Fabrizio’s Vulture Hat
by Ralph Dewey
The Balloon HQ Challenge this month is a vulture or buzzard.
While I was at the First Florida Twister’s Seminar in Ft. Lauderdale (August, 2006) Fabrizio Bolzoni shared his new vulture design with me and he has allowed me to write it up in my column. Below are the photos of the Vulture that Fabrizio made showing the front, back and side views.
Notice that Fabrizio takes feathers from a feather duster to enhance his sculpture. I didn’t have a feather duster so I left them out of my photos. I didn’t have any craft straw so I had to improvise by using uninflated blush #160 balloons in their place. The photos below are mine. I only had his photos to look at as I tried to figure out the steps, so it may not be exactly the way he does it. I apologize for any differences.
For the vulture’s body, you’ll need two 6″ black hearts. Inflate them to about 85% and tie off their nozzles. Twist off a tiny bubble on one of their lobes and twist-connect the bubbles. Then tie their nozzles together.
To make the neck ruffles which go to the base of the vulture’s neck, use a white #160 balloon. Fully inflate it except for about 5″ and tie off the nozzle. Twist off six 3″ bubbles and fold twist each of them. It will look like a 6-petal flower. Attach the neck ruffles to the two tiny bubbles on the vulture’s body. Bring the remaining white #160 balloon down to the bottom of the body (about 5 or 6 inches long as needed) and twist-connect it to the tied nozzles of the black hearts. Twist off a 6″ bubble and fold twist it. This is the vulture’s tail. Discard any excess white #160 balloon.
Use a couple of feathers from a feather duster. Wedge them along side the white #160 balloon that runs vertically down the chest of the vulture. Use another feather attached along the balloon tail.
The head is a little tricky. Use a pink #321 Bee Body balloon. Inflate only the darker colored nipple end of the balloon. This will be the beak. Burp it slightly and then tie off a knot where the color changes. Inflate a 2-1/2″ bubble (the head) next to the colored tip and tie another knot. Now inflate a 1-1/2″ bubble (the neck) at the nozzle end. Tie off a knot at the nozzle. Attach it to the center of the neck ruffles. Twist off a 3/4″ bubble next to the knot of the colored tip. Ear twist the bubble. Inflate two 5″ eyeball balloons to about 1-1/4″ and tie their knots together. Twist-connect them around the base of the beak. The ear twist should be located between the eyes. Aim the eyes forward as shown in the photos. Mark the nostrils of the vulture.
Fully inflate a brown #160 balloon, then burp it and tie off the nozzle. Twist off a 1/2″ bubble at the nozzle. Measure around the child’s head and twist-connect the bubble to the balloon to form a headband. Twist off a 1/2″ bubble on the nipple end and twist-connect it at a point on the head band about 6″ from the first bubble. This makes a headband with a perch on the front of the hat.
Make a flower for each of the bubbles attached to the headband. Inflate a green #160 to about 12″ and tie off the nozzle. Twist off three 4″ bubbles. Fold twist each of the bubbles to form a three-petal flower. Tie off and discard the excess balloon. Make two flowers and attach them to the bubbles as shown in the photos.
Use an orange #160 for the feet. Fully inflate it except for 6 inches and tie off the nozzle. To make one of the feet, twist off two 2″ bubbles and tie the ends of the bubbles together. Connect it to the bottom of the vulture. Twist off two more 2″ bubbles and twist-connect the ends together. Use the rest of the orange balloon to wrap around the perch and between the toes (2″ bubbles). You’ll need to squeeze out the air so the balloon will easily go between the toes. Wrap it around the tail then secure the other foot in the same way. Tie off and discard any excess balloon.
Use sections of a white #160 balloons to make the bones. Twist two 2″ bubble and fold-twist them. Twist off a 5″ bubble. For the other end of the bone, twist off two more 2″ bubbles and fold-twist them. Tie off and discard any excess balloon. You’ll need to make to identical bones. Use some soft craft straw to attach the bones to the perch as shown in the photos.
A big “thank you” goes to Fabrizio for sharing another one of his great balloon ideas.