A delightful add-on or alternative to a floral gift, stuffed balloons can definitely help you say "I really care." It also makes your friends and family wonder how it was possible to get everything in there.
There are numerous reasons for someone to stuff a balloon. Imagine, a balloon popping and a pure diamond ring falling into your fiance's hands, kids popping a balloon with a bunch of candies or an exploding stuffed balloon showering your guests with a flood of small balloons.
You can put almost anything in the balloon as long as it fits inside and it can be arranged so that it does not pop the balloon. You can send dolls, toys, shoes, perfumes, candy, clothes, purses, jewelry, flowers, the possibilities are endless.
The art of putting smaller balloons into a large one has evolved over the years. These 'gumballs' as they are called by the professionals, are great to add an extra accent to your bouquet, column or balloon delivery.
But how do you get the small balloons into the big one? The easiest way would be to use a balloon stuffing machine. However, these machines - if bought new - will set you back at least a few hundred dollars.
There is a manual method as well. Use a small section of drain pipe and stretch the neck of the large balloon (usually a 3') over. Inflate the 3' balloon and then force inflated 5" balloons inside. But be warned: the small balloons might come popping out again - at machine gun speed!
If you own an air inflator by Conwin, you could get their "Insider Balloon Stuffing Tool." It sells for between $65 and $95. The video below shows how it works. It might also work with one of the cheaper electrical balloon inflators you can buy at Amazon, but I cannot say for sure. You'd have to try.
The above described 'gumballs' are ideal for creating a spectacular special effect by exploding the large balloon. Use heart balloons inside for a romantic balloon shower at a wedding, or confetti to add some fun to a birthday or New Year's party.
The exploding balloon is normally suspended above a dance floor or placed on top of a balloon column. To explode the balloon you can either use a wand or - if you want to explode it remotely - you need to wire the balloon to a firing box.
For a stuffed balloon drop, you would fill loads of 9" to 11" balloons with just about anything that isn't too heavy when it comes showering down on your guests and suspend the balloons from the ceiling with a balloon net.
This method sounds easier than it actually is. It can be quite tricky to get the items inside the balloon, and even trickier to achieve a really good looking result.
That's why balloon professionals use a balloon stuffing machine. All balloon stuffing machines work by creating a vacuum to suck out the air from the balloons which will expand them. There are a number of manufacturers with various sizes and prices to choose from.
Popular products are the "Keepsake Balloon Stuffer" with prices starting from $595, or GIAB's "Classy Wrap Machine" with prices starting at $699.
If you consider buying a machine, I would recommend to do a search at eBay for balloon stuffing. I've seen used balloon stuffing machines there for less than $50. You'll also find the 18" stuffing balloons used in these machines and other accessories (like plastic discs for sealing the balloons or gift boxes).
The powder in and outside of latex balloons can cause allergy to your child or guests. This powder will get on any unwrapped candies stuffed in the balloon and may cause acute allergic reaction. It is therefore best not to stuff items like gumballs or unwrapped candies and cookies as the children will definitely want to eat their treats.
If done properly, stuffed balloons make great wedding or party decorations and can also work perfectly as fun gifts for your guests.
Blowing up balloons to the same size is one of the secrets of the balloon pros. It's easy to do with a balloon sizer or even by using two chairs.
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