by Ralph Dewey
The BalloonHQ Challenge this month is an elephant.
A few months ago when I was lecturing in Europe I got a chance to see some of my old friends like Bidou, Sylvain and Mister Kees. I also had a chance to get acquainted with other twisters like Fabrizio Bolzoni and Paolo Michelotto. This month I would like to share another sculpture idea that Mister Kees shared with me. It is a quick elephant. If you would like to see more balloon creations by Mister Kees, you can visit his web page.
I call this a purple elephant because it uses a purple 6″ Geo Blossom for the body. You will also need a purple #350 (the ears and trunk) and a white #260 or 6″ white heart for the eyes.
The only tricky part is turning the purple 6″ Geo Blossom inside out. If you do it right it will look like the letter “Y”. (Note: the photo uses a clear Geo only so you can see it better.) When inflated and with a little manipulation and squeezing, it will come out looking like an upside down letter “U”. This will be the body and legs of the purple elephant.
Inflate a purple #350 fully except for about 5 inches and tie off the nozzle. Twist off two 8″ bubbles (the ears) and fold twist them. Twist off a soft 12″ bubble (the trunk). Tie off and discard any excess #350 balloon. Curve up the trunk. Attach the nozzle of the elephant body to the middle of the ears. Since the Geo Blossom has a very short nozzle, the nozzle may not be long enough to wrap between the ears. You may need to tie a short piece of scrap #260 to the knot to lengthen it. For the eyes, use one of the following. The first option is to use a 6″ white heart. Inflate it to about 2-1/2 inches and tie off the nozzle. Then split it down the middle by twisting in opposite directions to form two equal bubbles. Your second option is to use a white #260 balloon. Twist off two 2″ bubbles then tie the ends of the bubbles together. Twist them in the middle and add them between the ears as eyes for the elephant.
Mark the eyes and nostrils to complete the purple elephant.
If you perform magic as well as balloon twisting, it would be cute to use a magic wand made from balloons. There may be many ways to make magic wands. I’ll show you two ways to do it. Both methods use black and white #260 pencil balloons. The first method uses apple twist connections to attach the white ends to the black middle of the wand. To make it this first way, inflate a 12″ section of the black #260 and tie off both ends. Leave about 1-1/2 inches on each end.
Inflate a white #260 about 6″ and tie off the nozzle. Take one uninflated end of the black #260 and tie it to the knot of the white balloon.
Poke your index finger into the knot of the white balloon about 2-1/2 inches. Grasp the knot from the outside with your other hand.
While still holding the knot, extract your index finger. Rotate the 2-1/2″ bubble of the white balloon several times. Poke the knot that you are holding back inside the 2-1/2″ white bubble to help secure it. Cut and remove the excess white balloon.
Attach another white #260 balloon to the other end in the same manner.
Another method to make the wand is by using Rubber Cement to attach the white ends. As before, make a 12″ section of the black #260 balloon. But this time there is no need to have long uninflated ends. Make two 3″ apple twists from a white #260 balloon.
Glue the white ends onto the black 12″ section of the balloon. Usually this method turns out to make a nicer looking wand.
Static Electricity Trick
Once the balloon wand is constructed you can use it in a trick. Announce to the audience that you will use your magic to levitate something. Select a boy volunteer from the audience with straight hair about 4 to 6 inches long on top. Be sure his hair isn’t too oily or doesn’t have styling gel. Lay the wand across the top of his head and curve it downward slightly. Rub the balloon wand back and forth across his head several times. With the wand still curved, lift it slightly above his head so that the hair is attracted and stands up. Then announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, the levitating hair trick”!