Twistin', twistin', twistin' the night away...
- Sam Cooke
Twisting Balloons 101
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I would note that it is a bit tough on the wrist and can simulate a carpal tunnel syndrome, so be sure to flex your twisting wrist after each strand.
A variation on this is that I will inflate the balloon a bit over half and use the large section that you are unable to twist into pearls to become the head of a swan when I turn the strand into a bracelet.
Note: Because of the extra twist at the point between the lobes of the heart, this method creates a really crisp, well-defined heart.
(\/)Now pinch all the air out of the top V, but only at the pointy part. The fingers must pinch the sides of the V, not the front and back part. Now that you have it pinched, twist the pinch part and release.
P.S. This drove me crazy until I learned how to do it. I would feel so dumb because I could not make a nice looking heart. It is not hard once you get the hang of it. Some people do it without the crease in the middle (using a different method) but I like the look better with a crease and it maintains it's shape.
Aaron Hsu-Flanders' books are bound (not pamphlets), so they can be found at most libraries.
i_ |_ |_ |_ |_ !
_i _| _| _| _| !
_i _| _|_i _|_| _|_|_i !_|_| _|_|_i !_|_| _|_|_i !_|_| _|_| * !_| \ _| \_______ This vertical is where you first get ! all 5 balloons connected into a circle if you are making a tube.
Tie on the rest of your "spoke" balloons across the shoulder and around the armholes. Then, start weaving! For me, the hardest part of weaving clothing is the inital structure. Once I have that set up, I can do anything.
Inflate a 321 as you would to make an apple. Squeeze a bubble into the colored tip (aka poodle tail). Tie a knot at the base of the small bubble so the air will stay in it. Now do your apple twist. Roll the apple toward the tip. The bubble will rest inside the end of the "apple." I think this makes a great nose or eyeball, depending on how it's used. The closest I've come to Pooh so far has used this kind of nose. I've tried a couple of other things with it too. You can attach it to a round balloon to get a big face with a snout, or you can make a standard teddy bear with this nose in the middle of the face. If you twist the little bubble in half before pushing it into the apple, you work it off to one side and you have a couple of nostrils for the snout of some animal. Actually, if you want a little wheel for say a carriage or lawnmower, this will give a little wheel and have a hub.
Now, like I said, you can get this effect another way. You could just make this bubble out of scrap of balloon and tie it to the 321 or other balloon before making the apple. Actually, if you want a little wheel for say a carriage or lawnmower, a Geo donut is a bit excessive. This will give the little wheel and have a hub. I can't think of a more efficent way to do that.
I use this technique for attaching arms and legs to a body made out of a round balloon.
I am not trying to say we should all be trying to invent new twists, but when they come along they should be discussed and see the importance of them. In all reality, the inventor sometimes is not the one who fully utilizes the invention, but only opens a door through which other creative talents use it for a spring board for more creation.
In George Sands' book, he discusses how to use a match head or piece of paper to create a knot like affect on the nipple end of the balloon in order to create an apple twist. He does not discuss pulling a bubble from the side or putting something in the balloon. So I think you all three should smile and glow a little for the creations you have developed. No swelled heads please.
When you stuff the button into the balloons - before you wrap the mono line - take a 11 inch latex of the same color, cut off the neck and stick on top of the 3 footer to offer extra padding. That way if the mono line cuts into the latex from wear ( Air conditioner blowing it , fans, etc.) it will cut into the extra piece of latex and not your 3 footer. It is a lot easier than it sounds. Remember to use thick wired ribbon to complete the look!
When you try to tear something, most people just move their hands a couple of inches apart, as if tearing a piece of paper. This limits the amount of force that you are putting on the object, because you are subconsciously trying not to let your hands fly apart when the object rips.
Instead, do it this way: Quickly pull as hard as you can while thinking about spreading your hands, elbows and arms as far apart as possible (don't worry - your hands won't go flying off your wrists!) Get your shoulder muscles and the momentum of your moving arms into it.
Also, retied ends tend not to hold their knot as well as manufactured (rolled) nozzles, so you should wrap the tied end back into your sculpture if possible.
A B C D ____________ ____ _______ ____ ______________ >(____________)(____)(___!___)(____)(______________)== / ^ \ / middle \ / of 260 \ / \ hold this hold this bubble in palm bubble in palm of your left hand of your right hand
Make sure you tightly hold the twists at points A and D when the popped part deflates; it's your fingers that stop the deflation there.
Stick your thumbs in the middle part and hold them against your index fingers and with a quick "snap" pull the balloon apart. If you put your thumbnails right up against each other, dig them in and yank them apart quickly, it's a snap. It pops easily, and you really don't have to pull too hard for it to work. The twists on either side will keep the two separated parts from deflating. Immediately after snapping it apart, pinch or hold tightly at points A and D and let the bubbles deflate. If it makes you feel more secure, you can take the part of balloon left between points A and B or points C and D and wrap it around a finger once or twice while you knot the now separated ends of whichever side you didn't wrap.
The idea is basically the same as for a pop twist, but you don't have to go to the trouble of making ear twists. Like anything else, it takes practice. After you do it enough times, you'll get to where you skip the A-B-C-D twist and just go for the middle and snap! You do not have to have any bubbles for this to work - just pinch the balloon between your fingers or finger and palm of each hand to prevent any air from escaping. I looks really COOL !!!! and I always get ooooohs because it looks like you did something great! Plus you get a nice POP for extra drama (you don't get the pop if you just twist and pull the balloon apart the Marvin Hardy way). It is really fun to hand one of the inflated halves of the balloon to someone and ask them to hold it. Of course, they can never grab it in time and it deflates leaving you with a great opportunity for humor.
