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How to Stuff a Balloon 
- With or Without a Machine -

Ever wondered how to stuff a balloon? How to squeeze gifts as large as a bottle of champagne or a teddy bear through that tiny balloon neck? 

Read our tips to learn how to make stuffed balloons yourself, with or without a machine. Then choose your material from our finest selection or learn more about balloon stuffing machines.

If you make a purchase through a link on my site, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I believe to have good value (affiliate disclosure).

What Do You Put Inside a Balloon?

You can put almost anything in the balloon as long as it fits inside and doesn't pop the balloon.

Popular gifts inside balloons are dolls, cuddly toys, candy, perfumes, shoes, clothes, purses, jewelry, flowers and money. You can also stuff a balloon with small, round or heart shaped balloons, either as a decorative add-on to your gift, or to create a so-called "gumball" (see below). 

Imagine, a balloon popping and a pure diamond ring falling into your fiancé'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.

So, how do you stuff a balloon? Let's first look at how to do it without a balloon stuffing machine.

Selection of stuffed balloonsPin it for later or share with a friend. Credit for the beautiful image goes to

How to Stuff a Balloon Without a Machine

Stuffing a balloon without a machine takes some fiddling around, but if you want to surprise a loved one with a special gift, it's worth it.

What you'll need:

  • High quality, clear latex balloon, plain or with themed print (e.g. Happy Birthday, It's a Girl, Just Married); typically 18" balloons are used, but you can also do it with an 11" balloon (as shown in the tutorial video below).
  • Funnel with large opening (what you use for canning)
  • Fishing line 
  • Balloon hand pump
  • Your gift to put inside the balloon

Knowing how tricky stuffing a balloon without a machine can be -- especially if you do it for the first time, I've created a cheat sheet where each step is illustrated with images. No more scratching your head. Instead, awesome looking stuffed balloons each time!

Why not sign up to my free newsletter to get access to the cheat sheet and other resources exclusive for the BloonsUp community?

Steps for stuffing a balloon:

  1. Attach the fishing line to the object you want to put inside the balloon. You'll use this to position the object (e.g. a cuddly toy) properly within the balloon.

  2. "Warm up" the balloon by stretching it in all directions repeatedly, especially the neck. This is super important, so don't skip this step.

    Special tip: Use a "castration bander" to stretch your balloon neck easily. I know, it sounds weird, but it works well!

  3. Use the hand pump to inflate the balloon fully, then deflate it. Repeat.

  4. Now gently pull the neck of the balloon over the funnel. Alternatively, ask a friend to hold open the balloon neck.

  5. Optional: Fill the balloon first with some chocolates or candy. This helps to keep the stuffed balloon standing upright.

  6. Carefully squeeze the toy through the funnel into the balloon. Remove the funnel. 

  7. Now inflate the balloon with the hand pump. The stuffed object inside the balloon should be free to float around. Use the fishing line to position it to your liking.

  8. Tie the balloon in a tight knot, and you are done!

The video below illustrates the steps well. The instructor is using an 11" balloon.

How to Stuff a Balloon with a Machine

If you plan on selling stuffed balloons, as a way to grow an existing balloon business, or to start a new one, you need to invest in 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 types and prices to choose from.

These are some popular brands:

  • Keepsake Balloon Stuffer, prices starting at $595
  • Super Stuffer, prices starting at $675
  • GIAB's Classy Wrap Machine, prices starting at $699

If you consider buying a machine, I would recommend doing a search on 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 and gift boxes).

If you want to learn more, read my balloon stuffing machine reviews.

Another question I often hear is...

How Do You Stuff Balloons with Balloons?

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 balloon centerpiece or balloon column.

But how do you get the small balloons into the big one? The easiest way would be to use a balloon stuffing machine. 

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  shows how it works.

As a cheaper alternative, purchase a "balloon expander" tool. It's similar to the balloon holder you'll see in the video, and works with the simple electric inflators you can get at Amazon.

These are the two products I am talking about:

Exploding Balloons or Stuffed Balloon Drops

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.

Selection of Balloon Stuffing Materials

Now that you know how to stuff a balloon, get your materials and start stuffing. The items below are pulled directly from eBay and should always be up-to-date.

Some Precautions to Consider

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 an acute allergic reaction.

It is therefore best not to stuff items like unwrapped candies or cookies as the children will definitely want to eat their treats.

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