Hi, my name’s Trav. I’m a balloon twister (technically a balloonologist) at Downtown Disney in California. I also do many other events and parties. I was trained for about 4 months to make balloons and have spent the past 4 years refining and improving my skills learning over 350 different balloon creations. So enough about me, let’s get to you…
You too can learn to balloon twist, a handy skill to impress children and adults alike! You can bring joy to the children around you and watch adults transform back into 6 year olds. Balloon twisting is a very rewarding and fun skill to possess and is, at the very least, a great party trick. You may even be able to start a new business for yourself as a balloon twister, not a bad job in my opinion.
A word of caution: Balloon twisting is not a skill most can learn over night. It takes time and practice and can be frustrating at times. However, there are creations that are fairly simple and will impress others and yourself nonetheless. These are the creations we will start with first. I’d also like to note that it seems most people make it over a hump where after they learn a good foundation of the basics they are able to make pretty much anything imaginable.
So the way I plan to teach balloon twisting to you is to start with what supplies you need, followed by some terminology and twist techniques, and then I will go on to explain how to make a number of specific balloon creations. So let’s get to it…
Step 1: Supplies You'll Need
All you need to start balloon twisting is balloons and a pump.
Balloons: I recommend using Qualatex 260Q balloons. Qualatex is a quality brand and 260Q is the standard size balloon twisters use (60” long and 2” in girth). You might be able to get away with the balloons available at your local party store but these are often cheaply made and pop very easily.
Pump: Any hand pump from your local party store will work well. However if you are seriously looking to get into balloon twisting, I would recommend getting this dual action pump. A dual action pump propels air when you push it in as well as when you pull it out allowing you to fill up the balloon faster.
Step 2: Inflating and Tying a Balloon
Please refer to the photos above.
To inflate your balloon, push the open end of the balloon all the way onto the pump nozzle. Be sure to push it on far enough so you leave yourself enough uninflated balloon to tie a knot. Hold the balloon at the tip of the pump with one hand and use the other hand to operate the pump.
After you have inflated the balloon to your desired length, pull the balloon off of the pump and immediately squeeze the uninflated part of the balloon so no air is released. To tie your balloon, wrap the uninflated part around your index AND middle fingers. Then push the tip through the gap between your two fingers. Lastly, pull the knot tight and your balloon is now successfully inflated and tied.
Step 3: Terminology and Techniques
There are certain terms I will teach you so that you can follow my videos better and we can have a mutual understanding of what to do. These are generally terms used by most balloon twisters as well.
Please refer to the photos above as well as the details below.
Ball/Bubble: approximately a 1” Twist
Small: approximately a 2” Twist
Medium: approximately a 3” Twist
Large: approximately a 4” Twist
Loop: any length twist that is then brought back to itself
Teddy Bear Ear: a ball that is pulled up and twisted into itself (named because it looks like a teddy bear ear)
These are only a few basic techniques, you will find more in my videos but they are better explained with the use of a video.
Step 4: Dog
Step 5: Giraffe
Step 6: Sword
Step 7: Basic Hat
Step 8: Flower
Step 9: Teddy Bear in a Heart
Step 10: Butterfly
Step 11: Monkey in a Tree With Bananas
Step 12: Shark
Step 13: Dinosaur
Step 14: Fire Breathing Dragon
Step 15: Crazy Hat #1
Step 16: Crazy Hat #2
Step 17: Spiderman
Step 18: Mickey Mouse
Step 19: Continuing On...
I hope you learned a little about balloon twisting and are now able to make a few balloon creations. I also hope you inadvertently had fun and provided some joy for others around you. Please note that there are thousands of other creations you can twist. There are a ton of other instructables and videos on youtube that provide excellent instruction and I encourage you to check them out to continue learning more balloon creations. I am also planning to continue expanding on this instructable so feel free to post suggestions for new balloons you would like to learn.
Be sure to check out my blog to follow me at travsdesk.com and follow me on Instagram @travderose and Vine at Trav DeRose