The opening stretches over an approximately 4" circular
frame, which fits on top of a hollow two-part plastic globe. The
rest of the balloon hangs down into the globe. A hand-operated
vacuum pump sucks the balloon in to fill up
the globe. To seal it, you rotate the circular frame a few twists
and use a plastic clip.
- I used to have a small stuffing machine that I bought at Toys R Us.
It came with a few crummy balloons and it was only good for about a 9-10
inch round (of their making because it had an extra wide lip entrance on
the balloon) so I bought a bag of Qualatex 16" rounds and I would fill them with animals
and curly-Q's and just plain straight 100% inflated 260's, 160's and 130's.
Then I would let the 16" round deflate, take the filled balloon out of the
machine and re-inflate with helium. It looked SOOOO KEWL! So those
inexpensive little machines can be used to get some good effects.
- Some time ago, I acquired a toy vacuum
stuffing machine. It has a hand pump and you need to repump all the time in
order to keep the vacuum holding. It only holds 9 or 12 inch rounds. It`s like
the machines gift shops use. Toy or not, it allows me to stuff inflated
balloons and balloon figures inside a round. There is only about a 9 or 10 cm
opening, but it is more than enough for my use.
- I purchased a FABALLOON machine. It inflates about 9" balloons for you
I need to know where to buy the special balloons that are used with this
machine. They are about 9" but have a large mouth (similar to an 16" or 18"
- Bought one ourselves just for the heck of it 'cause it was so cheap.
The only problem is the special balloon.
- I just saw some "refills" while browsing at Toys R Us this past weekend.
- Believe it or not, Qualatex manufactured the balloons for Ohio
Art stuffer, so perhaps that might provide an avenue to research.
- It works with 18" rounds.
- FABaloon is a balloon stuffing kit. When I bought it
our Toys R Us had it for $9.99 from $29.99. What great fun and a cheap
way to bring a birthday child a gift! I made a small blue poodle and put it
in the balloon with mylar shredds and a spiral twisted red 160, then closed the
top of the balloon and with a few decorations. Thist makes a great gift. Even
my 17 year old walked in an said, "That's neat"!
- I have one of the "toy" stuffers along with a ComPaq Pro. The little is
great for making centerpieces. Take home type favors from a party stuffed
in a balloon would be something to talk about. The collars that come with
the stuffer can be duplicated from any poster board and a good rotary cutter.
- I used to stick
in things that were a little too big, and scrunch em up then deflate the
whole thing, remove the animal stuff/ balloon stuffed, etc balloon and
reinflate it to a more appropriate size.
- I own a FABalloon stuffer. For occasional stuff it works like
a charm, and it's not expensive at all. I paid about 1000 BEF, close to 25
USD, and have used it to make gifts for friends. It's quite useful to have.
I haven't been able to find the wide-lipped balloons in suitable colors (the
colors that come with it are, to my opinion, AWFUL), but I use large clears
without significant problems.
- Faballoon is made by the Ohio Arts Company but it is no longer
being produced. Their number is 419-636-3141. They also have a web site,
www.ohioart.com I got mine off of the ebay auction site.
- I purchased one and
honestly, I don't think it does a very good job. Don't be in such a hurry to
buy it. I also bought a "tube" version of a similar product when I was at
the International Balloon Arts Convention in Chicago 2 years back. Roughly
the same price, and does a better job in my opinion. Also, more of a compact
- At the Twist and Shout 2000 Convention I (Paul Belanger) was selling a few of
the Faballoon (balloon stuffing) units. Unfortunately they are no longer being
made by the manufacturer. I kept one unit for myself and sold the other units.
For some reason the company was no longer interested in making the Faballoon.
Your best shot to find the unit, is to try Arts and Craft stores or Toy stores
to see if they have any left in stock. It was a great inexpensive machine.
Stuffing Machines Keepsake International
- Stuffing Machines Keepsake International 1-800-982-4480
- This is a very good machine, very fair price, easy to use and
they invented the Stretch-A-Roo to make getting the balloon on the
- I purchased the Keepsakeer machine for a number of reasons.
First of all, it was close to me (they are in Idaho) and since this
is their machine, I have receive very personalized help when I need
it. I have only seen Classy Wrap through suppliers and I wonder how
much they would be able to help. Another reason is, I felt for the
price (almost half) this machine would do everything the more
expensive machine would do - why pay more? Plus, the Keepsaker uses
the vacuum pump to its full value by being able to attach an
inflater hose (included) - I can inflate my balloon in the vacuum
chamber, remove from the machine and stuff, while inflating other
balloons as needed. Since I am new in the business, I don't already
have an inflater machine and this was invaluable to me. The other
reason is it's size and weight. Also about half of the Classy Wrap
- much easier for me to handle. I really like the feature of being
able to remove the chamber once the balloon is inflated to
"wherever" to finish stuffing it. I have a work surface that is
just the right height for this. Plus they have a 2 year warranty -
don't see that much these days - on anything!!! So far, I am happy
with this machine and it stuffs balloons just fine - what else do
Stuffing Round Balloons
- A well stuffed balloon is a beautiful thing indeed. It's
painfully obvious sometimes after the fact that you must still be
careful with what you put inside. To attract attention try the
standard 5" and 260s then get a little more adventureous and try
some soft toys.
If you're worried about bursting add a bit of padding with 260s and
5" and tissue or shred. It's a good idea to try to hang or at least
support anything you put in with a very thin mono line although using
a THICK cord can sometimes add to the "how did they do that?" effect.
Most of all be hesitant about what you claim will fit in and travel well.
- If you've got a shop window put small gifts in
like choclates, a paperback novel, we've even put shirts (on a
hanger) and men's toilet kit.
times we've used it to put a company's products inside for
table decor at a party. Another time we hung the sheet for
the nights events and an awards presentation.
- For a base we use a looped 260 or a small plastic bowl.
- Creative names like "***** under glass" or "Captured *****"
sound good and provoke interest
for the client and confidence that it is something special.
- Tips on stuffing a 11" round balloon into a larger
round balloon so the balloon inside doesn't wobble:
First put the uninflated smaller balloon into the larger one (use a
balloon straw if you have difficulty with this). Make sure the
nozzle of the smaller balloon sticks out the nozzle of the larger
one. Inflate the smaller balloon and tie the nozzle. Now inflate
the the larger balloon, but hold on to the nozzle of the smaller
one. If you inflate the large balloon fast enough, this is not
difficult at all. When inflated to the right size, tie the nozzle
of the large balloon so that the nozzle of the smaller one is tied
Use Hi-float inside the larger balloon and the part at the base will
stick to the inside balloon and hold it steady. I've used this a
lot in decor work and it really works.
Try a 260 or 160/130. Make a ring to set the smaller balloon in so
that when it is stuffed into the larger one it will act as a stand
or base between the two. It might even enhance the over-all look.
- Does anyone have any other ideas as to what to stuff the
balloons with besides stuffed animals and flowers? They sell, but
I want to get another market, maybe hit the males and older folks?
- One nifty idea... take humorous (or otherwise) T-shirts, place
in the balloon. While holding it, insert another balloon through the
neck (of the shirt) and inflate until the T-shirt is sandwiched
between the 2 balloons. You can gift wrap just about anything
flexible enough to fit in the balloon opening, and just about
anything that goes into a gift basket can go into a balloon... as
long as it does not have pointy edges!
- A t-shirt or sweatshirt: put shirt in balloon, then put another
balloon in the shirt and inflate, this will push the shirt up
against the wall of the outside balloon and make sure any printing
or logo on shirt is facing the right way.
- Basketball (football, etc.) deflate the ball, stuff it in the
balloon then re-inflate with a sports ball pump
- A six-pack of your favorite beverage
- You can stuff anything that will fit though the opening in the
stuffer. You can stuff other balloons, cups, gifts in a gift
- All I've done is put stuffed animals inside, but I can't see
why a balloon animal couldn't be put inside.
- One of our most popular and easy designs for the
stuffing-machine is a four-petal flower. The great benefit is
that you can coordinate the colors to match any kind of bouquet. It
is simply using four air-filled 5-inch latex, tied and twisted
together (a cluster) with 2 under-inflated 5-inch balloons (of a
different color) to make the center bulb. I use the 260Q's for the
stem and make the leaves with a few simple twists.
- The final touch would be to rotate the stuffing balloon. Pull
it out of the machine and fully let the air out and then, refill it
with helium. Make sure to hold a little bit of the end of the 260
stem and tie it along with the 16" stuffing balloon. This allows
it to stay erect.
- I ease delicate objects into the stuffing machine by cutting
the ends off of a plastic garbage bag and place the bag in the hole
so that it hangs in and out of the machine. This method works
great for any stuffing of latex balloons, since they will tend to
stick together when a sculpture is being placed inside of them.
- To make money at fairs, we have found that a real rose inside a
6-inch heart-shaped balloon still sells the best. Even 260's and
5-inch balloons inside an 18-inch printed balloon are great. Put
the balloon or sculpture on a cup N stick, and they sell very well.
