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Balloon Arch 101
- What You Always Wanted to Know about Balloon Arches -

Does a balloon arch need helium? What kind of balloons do you use? How many balloons does it take? And how, exactly, do you make one?

Let's dive into the answers, shall we?

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Different balloon arch designs: organic, double stuffed and link-o-loon.If you like this Balloon Arch 101, please share it with a friend or pin it for later!

Want a short cut to creating balloon garlands and arches yourself, hassle-free and at an affordable cost? Check out my review of the five best balloon arch kits.

Does a Balloon Arch Need Helium?

Balloon arches can be helium or air filled. To find out which type is best for you, answer the following questions:

  • How long should the decoration last?
  • Is the decoration for an indoor or outdoor event?
  • How many helpers do you have for building the arch?
  • How much time and money do you want to invest?

Helium Filled Balloon Arches

A helium filled arch, especially a so-called "String of Pearls", is the easiest and less time consuming solution. As the balloons float, you won't need any sturdy construction.

The balloons are simply attached to a fishing line. This also works for an arch made of balloon clusters of three to five balloons each.

A simple variation of a single line arch is the so-called "Link-O-Loon" (or Linkaloon) arch. Link-o-loons have special ends to tie the balloons to each other.

All you have to do is inflate the link-o-loons with helium and knot them together with these ends. You can get a huge variety of Link-O-Loon balloons at bargain prices at Amazon.

If you attach clusters of four 5" balloons in contrasting colors between each link-o-loon, you get the beautiful result as shown in the picture.

Mulit-colored link-o-loon balloon archMulti-colored link-o-loon balloon arch [Image source:]

Pro Tip

Treat latex balloons with Ultra Hi-Float to expand their float times. 

The downsides of every helium filled decoration are their relative short life span of about 12 to 24 hours and the cost of the helium.

In summary, helium filled arches are best for indoor events that last a single day or evening. Wedding balloon arches would be a good example for the use of helium filled designs.

Air Filled Balloon Arches 

If you need a decoration for more than one day, or for an outdoor event, you will be better off with air filled decors. An air filled arch typically uses two supportive elements:

  • a frame made of a strong, flexible material such as conduit, PVC pipe or aluminum rod and
  • a sturdy base at either end to anchor the arch

Consider how you'll blow up the balloons. As you will need about 6 balloons per inch, it would take a lot of breath to blow them up by mouth. 

hand pump could be an alternative, but it still is hard work. The easiest solution would be an electrical balloon inflator. If you don't want to buy one, you could try to find one for renting.

Did you know that you can also create a balloon arch without helium or a frame?

In summary, an air filled balloon arch takes some time and effort to prepare. However, you can do this well in advance, and you can re-use both the frame and the bases.

What kind of balloons do you use for a balloon arch?

The most commonly used balloons for arches are round latex balloons in sizes from 5 inches to 36 inches.

For a "traditional" single row or clustered balloon arch you usually just need one size, in either a single color or two to four different colors to create a pattern.

For the trendy "organic balloon arches" you need at least 4 different sizes (5", 11", 16", 36"). And you need each size in various colors, or shades of the same color (typically 5 to 8 colors).

You can also mix latex balloons with Mylar or foil balloons, or even create an arch completely with foil balloons, for example with balloon letters or numbers.

How many balloons are needed for a balloon arch?

How many balloons you need depends on:

  • the total arch length (height x width)
  • the balloon size and
  • the type of arch: single line, clustered or organic.

For an easy way to calculate arch length and number of balloons, get my free balloon arch calculator!

So, how do you make a balloon arch?

Glad you asked. Here are some designs you can try. 

Check out this balloon arch step by step tutorial for a helium filled "String of Pearls Arch." It's ideal for framing the head table at a wedding or to highlight the entrance to your party.

String-of-Pearls Balloon Arch

Have you ever wondered how Spiral Balloon Arches get their nice pattern? It's simple when you know how to do it!

Spiral balloon arch

Want an easy way to create a gorgeous looking custom balloon arch or garland for your next party? Find out how with my balloon decorating strip tutorial.

Unicorn themed organic balloon arch in pastel colors.

This beautiful baby shower arch was designed by one of our readers. There are two methods how you can create this type of organic balloon arch.

Organic balloon arch for baby shower

Want so save the cost of helium but don't have an arch frame? Here's how to make a DIY balloon arch without helium or frame.

Balloon arch without helium or frame, small size

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