Packed arches and balloon columns are bigger, bolder and more suited to high traffic areas than the delicate string of pearls.
They take more balloons, and a lot longer to make, but the end result is worth it.
Things To Know
Packed arches can be made with either helium or air filled balloons.
When using air filled balloons the arch must be put on a supporting frame.
Frames can be made a variety of ways.
The method you choose will depend on where you want the arch located.
If you are using the arches or columns around a dance floor choose heavy base plates.
If someone falls into a support you don't want the entire structure coming down.
Base plates can often be rented, but are also easy to make.
A fast, simple base plate that is suitable for doorway arches and low traffic areas can be made from 14 - 18 inch ceramic floor tile.
Glue a flange (plumbing section) on with a strong - industrial strength - adhesive.
Thread a pipe nipple into the flange when it's dry and you have a base plate.
Use a size that your main frame can fit over and everything will work fine.
I make my frames from 1/2 inch electrical conduit.
It's cheap, strong and easy to bend.
For heavier base plates you can use 1/2 plywood that is at least 18" square.
On occasion I have added extra weight with weights from a weight lifting bench.
For the heaviest, and easiest to cover base plates you can have steel ones custom made at most metal shops, but it may be just simpler to rent them from a balloon professional.
When using helium to make packed arches, you only need to be sure to weight the ends.
The arch shape will take care of itself.
Balloons - approximately 4-8 per foot of your structure in two colors.
Sizer (cardboard with a 10" or other sized hole cut in it)
Base plate and Frame
Helium, air tank, blower, or pump. Don't use a hand pump you'll only frustrate yourself.
Weights - one for each end.
If you are making a helium arch cut the line to the length needed
(see string of pearls arch for directions) and secure it to anchors. If
you are making an air filled arch or column set up your base plate
and frame. Help is good when making these arches because they are
time consuming. Make your weights if needed.
Inflate 2 balloons of same color and make one doublet.
Do this again with the second color.
Twist the two doublets together in the middle with the balloons alternating in colors.
Put the quad on your frame or your line.
Do this again and again and again.
While you are stacking pay attention to where the colors are going.
You want to alternate them for a spiral effect.
Time To Decorate
That's pretty much all there is to it. Just keep inflating, sizing, twisting and stacking until you have reached the
desired height. With a little practice you'll become confident enough to start making things more creative.