Stuffed animals inside balloons are extremely popular as gifts on
Valentines day and Mothers day.
- You need a machine that can do the single flower in the 6-inch
heart very quickly and easy, because this impulse item will be your
number one seller.
Special Stuffing Effects
- "Mr. Clear" over a latex balloon, as described in this post by
How do we protect the 18" balloon wraps?
A unique "plastic bag" that is on the market today is a product
called "Mr. Clear." It is a sleeve of crystal clear shrink wrap
plastic. It can be placed on a 18" Upside-down balloon, twist
tie - and then you use a heat gun or strong hair dryer to slowly
shrink the plastic to a form fitting barrier. The advantage to
this method is that the plastic is barely discernible from a
distance. This gives the customers a great view of the actual
balloon wrapped product. The product has its drawbacks; cost,
time and wrinkles when exposed to cold temperatures, but it does
the job of protecting the balloon very well. Invented and
produced at Incredible Balloon this product is always in high demand.
- Cracked ice balloons are clear (or clear imprinted stars,
snowflakes, dots, etc.) with loosely crumpled opal mylar sheets
inside. Put them on your stuffer, suck out the air, loosely
crumple 1/2 sheets of opal (silver, blue, etc.) mylar and insert.
Deflate the balloon, remove it from the stuffer. On the day of your
event, inflate them with helium.
- You may want to suggest that your customer uses live blooming
plants inside the balloons. I use 4-5" potted mums and violets.
They will live for about 1.5 to 2 weeks inside the balloon before
they need to be popped and watered.
- This is in response to Tammy's question yesterday about
floating a lily inside of a clear latex balloon:
We used to do these a couple of years ago with either fresh roses or
fresh stargazer or casablanca lilies. We started doing these as a
competition piece, and then began selling them for some of our
events. We decided to discontinue them though because of the guests
who just had to put the balloons to the test and see if they could
pop them. We actually had a guest put a cigarette lighter to the
balloon to see if it would pop (duh!)
- and when it did it sprayed water all over the table and the other
guests sitting at the table. Instead of being embarassed for acting
like a jerk and getting all of those people wet, the "Einstein" that
popped the balloon threw a fit and demanded that the company
hosting the party pay for his dry cleaning. (You have to wonder
about people some times!) So, before you sell these unique
centerpieces, think about the consequences and make your client
aware of the risks.
- Here is how we used to do it - again, this was quite a few years
ago, before there even were stuffing machines (can you believe it?).
So there may be an easier way to do it now, but here is our technique:
- Fully inflate a clear 9" latex balloon with air and release to
stretch the balloon and neck out. (We use 9" so that we can keep it
small enough to not need a ton of water and to inflate it enough so
that the latex is stretched to be clear and not cloudy).
- Stretch the entire balloon neck over a thin piece of PVC (I am
not sure what size, but the opening was about as big around as a
- Blow a puff of air into the balloon through the PVC. Take a very
tight rose bud or lily bud and push through the tube and into the balloon.
It may need another puff of air to get the bud inside the balloon.
(It is important that you use a flower that has not opened up yet -
do this a day or two ahead of time and the flower will open up
beautifully inside the balloon.)
- Put the balloon neck over a water faucet and SLOWLY put enough
water in for the flower to float on. CAREFULLY take it off of the
faucet when you have the amount of water in that you would like.
- Using either your mouth, or a hand inflator, slowly fill the
balloon with air until it is almost to size, but a little bit
underinflated so that it doesn't pop easily - tie a knot in the neck
of the balloon.
- Now you have the flower bud floating in water inside of the
balloon. The trick now is to be patient and wait for the flowers to
open up inside of the balloon. This usually only takes about a day,
so make sure you allow for this time. Sometimes the water will
"fog" the balloon on the inside, but this usually goes away in a
couple of hours and stays clear. To keep them upright, we usually
just sat them in a decorated styrofoam ring - the weight of the
water kept them in without glue or anything. Another cool trick we
did was to use a set of battery lights under the ring and illuminate
the entire balloon and water - which looked absolutely gorgeous!
You can even add a little bit of food coloring to the water for a
slight color tint.
If you would like to see an example of this, there is a photo in
Balloon & Parties, November 1990 on pages 34 and 40. There is also a
lily one on a pedestal in a later issue, but I do not recall which
Keeping Clears Clear
- I'm in a dilemma called HOT and HUMID weather vs. Diamond Clear
Balloons!!! Doing a Decor job for a Wedding using lots of
Clear Balloons (Qualatex Diamond Clear Flowers A Round), and the
weather is a HOT 39C, overcast/cloudy, stormy and humid.
The venue is air conditioned with an evaporative cooler (water
cooled) adding more moisture. I'm extremely worried about
clouding/oxidization of these Balloons.
- Balloons have a very light powder inside of them. I have
noticed that when I stuff a colored balloon inside a clear balloon,
the clarity of the balloon diminishes. So, I tried rinsing powder
out of the clear balloon, leting it dry or drying it with the
blower, and have found that the clarity has increased.
- If you have any regular HI-FLOAT (not the new super hi-float)
It can be mixed with water and put into a small round wash basin.
After inflating the balloon you can gently give it a bath. This is
best done by holding the balloon in your hand upside down and using
a cup or dipper pour the solution gently flow over the balloons
until all surface is covered
- hold in place until the excess flows off the balloon and into the
basin. This sounds messy, but it's not a scary as it sounds. We
used a clothes-line in the back area of the shop and put newspaper
on the floor. Just like doing laundry - I used a clothes pin to
hold them in place. By the time the end of the line came around
the first were dry enough to be tied into bunches.
- Another way is to gently insert a pencil into the balloon and
then hold the neck tightly onto the pencil and lower it into the
HI-FLOAT. Remove and slowly fill with helium. After done they will
take a few minutes to be dry enough to pull together in groups. We
usually do anything like this in shop and transport. The pour
method dries a little faster. I have even used this method on
large paddle balloons! They are always a hit.
- Yes, we also have turned our clear balloons inside out, rinsed
them off, dried them, and used them (with super hi float inside,
sometimes with hi float outside) for various jobs where we wanted
the sparkling clear effect. However, this technique is time
consuming and hi floating outside the balloon can get quite messy as
well as being a challenge to dry if you have very many to do. We
have used a hair dryer on low -- again too time consuming for a big
job. It's most effective for a focal point grouping or arrangement
or stuffed balloon.
- We also use Klearkote, which does a pretty good job - I like it
better than Balloon Shine, etc. Have also used clear acrylic waxes,
like Future, when we have done 50 or more stuffed balloons for quick
sale - Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day.
- You'll get the best results for a clear balloon if you use
regular hi- float (not super hi-float) in a 1:1 ratio mixed with
water. Rinse off the balloon (both sides) and dry completely. Dip
it into the mixture and use a straw to move the excess off the
balloon. Air inflate the balloon (or use nitrogen) and it will
almost be dry when it's inflated. If it isn't, use a hair dryer on
cool to completely dry it. This is a pain in the .... if you have
lots of balloons to do, but if it's just a few, you'll love it
because they are really crystal clear and will stay that way quite a
Foil Gift Wrapping
Care cards attached to deliveries serve 3 purposes:
- provides customer with important product info
- provides customer with important safety info
- serves as a marketing tool
QBN has generic care cards available or you can design your own.
Our bouquet cards start out by letting clients know "latex and
microfoil balloons pose no threat to humans, wildlife or the
environment WHEN handled responsibly". We let them know that broken
or uninflated balloons can cause harm to young child and should be
disposed of immediately.
Children under the age of 7 should be under constant adult
supervision while playing with latex balloons. We also list the
California mylar laws and let them know that our latex are 100%
biodegradeable -- but should not be released. They should be
disposed of in a proper trash receptacle. And we cover the issue of
what inhaling helium can do.
We at Butterflight Balloons hope your Balloon Arrangement brings a
warm and welcome greeting! Here are some safety and care tips to
extend your enjoyment. Latex Balloons are 100% biodegradable keep
them cool, dry and away from direct light. You can expect them to
float at least 24 hours, depending on size and care. Floating
latex balloons are made to float with non-toxic helium. Foil
balloons must not be released into environment. They will float
for 7-14 days, and can be refilled with helium. Discard broken,
uninflated balloons as they can be choking hazard to children.
Inhaling helium can seriously injure. Don't do it.
I (Graham Rouse) have a project going to revive some old, and to
develop some new, "Balloon Greetings..." text or patter that might
be used in connection with a bouquet of balloons, balloon gift,
balloon creature or balloon display. I will expect readers to
refrain from commercial use of this text without my permission. Here
is a sample that I have used many times over the last thirteen years.
