Helium Saving Tips
We received many requests asking us to facilitate the networking and sharing of helium saving tips. So we sent an email asking you to send us your tips. We would organize them and spread the word. Below is what you did. Thank you so much to all who contributed!
Lorna & Lorinda Ferrell, CBA's
********************** Air - Filled **********************
********************** Leave Behind Bases **********************
Make a great walkway by putting Light Up Balloon Sticks (LUBS) attached to a LUBS Holder & Straw inside an air filled 11" latex.
They can also make great Pool Lights. All balloons in the photo are 16" latex. Simply drop the battery pack (black end of LUBS) into an uninflated 9"latex. Loosely twist and seal the neck of the 9" latex high up on the white portion of the LUBS. This is to simplify the insertion of the LUBS and 9" latex in to the neck of the 16" latex. Follow the directions for inflating and sealing the LUBS as you would normally do. This will leave you with a 16" balloon with Light Up Balloon Stick inside and a battery pack that is covered with a 9" latex balloon making it waterproof.
Take a heavy fishing weight (3 to 5 ounces) and attach this via dacron or monofilament line to a bunched up part of the 9" latex balloon. (Preferably at the bottom portion where you would normally attach the ribbon to the LUBS.) Make the line 6-12 inches long. A longer line will help keep the balloon in the pool in higher wind. Turn on the Light Up Balloon Stick and place into the water. The weight will make the balloon stand straight up and the breezes outside will cause the balloon to have a life of its own - going from side to side in the pool.
Light Up Balloon Stick Company, Inc.
Long Beach, CA
By dropping one panel from a storage cube system over a base plate and EMT pipe you get additional attachment point for balloons around the base. The panel also works well for attaching a bunch of 260's to make clumps of grass that can be placed around the room. Storage cubes are available at Target, etc., come in sizes from 12" - 16" and several colors.
You can also easily attach a bunch of latex to the top of the EMT pipe. Take a standard size funnel and drill several holes around the top. Push the narrow tip of the funnel in to the EMT pipe. Tie latex to the holes in the funnel. This works well to make an explosion of 260's at the top of the column.
Troy Apprill, CBA & Diane Burton, CBA
St. Louis, MO
This Hot Air Balloon is made with air. Cut a 31" Lomey Pedestal to size. Glue the round piece that comes with the Pedestal to the top of the Pedestal. Glue the metallic sheets to the bottom of the basket. The weight inside the basket is made from plaster inside of a disposable plastic dish. The weight is turned upside down so the bottom of the dish is upright. Glue the weight to the metallic sheets. Glue the top of the Lomey Pedestal to the plastic cup of the weight. Glue a paper mache pot (purchase at your floral supply) to the bottom of the Lomey Pedestal.
Tie ribbon to the basket at 4 points. Cut off the ties of the hot air net below the knots. Inflate the balloon and set in the paper mache pot. Place the net over the top of the 3' balloon. Tie the knots of the net to the basket with the ribbons.
You will have to experiment to get the correct height on the Lomey Pedestal to make everything fit nicely with the base, pot, etc. The reason to use the Lomey Pedestal upside down is the base looks cleaner than the top with the ring.
Carolyn Hadin, CBA
Balloon Creations by Carolyn
I would like to offer some techniques to make a (re-usable?) arch!
Inflate the foil balloons SLOWLY so that the valves are not stressed and will hold the air. Apply Jiffy Tape over the hole of the inflated foil when hiding the tail to prevent leaking from the valve. Note: the distance between extension locking holes on the MagPole is THREE loops of LoopLine. Using two lines from each heart foil will stop them from rotating…and helps to keep the embellishments looking their best. : Using the LoopLine, (no knots to tie) means faster work and SYMMETRY!
After the event, take the foils down, store in large plastic bags hung by ClikMagnets from metal rafters – or deflate using the Foil-Flator/deflator.
Note: Dance Floor Canopies can be made using the techniques above.
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
1) "Majestic" Columns - Many of the Columns/Pillars we sell start with a pure helium, full sized 3 foot *Latex* with 4 - 16" quad underneath. From there we do almost all air below, with a matching 16" quad on the bottom. . If it's not a long duration event, we can build 8'-12' tall columns and save helium there, while upselling the larger "Majesty" Column with big collars atop and on bottom.