My logo (me 10 years ago) is a picture of me in the middle of doing the balloon through the neck. In the trick, your hands are obviously holding the ends of a 260 broken in half. This is especially clear in the logo. What is not clear in the logo is that it is a trick.
There are a couple of things that make the trick work.
There's some funny stuff you can do having the balloons go in and come out different directions. If you can pretend the balloon is actually going through you (without screaming in pain) it can be quite funny.
When I first started really getting in to it I would think balloons, eat balloons, breath balloons, and sleep balloons. Anyone taking that literally, try biting your ear for a half an hour. I would literally lay down at night and think about what could be possibly made and how to make it. Usually my best designs came in unexpected places. I suddenly realized how to do Jar Jar Binks in the middle of programming class. I created taz in the middle of a boring sermon at church. (Don't tell my bishop.) Not that I had balloons at either one of these places, but I wrote down my ideas and tried them the moment I got to my balloons. Usualy it didn't work, not the first time, but I kept playing with it, then tried it out at restaurants, the showed it to other balloonists. Then they showed me how to improve them.
I've created other things, but it needs to be an obsession. See a movie and think, I could do a balloon from that. See a TV show and think, I could do that. See a kids lunch box and say, I could do that. Go to the zoo and think, I could do that. Then do it. You'll probably spend a bag or two worth of balloons trying out new ideas, but that's just the way it is. Any balloonist at any time will have no less than 1 balloon creation in their house in any level of deflation at all times. It's a rule, read the FAQ. You gotta be a balloon freak. Then, and only then will the muses grant you inspiration.
I have found that some days the creative juices are not flowing. I can experiment for hours and nothing comes forth. But every once in a while the new ideas coming flooding out. On those days, I try to ride the crest of creativity until it quits. I quickly write the ideas up and make some rough drawings. If I don't, I may not be able to remember them later. Usually those new ideas will need to be tweaked and modified until I'm happy with them. I strive to make them realistic looking and I also try to make them the easiest way possible.
Making the balloon creations repeatedly helps me discover the most efficient way to construct them. Often I go after a creation from scratch. For a visual stimulus, I get a picture, a coloring book or a simple graphic of something and deliberately try to make it. Often I'm able to piece it together from previous ideas. The feet may get borrowed from one of my sculptures. The head is basically like another design and so forth and so on. Several of my one-balloon human designs are similar. For example, the astronaut, the peg-legged pirate and the knight all have the same basic body structure. Having a lot of previous designs to draw from makes it easier to create new balloon animals.
I've found out that cute animals are often the most admired by the public. I recently designed a great looking bike, but it was an inanimate object. People don't equate it with a likeable personality like they would a dog, cat or bunny. Adding a cute bear to ride the bike would make it more appealing to the crowd.
One-balloon creations are usually more difficult to come up with than multiple ones. The benefit of the multiple ones is that they can be pieced together. If one part pops or deflates, often you can repair it. A one-balloon creation, on the other hand, may not be able to be repaired. Sometimes one-balloon creations require precise planning to end up with the correct amount of balloon. Having too much or too little balloon toward the end means that it's not going to work out. Remember the balloon artist's motto, "Plan ahead."
Some people have a God-given creative talent, but most do not. However, I have seen lots of people develop a certain amount of creativity by immersing themselves into the art of ballooning.
First of all, why limit yourself to just one size balloon? or even one type? Balloons come in several sizes of pencil or twisty type balloons, and also Geo-blossoms, Geo-donuts, hearts, and also rounds. Even more types out there waiting to be discovered. How 'bout it: noses, lips, eyes, ears, elbows, knees, hands, feet, or even a spacer to keep that balloon from folding over (or to make it fold over). Take a pinch twist and slit it into 2 bubbles same size or different sizes from another and it makes even better hands (it's now got a thumb). Tulip twisting a balloon makes a nose/ nostrils, eyes, headlight, smoke-stack, base of a sword handle, or even the barrel of a laser pistol. A roll thru makes a body, head, or limb larger than a single balloon would. Take that roll thru and not just make three equal bubbles, but combine a two or more bubble combo on one or more sides of a roll thru to make legs on a body of a bug, fins on a fish, or bony plates on a dinosaur. Inserts not only can make meatballs inside a puppy but make a great toy just by itself. They also make a tail of a rattlesnake, googlely eyeballs, or an unseparated insert can make a head inside a space helmet. Taking several balloons and basket weaving make your possibilities endless. Taking two balloons or just a folded one and spiraling it can make a mermaid tail or just another part of that BIG goofey hat. The same idea could be done with three balloons and braiding them. Last on the list that I can think of is take a balloon and just make a tight coil around itself locking it together by the tail, tying the axle or another balloon to make a snail shell, a big bicycle wheel, or the control module to the starship enterprise.
These are just a few ideas, experiment, look at balloon pictures and see what could you improve upon, or look at an animal and see what body part looks like what balloon twist or combo of twists. Even if the balloon doesn't look like what your trying to d, it might be the beginings of another creation (my first failed attempts at a frog turned into a really great looking monkey with minimal adjustments).
The first number ie. 8, is the number of inches of balloon to leave uninflated. This is usually the part for me that is the hardest to remember, especially if I haven't make it for a while.
The following numbers represent the size of the bubble to twist and the order to twist them in. I rarely make 5" bubbles so for this chart 5 equals a 1/2" bubble and 15 equals a 1.5" bubble. This made for a shorter "code".
The letters after the numbers indicate if that particular bubble is an ear twist, fold twist etc.
Here are some examples of some of the items on my list. I used simple ones that you probably know.
I placed the following "ledger" in the footer of the database to remind me again. f = fold, t = toe, e = ear, h = hook, p = pop, tu = tulip, bb = bird body