"CARE & FEEDING"
"Balloons are fragile and subject to deflate without notice,
especially if they are treated roughly or punctured by contact with
rough, sharp, or hot surfaces. To maximize the life of your balloon
sculpture place it in a cool, dry, and shady location where you will
see if often. Leave it undisturbed except to
In 1985 I (Graham Rouse) developed balloon greetings to be used with a
series of original balloon creations. All of these balloon creations came,
according to "legend", from the other end of the rainbow. The first
one is generic to the series and intended for use with any of the
(Copyright, G. Rouse, 1984)
- Feed it by blowing two gentle puffs of air in its
direction three times a day,
- Talk to it frequently about good things in your life, and
- Throw it a kiss or, at least, wink whenever you pass."
"THE OTHER END OF THE RAINBOW"
"The Other End Of The Rainbow is home for a host of magic plants and
enchanted creatures. They have the charm and power to warm human
hearts and brighten human lives. They are nurtured by warm hugs and
friendly smiles. They are colored with purple laughter and carry
the scent of golden joy. They taste of sky blue friendship and
sound like thoughts of turquoise love. They sing with humor and
dance with glee to celebrate the pleasure of knowing both you and
"Now, one of their midst is delivered to you. It has been sent all
the way from the Balloon Forest at the other end of the Rainbow with
special wishes that it may warm your heart and brighten your day."
(Copyright, G. Rouse, 1985)
All of the balloon greetings from my "Rainbow Collection" are
designed as "warm fuzzys" for the receipient. This one, however, is
a bit more "spicy" than normal.
CATTAIL BALLOON TAILS (TM)
Cattail Balloon Tails grow among the pussy willows in the Sweetwater
Marsh near the Land of Hearts. They always seem to laugh and giggle
when they play their parts. They seldom want to spend their funds,
but love to show their buns, for they are known when they are found
as the second best tail in town.
So please accept this Cattail Balloon Tail bouquet with special
wishes that the first best may soon come your way.
(copyright G. Rouse 1985)
These cattails are usually made by doing a l...o...n...g apple
twist on a #260 and inserting a balloon stick into the #260 and then
into Oasis in a base.
Here is another balloon greeting from my "Rainbow Collection" of 1985.
It contains the first published reference I know of to balloon "fantasy flowers."
Usually I sent out these "Fantasy Flower" arrangements in imprinted
mugs appropriate for the person or the occasion. They are in the
"all time favorites" category.
CUP OF CHEER (TM)
The fragrance of color, the taste of a smile, the scent of laughter,
and the sound of joy fill the cups of cheer served in the Garden of
Friendship at the other end of the rainbow. Sometimes their colors
seem to laugh out loud and their fragrance appears to dance among
the sculptured forms of latex and air. Sometimes they smile in
yellow or lavender or green.
And their joys echo like songs of pink or peach or pastel blue.
Always they possess a touch of the magic that delivers good cheer to
those open hearts who drink fully of their floral bouquet.
This bouquet of fantasy flowers is now sent to you all the way from
the other end of the rainbow, with loving wishes that its magic will
enter your heart and add a cup of cheer to your days.
(copyright G. Rouse 1985)
- Sand balloons are a good "Downtime" (read - in front of the
television) project. I have baskets of them ready. I make mine with
1/2 cup sand, which is plenty to hold 1 doz. 11" balloons. Using
14" balloons makes it easier to fill, and inflating the balloon
first to stretch it out is even better.
- Don't try to 'inflate' a 5" balloon with sand. Use a larger
size un-inflated balloon. It's stronger, easier to fill, and will
- To get sand into 9" mylar balloons, I use a funnel with a
straw. It's just a plastic kitchen funnel with a very narrow
"spout." Take a straw, make a slit about 2" long down one side
starting from the top. Slip the top of the straw around the bottom
of the funnel, and tape it into place. Cut the remaining straw off
at the desired length at a 45 degree angle. If you can't find a
narrow enough funnel, just push the straw up into the funnel, so
that the top of the straw is flush with the top of the spout, and
tape it in place. Instead of a funnel, you can also use a squeeze
ketchup/ mustard bottle with the straw.
- We use 11" balloons (odds and ends from jobs, colors that we
don't need etc.) and put a funnel directly into the neck and pour in
the sand. If we need a heavier weight for a large bouquet we use a
16" balloon. We've also had a lot of luck using washers (1/2" size)
and stringing the ribbon through the hole. But for that you need
approximately 1 washer per balloon.
- I think you may find our sand weight balloon method easier. I
cut the bottom end off of a old round shampoo bottle. Then I simply
put the balloon on the neck end and scoop up the sand with the
bottomless bottle. Next I blow into the bottle to assure all the
sand blows into the weight, and then pinch it so the sand doesn't
stick to my lipstick. These are also useful for decorative weights
by covering the with 2x1/3 sheets of mylar paper criss-crossed and
tied with ribbon. It should look like a Hershey's kiss when your
finished. Talk about cost effective!
- I was making my sand weights with 14" latex balloons, and then
covering them with cello or whatever to match the bouquet. THEN I
saw a friend make hers with plastic sandwich bags full of sand,
covered the same way. It was a V-8 moment. Obviously, there are
drawbacks to this - the "balloon" isn't as firm, unless you do a
good job of pushing the air out and tying the baggie well down on
the "neck". And, if you are using clear cello, you can still see
that it is sand. But, for those jobs that you are using opaque cello
or mylar, these can be a real time-saver.
- You can fill them with water as well as sand. Don't "inflate"
them very much if at all. If you just put as much water as the
balloon will hold without slipping the lip over the faucet, and tie
a knot in it, it is virtually indestructible. You cannot pop it by
slamming it as hard as you can on the ground (of course you can
puncture it with a pin).
- I keep a 5 gallon bucket of sand "over in the corner" and when
I need a weight I just grab a balloon and dump a ton of sand in the
general vicinity of the opening of the balloon (no funnel), letting
the rest fall back into the bucket. Let the sand fill all the way
to the top of the neck, then shake it down a little to clear the
neck and tie it. Without forcing any extra sand into the
un-inflated balloon, you get a sand weight about the size of an
extra large egg. It will hold down about ten 11" helium balloons.
- Put your funnel to good use and fill up a clear 11" latex
balloon with sand and then cover it in mylar paper. Mylar paper is
better because it comes in so many pretty colors. Tie it off with a
ribbon. There you have a simple and inexpensive balloon weight
which can hold up to 15 11" latex balloons.
- We have seen bouquets in the Images and other magazines where
4" and 9" mylars are filled with sand and floating balloons are
anchored to them. A quick and easy way to fill these 4 & 9" foils
with sand involves a turkey baster. Simply take the bulb off and
- Another method of getting sand into a 9" foil:
- Get a funnel
- Get a McDonalds Straw. VERY Important that it's from McDonalds -
they are the widest ones out there.
- Tape the straw into the funnel, to make an "extension"
- Cut end of the straw off at an angle - they fill faster. If
you want to get really creative, you can create a holder of sorts,
to hold a number of the balloons and funnels to fill at the same
time. I took one of the rigid straws from a "sip it" cup (sports
bottle)... it fit perfectly on the end of my funnel (I do not use a
large funnel... sort of medium-small one). The straw was already cut
at an angle which made insertion into the star easy. It was also
wide enough to provide good sand flow; I filled and heat sealed
those puppies in no time!
- We use a 5oz. plastic souflee cup filled with sand and wrapped
with two colors of mylar paper (1/2 sheet each color). A souflee'
cup is more of a fruit cup, and has a broad bottom as opposed to
being a narrow drinking cup. They are about 3 cents each. I get
SOLO brand from a local party supplier. You can poke stars, onion
grass, balloons on sticks, etc. in the center. Just tie your latex
around the gathered mylar at top of cup. Balloons appear to come
up from center. This is faster than filling latex balloons with
sand and we feel it looks nicer too!
- We bought the Sand machine from Pioneer and it works fantasticly.
Automatically adds sand into balloon. We then let the balloon rest
to let out any air before we knot it.
- The Sand machine is about 2 to 3 feet tall. On the top is a
round container that you empty your sand into. It holds at least a
50 pound bag. At the bottom is a connection that you slip the
balloon over and above it is a handle and above that a clear tube.
You turn the handle to let the amount of sand fill the clear tube.
Once you have amount you want you press button, and an air
compressor turns on, and it puts that amount into the balloon. Cost
is about $500. We estimate that it produces 5 to 10 times the
quantity that the coke bottle method does. Also we used to use 16"
balloons with the coke bottle method and this lets you use an 11'
for most applications.
- A trick that I learned from Jan Iams is to put sand into
a clean empty 2 liter soda bottle, put the balloon over the mouth of
the about turn it over and squeeze! The sand will be forced into
the balloon and your weight it ready to be tied and then used.
- Try a clean empty 2 liter soda bottle and fill it with dry sand
(we use a bird seed scoop with a switch that allows the seed/sand to
fill the scoop or flow through the handle into the bottle). After
the bottle is filled, fit an uninflated latex balloon over the top
of the bottle and turn it over and squeeze gently. Slide off the
balloon and knot.
- We also use a 2 liter bottle with a scoop or two of sand (or
more for big arrangements) then we poke a small hole near the knot
to let the air escape. We just blow the bottle up when it gets
crinkled and get a another one when it seems to get old. Ultimate
- I don't use balloons to stuff. I use inexpensive "Sand"wich
bags. Fill them with however much sand you wish. Tie them, and wrap
them with your decorative covering. Much easier, and works just as well.