2) Grids - If you have the ability, many venues have existing columns/ tiepoints/ rigging that allow for a monofilament grid to be tied from above, and do suspension of latex , foil, and non-round creations that are uniquely different, *and all air !*
3) Framing - It's obvious that we will join our European ( and other International) Balloon Decorators, in using more framed work. They have been used to having higher helium costs, forcing them to find creative alternatives for many years now. 1/2" conduit is still cheap and available, cold rolled steel, 1/4" and 3/8" aluminum rod and custom welded baseplates/ flanges ( that you have to retrieve, I know....bummer dude ) may be the necessity of all decorators in the future.
4) We use our 60/40 valves everyday, on both our dual sizers and manually, you never know when an opportunity to use less helium comes up. A long time ago, Bruce Walden told me that 16" balloons with 60/40 and Hi-Float are a beautiful thing. I was surprised that they did so well for a multi-day event. Hey, we even use less sand in our weights because of the reduced lift on balloons... The worlds' supply of sand is not yet threatened (Ha Ha) but it saves waste when the hotel crew throws out weights!
5) We do a simple thing we call a "Funk" or "Funky" Cluster consisting basically of 8-10 balloons in 16" and 11" sized at random, fused together ( like a cloud or topiary 12 pack) and then we use color coordinating 260Q's to tie them off to existing elements in the room, tent, or outdoor venue. Careful where you tie them though ( no electrical fixtures, sensitive elements, etc.) They seem to last forever and use *all air!*
6) Cascading Bubbles or Balloon Strands are 1 or 2 - 16" _helium_ balloons with air filled balloons ( descending in size) starting with an underinflated 16" Air, down to a 3" balloon all on 15 lb test. You have to have the right ceiling (not too high or low, flat or tiered) It rests gently on the ceiling and suspends down like icicles or dripping water.
6) Drain your helium tanks... often times it was more convenient to turn in a tank with 200-600 lbs. left in it, not any more.
Hope this helps!
Tony Loiacono and crew
San Carlos, CA
Creativity is the key. More and more, balloon professionals are feeling the pressure when it comes to conserving helium. What’s the most important thing professionals can do to conserve helium? Take time out to be creative, play with new ideas and techniques, and explore new possibilities. Maybe you’ll come up with a great design that could help save the day. Meanwhile, try out some of these conservation tips for your next event:
Create helium-friendly Columns. Create a Column with a unique topper—like festive 260Qs—which require no helium. For a more sturdy, air-filled Column, use conduit with a base plate. You can cover your base plate with Microfoil® balloons. You can also wrap slightly inflated 260Qs around the conduit to help it blend in and coordinate with the rest of your decor. To do this, air inflate a 260Q to about 3″ and tie. Tie the knot end of the 260Q to the end of the conduit. Begin winding the 260Q around the conduit, pushing the bubble down as you go, to create a smooth “wrap.” When you reach the end of the first 260Q, pop the end and tie to the rod. Repeat as necessary.
Try hanging designs. Decor such as Upside-Down Designs by Alberto Falcone, CBA & QAI, can be created for any occasion. Though originally designed for helium use, these designs are also easy to hang from ceilings and are a great start to brainstorming ideas for ceiling decor. This design creates a unique effect and can also be done in advance, saving you time. Check out some unique Upside-Down Designs in the Oct/Nov/Dec 06 issue of Balloon Images.
Clik-Clik to get it done. Suspend designs from the ceiling using the Clik-Clik magnetic hanging system (formerly MagMover). The Clik-Clik system is safe, fast, easy to use, and can be attached to any metal via ClikMagnets and MagMovers.
Bubble Balloons last longer. For occasions or events where long-lasting decor is needed, Bubbles are key. While they do require helium, you won’t have to keep refilling them to keep them looking great. In the case of Qualatex® Bubbles, a little helium can go a long way—two to four weeks, in fact.
Build it with walls. Walls are a great option for setting the scene at an event, and can be done without the use of helium. There are different techniques for building walls—garland methods, the SDS™ System, or the Rouse Matrix Systems™. When using the garland method, you can try various garlands in order to achieve the exact look you’re going for. For ideas and tips on designing with balloon walls, see the Jul/Aug/Sep 2005 issue of Balloon Images.
