Balloon sculptures or balloon twisting is a fun activity often done at carnivals, fairs, and parties. Sculptures can be simple to complex and, like all things, practice will only improve the art. Simple supplies such as various size and colored sculpting balloons, magic markers with soft points, a pump (or the air in your lungs) added to creative imagination and patience will result in success.
Young sculptures should have a parent to watch them when attempting their creations, just in case; and, an audience is always a nice plus once you’ve gotten the swing of things.
Balloon sculptures draw everyone’s attention, are inexpensive (about 8 cents per balloon), and versatile. From hats, animals, cars, and flowers, young and old can be pleased. A few rules to remember: sculpting balloons can, and will, pop. It’s normal. Even though they’re made of latex (not standard balloon rubber), and can stand a lot of twisting, they will still pop, and children under the age of three may be entertained by balloon sculptures but should not be allowed to take them home – too high a risk for chocking.
Start sculpting with the basic supplies:
latex sculpting balloons, a small, inexpensive air pump (to save your lungs), and an instruction book. Many books can be found both at stores and on the web and are highly recommended as the basic twists, once mastered, can be added to, built upon, and used for complex creations. Begin with the simple forms and work your way up. Using latex sculpting balloons, place the opening of the balloon over the tip of the air pump and pump up and down once.
As you do this air will flood into the balloon and start to inflate it – once you stop, the air flows back out. Pump several strokes, until the balloon is inflated to the length you want – you do not want to fully inflate the balloon. Pull the balloon off the pump, pinching the end as you do so the air doesn’t rush out and tie it the way you would tie a normal balloon.
With the inflated balloon in hand, you’ll be creating sculptures by twisting the balloon into smaller bubbles and don’t be shy, it won’t pop when you twist it. There are numerous twists to learn and locking the twists in place is the secret. Follow the instructions for twisting from a book or online to create those arms, legs, and petals that join together.
Be careful, though, letting go of a twist too soon can unravel an entire sculpture. Once complete, relax, and take a good look at your sculpture. Even if the proportions aren’t perfect, you succeeded. Experiment, try different lengths and practice, practice, practice. You’ll get used to the sounds, the feel, and be happier with the results.
This new skill can be rewarding for yourself or, if really talented, in monetary value. One of the very best uses comes at unexpected times. Stranded at an airport, in the subway or anywhere this creative ability will save you from boredom, make you the life of the party and win the gratitude of parents in the same situation.