- I have stopped using sand weights since kids like to play with
them and cause a mess. So what do I use instead? I save all my
plastic balloon bags from Qualatex - they too are a great quality -
and fill them with small landscaping stones. I go through a lot of
balloons, but if you don't, start recycling all plastic bags. I
fill with stones, tape and cut off the top, then cover with mylar
paper. The cost of the landscaping stones is about the same price
- I frequently use rocks wrapped in netting of tulle that will
coordinate with the bouquet of balloons. A handful of small rocks
works great and basically costs nothing. (I do wash them before
using them to remove any crud that may have been attached itself at
the site where I found the rocks.)
- An alternative weight that might work for you is Plaster of
Paris with a giant or standard paperclip inserted to provide a loop
to attach your balloons to. You can mix your Plaster of Paris and
pour it into small papercups to set up. Before it is set up all the
way insert the paperclip so one end is sticking out of the Plaster
of Paris to provide an anchor for you ribbon tie on. You can remove
the papercup from the weight or leave it around the plaster of paris
weight. It is very easy to add a sticker with your company logo and
phone number to this weight for advertising purposes as well.
- There is a very small brick called a "dobie brick" that I buy
at my local Home Depot. They are about 10 cents each, are square,
and have a wire sticking out from the top that you can bend to tie
to. Wrapped in Mylar, they should work for you.
- Our standard balloon weight is a 4 x 4 ceramic tile wrapped in
mylar paper. It will hold a dozen 11" balloons easily, and looks
great. Add a cluster of 5" in coordinating colors and you've
increased the profitability!
Baby Theme Weights
- Take your normal sand weight wrapped in coordinating tissue or
mylar and sit it in a small or medium sized pampers or Huggies
diaper. The diapers come with cute prints on them and the tissue
will 'pouf' out of the top of the diaper. You could always tie
balloons to Bottles filled with jelly beans, boo-boo bunnies (with
more candies inside) or almost any other baby item, plush, etc.
- A variation of the diaper idea is to take your basic sand
weight wrapped in tissue and diaper it! Most already have cute
designs on them, they make the cuteset base at baby showers (use
small sized diapers)
Imprinted Balloons As Weights
- It's my opinion that as a retailer (regardless of competition)
the price a customer pays for any balloon should include the weight
as a matter of added value to the customer with no extra charge. If
you feel you must get something for the cost of the weight, put your
name on the weight (cheapie stickers 300 for a few dollars will do
the job) and you can write off the cost of the weight as an
advertising expense - we do.
- Imprint them!!!! When someone has a bunch of balloons on their
desk or coffee table or hospital room shelf, and someone says
"Where'd you get the balloons?" The answer should be "Read the
weight!" Go one step further, and punch a hole in your business
card and slip that onto the neck of the weight, so the first person
who asks that question can be told "take the card
- it's attached to the weight."
- Check out Images magazine, July/Aug 1996. There's a picture of
one of my weights. (Balloon AffAIRs 315-635-1000). It's an 11"
Impress II imprint (neck up) with my logo. If you fill an
un-inflated 11" Qualatex balloon with sand, all you have to do is
hold the lip of the balloon and hold over a bucket and pour a big
cup of sand into the balloon.
- I like to blow just a little air in it to keep it springy. You
can mold it into shapes. Cost is whatever you pay for Impress II
imprinted balloons (ask your Qualatex distributor) plus the cost of
half a cup of sand. So, for less than a quarter, you have a weight
with your name on it. I attach them to all arrangements which don't
have any other weight. I call them "the famous Balloon AffAIRs
Squishy toy", and some recipients like them better than the
- Everyone should have balloons with their name on them. It's
very cheap advertising. Do 1000 with neck up and 1000 with neck
down. Add a helium logo balloon to each of your deliveries.
- When a customer wants a single balloon weighted, we found that
a 1/2" Zinc Cut washer securely holds an 11" latex. We buy these
in 5 lb boxes and they cost us about .06 a piece. Generally we dump
the box - spred them out and give a quick spray with some Design
Master in an assortment of primary and pastel colors. A lot of our
customers are daycare centers that order large quantities for the
kids at holidays. They love them because they fit perfectly on a
child's finger and no one is crying because their balloon got away.
- When I used candy as a weight for balloons that would be given
to a child I have discovered that it is the same as not weighting
it. They end up eating the sucker immediately and letting the
balloon go. :-(
- We use mylar wrap, cut into various lengths, dependant on weight
size, and filled with salt (coarse is best - also try water softener salt).
- In Idaho the beer license is about $200, if you sell wine or
hard liquor it is another $800+, if you use non-alcohol juice (it
may have 1/2% of natural alcohol, YOU MUST HAVE A WINE LICENSE.
This is true on about half of the states. Also, Florida has a law
making it a 3rd class felony to ship ANY WINE into their state, in
any kind of gift basket or bottle carrier! It has always been a
strange mixture of can's and can not's. Protect yourself by making
sure what the rules are. In Idaho you can not even include a FREE
bottle without a license!
- Laws vary between states, but in NY and NJ, I've been advised that not
only can I not use any alcoholic items under any circumstances, but that
it is unlawful to handle or deliver it under any circumstances.
- I think that this varies by state. In the state of Texas you
are absolutely correct. In fact the law down here has a quirk in it
that prevents home based business from getting a liquor license.
- You cannot sell liquor in your gift baskets unless you have a
liquor license. Another option is Sparkling cider or a product
like Meier's Sparkling Juices. They have 10 available flavors
packaged in foil-wrapped champane bottles. 1-800-346-2941.
- I think that this varies by state but, there are various types
of licenses; we have a cartage permit that allows us to deliver
alcohol and sell it, but we can't serve it in our shop (i.e. wine
- Unless you have a retail shop, you can't get a liquor license.
The law is vague about whether or not you can have the customer
purchase it from someone else and bring it to you. Most people
just have the customer call a liquor store, purchase the alcohol
and then put it in the basket themselves.
Tips For Delivering Bouquets Of Balloons
- How To Keep Bouquets From Getting Tangled During Delivery:
Simply pull all the balloons down, so that all the necks are even,
then secure with a balloon clip or small piece of ribbon. Just
before you present the bouquet, we remove the clip. Everything
leaps into place.
- When I do a bouquet, I hold onto all of the ribbons and pull
the balloon necks down together. Then I take a brightly colored
260 balloon and tie it around all of the ribbons, to secure the
bunch. Be sure the weight does not twist around too much, and be
sure it does not go *up* and get tangled in the ribbons!
- To help prevent tangling of bouquets during transportation, we
first tie each layer of balloons in the arrangement together as we
are creating them. We then pull all the balloons down in a group
and attach them with a clothes pin to whatever weight we are using.
We don't even have to cover them with a bag, unless it is a hot or
windy day. When you get to the the delivery site, simply remove
the clothespin and... voila!... each balloon springs back into its
original position with no tangles, no muss, no fuss!
- Have your company name and phone number inexpensively
imprinted on some clothespins and 'accidentally' leave it at the
receptionist's desk as you go off to deliver the bouquet. You'll be
pleasantly surprised at how many people call and tell you they found
you on a clothespin!
- Cut a hole in the bottom corner of a large bag. Then reach up
through it with your hand and grab the weight(s). Pull the weight
all the way through the hole and out of the bag. This is a lot
easier than fighting to push all of the helium balloons into the
- The weight is dropped into the bag first. Then the balloons
are gathered and pushed into the bag with as little space as
possible between them, starting from the bottom up. The top of the
bag is tied in a loose knot and the order blank is taped to the
outside. The nearest deliveries are packed into the van first and
the farthest are placed near the door - delivery person has a
clipboard with the route, the basic delivery item and a place for
time and signature of the recipient.
- We bag all our deliveries in clear plastic bags that we
purchase from our floral wholesaler. The bags are about 6' long
and 30" wide, and cost about a quarter each, in rolls of 100. Never
leave them with the recipient, always take them and reuse them.
- When we receive an order, we make two copies. The first stays
in the office and the second is the working copy for pulling, prep,
and it gets taped to the outside of the bag. After the Hi-Float
has dried, the customer card is attached and the grouping is
bagged. When the grouping is delivered, the balloons are unbagged.
- Bags, the clear ones sure look better than the black ones.
- We use RainbowWrapper Balloon bouquet bags to separate and
protect our bouquets.
- GREAT BIG balloon bags available from MK Brody in
666-9520. One person in our QBN chapter said he put a full gross of
inflated 5" in a single bag & they have air holes to protect mylars.
- Just a tip, if the hi float isn't dry, punch a few holes into
the bag with your fingers. When you unbag, the top balloon should
float out into the appropriate position and the arrangement
shouldn't need too much primping.
- Always un-bag (or un-bunch) the balloons before they are walked
through the building (delivered to the recipient).
