Using Color to Your Advantage
Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Think of a theme, and the colors may well follow.
- Using Color
- Dreaming of New 260 Colors
- Double Stuffing
- Color Combination
- Advanced Techniques
- Stuffing Tools
Sometimes you see a twister make a multi-balloon sculpture, and because of the colors he chooses (or just pulls out of his bag without looking), it ends up looking very unappealing – sometimes even black, blue and purple like a bruise, or worse. To avoid this scenario, here are some tips for using balloon colors to your advantage.
First, some notes on color from the book “Design” by Gary Wells & Qualatex:
- Spring – pastel colors (pink, lavender)
- Summer – bright colors (yellow, red)
- Autumn – warm colors (orange, brown)
- Winter – cool colors (blue, violet)
warm colors (red, yellow) – advance or appear closer.
cool colors (blue, green) – recede or appear farther away.
colors can affect:
- emotional response
- red – passion
- green – envy
- I’d like the rest of these so if you know them please post!
- state of mind (yellow – joy)
- mood (blue – peace)
The Color Wheel consists of the 12 pure colors:
YELLOW Yellow-orange Yellow-green 1 Orange 3 3 Green 2 2 \|/ Orange-Red 3 - o - 3 Blue-green /|\ 1 1 RED 3 3 BLUE 2 Red-violet Blue-violet Violet
Primary colors on the color wheel are labeled with a number 1.
They are RED, YELLOW, and BLUE.
Secondary colors on the color wheel are labeled with a number 2.
They are created by mixing the neighboring Primary colors.
They are Green, Violet, and Orange.
Intermediate colors on the color wheel are labeled with a number 3.
They are created by mixing the neighboring Primary and Secondary colors.
They are Yellow-green, Blue-green, Blue-violet, Red-violet, Orange- Red, and Yellow-orange.
- Hues – Pure colors from the color wheel
- Tint – Hue + white ( pink = red + white )
- Tone – Hue + gray ( rose = red + gray )
- Shade – Hue + black ( maroon = red + black )
Thus a “tint” color wheel could be constructed, as could a “tone” or “shade” color wheel.
Color Harmonies – how to use the color wheels:
Monochromatic Color Harmony - One hue + its tints, tones and shades (white & black are the ends of this spectrum) Analogous Color Harmony - Any 3 hues that lie side by side on the color wheel Complimentary Color Harmony - Any 2 hues that lie directly opposite on the color wheel Triadic Color Harmony - Any 3 hues that lie equidistant on the color wheel
For the last three color harmony definitions, the word “hue” could be replaced by the word “tint,” “tone” or “shade.”
ProPak offers round balloons in many colors.
Qualatex offers round balloons in many colors. Unfortunately, the 260Q’s and 350Q’s are only available in:
Transparent colors - Qualatex Jewel-Tones: Diamond Clear, Emerald Green, Sapphire (Medium) Blue, Quartz Purple, Amethyst Violet, Ruby Red, Citrine Yellow, Transparent colors - Q. Deep Jewel-Tones: Onyx Black, Cocoa Brown Opaque colors - Qualatex Standard Colors: Orange, Pink, Pale (Light) Blue, White Grey
Clear, White and Black aren’t colors, Pink and Pale Blue are “tints,” and I don’t know where Brown fits in this scheme. Diamond Clear, Amethyst Violet, Cocoa Brown and Grey are not in the assortment bags. If you buy assortment bags but then try to hand-sort the balloons by colors, it can be hard to tell what the darker colors are (i.e. green, violet and black) without inflating them. One solution is to stretch them across the face of a turned on flashlight and the color shines through. A really easy way to sort the darker 260’s is to take them into fairly bright natural light, and sort them while wearing “Blue Blocker” sunglasses. The glasses change the light patterns enough that you can see a very real difference between the colors.
