Rainy Day Ducks
by Ralph Dewey
While I was at DiamondJam 2006, I got a chance to meet Shirley Ray and her husband Dave. Shirley had a wealth of fresh ideas to share. One of her neat items was a balloon sculpture with three ducks in a row. Shirley calls them “Rainy Day Ducks”. She has given me permission to share my version of her idea.
Let’s begin with the pond. Inflate a baby blue #260 fully except for about 2 inches then tie off the nozzle. Twist off a 3/4″ bubble and ear twist it. Twist off a 15″ bubble then twist-connect the ends together. Twist off a 5″ bubble and a 3/4″ bubble. Ear twist the 3/4″ bubble. Twist off a 10″ bubble and a 3/4″ bubble. Ear twist the 3/4″ bubble. Then twist-connect the ends of the 10″ bubble together. Twist off a 5″ bubble and a 3/4″ bubble. Discard any excess balloon. Ear twist the 3/4″ bubble then connect it with the very first 3/4″ ear twist bubble that you made.
There are a lot of ways to make a duck so if you have your own favorite method use it in place of this one. But here is one way to make it. Fully inflate a yellow or white #260 balloon except for 3 inches and tie off the nozzle. Twist off two 3″ bubbles then tie their ends together. Twist off a 4″ bubble (the top of the duck’s head). Roll the 4″ bubble through the two 3″ bubbles. Then roll one of the 3″ bubbles through the other two bubbles. This will secure the three bubbles so they won’t come apart when you wedge the neck into them later. Now twist off a 4″ bubble (the neck). Twist off two 5″ bubbles and twist connect them together. Twist off a 6″ bubble (the bottom of the momma duck) and a 3/4″ bubble. Ear twist the 3/4″ bubble then attach it between the two 5″ bubbles. Discard any excess balloon. Tuck the top of the neck into the two 3″ bubbles and then tuck the bottom of the neck into the two 5″ bubbles as shown below.
Make the beak from an inflated section of a yellow or an orange #260 balloon. Twist off three 1/2″ bubbles and ear twist them. Twist off a soft 1″ bubble then tie a knot. Cut and discard the excess balloon. Curve the 1″ bubble upward like a duck’s beak. Lash the three ear twists to the face of the momma duck. See the photo below. To finish the momma duck, mark the eyes. Wedge the 6″ bubble (bottom of the momma duck) down into the 15″ bubble of the pond.
You will need to make two identical baby ducks. They are made exactly like the momma duck except the dimensions are smaller. Make the first one from a white or yellow #160 balloon inflated to about 20″ and tied off. Twist off two 2″ bubbles then tie their ends together. Twist off a 2-1/2″ bubble (the top of the duck’s head). Roll them through like you did for the momma duck to secure the bubbles. Twist off a 3″ bubble (the neck). Twist off two 4″ bubbles and twist connect them together. Twist off a 4-1/2″ bubble (the bottom of the duck) and a 1/2″ bubble (the tail). Ear twist the 1/2″ bubble then attach it between the two 4″ bubbles. Discard any excess balloon. Tuck the top of the neck into the head and the bottom of the neck into the body as shown below. Make the beak by inflating a soft 1″ bubble from a yellow or an orange #160 balloon. Lash the beak between the two 2″ bubbles of baby duck’s face. Curve the 1″ bubble upward like a duck’s beak. See the photo below. Mark the eyes of the duck, then wedge the 4-1/2″ bubble (bottom of the duck) down into the middle pond. Make the second baby duck the same way and wedge it into the last part of the pond.
I’ve shown a fairly quick version of the Shirley’s Rainy Day Ducks, but you could make the ducks with more detail or you could elaborate on the theme by adding cattail plants or reeds. In the photo below, the cattail is made from #160 balloons. The green stem has a black pipe cleaner wire inside for support. Another variation is to make the last baby duck from a different color and maybe with sad eyes. Then you could tell the story about the ugly duckling. And to cap off the story, finish by making a beautiful white swan like the one in the photo below.