- When a bouquet DOES get tangled, I often cut all of the ribbons
just above the weight and then retie it. I wonder if it would be
easiest to just make the ribbons 6 inches longer and plan on doing
this from the start.
- Bagging customer's orders also will set you apart as well as
making delivery simpler and lessen the stress of
wind/rain/snow/tangled curled ribbons, etc. We do not charge the
customer. If you're delivering the grouping, remove the balloons
from the bag, primp them, and do the delivery - keep the bag. If
the balloons are being picked up by the client, attach a coupon for
$1.00 off their next balloon pickup if they return the bag. Again
a little bit of advertising, a little bit of good will, a little bit
of money saved if they choose you the next time. Remember to point
out that the bags (and the weight you've slipped into the bag to
keep the bag from floating away) are services that you offer to ALL
your customers so they can drive safely, keep the balloons from
getting away or tangled, and make it simpler for them to handle.
Sometimes we have clients who ask for the bags when we deliver, our
response - we need them for our next job and recycle them. We do
leave them one if their need is obvious - again explaining that we
need them for our next job.
- An easy way to send filled latex balloons home with customers
to decorate themselves is to tape the end of the ribbons (10 to 12
balloons) to an empty ribbon spool. Then I wind the balloons up on
the spool and tape over it. It keeps them clustered tightly to make
transportation easier and when they are unrolled again, the balloons
can be cut off the spool one at a time making them easier to handle.
- We decided on the maximum distance from our base that an
employee would deliver based on "time it would take an employee in
our van". Don't forget the overhead charge (cost of having and
running the van) as well as the labor. We worked out a delivery
charge based on delivering to the furthest suburb. THAT is what we
charge for ALL deliveries. Any nearby deliveries "subsidise" the
occasional "long distance" delivery. Local deliveries (the majority
of our work) are a regular BONUS. It also guarantees a PROFIT on
delivering yourself. That is what we are in business for. A profit!
- Giving "free" delivery is unwise. If you offer free delivery,
make sure you calculate the cost of running a delivery service into
your overhead percentage. You can't afford to do it for "free"
really. "Free" anything usually means - reduced profit. We find it
easier to find out from the start if it's a delivery enquiry. If so,
give the price with delivery already included. If they then say,
"how much less if I pick-up?" just reduce the cost by half the
delivery charge you built in in the first place.
- Sometimes the customer will say, "how much extra for delivery?"
and give you the order immediately when you say, "delivery is
included in the price." Quoting a price for the arrangement PLUS an
additional charge for delivery is like quoting a price for a car
"plus extra" for on road cost of registration, sales tax etc, etc.
The customer would rather know the simple, total cost of sending
this message with balloons (or parking that new sports car in her
- Don't forget that a delivery is also an opportunity to market
your business. Van signage working for you - performance to the
recipient - hand out business cards to others... etc. You should
make the most of every delivery.
- We joined the local QBN Chapter and refer bouquet deliveries to
other QBN members locally and all over the world also. Works both
ways too. We get referals from others in the network. We strongly
recommend it to everyone.
- Some have asked how far Dolly will take a delivery. Her radius
is 10 km. That's about 6 miles. Why 6 miles? Well, Dolly figured she
didn't want to be without an employee in the workshop for any more
than one hour at a time, if he had to do a delivery. From our
location, during heavy traffic conditions, it would take an employee
one hour to drive 10km, park, check the bouquet, do the delivery /
performance, then return to our premises. Some have asked how far
Dolly will take a delivery. Her radius is 10 km. That's about 6
miles. Why 6 miles? Well, Dolly figured she didn't want to be
without an employee in the workshop for any more than one hour at a
time, if he had to do a delivery. From our location, during heavy
traffic conditions, it would take an employee one hour to drive
10km, park, check the bouquet, do the delivery / performance, then
return to our premises.
It all depends on how much time you can
afford to be without your assistant in your store. Then calculate
how far they could drive within the time span you decide. Different
times for different balloon businesses. Your location and traffic
can be major factors. Always calculate based on the heavy traffic,
rain, snow, had to stop and buy gasoline type of excuses.
- If you typically do say 3 deliveries every morning and 2 each
afternoon, the van will be out for 1.5 hours and 1 - 1.2 hours
respectively. That's when you actually start making money on
deliveries. Multiple deliveries in a small area. Like Valentine's
Day???? Hope we all need to rent extra vans? Certainly in 2000!
- We charge a certain amount for in-town and additional for the
further out we go, but we do have boundaries as to how far we will
deliver. Sometimes it's not worth the time and effort to go farther
than 15-20 miles. It's depends our your own area, of course. and
- When I make a delivery for "loose" balloons not in a bouquet I
usually always send along 1 or 2 extra balloons. If it is a bigger
order of 50 or more I add like 5 -10 more. It helps especially if
I have one or two break on my way to the delivery.
- Perhaps offer to replace the popped balloons at no charge. It
shows good faith on your part and keeps you from having to
officially discount the price and setting precedent. Depends on
what you feel is appropriate though. We have an excellent
reputation for customer service which is why we get our share of the
"Party City" business.
- This is always a tough one, the way I see it if the delivery
was made and the balloons were in good condition, we can't guarantee
balloons, especially after they have left our control. You might
consider giving the client an extra couple of balloons the next time
they order from you. NO discounts!!!..... your customer will
calculate the price of each balloon if you give them a small
discount and then they will question the entire price based on those
- I replace them at no charge. By doing this, I made sure the
customer was very appreciative especially in the "no charge". It
was only 2 balloons and for what we pay for them is nearly nothing
comparing it to having a "Happy Customer". And a customer that will
continue to do business with me.
- We always bring along one or two extra balloons, so we needn't
worry if anything should be damaged or defective.
- Every delivery that leaves our store has extra balloons. I
call it balloons insurance. If I don't need them I give them to the
customer if they are nice. On Bulk Latex deliveries we add 2 for
every 25 latex balloons in the order. If I hear too many pops then I
am in trouble!
- I used to work as a driver for a florist. When it was a surprise
delivery, it was set up ahead of time with the contact person. They
guaranteed that the recipient would be there at a set time. If that
person was not there, there was a re-delivery charge.
- On other deliveries, other policies were established to leave
the product with a neighbor or adjoining office or secretary.
- As far as the charging for tax, it would be my recommendation
that you establish a set price for your product, a zone/area charge
for deliveries, with the re-delivery fee mentioned and agreed upon,
then put the tax on the final amount ( if the delivery fee is
taxable in your area ). Do not "eat" any charges, that is money out
of your pocket that will add up over the course of the year.
- We try to let the sender know it's his/her problem to be sure
the person is going to be there. If they just don't know, perhaps
there's someone we can contact at the recipient's office who DOES
know for SURE and can keep a secret. If they really don't know
anything, we have to tell them this might not work at all, unless
they can accept our leaving the balloons if the person isn't there,
and reducing the charge a little (which STILL makes it a lot of
money for dropping off balloons, but if I'm gonna get in the gorilla
suit and get there, I want some cash whether or not I have to sing!)
- If we can get there whenever we get there and be sure the
person will be there, we can offer a lower price, and we let them
know that. If we need to make an appointment, it'll cost them 10
C-shells more and we need at least (depending on how far it is) a
half-hour or hour window during which we might arrive at any time
and expect to see the person immediately. It's one of the first
things we ask, before we're even prerpared to doscuss what we can do
- it usually goes like this: DING-A-LING! (That's the phone)
- "Good morning, can I help you?" - "How much is it to get balloons
delivered?" - "Were you thinking about a singing telegram by someone
in costume, or just someone to drop off balloons and a card? And
what area would that be in?" (And then if it's somewhere we go, I
tell them the features of our 2 levels of performances, and pause
just before the price:) "And that, including balloons and
everything, would be ... is the person there most of the day or
would we need to make an appointment?" At this point, either the
person just doesn't know, or knows quite well, and we can either
blow 'em off with regrets, or quote a price appropriate to the
requirements of the
- If we're willing to accept a "maybe they'll be there" or in the
event something has gone terribly wrong, we can (a) decide to go
back when they'll be there, or (b) leave the balloons and card and
reduce the price, and call the client immediately to advise them
that we've done everything possible. We try so hard to make sure the
recipient's presence is assured, that it hardly ever happens that
they're gone, but when it does happen, the client usually
understands, and when they DON'T understand, it happens so rarely
that we have to be prepared to take the hit and get nothing for our
efforts - like a popped balloon, it's one of the costs of doing
- If we really don't want to blow the surprise but we have to
call (if we're unavoidably later than our window or there's no
answer at the door but the car's there or whatever): "Ms. Emma
Bithdayperson? Yes, this is P.M. Delivery Service, we have a
package for you marked "perishable" and you're next on our schedule
and we want to be sure someone will be there to receive it, are you
going to be there for about a half hour or so?"
- On Valentine's day we just tell everyone we can only accept the
order if the recipient is going to be there all day without fail,
and that's that, no appointments, no refunds.
