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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ballooning 101 » » Need Help Getting Started (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Chris Thibault
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Elite user
Massachusetts
469 Posts

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Hi everyone! I currently perform close up magic at restaurants and parties, but I'd like to add balloons to my shows. I've looked around in this part of the forum, but can someone please help me out. What should I buy to get started. I prefer books, but videos or dvd's are ok. Also what supplies should I get. I know there are probably lots of different supplies, but I hate when I'm learning something and find out I'm missing something that I need to learn it properly.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Chris
-Chris
DanielSteep
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Inner circle
1409 Posts

Profile of DanielSteep
Dear Chris,

I make a variaty of different things and I have bought absolutly NO books! I was able to search on google and find instructions for almost any animal you want to make! From dogs to lions Motercyles to lady bugs! You can find almost ANYTHING on google!
Brian Lehr
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Inner circle
Edmonton, Canada
1600 Posts

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My suggestion is to go buy a couple of bags of balloons (the 260 size), and a hand pump (preferable the kind the pumps air both ways as you move the handle in and out).

There are several places you can go from there: balloonshq.com has tons of simple animals and items for you to learn, order a beginner's book or video online, or go to your local library and borrow a book or two on simple balloon animals.

Learn about five simple designs, practice at home, and then start doing them in the restaurant. Then try to learn a new one each week.

That's exactly what I did. However, you will soon discover that most of your request will end up being for the same 3 or 4 items (see the thread for the Top 5 Balloon Animals).

I also find that if you offer too many choices to the kids, they sometimes get bogged down with decision-making. I offer five choices -- dog, bunny, flower, sword, laser gun, or silly hat (somethings I'll offer animals on a hat, or ladybugs, or turtles, depending on whether they're repeat customers).

Break a Balloon,
Brian
nornb
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Regular user
119 Posts

Profile of nornb
Try yout local library.
The children's section is a good bet.

5 simple models is a good tip I think.
Dog (giraffe, elephant, rabbit ++ ), a flower, a hat (twisty hat using two balloons)
If you like it and your customers likeit you will soon progress.

All the best.
mtso2000
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New user
72 Posts

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Sometimes Borders book store, or B. Dalton's or whatever may be in your area will have a beginner balloon twisting kit for sale for under $10. It's a good place to start with the basics. As the above posts say, you basically just need some 260Qs and a balloon pump to get started. After you learn the basics you can get into different types of balloons (hearts, geos, etc.), and learning to put super balls into them. One other thing that might be helpful for you is to get a Sharpie marker to draw faces onto the balloon animals. They've recently come out with a clickable Sharpie, which is nice because you don't have to worry about freeing up both hands to pull the cap off, you can just click it and start drawing!
mrunge
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Charleston, SC
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All great suggestions. After getting to know a Ringling Clown a few years back, I decided I too wanted to learn balloon twisting. Off to the bookstore I went.

The first book I got was by Aaron Hsu-Flanders called "Balloon Animals." This included a balloon (palm) pump that looked like the bulb from a turkey baster (and is not very good for doing balloons since your hands and forearms will get really tired), some balloons to get me started and directions for making 20 different figures.

After about an hour, I could make a handful of animals and off I went. As I got used to these basic twists and shapes, I was able to start learning more advanced figures and twists.

As mentioned earlier, you can go to a local "party supply" store and find bags of 260 balloons for under $10 (US). These are called 260's because they are 2 inches in diameter and 60 inches long when fully inflated.

Also pick up a pump (or 2) for around $5 (US). These are about 12 inches long, made of plastic and have a nozzle on the end to slip the balloon onto. They are usually "2 stroke" in that they force air while being moved in both directions.

Since they are made of plastic, the nozzle will probably break off at some point, so don't get upset if that happens. Just throw it away and get another one. Forget, however neat it looks, blowing them up by mouth. This is really hard to do and most twisters don't even bother.

The main thing is just get some balloons, a pump and start slowly. You can go to the bookstore and pick up a book (most found there will be for beginners) to learn twists and shapes or, as mentioned earlier, there are a lot of things available, for FREE, on the Internet. Just do a search for "balloon animals" and you'll see ton's of links.

While many people use "Sharpie" markers to draw faces on animals, most of the twisters I know have started using the dry erase board markers. They say that while Sharpies are nice, if the balloon pops, which most will before it's over, the ink returns to a liquid state, gets all over everything and causes a mess. The dry erase markers have no alcohol in the ink and turn to a powder if the balloon pops. They don't rub off and seem to work just as well.

Finally, check out T. Myers Magic (http://www.tmyers.com/) or The Balloon HQ (http://balloonhq.com/) for more information than you can imagine on the art of ballooning. If you just get started, you'll soon be amazed at how fast you will learn to twist balloons. It's fun, exciting and the kids (and parents) love them.

Have fun!
pdmedic
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The qualtech balloon books are fairly easy to learn from and can normaly be gotten wherever you get your balloons I believe they are under $20.00 each.
Chris Thibault
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Massachusetts
469 Posts

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the suggestions. Everyone was very helpful. I started using them in my regular restaurant and they were a hit. Thanks!
-Chris
Bobby Forbes
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virginia beach, VA.
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Go to penguin magic and pre order the balloon sculpting dvd. Looks great.
Paddy
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Milford OH
1571 Posts

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Quote:
On 2006-03-25 12:20, daddyof2 wrote:
Go to penguin magic and pre order the balloon sculpting dvd. Looks great.

It is a VERY POOR DVD for the $50 price. TMyers.com has a lot of DVD that teach a lot more than this one for less than $30.

He teaches for 4 hours and only has NINE basic and about 14 "advanced" sculptures. Royal and Patty Sorel's DVD teach a lot more for less money and are fun to watch.
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
LostSoul
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Dave
148 Posts

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I can't find the DVD at TMyers, and suggestions on where to find it?

