I have been using helium balloons for the last few years as part of a Christmas decoration theme. We do not live near any lakes so there is no real lake party this year – just some friends who want to toss these things up with us. So I was wondering if anyone has ever had this problem before…and what one could use to help seal them without damaging the fabric of the balloons (as it would hurt me to throw away money). Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated! Thank You!! 🙂
This question reminds me about my little girl’s birthday cake that we decorated with helium balloons. The day after her birthday party she came home complaining that her feet were cold because all the helium balloons popped off her shoes while running indoors because of temperature changes inside and outside the house. If only we’d thought to put socks under our shoes. Now every time I get new helium balloons, I make sure to buy matching pairs of winter boots for everyone. This way they never pop off again.
One thing to consider though — balloons don’t hold much helium anyway. A small size balloon may contain 3-4 cubic feet worth of gas. That means even if you inflated 100 of them full, they wouldn’t weigh very much. And they won’t float far above the ground either. My own experience shows that an average sized adult balloon weighs less than 1 lb., which isn’t really enough lift power to carry more than a couple people over short distances. Maybe try filling them with nitrogen instead?
If you want to inflate large numbers of balloons quickly, you might also look into getting bulk helium tanks. They aren’t too expensive, and you can fill hundreds at once by connecting several hoses together to share the same tank. Of course, you’ll need a place to store them until you need them. Another option is to rent a liquid propane cylinder from a local retailer, then hook those cylinders up to a manifold system. It takes longer to fill the balloons this way, but since the end result is lighter and bigger, it should work out better overall.
Weighing down balloons makes sense, particularly considering their fragile nature. Some folks like to wrap regular latex balloons tightly with rubber bands. This works well. Others prefer tape. With either choice you can apply pressure to “seal” the balloon shut and thus reduce its volume.
It does take a bit of practice with balloons. As others have mentioned here, it doesn’t matter whether you blow up airtight; helium expands equally everywhere within the balloon wall, regardless of where the expansion occurs. Thus, the difference between the interior and exterior pressures of a filled balloon depends upon how big the hole is. For example, let’s say you have two balloons attached side-by-side, both of different sizes. One is blown up entirely with air, and another half with air, leaving room for the remaining helium to escape through the smaller gap.
Both are made of the same material. When you release them simultaneously, assuming you’ve done everything correctly, both will rise at roughly equal rates, right? Not necessarily. Depending on which is closer to the center of mass, the larger balloon may ascend faster than the smaller one. At least initially. Eventually, both will catch up, but there’s always potential for trouble if the smaller balloon happens to break first.
The solution is to give each balloon plenty of room to breathe, especially during initial inflation. In fact, if you’re going to attach multiple balloons side-by-side, the best strategy is to completely overlap them, forming a sort of net with open holes throughout. This prevents any single balloon from being able to expand close to its neighbors and cause them to bulge outwards.
There is no need to worry about balloon walls separating. Even if they did separate, the helium would diffuse out through tiny pores along the surface anyway. There is nothing holding the layers apart; the outer layer simply floats freely above the inner ones.
Here is a tip for storing helium balloons. Put them upright in a cardboard box. Use foam padding to support the bottom of each balloon. Then add packing peanuts between each pair of balloons, making sure that the top of each balloon touches the next one below it. Close the lid and stack them upright against each other. Make sure they fit snugly together. Finally, cover the whole lot with plastic wrap. Your storage containers will stay nice and cool and dry.
Thanks for all great ideas. I am planning something similar to the first idea, however I wanted to ask you guys if this is safe/good idea. Is it okay to use glue to connect balloons together? Will the connection become weak over time? What kind of problems could arise with this method? Thanks a million!!! 🙂
In general, I recommend avoiding strong adhesives whenever possible. Latex balloons tend to peel easily, and anything applied directly to the balloon wall can affect its integrity over long periods. Also, glues attract moisture which causes bubbles on the final product.
Try wrapping them in Saran wrap first. It’s cheap and easy to find. Just cut the rolls to the appropriate diameter, then lay them flat and roll back and forth across the width of the strip.
Another alternative is to purchase preformed balloon nets. These come already connected together in rectangular arrays. Each section contains many individual balloons. All you have to do is pull them out of the package and follow the instructions provided. No glue needed!
And finally, some retailers sell balloons designed specifically for this purpose called Balloon Clips. Simply clip one onto each corner of the group of balloons you wish to join together, secure the clips, and voila! Instant network. Very convenient.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for taking time to write such detailed response. You helped me quite a lot 🙂
Hi, yes, I know exactly what you mean. Since I’m located pretty close to San Francisco Bay area, I usually go shopping for helium balloons online. But sometimes, even if I order them online, I still have to wait days for delivery. On the bright side, I don’t mind waiting because I also enjoy crafting stuff myself. However, I’ve heard that some stores actually ship balloons via FedEx directly to customers’ houses. Do you happen to know where I can find these kinds of stores? Or maybe someone knows good websites for shipping balloons? Please advise! :o)
Have you considered renting helium rather than buying?
Most places offer specials for rental cycles. In Canada, we pay $30 CAD per 1000 Cubic Feet of Helium and most suppliers charge about that. Rentals start at $10CAD per hour although there is often a credit card fee added. Check out http://www.heliumpros.com. See if you can locate a supplier nearby.
You probably need a dozen balloons at minimum to decorate properly. Probably not feasible to run out and pick up 20 helium balloons today and expect them delivered tomorrow. Consider having balloons printed with your logo & message on it.
For a large event, you can check into purchasing helium from a company like Airgas (http://www.airgas.com ). Their prices depend on the amount purchased, but generally range from $1-$2 /lb. The cost includes transportation and handling fees, plus taxes. Call 800-333-9980 for pricing info.
Hello, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, I agree with you. Actually, we ordered balloons from Amazon.co.uk and got them in 5 business days. Although the price wasn’t bad ($0.92 /lb.), I think we paid too much compared to what we saw elsewhere.
Actually, I tried printing balloons locally, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing it myself. Don’t know why, but I felt uncomfortable cutting the string and sewing the ends together 🙁 I used to watch my mom sew clothes for my sister and brother-in-law, but now I feel awkward even watching her. Plus, I couldn’t afford to spend extra dollars to hire someone else to print and deliver them to the venue.
Yes, I understand your point. Unfortunately, the balloons themselves are extremely delicate. Once they lose their form due to tearing or puncture damage, they cannot regain their original shape. And, unless they’re carefully handled, they may burst unexpectedly. I’ve seen balloons tear and shred after being dropped accidentally. Many times, they can’t be mended satisfactorily.
That said, there are lots of options available. How big is the event? Are you willing to sacrifice color variety to save money? Can you tolerate the risk of losing balloons? Can you trust your guests to handle them safely?
Are you aware that balloons are manufactured in China? Yes, China is known for producing inexpensive products. But that doesn’t mean they can be trusted. Recently, Chinese manufacturers sent faulty toys to children overseas. The kids choked or suffocated because pieces broke off and became lodged in their throats. The defective items were imported legally.
Unfortunately, quality control issues are common among low-cost producers. Often, materials are substandard or inferior. Sometimes factories receive poor management. Workers lack proper training. Overcrowded production lines produce defects. Understaffed facilities frequently miss deadlines. Unscrupulous vendors sometimes provide shoddy goods, knowing they can