Character Deliveries / Singing
- You probably want to start off with your costume "basics", the
gorilla is popular, a clown, a belly dancer, a Marilyn Monroe
character, a chippendale-type character goes over VERY well as well
as seasonal characters (cupid, easter bunny, santa, etc).
- The problem that I have seen with most people doing character
deliveries is that they are just a person doing the delivery. I
strongly recommend making up a sort of routine to go along with the
delivery - reading a poem, a song, a few minutes of funny patter,
A way to make sure this is consistent is create a three to five
minute "script" for anyone working with you. Also have a "script"
for your shadow/bodyguard in case something goes wrong.
- Including a polaroid picture for the "victim" is also a nice
touch to remember the moment (take one for yourself too, to show
potential clients). I use this as an upsell for an aditional charge
of a few bucks.
- If its a birthday, have the group sing! If you're a character
you don't have to sing well! Its funnier that way!
- Another big pet peeve of mine is seeing the character getting
dressed right in front of the building - obviously you can't drive
with a gorilla head on, but be sure to do your finishing touches
around the corner and walk that extra block to make a grand
- Character deliveries are a nice touch, the perfect gift for
that person that has everything! The goal is to make a big
entrance, embarrass the special person for a couple of minutes,
preserve the moment in a picture and get out of there!
- Some important things I have learned in 17 years of singing
- Insist on at least a half-hour time window to arrive
- Describe to the client in GREAT DETAIL exactly what they are
- Keep your presentations at least half-complimentary (to balance
- No pies in the face or anything else (that's assault)
- Give a little something extra that you haven't mentioned (We
- ASK to include a tip in the charge at the end of the order
you like to include a tip for the performer... some people do and
is the way we put it - you'll be surprised how many extra $5 and $10
- Know when to stop performing (Spectators are bored after about
we also let the pressure off the birthday person by telling everyone
they have to sing Happy Birthday like gorillas (or whatever the
character is) -
Easy characters to do:
- Gorilla in a Tux (that's a guy in a tux & top hat with a
gorilla mask - if you don't describe it in detail to the client
they'll complain that it's not a full hairy suit, but if you
carefully tell them what it is, they'll go for it, and it sure
makes life easier for you). Rabbit in a tux (guy in tux with
rabbit ears and rabbit makeup and rabbit tail clipped to the pants
- again, describe carefully), pirate, drill sergeant (get brown
pants and shirt from cop store, and get Smokey the Bear hat from
someplace - "You WILL have a happy birthday, DO YOU UNDERSTAND,
SOLDIER!") (This transforms into a policeman nicely - never carry
even a toy weapon with either of these), Devil, Undertaker or Grim
Reaper (both are very popular and my routine for these two is a
scream!), clown, doctor (scrubs and lab coat and stethoscope -
"This man is brain-dead, I don't hear anything at all!) or Doctor
Gorilla, Phantom of the Opera (tux, cape and white Phantom mask)
- Suggested package: 6 latex balloons (with Hi-Float, of course)
(Why only 6? 'Cause that's all you're gonna get into a small car &
still drive safely - additional balloons for an additional charge,
mylars additional) - sing Happy Birthday, take a Polaroid photo
with the honoree, and we'll write a special comedy poem about the
person with all the funny and special things about them in it (17
years of writing cheap doggerel has given me a talent for doing it
and a big stock of good verses to use as "canned" lines) and our
laser printer and Microsoft Publisher make the poem into a nice
quarter-fold greeting card to present at the end.
- We have a basic price to which we add (and sometimes subtract)
depending on how far, how late, and how big a pain in the butt it's
going to be to accomplish.
- Yep, we do costumed deliveries as well as singing telegrams! We
are also a costume rental company so we not only do over a hundred
other characters! Some of our most popular include Marilyn Monroe,
gorilla, Elvis, Phantom of the opera, clowns, top hat and tails,
cows and pigs.
- We charge an additional 25 C-shells to deliver in costume
(non-singing) on top of the regular bouquet of balloons charge, for
any costume of their choice. We then offer specials for the
seasons, cupid was a huge hit this year! 25 C-shells for a bouquet
(4 to 6 latex, one mylar, weighted by candy) delivered by cupid,
for an extra 25 C-shells, cupid sang "yessir that's my baby" and
"Happy Valentine's day to you". The local television station
followed us to one and did a piece on the news that night.
- For singing telegrams, we charge 75 C-shells for an
introductory song, a custom written song (includes jokes and
teasers about the victim...I mean deliver-ee, usually birthdays and
retirements) and the happy birthday song, changed for the occasion
(Happy anniversary, happy retirement etc, etc.)
- How do you actually pull off all the points of a good balloon
delivery a la Qualatex CBA training while in costume?
- If the costume is a full head costume (like a chicken or
gorilla) either somebody else drives the performer there or they
pull on their head at the last minute (making sure no one can see
them). We make sure that the bouquet is ready to grab and easily
accessable to the performer.
- Our chickens don't talk, neither do any of our full head
costume characters. The tag on the bouquet is extra large and
decorated to go along with the characters theme (ie: the chicken,
cow and pig would have a large name tag shaped like a barn with the
deliver-ee's name on it) so that all they have to do is hold up the
tag, and depending on the age, point and laugh at the recipient.
There is always someone on location that knows that the delivery is
- It is rare that these kinds of specialized deliveries happen
like they do in the movies (knock on door, person answers, they
start to sing) usually they take place at offices, parties and
restaurants where there are lots of people gathered.
- You have to be very careful buying licensed character costumes.
Unless you have the copyright to it you can be sued. This can
happen even if you buy a costume that sells as Barney or Mickey
Mouse. You would be better off to have generic costumes, i.e. a
gorilla, panda, clown etc. It is my understanding that even
building a licensed character from balloons is at risk. Someone
please correct me if I am wrong. I am not a copyright lawyer but I
am a cautious balloon retailer.
- If you purchase a costume of a copyrighted character, you are
usually entitled to use it in a private manner. You need to make
sure that a costume that you purchase is legal, but that is another
story. You cannot use that costume (the legal one) in another use,
for instance in a "Mickey Delivery". You also may not use it at a
"Disney Party". The same applies to a video that you purchase, you
may not use it in a commercial venue, you may not charge people to
watch it. The same kind of rules apply. You give VERY good
advice, use generic costumes. In this way you will be sure not to
bring the wrath of the "big guys" upon you. Remember, these
characters belong to the companies and they (the characters) are the
way these companies make enough money to keep their attorneys in
champagne! This is the way that I believe that it works, better to
err on the side of legality. Companies such as Disney and National
Public Radio have very little humor. They WILL come after you.
- With costumes, as long as you're not advertising or selling
your service as a "Mickey Mouse" or "Barney" delivery, you're
somewhat safe. However,
The Lyons Group and Disney have been very sticky with Mickey and
Barney licenses lately and are really cutting down on those
manufacturers producing or buying the similar characters. The U.S.
manufacturers of the Barney so-called costumes have ceased all
production due to the lawsuits pending. I'm familiar with so many
companies (big and small) who are still using the costumes to do
entertainment shows, costumed deliveries...etc...and they're not
getting into any trouble...So it all depends on how big your
business is and how you're advertising the services. Also, many of
the costumes have distinguishing characteristics about them that
make them somewhat different than the actual character...
- A large number of people in my area that have recently been hit
with lawsuits over costume rentals and purple dinosaurs. One person
in particular that I know was renting a purple dinosaur costume that
didn't look like Barney, that wasn't named Barney, and that he never
promoted as being Barney, lost a suit to the Barney people. Their
argument is that someone dressing up as a purple dinosaur hurts the
image of Barney that the company wants to portray. I think Barney
being dragged off in handcuffs hurts the image more, but who am I?
the other problem I have with it is that when I think of purple
dinosaurs, the first one that always comes to my mind (even after
all of this Barney stuff has been all over the place) is Dino from
the Flintstones. If anyone should be able to claim rights to the
purple dinosaur concept it should be Hanna-Barbara.
Anyway, it becomes a serious question of what we can do. I am not a
lawyer. I have no background at all in law. I'm just trying to
cover my butt. So, I called my lawyer. We talked about it for a
while. His answer is that what I do is probably legal (he didn't do
an extensive search but he doesn't know of a legal precedent that
would apply). He thought, after hearing my argument that it would
be ok, but cautioned me that it would take a lot more research (and
money) and his recommendation was to avoid it if possible.
- I am another one of those lucky people being sued by the Barney
people because they say I twisted balloons in a purple dinosaur
costume. Although the lawsuit seems like somewhat of a joke and I
began with an "are you kidding" attitude, these people are literally
trying to ruin my life. They are suing me for in excess of $100,000
plus legal expenses for copyright infringment. The attorney fees
are incredible because these attornies mean business. Although they
may never win in court, they are sending stacks and stacks of legal
papers every day that need replies and answers, and basically
forcing a settlement with them, whether guilty or innocent, because
our legal fees are mounting. They say if we don't return replies to
their legal documents we will receive default judgments, etc. It's
My point is, please be careful out there. I talked to copyright
attornies but in the legal world there are so many gray areas, and
in this country you can sue ANYBODY FOR ANYTHING. I will be forced
to pay these people an out of court settlement so I don't lose
everything in legal fees, and I didn't even do anything wrong.