Thanks,
Dave
The Great Dave
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My Wife said "It's Me or that Stupid Magic Website!" this many times.
184 Posts

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Hey Everybody!

Wrong Topic, Right Forum, and Here You Go!

I twist balloons at Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta, GA. I use an electric air compressor with a 30 foot hose and an air mattress inflation nozzle on the end. I only make 6 balloon hats. I can zap up a balloon faster than you can say WOW! Does not matter what you ask for, you get a hat. You can twist a Wacky Hat in about 20 seconds because it is totally free form. Each hat has every wild thing going on I feel like doing. As a kid you don't have to carry it, you wear it. If you are too small and might choke on the balloon Mom and Dad get a "Choking Hazard Warning Can't Do It" comment. I use only fresh balloons wholesale from the local balloon store (A Business License is a great thing!) and I blow 'em and twist 'em as fast I can. Six Flags pays $150 for two hours to work the entrance to the park and give every kid a free hat on special event night. I couldn't twist a dog, bunny, or anything else that takes too long, to save my life - but you will get the wildest hat you have ever seen on 6 balloons and 8 twists with a couple o stretches you can imagine in about 40 seconds. Hats are more Grandiose, require fewer twists, don't resemble anything (Could I have a balloon in the shape of the Empire State Building with King Kong on top holding the girl and the airplanes buzzing all around please?), and really show off as the kids walk through the park. With the Don King version the hats are taller than some of the kids. We call it "Blow and Go". Get a balloon book on Hats and you will quickly learn the most visual balloon sculpture art going ...

Best Wishes,
Dave
Academy of Magical Arts

Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat! Whoops, wrong hat ...
gman
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Special user
Lancaster, pa
751 Posts

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I too am just starting out learning how to make balloon animals and I agree with mtso2000. I went to Waldens and picked up a starter kit with a beginners book for $8.00.
Steve V
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Northern California
1878 Posts

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Paddy...I see you found the Penguin DVD to be very poor. How long ago did you get it and what did you find specifically lacking? I certainly hope you are not making such a comment without having seen it, no, that would be wrong.
Steve V
Steve V
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Northern California
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I took a look at the Penguin product ad. From what I see you get the same amount of material that you would get from a couple DVDs from another source but also the marketing info. It also comes with a pump and some balloons. I would think at $49 you are coming out ahead and will get the info you need to get started etc and then some and over all at a lower cost. I cannot comment as to the quality of the over all product as I've not seen it but it sure looks like a route that would be worth taking.
Steve V
toomuchmagic
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534 Posts

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Dude...that video wasnt even out when Paddy made that post.

I think Balloon School is an excellent source for ballon sculpting. I enjoyed watching it and I learned so much.

I tried with books and didn't get very far. Its much easier to watch and learn. You can see the progression more clearly that a diagram. ( )( )( )( )

You don't know how hard I tried with the pinch twist from that darn book, until I saw how Joe just twisted em. I don't know what I was doing before.

Now I am making fantastic Balloon creations.
WhiteAngel
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Loyal user
West Virginia, USA
269 Posts

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I found a kit at barnes&noble for 8 bcks. A pump, balloons, small cse to put it in, and a book with great instructions. No diagrams, just real pictures. 8 dollars. Learn the ones in the book and I started making up more myself fast and easy. 8 dollars.
True illusionists strive to decieve the eye AND the mind.....
Bad to the Balloon
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Clearwater Florida
2116 Posts

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Hello Chris,

This is Mark Byrne, You may know some of my other products “Twinkle... Twinkle” and “My Bunny Daryl”. I have a new product out that may also be of interest to you.

It is called “Bad To The Balloon Issue #1”
Preview the opening here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNXzX4tMBI4

Bad To The Balloon follows a renegade biker balloon artist (Mark Byrne) as he teaches how to make balloons cool. His goal in creating balloon hats is to make them fast and make them great. Most hats take 45 seconds to 2 minutes to create.There is a detailed twist menu for beginners.

If you can make a decent teddy bear, you can do most of the balloons on this DVD!! If not preview the twist menu first.

Intermediate and advanced twisters will love the flow and ease of this learning style. Unlike any other balloon DVD filmed, it has original music and location shots for each figure.

Filmmaker Jason Jeter (Devotion Pictures) & Mark Byrne (Funny Money Productions) have done the impossible... a balloon DVD you won’t fall asleep watching!! From the opening sequence to the last sculpture, they guarantee you will be impressed.

Includes instructions to make:
Shark • Dolphin • Mermaid • Surfer • Tiki • Duck • Gator • One-Eyed Monster • Pirate • Tower • Swan • Dragon

There is a menu bar on each sculpture telling you what kind of balloons you will need. To make everything in the DVD you will need:
260Q entertainer assortment
260Q Carnival Assortment
260Q Onyx Black
260 Q White
Clear 5 inch round
160Q black

and since your new to balloons a pump.

All the sculptures are hats, I encourage people to do hats for several reason in restaurant work.

One hats are FUN!
Two the manager will know you are working, nothing like looking across the crowded floor and seeing balloons every where.
Three they are respected more than sculptures, most kids will tear apart a wieney dog in a second, but a hat it is clothing .... we don't destroy our clothing now do we?

good luck whatever you do!!
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark the Balloon Guy
As seen on the TODAY SHOW
www.balloonguy.net
Creator of Bad to the Balloon DVD series
Go to my store: http://tinyurl.com/Bad2theBalloon
MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
5845 Posts

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Where can your product be found kind sir?
WhiteAngel
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West Virginia, USA
269 Posts

Profile of WhiteAngel
Bad to the balloon looks great!
True illusionists strive to decieve the eye AND the mind.....
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