Amazing Baloon Sculptures
Balloon modeling is so great entertainment!
Balloon modelling or balloon twisting is the shaping of special modelling balloons into almost any given shape, often a balloon animal. People who create balloon animals and other twisted balloon sculptures are called Twisters, Balloon Benders and Balloon Artists. Twisters often perform in restaurants, at birthday parties, fairs and at public and private events or functions.
Two of the primary design styles are single balloon modelling, which restricts itself to the use of one balloon per model, and multiple balloon modelling, which uses more than one balloon. Each style has its own set of challenges and skills, but few twisters who have reached an intermediate or advanced skill level limit themselves to one style or another.
Depending on the needs of the moment, they might easily move between the one-balloon or multiple approaches, or they might even incorporate additional techniques such as “weaving” and “stuffing”. Modelling techniques have evolved to include a range of very complex moves, and a highly specialized vocabulary has emerged to describe the techniques involved and their resulting creations.
Some twisters inflate their balloons with their own lungs, and for many years this was a standard and necessary part of the act. However, many now use a pump of some sort, whether it is a hand pump, an electric pump plugged in or run by a battery pack, or a compressed gas tank containing air or nitrogen. Twisters do not generally fill their creations with helium, as these designs will not usually float anyway. The balloons for twisting are too porous for helium and the designs are generally too heavy for their size for helium to lift.
Origins of balloon modelling
The origins of balloon modelling are unknown. The 1975 book by “Jolly the Clown” Petri credits “Herman Bonnert from Pennsylvania at a magician’s convention in 1939″ as being the first balloontwister. Val Andrews, in Manual of Balloon Modeling, Vol. 1, An Encyclopedic Series, credits H.J. Bonnert of Scranton, Pennsylvania as being the “daddy of them all.” Jim Church III states, “Frank Zacone from Youngstown, Ohio was doing a balloon act during the 1940s and had been doing the act for some time.”
Recently ESPN’s three time Emmy Award director Joseph Maar has been providing information and materials to balloon history sites that supports his father Henry Maar as the first balloon twister. It is possible that one, none, or all of the above independently crafted the art of balloon twisting.
There are two essential items required for balloon twisting:
* First, you need an assortment of balloons, usually in various colors. Balloon sizes are usually identified by a number: the most common size of twisting balloons is called a “260″, as it is approximately two inches in diameter and 60 inches in length. Thus, a “260″ is 2×60 inches and a “160″ is 1×60 inches when fully blown up. Although these are the most common sizes used, there are dozens of other shapes available as well.
The most popular balloon brand among professional twisters is Qualatex, manufactured by the Pioneer Balloon Company, but there are many other brands available. Betallic has made strong inroads into the industry by greatly expanding their line of available shapes and colors. Today there is a wide variety of individual sizes and colors to choose from.
Second, you’ll need something to inflate the balloons with. The most common methods are air pumps similar to bicycle pumps, electric air compressors, and via the mouth. Inflating a balloon via the mouth is difficult and can be dangerous. Particularly well-trained and talented twisters, however, can blow-up several balloons at once, and some can even blow up 160s, which are much more difficult to mouth-inflate than the more common 260s, as their narrowness requires a great deal more strength and breath pressure to inflate.
Air pumps and air compressors have only recently been accepted in the twisting community. Fifteen years ago, most balloon twisters blew up balloons with their mouths, and the use of a pump was associated by many as unprofessional. Today, most twisters use some sort of mechanical means to inflate their balloons. There are various reasons for this:
# Most twisters are physically incapable of mouth-inflating hundreds of balloons over an extended period.
# There are possible health risks to the twister associated with blowing up balloons by mouth. The pressure involved in the activity can cause the twister to become lightheaded or even pass out. A balloon that is popped while blowing up can snap back and damage the eyes. In rare cases, the pressure can damage the ears, eye or the muscles around the throat.
# There are also hygienic issues involved: many twisters and parents are uncomfortable handing a child something that has been in the twister’s (or anyone’s) mouth. Some believe that when a blown-up balloon pops, the germs of the twister are spread further and faster than they normally would be.
# Finally, many twisters prefer to avoid being a bad role model by putting a balloon in their mouths around children. Balloons do pose a choking hazard for small children, and are usually marked with hazard warning labels for children under the age of eight. (Note, older balloon twisters often use their mouths for other purposes such as creating small balls or deliberately popping sections of the balloon. Children frequently mimicked this posing a choking hazard.)
As the twister inflates each balloon, he or she may leave some of the balloon uninflated at the end, leaving a “tail”. The tail is necessary for most creations because it gives the pressurized air someplace to go while manipulating the balloon, reducing the chance of the balloon popping due to necessary pressure during the twisting process. The length of the tail is different for each creation, and knowing how much to leave becomes part of learning or creating the design.
The first animal most people learn how to create is the basic weiner dog.
o Inflate and tie a 260 in the color of your choice, leaving about 4-5 inches of the balloon uninflated.
o Twist 1: Starting at the nozzle (tied-off) end of the balloon, create the snout by moving the hand up about 4 inches from the knot, pinching the balloon to create a closed-off “bubble”, then twist at that point 2-3 times. (Do not let go of the balloon, or it will come untwisted.)
o Twist 2: While holding onto the snout, move up the balloon another two inches, then pinch and twist as before to create another bubble. Don’t let go.
o Twist 3: Create a third bubble the same size as the second, forming the two ears. Don’t let go.
o Folding the balloon between the two ear bubbles so that the ears are lying side by side, twist 1 and 3 together 2-3 times: this forms a “lock twist”. (Now you can let go: the ears are locked in place.) next Role the nose through the middle of the ears to make sure it does not come apart.
then make a small bubble 1-1 1/2 inch. Then make 2 bubbles about 3 inches each and lock twist at the neck bubble. then pull the extra balloon through the legs to lock in place. now make a 3 inch bubble fallowed by 2 3 inch bubbles for the back legs. now take the tail and pull it through the hind legs to lock it in place. Trim the tail if needed. Proportion will come more easily with practice.
To finish the creation the twister might use a felt-tip marker to draw a face on the dog. The most common marker used on latex is a Sharpie, a common brand of permanent marker. Other markers can be used as well. If you wish to try another kind of marker on your balloons, it is wise to test them beforehand to make sure they react well with the latex. Some markers do not dry on the latex, and smear long after being applied, which is the case with some brands of dry erase markers. Other markers contain an acidic ink that reacts with the latex, causing the balloon to pop. Cheaper markers may also have badly-shaped felt tips which can pop balloons. (Note: Professionals do not use Sharpies on balloons it come off on kids hands and Clothes )
Blowing up a “260″ by mouth
NOTE: Blowing up a 260 or other twisting balloons can be dangerous (see above). Proceed with caution and at your own risk.
A twister mouth-inflating a 260 balloon will typically do the following:
# Hold cheeks in, creating a funnel shape with the mouth. A common mistake is to puff the cheeks out while blowing up the balloon, causing undue stress on the cheeks and sometimes resulting in pain.
# With the left hand, hold the nozzle of the balloon firmly but openly, putting the nozzle to your mouth. This hand will remain stationary until the balloon is inflated. Do not hold the balloon so tightly that it seals shut: air must be able to enter the balloon.
# With the right hand, grab the balloon 3-5 inches away from the nozzle, sealing the balloon at that point and creating a smaller section in the balloon. (This reduces the amount of pressure required to inflate the balloon, as longer balloons are harder to blow up than their shorter counterparts.)
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