PLEASE, PLEASE PEOPLE, twist away, but NEVER NEVER NEVER call these
characters by trademarked names!
- Take it from one who learned the hard way... Lyons "IS" suing
many, many companies (ours included). We were doing costume
deliveries not as Barney but as a Purple Dinosaur. My people were
instructed to NEVER say Barney and even inform our customers it is
NOT a Barney.
Nevertheless, we were sued and settled out of court for $20,000. How
did they "catch" us? Lyons impounded all records from the company we
bought the costume from. They checked their records, found our name
on a receipt and BINGO! Someone from Lyons also called our office
about placing an order for a Barney. We gave them our standard pitch
about purple dinosaur, not Barney etc. and the caller kept asking
over and over "But it's like Barney right?" until my salesperson
finally said "it's like Barney". And guess who tape recorded the
entire conversation and identified my salesperson in the legal
Fortunately, insurance covered the entire amount, but not our legal
fees. I say "fortunately" only because the financial damages were
taken care of. Unfortunately, our competitive playing field is no
longer level. Meaning, when a customer calls for Barney we tell them
we can't provide that service. They in turn usually get annoyed and
I am sure they find it somewhere else. So we lose a customer (in the
present and probably for the future) because we cannot serve them.
Meanwhile our competitor, who is still doing this type of delivery,
is the hero. We are the one playing by the rules and we look like
the bad guys!! The damage continues!!
- The money Lyons is looking for when suing depends on what
"level" of offense you have committed. Costume shops and costume
manufacturers seem to be hit the hardest. One local costume shop
here in New Jersey was sued for $75,000. Ours was about half that
because they "got us on tape" and then there is another level around
(I think) $5,000 to $10,000. Just be careful or they'll get you,
- My story is similar except it's "less" of an offense and they
hit me much harder!
In 1996 I bought a costume from the same company. Lyons has no
evidence of any kind that I have ever done anything with this
costume. They tried calling me and they were so obvious on the
phone that it didn't take long for me to figure out who it was! I
never called my costume Barney.
In 1997 I was sent a notice that if I did not send them $7,500 in
out of court settlements they would sue me for $50,000. All of the
girls in the area that had costumes called the attorney in charge
and cried poor. They admitted everything and THEY WERE RELEASED.
I tried the same thing but never admitted guilt. I told them they
could have my costume. Well, all was quiet for almost a year until
the papers came. Now I'm being sued for in excess of $100,000. So
is everyone else in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware area. I
don't know why we were hit so much harder. They lumped us all
together, costume shops, rentals, and home business, and weekend
moms working for a couple extra bucks. We all got slammed for
$100,000. Obviously we don't have insurance to cover this kind of
suit. Just entertainers insurance. I'm sure most of you have the
These people will stop at nothing, costume or no costume! Watch what
you make and what you call it. I never called my costume Barney and
look what happened to me. Lyons' says you can call it the Yellow
Dragon and if it looks like Barney it's a violation. Entertainers
insurance will not cover you, folks! Take it from someone that is
being aggrivated daily by these people. If it goes to trial I have
to go to Texas.
- BOYCOTT BARNEY! IF YOU TWIST HIM, PLEASE TWIST HIS HEAD OFF.
If you make a Barney shaped balloon for a child, don't forget to
make the accompanying Lyon's Lawyer. Twist up a SHARK!
Entertaining the "Not-Thrilled" Customer
- John Brunner asks "Why do people think it is necessary to
embarass a person on their birthday? I personally think this kind
of humiliation is very tacky and uncalled for."
- There is a difference between embarrassment and humiliation.
- There is a difference between a good natured ribbing and a
- Your first two sentences are: " Why do people think it is
necessary to embarrass a person on their birthday. I personally
think this kind of humiliation is very tacky and uncalled for."
If I may paraphrase, you've asked: "Why do people think very tacky
and uncalled for humiliation is necessary on a person's birthday?"
The answer is: Most people think tactful, good natured teasing will
lift a person's spirits on their birthday. It is a friendly way of
showing playful affection - like a puppy biting your hand, a parent
tousling a child's hair, the gatorade bucket dumping on the winning
coach after the Super Bowl. I think MOST people would agree these
are affectionate gestures. Take those gestures a little further,
and they are inappropriate. Dogs should not bite off your hand. A
parent should not pull a child's hair out by the roots, and the
team should not throw their coach into the arctic ocean after a
game. (You baseball fans may remember a VERY ANGRY Tim McCarver (a
baseball announcer) after Deion Sanders dumped the gatorade bucket
on him as he took his microphone into the middle of a post- game
victory party.) When I turned 10 it was quite in vogue at my
school to give "birthday punches" - one for each year - to the
birthday boy. Most kids gave me the standard good natured light
punches, but some nasty kids really belted me pretty good. I went
home crying, and bruised and quite aware of the difference between
malice and good-natured abuse.
- The fact is that SOME people go a little too far in their
teasing, and SOME people simply have no sense of humor, very little
self-worth, and can't take a joke.
- The "why" is very complicated to understand fully. It has to
do with a basic human condition, humor. You need to understand the
basic principal of the practical joke. In most humans there is a
certain satisfaction gotten out of practical jokes, and mildly
embarrassing someone. It is a "give/receive" thing. Most people
enjoy the attention they receive when mildly embarrassed as the
butt of a harmless practical joke, or when they are the center of
attention having "Happy Birthday" sung to them. The embarrassment
comes from a type of stage fright - the fear of being the center of
attention. Some people thrive on it, others are mortified by it.
Everyone has "something to hide", and being the focus of attention
threatens exposure. Some people are brought up to be ashamed of
themselves, their bodies, their actions. Justified or not, they
tend to be the "mortified" type. Others are brought up more
uninhibited. "Show- offs", Class Clowns, they tend to be the ones
who thrive on attention. It may have something to do with being
the oldest/youngest/first/last/only child. Happily
married/divorced, bitter/deceased or absent parents.
- You can observe the pure unadulterated version of "surprise"
by playing "peek-a-boo", or "Pop goes the weasel" or "This little
piggy" with a baby. Most babies will giggle when you "boo" or
"pop" or "wee-wee-wee all the way home". Embarrassing someone on
their birthday is an extension of this in a way. It is a surprise.
The more mature element of embarrassment has been added. it is
"good-natured" poking fun at someone. It is laughing at the human
condition. It is pointing out the inevitable tragedy of life -
unavoidable aging and death. We all must experience it, we all try
to avoid it, and most of us try to enjoy the good things in life,
whether we know it or not, by laughing at the bad things.
Birthdays are a rite of passage. There is only one alternative to
reaching your next birthday. (Uh, let's see, that would be NOT
- Some will not sell "Over the Hill" balloons which they believe
to be in extremely poor taste. Concerning "over-the-hill"
balloons, or more broadly, the whole concept of "over-the-hill"
humor, my take on it is this: I see nothing wrong with
"over-the-hill" balloons, or parties. Over the hill is when you
reach 30. Yeah, right! 30 is really old. I though so when I
turned 20. Over the hill is when you reach 40. Yeah, right! 40
is really old. I though so when I turned 30. I haven't hit 40
yet, but I have a feeling that when I do, 50 will seem really old.
For Pete's sake, if you can't figure out that there is no such
thing as a hill, then you have a problem. I have had a few
customers order "OTH" balloons for people who turn 60. I DO advise
against that, because 60 is a bit far to be claiming middle age,
and I can imagine that a 60 year old doesn't feel the same way
about how much of their life is left as someone who is 40.
- As far as embarrassing people on their birthdays, I think a
little embarrassment is quite appropriate, and there is a big
difference between embarrassment and humiliation. I don't think
most people feel it is necessary to humiliate someone on their
birthday, and for the most part people know the bounds of good
taste when they embarrass someone on their birthday. It is a
little childish for somone to feel humiliated by a little
embarrassment caused by someone acknowledging their birthday.
- Depending on the situation, and you could make the most of it
by making sure that all his co-workers are there when you do the
delivery. That is itself is probably enough to truly embarrass the
guy. You could also get some information from his wife, or the
person sending the balloons, and interject this info throughout the
presentation. After years of experience doing singing telegrams,
while it does matter what you are wearing, you can present it in
such a way that the recipient will want to slink behind a chair or
desk and never be seen again.
- Some suggestions: give him a big "red" kiss on his head if he
is bald, pinch his cheeks as you sing to him, sit on his lap, fill
a clear ll inch balloon (incorporated into the bokay within easy
reach) and pop it over his head as you conclude singing Happy
Birthday (make sure you have a pin attached to your lapel for this
to be successful).