Use framing. Sculpting frames allow you to create unique decor that goes beyond your basic Columns and String-of-Pearl Arches. Try Qualatex Sculpting Frames to save time creating frames. Or shape your own frames to create other unique shapes.
Get twisted. If you don’t know how to twist balloons, maybe now’s the time to learn. Entertainer balloons don’t require any helium and can make fun centerpieces or additions to your decor that will keep people talking for days. Try the wide range of sizes and colors in Qualatex entertainer balloons.
Be sure to check the upcoming Jan/Feb/Mar 2008 issue of Balloon Images for more great ideas and simple tips on conserving helium.
Pioneer Balloon Co.
Leanne Sears, CBA, Balloon Thrills, Concord, CA is making bases for 5 balloon columns up to six feet high out of a square of foam core. Simply punch a hole in the middle of the foam core. Tie monofilament to a washer and feed through the hole. The rigidity of a 5 balloon cluster will support a column up to six foot high. A great easy, leave behind base.
Here is another alternative when a heavier base is needed:
The store, Smart & Final, carries a 24oz styrofoam bowl, called a rice bowl. The attached files are some photos of the bowl. The bowl is 6 1/2" wide at the top edge and a little more than 2 inches tall.
I make a mixture of instant mortar (the just add water type), very thick......thick enough to hold a jumbo paper clip upright, which is my tying point. I pull open one side of the paper clip, until it is straight, at a 90 degree angle from the rest of the paper clip, and insert it in the center of the mortar mix. I make sure I have enough mortar mix in the bowl for the top of the paper clip to extend above the bowl.
I place the bowl in my garage, the drying time depends on the outside temperature. It can take 2 - 3 days to dry completely. Once dry, the bowl can be covered with a piece of foil/cello sheet by gluing a ring of hot glue around the outside edge or using double-sided tape.
I used to make all my basic, economical priced centerpiece bases this way, using 6 oz bowls, before I discovered the pre-made foil weights.
Hope this information can help someone.
Tina Jimerson, USAF, Retired
Balloons by Visual Expressions
If you take the empty centers of the curl ribbon, they can be glued to a floor tile. Then a small piece of pvc pipe (wrapped with satin/poly ribbon) fits right inside the hole and makes a cheep stand.
********************** Saving Helium **********************
New HI-FLOAT Method Saves 25% of Your Helium Supply
Rising prices and tight helium supplies continue to affect everyone in the balloon and party industry, making conservation more important than ever. In an effort to combat this crisis, the HI-FLOAT Company has developed a method that can save 25% of balloon retailers' helium costs.
Testing in our laboratory shows that by using ULTRA HI-FLOAT® you can inflate an 11-inch latex balloon with 75% helium and 25% air or nitrogen and still have a balloon that floats for 3 or 4 days. Without ULTRA HI-FLOAT, the same balloon would only float for 16 hours on average.
If you need your balloons to float for the longest time possible add 100% helium. However, if you only need balloons to float a few days, this method is ideal. By using ULTRA HI-FLOAT, you can save 25% of your helium costs and still have happier customers with longer floating balloons. In addition to conserving a valuable resource, the money you save on helium virtually covers the cost of the ULTRA HI-FLOAT.
To treat an 11-inch latex balloon with a 75% helium/25% air mixture, you do not need to buy a special gas mixture. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Inject ULTRA HI-FLOAT into the balloon (using the white restriction clip on the pump dispenser) and rub.3. Blow the balloon up the rest of the way with helium.
2. Blow the balloon up with air or nitrogen to 7-inches diameter.
The key to success is adding enough helium for the balloons to float initially. Depending on your climate/altitude you may need to change the mixture slightly to get the balloon to float well initially. If the balloon floats initially, it should float for at least 3 or 4 days.
For more information about treating balloons with a helium/air mixture, including treating other sized balloons, visit this article on our website: See examples How To Save Helium Using ULTRA HI-FLOAT
Don & Marjorie Burchette
Co-Founders, HI-FLOAT Company Inc.
Latex Balloon Warning: Choking Hazard. Children under 8 years can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.