A balloon arch works great to highlight an entrance or exit. You can build a single balloon arch, multi balloon arch or rainbow arch. Before you decide on what design you would like to go with, here are a few general hints.
- Helium filled balloons start to fall 7 to 15 hours after they are filled, so you will need to build your arch 2 to 3 hours before the party or use a product called hi-float to extend the life of your balloons. Hi-float will make your balloons last at least a few days. You can find hi-float at some party stores starting around $12 a bottle (for a pint). Building an arch is time consuming and most likely you will have plenty of other things to do before the party, so I would highly recommend using hi-float and building your arch the morning before the party. (Oriental Trading sell hi-float online.)
-When using helium you can use a simple string, ribbon or nylon thread for your arch base. They also make arch bases you can buy at some party stores, starting around $20. Some of the arch bases come with lights for the inside of your base to add a glow to your balloons.
-For smaller arches don’t fill your balloons as full, while large arches you will want bigger and fuller balloons.
-Make sure your balloons are all the same size. To make sure they are the same size you can make a template out of cardboard, by cutting a circle in the middle to match the width of your balloons.
-When working with helium, pick a room with a low ceiling so you can reach any stray balloons.
-When using thread for the base of your balloons, add an extra 3 feet for tying the ends to your weights. Here is a simple formula to figure out how long to make your arch.v
-If you want your arch wider than it is tall use: Height + Width = Arch Length.
-If your height and width are close to the same use: (Height X 1.5) + Width = Arch Length
- If you want your arch taller than your width use: (Height X 2) + Width = Arch Length
A single balloon arch is the easiest and fastest to complete. You will need: balloons, helium, streamers (optional), two weights and a long clear nylon thread. First tie one end of your thread to one of your weights. Fill one of your balloons up with helium and attach around 9 inches above your weight. You can attach them with streamers and let the streamers hang down for added decoration or tie the balloon directly on to the thread. You will then attach your next balloon approximately 12 inches apart from the last (depending on the size of your balloons), and so on. When you are done, put a weight on the other side of your arch and your ready to go.
If you want to add more to your arch, add long balloons or streamers to your design. You could also put balloons inside your balloons for a different touch. Columns are another fun touch to put on each side of your arch.
Rainbow arches are two or more single arches placed on top of one another. These are made the same way as mentioned above. Each arch is typically a different color to give it the rainbow effect.
Multi balloon arches are the most common and time consuming of the three types of arches. For multi balloon arches you typically have around 6 balloons per foot. You can use air or helium filled balloons. For air filled balloons your will need a base to hold them up. You can buy one or build one out of PVC pipe or something similar. You will also need to attach your frame to the wall or ceiling for support. This project can be very time consuming, but on the flip side air filled balloons last longer.
If you buy a base for your balloons, typically they will have holes already for you to stick each of your balloons in. If you are using nylon thread (most common) for your base here a few simple instructions on how to build your masterpiece:
1. Cut your thread to the appropriate length. Keep in mind it is a lot easier to cut off extra then it is to add more.
2. Tie one end of your thread to a weight.
3. Blow up two balloons and tie them together.
4. Blow up your next two balloons, tie them together and then twist the sets of two together.
5. Now you are ready to attach them the bottom of your arch, by twisting them on.
6. If you are using two different colors have each set of two, opposite colors from the other set of two that you will combining them to. Then as you add each layer make sure your colors are rotated, the colors should look as if they are spiraling around the arch. Or keep it simple and alternate the colors of each cluster.
7. When your arch is complete, tie the end of the thread to your other weight.
8. Move in place.