Balloon arches are a beautiful addition to any party decor. You can use one as a wedding arch, for bridal showers, or any other type of celebration. They're fairly simple to make, but look like they took ages. Balloon decorations are a very affordable way to add style to your special event.
This article will cover the basics of creating a balloon arch. If you want something more intricate, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Balloon Decor Secrets; it has projects ranging from simple balloon bouquets to detailed arches and even gazebo-style decorations.
Before you create your balloon arch, you have a few things to decide:
- Would you rather use air-filled or helium balloons? Helium balloon arches will require less support in the frame, but will only last for about 10-12 hours before they begin to weigh on the frame. If you go this route, you will want to rent a helium tank. Air-filled balloons require a more stable frame, but the finished product will last longer and air is less expensive than helium.
- What balloon colors do you want to use in your arch? Is it for a wedding or would happy birthday balloons be more appropriate? Do you want to keep it simple or create balloon art with patterned colors?
- What size balloons do you want to use? To make sure that all of your balloons are the same width, create a template out of cardboard to measure each balloon as it is inflated. Just cut out a circle the same width as you want the balloons to be, and pass each filled balloon through the hole before tying them off to ensure they are the right size.
- How many balloons will you need? You'll need to know the size of your arch first to determine how many balloons to purchase. You will need to purchase about 6 balloons per foot of frame length for a cluster arch. Here are the formulas to figure out the length of the arch. (all lengths are approximate)
- For an arch that is as tall as it is wide: (0.5 x height) + width = length
- For an arch that is wider than it is tall: width + height = length
- For an arch that is taller than it is wide: (2 x height) + width = length
Once you've made all of your choices, you're ready to begin putting your balloon arch together.
- To make the frame for your balloon arch, use sturdy, strong material such as PVC pipe and aluminum rod. Create the arch by using the pipe for the sides and the aluminum rod for the curve at the top. Use electrical tape to secure the two materials together.
- Inflate your balloons using the template to ensure they are all the same size. Tie sets of two balloons together, and then match up two sets of balloons and twist them together to make clusters of four balloons. You can use different colors here to make a pattern, or use balloons that are all the same color.
- Attach the balloon clusters to the frame by simply putting the cluster in place and twisting one of the balloons around the frame to secure. Working from one end to the other, continue adding balloon clusters until the entire frame is covered.
- When all of the balloons are attached, secure the ends of the frame to something heavy like bricks or sand bags to make sure they are weighted properly and will stay in place. You can cover the weights with extra balloons tied to the bottom of the frame.
- Secure the arch by wiring it to the ceiling or wall if possible, or to freestanding objects like tables or chairs. If the balloon arch is going over a doorway, you can hook it to the door frame with wire or string and pushpins. Be careful not to puncture the balloons!
Finally, you can add more decorations if you'd like to. You can decorate your arch with strings of mini-lights, beads, flowers, ribbon, or anything else that won't weigh it down too much. If using mini-lights, make sure that they don't get too hot and that the cords are well hidden.