- I was really disturbed by the latest posts about many saying
that "Over the hill" is not appropriate, but let me remind you that
it's what's on the other side of that hill that counts. I agree
that sometimes you may have the "giver" of the present take things
too far, but for the many years that I spent doing singing
telegrams, I never had one person refuse a telegram because they
were totally mortified of being the center of attention. I think
deep down inside, most people like the attention and the surprise
and are grateful that someone took the time to order something
special for them on their birthday. Why, I even had a girl order
balloons for herself, to be delivered to her office on her birthday,
with the card reading, (you guessed it) "from your secret admirer".
- You also do not know what has happened in the past. You know
what they say about paybacks! I can't tell you how many telegrams
I delivered to a person and a year or so later that person decides
to "get even". Now for those of you on the defense, it is just
- Sometimes you get hired by a jerk (let's call him the
instigator) to entertain a recipient. It's like guys who get
strippers for strait-laced friends for the bachelor parties: it's a
chance to get a cheap laugh at the expense of the recipient.
Remember that you're there only to entertain the birthday person,
not the instigator. If the birthday person doesn't enjoy it, no
one in the crowd will ever hire you for their spouse's (kid's,
boss's, etc.) birthday (they don't need the grief).
- What do you do, when you're dragged into the middle of a
situation like this....?... First off, IMHO, it's a no-win,
stand-off situation...no matter what happens, someone is almost
certainly going to be unhappy about it... If you 'embarrass' her,
then he's happy...If you don't, than she's happy. (unfortunately, I
think that's their 'goal' here, to embarrass the other
person...)...and if you refuse to do it, least in restaurant work,
then you run the risk of upsetting the person making the request
(usually 1 of 3, the management, the wait staff, or the
customer...all 3 of which I want on my side..especially the
- I've tried to set guide lines for handling it....1st) I want
total control.. I don't want someone else telling me what to do...
I have to be able to 'read' the situation and act accordingly.... If
the person is not 'into it' which is the way the lady in Arla's
case sounded, then I have to be able to soft-pedal and retreat if
necessary.... 2nd)..while I'll try to stick to suggestions, I pick
the moment to do it..and the place if possible. 3rd) I can/will
refuse it if it doesn't feel right, but how do you really 'know'
that it isn't right......?... I try to go with 'gut-feeling', but
that's certainly not 100% right either.....
- I was a waiter at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Tustin (when
Farrell's was still a chain). We'd blow the whistles and bang the
drums for any reason you can think of, and people were always
trying to embarrass others at their table. The problem was, you
never really knew how people were going to react. So, you have
to be prepared to turn the situation around.
- Appeal to their better nature. When it's a person's birthday,
they are expected to go along.
Encourage that right from the beginning. "Wow, you're really a
good sport to put up with this!" "Man, they try to throw you a
curve and you hit it out of the park!" "Look here everybody,
here's a lady with _style_."
- One time I was reaching over some people in a large group to
someone in the corner, and a banana split boat on my tray poured
ice cream and chocolate syrup down the neck of the unfortunate
gentleman over whom I was leaning. The table erupted in laughter,
and I quickly said "Oh thank God this happened to someone with
a sense of humor! I'd hate to lose my job over this!" Got him a
warm, clean towel, comp'ed his ice cream. Got a huge tip, and
he'll always have a story to tell. They even came back the next
week. When you give people a chance to be heroic, they'll usually
- If the subject is really hostile, take his/her side. Turn on
the instigator and try these techniques:
- "Yeah! What in the hell did you think you were doing, hiring
someone who could twist something stupid like this?" (Twist
something very cool, very fast.) "Or this?" (twist twist twist)
"Your idea of a good time is watching someone do this?" (twist
twist twist twist twist) "I mean, grow up! This is a person of high
culture, who would never be amused by something like this."
(twist twist twist)
- "I mean, a woman lives to be (insert age 10 years younger than
actual age -- it's cheesy, but always goes over well) and all you
get her is the most popular clown in the tri-state area?" (Bay
Area, Wichita, United States, you pick it.)
- "You know, you really owe her a huge present now. Or maybe
something small and precious." (Twist earrings, a ring, whatever,
and put them on the person instigator.) "Hint, hint." A variation
might be to make the instigator a bow tie and tell him to take her
out to a fancy meal.
- Make a sword and say to the birthday person, "You hold him
and I'll thrash him."
- If it's all adults, make the dirty dog and tell the instigator
that he can keep it if it "likes" him. (If you don't know the dirty
dog, e-mail me privately -- it's simple and embarrassing.)
- When all else fails, turn the embarrassment your way.
- Engage the crowd, and take the attention completely away from
- "I know, you're asking, how can an adult make a living by
crashing people's parties in oversized polka-dotted clothes. The
fact is, I always dress like this. I learned balloons to keep
people from staring at me...."
- Get them all to sing: [nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuhhhh-nuh-nu'] They
say it's your birth-dayy! [nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuhhhh-nuh-nu']
Happy Birthday to you! [nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuhhhh-nuh-nu']
They say it's your birth-dayy! [nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuhhhh-nuh-nu']
Gonna have a good time! (etc.)
- To end your routine, go the sincere route. Make a bouquet or a
teddy-bear or something so unutterably cute that it has to be
accepted, then say:
"(Instigator's name) wanted me to come here today because he
loves you, and he wanted to do something extra special to show it.
Thank you, (birthday person) for being such a good sport. Everybody!
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you...."
- Remember that the instigator is not likely to hire you again
there, done that). You want the birthday person to appear to enjoy
your performance so that others in the crowd will want to hire you.
And, if all else fails, you already know the important lesson:
payment in advance!
Mail Order Balloons
- Before the Wright brothers, sending a bouquet of balloons
through the mail was the only kind of air-mail available...
- I've sent out boxes of balloons a number of times. So far I've
had pretty good luck by packing them so that they don't move, using
either crumbled newspaper or bubble wrap, but with no other
precautions. Needless to say, it's important to be mindful of how
far they're going and how long till they get there. I've found that,
as long as the sculptures are secure, time is a bigger enemy than
the physical handling of the package.
- The problems you are having with the popping of pre-inflated
balloons during shipping is usually caused by the expansion inside
the sealed balloon.
- This can be caused by either interior heat increasing while
being transported in a closed vehicle (just like latex in a hot
enviornment) or cabin pressure during air shipment. There really
is no solution to this occurance, it's the nature of "gas
molecules", "physics" and "chemistry".
- During the hot summer here, we have the same popping problem
with our pre-inflated mylar balloons that are stored in our
warehouse. (When it gets up to 100* out there, we can lose up to
1/3 of the stock in one day. It sounds like popcorn!) (Also, the
bottom inflation seals created against the inflation pressure are
stronger and they with stand the expansion much better than the
- Best to purchase the product flat and invest in a good heat
- I think your problem had to do with the heat. If your balloons
were air inflated in an air conditioned environment in Bogart,
Georgia and then were put into cartons and transported in
unairconditioned UPS semi trucks via ground, to Arizona, the heat
had to be a factor. Slightly UNDER inflating when going to hot
climates or high altitudes will get one past these problems most of
- Helium-inflated balloons AND air filled balloons will expand if
subjected to warmer temperatures.
- In our experience, we have left the mylars a tad soft so there
is some room for expansion. We have not experienced any "exploded"
mylars. Our damages come from other objects being placed within
the carton with the balloons - for instance, a hard-cover book - we
try to buffer all sharp edges, but sometimes contents shift.
- We have been shipping for 12 years and perhaps it's time to
the regulations with UPS and the post office to make certain there
are no new restrictions.
- In the worst scenario, UPS wouldn't honor a claim for damages to the
balloon which is one of the least expensive items in the shipment -
our carton costs more.
- We do quite a bit of mailing "Balloon in a Box". Mylar
balloons do very well in transit; latex do not, unless they are air
filled. Don't even let anyone talk you into doing a stuffed
balloon through the mail - that's just asking for trouble.
- Some things to note: Put a label (or write a note) on the
taped seam of the carton "Do not use sharp instrument to open".
Add some interest to the shipment (we add colored tissue, mylar
filled 5" balloons, spiral 260's, a card and a decorated weight to
the 18" mylar and charge a sliding fee based on the zone it is
shipped to (17-25 C-shells). More than 3 mylars will create an
oversize carton that will cost a bundle to ship UPS, but sometimes
people are willing to pay.
- Be careful of sending balloons to high altitude areas - we
always leave them a bit on the soft side. Be wary of sending them
into hospitals - be certain you have noted that the recipient is a
"Patient", that you have the correct room/bed number, and that they
will be there for more than a week. Don't ship out balloons on
Friday (UPS doesn't move packages on Saturday and Sunday). Suggest
2nd day or 3rd day air if it is going to a 4-5 day delivery area -
which will cost the customer considerably more. Put a label or
card inside the carton "If this shipment is damaged, or the balloon
is deflated, please save all packaging and call us collect
- I've sent out boxes of balloons a number of times. So far I've
had pretty good luck by packing them so that they don't move, using
either crumbled newspaper or bubble wrap, but with no other
precautions. Needless to say, it's important to be mindful of how
far they're going and how long till they get there. I've found that,
as long as the sculptures are secure, time is a bigger enemy than
the physical handling of the package.