The Qualatex Color Wheel consists of the following pure colors:
CITRINE YELLOW xxxxxx-xxxxxx xxxxxx-xxxxx 1 Orange 3 3 Emerald Green 2 2 \|/ xxxxxx-xxx 3 - o - 3 xxxx-xxxxx /|\ 1 1 RUBY RED 3 3 SAPPHIRE BLUE 2 Amethyst-Violet xxxx-xxxxxx Quartz Purple
Here are the Color Harmony permutations possible with 260Q’s and 350Q’s:
Monochromatic Color Harmony - Sapphire Blue + Pale Blue (+ White +/or Black) Ruby Red + Pink (+ White +/or Black) Analogous Color Harmony - Ruby Red + Amethyst Violet + Quartz Purple Complimentary Color Harmony - Citrine Yellow + Quartz Purple, Emerald Green + Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue + Orange, Triadic Color Harmony - Citrine Yellow + Ruby Red + Sapphire Blue, Orange + Emerald Green + Quartz Purple,
Pink + Pale Blue + White 260Q’s also look good together, though they don’t seem to fit the scheme listed here. It must be a pastel thing… 🙂
Additional colors can be created by Double Stuffing.
Proportion for color use:
- 65% lightest color (usually on perimeter)
- 25% middle color (in between perimeter and focal point)
- 10% darkest color (for focal point)
Keeping in mind ROY-G-BIV (a mnemonic device for remembering all the colors of the light spectrum in order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) when making balloon sculptures, I think of a color line – a belt of color that changes one strip at a time:
Onyx Black, Grey, Diamond Clear, White, Pale Blue, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green, Citrine Yellow, Orange, Ruby Red, Pink, Amethyst Violet, Quartz Purple, and Cocoa Brown.
I put Onyx Black, Grey, Diamond clear and White on one end, because they are what I would call non-colors. They are either all colors or the absence of colors, depending on whether or not you are talking about light. I put Cocoa Brown after Quartz Purple, because brown has some red qualities, and it is, also a good overlap point on our way back to Onyx Black.
On my color line, neighboring colors look good together.
However, a few other color combos also work. Any of these combos look good:
Quartz Purple + Amethyst Violet + Orange + Emerald Green + Sapphire Blue.
My personal favorite is Ruby Red + White (peppermint)
I mostly use brown as an accent: It’s the teddy bear holding on to the heart, or the coconut on an all green teensy, one-balloon palm tree. it’s a muscled black man sitting on the hat or swinging from the vine on a bachelorette’s hat, or Mini-Taz swinging from a vine as well.
Combining colors is easy if you know what colors make what other colors when you mix them. Two Primary Colors create a Secondary Color:
RED + BLUE = Violet, BLUE + YELLOW = Green, and RED + YELLOW = Orange.
You can combine colors that are not quite right if you remember my color line sequence and keep unlike colors apart on the same sculpture. For example, blue and orange don’t look great together, because they have nothing that draws them together; no common color that gets you from one to the other in one easy step. But if you remember, how to get from blue to orange, you can make a pretty good hat. Maybe, start with blue as the base hat, allow a feeler of green and a feeler of yellow to extend upwards, curving this way and that. At the top of the feelers, you can now put an orange spiral, that looks like electricity connecting two posts. All the neighboring colors match, so nothing clashes.
Brown should only be used as an occasional accent. After all, brown, black and green look good together, but they hardly make a festive hat, so you shouldn’t try that one.
Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Think of a theme, and the colors may well follow:
- Red-white-blue if you feel patriotic.
- Rasta colors–green-yellow-red-black.
- Mexican national colors–red-white-green.
- Channukkah colors are white-blue(sapphire).
- Thanksgiving–avoid brown, but use lots or red-yellow-orange.
- Easter–purple-pink-white-red yellow (bright cheery colors).
- black-white-red (I call them the trashy lingerie colors – its a color combo that people either love or hate)
- school colors; if someone loves their alma mater they may want school colors, even if they aren’t perfect together.
