Make Balloon Animals

You've probably watched people make balloon shapes and animals using those long, thin balloons. Dogs are a common creation, and balloons can be twisted and put together to form a variety of animal shapes. But have you ever considered making them yourself, and for a profit? Our guest writer has some information on that...

Shaping Animal Balloons

By Tanya Whitehead

Ever went to a fair, flea market or simply to the beach, and seen hundreds of kids running around with animal shaped balloons? If you have kids, you will understand that if one kid sees another with one of these pink pigs, or blue monkeys, he wants one too. In fact he whines and demands and it becomes a domino effect. This is where you come in. You can make them very easily with a bit of practice, charge a few dollars, and the costs are very cheap.

Balloons and Tips

These balloons can be bought in large quantities online, or from party shops. (See Resources at the end.) Get good quality ones otherwise they tend to burst on you when you least expect it and then either the queue gets longer (believe me, there is always a queue) or the kid starts crying, which is really bad for business. There must be as many colors as possible as kids are very fussy about which color their poodle must be. Investing in one of the hand pumps is really important as it would take you too long to blow up the balloons every time and you would soon be out of breath. They are inexpensive too. Also buy a few different color felt tip markers to draw on the eyes, lashes and smiley mouths. It helps if you wear a hat-shaped balloon on your head as an advertisement. Kids are good at spotting this. You are now in business.

Shapes

How many different animals can you make? How long is a piece of string? They range from the simple animal such as a sausage dog which takes a few twists, to the more elaborate ones which take up to three balloons such as an octopus or a fish (and therefore should cost more ) and take more time. From sausage dogs to poodles, tweety birds to chickens, pigs to elephants. You can even go away from animals and make swords, flowers, hats and crowns. When you get good, an animal should take you no longer than 2-5 minutes.

First Steps

Buy a bag of balloons, find a good book or DVD or look it up online (see resources at the end), and start practicing. The more you practice, the better and faster you will become so that when a child asks you for a green frog, you don't have to be continually looking at your instructions.

To help you along, find some clear instructions, and print them out. Stick them into a binder alphabetically so they are easy to locate and you can always look down and see what twist you need to do next to make that trunk longer.

Print out and laminate photographs of a set of the completed animals in color, and stick them onto a board so that the kids can choose what they want. If they ask for an animal you can't do, tell them you can't but say that you will practice it for the next time. Or, if you have your iPad with you, Google it and make that kid happy.

Where to sell and how much can I make?

You can set up just about anywhere you know there will be kids. Beaches, playgrounds, parks, fairs, flea markets. Just make sure you don't need a license to sell in that area.

Friends of mine have a table at their local fair once a year, and by the end of the day have made a profit of $300. But, they only sell theirs for $2. A girl at our local flea market sells them for $5 a piece. As balloons cost around 10 cents each, and it takes a few minutes to make something, your profit margin is pretty big.

Resources

Deluxe Balloon Twisting Kit - This is a 2 hour instructional DVD, 50 balloons and the pump kit which teaches you to make 50 different shapes.

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Editor's Note: There are many other places you can buy the supplies necessary to make balloon animals. If looking online search "twisting balloons" and "balloon inflator." A simple pump-inflator should cost under $10, and when bought in quantity the balloons sell for about 10 cents each.



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