- Realistic colors. Younger kids have had the first five or so years of their life having certain truths drilled into them, so they can begin to identify and classify the world around them. Colors are a popular topic. They’ve been told repeatedly, tigers are orange with black stripes, elephants are gray, blue jays are…blue. A balloon is a wonderful, brightly colored thing, but for some kids, it’ll just be even better if the alligator really is green. Any white dog you can twist will be part-dalmation if you add black spots (or a cow, depending on how good your dog-shape turns out…)
What about the kid who asks for the pink, light blue, orange and black hat? If you’re careful, you can combine these so that they work. I usually do this: Lt blue hat, w/a pink fishing pole, a black fishing line and an orange goldfish. the kids love it because all the colors they demanded are together on the same hat, and the parents are happy because you still managed to make all the colors go together. With a little ingenuity and my color line you can make things go well together that don’t normally go well together, because you know which colors need to keep separate. Give me a list of colors and I’ll give you a way to combine them effectively.
“I always get great reactions when I make flowers with different shades of green in flower stems!”
A tool for color design for balloon decorators:
I’ve found the Qualatex Balloon Network Color Kit to be very effective. We have one for each size that we frequently use (5-, 11-, 16-inch; and 3 foot). The only drawback is that it’s tempting to use the sample if the client wants to see a certain color balloon inflated… then you’ll need to replace it. The QBN Color Kit is a great on-site tool when the client has not selected a color scheme. It would be great to have a kit like this for imprint balloons from Pioneer.
Dreaming of New 260 Colors
With the new 260 color releases in 1998 by both BSA and Qualatex balloons you can see that some of the following statements reguarding pearl tones and metallic 260’s are outdated!
After the long, but successful, campaign to get a grey 260, Pioneer Balloon began production of Grey 260Q’s. This led to yet another campaign to get additional 260 colors into production. Here is the status of these efforts:
- Pearl Tone 260’s.
- Pioneer says that they can not make a pearl tone 260 that meets their quality standards. Pearl tone latex is created by adding crushed mica to the latex. This process makes the latex more brittle, and less twistable. If you want to see proof of this, you have to look no further than at Tilly Pearl 130’s. So, for now, there is no real chance of getting pearl 260’s.
- Gold/Silver/Metallic 260’s
- Metallic latex is made in the same way as pearl latex. See above.
- Agate 260’s.
- Agate balloons are made by dipping the mold into latex twice. A double dipped balloon can not be inflated very easily, much less twisted. Proof: A 321 is made by dipping just the tip of the balloon into the latex twice. Imagine trying to twist a balloon made like this. Therefore, this is not a likely new product.
- Neon Balloons / Entirely New Latex Colors:
- Since the grey campaign was a success, many people have asked about getting additional new colors made. This is the process through which a new color gets approved: Convince Pioneer that it will sell. However, this is not an easy process, as the grey campaign proved. At the moment, there is no active, organized effort to get a new latex color made. Please See Below:
- New 260’s in Existing Latex Colors:
- This is where the current organized efforts are focused. A representative of Pioneer balloon company has said that Pioneer would be willing to make 260’s in any existing latex color, (except pearls and metallics) if a distributor would be willing to order them as an exclusive product.
Currently, there are 13 possible latex colors not available in 260’s
- Standard Tones: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange
- Jewel Tones: Burgundy
- Fashion Tones: Turquoise, Wintergreen, Teal, Goldenrod, Peach, Lilac, Ivory
To inflate a double stuffed balloon you do need a pump and they are definitely harder to twist.
Granted the time spent stuffing one balloon into the next is prohibitive to mass balloon work, but when ever you’re looking to add a bit of flair and creativity to what you are doing, double stuffing is certainly worth trying.
The process of putting one color inside of another to get a particular color is commonly called “double stuffing” in the balloon decorating side of the industry and has been used very successfully with round balloons for some time. I use it a lot with 260Qs for a variety of purposes besides the color. It often makes it possible to match a particular wedding color for instance. (This could be the solution to those bags of lesser quality balloons.) Following are some hints and then some color combinations that work well.
Try the following combinations using the current 260Q colors:
Inside Outside Result ------------- --------------- ---------------- Ruby Red Amethyst Violet = Cranberry Orange Amethyst Violet = Watermelon Orange Citrine Yellow = Golden Orange Ruby Red Citrine Yellow = Yellow Orange Pink Citrine Yellow = Sunshine Yellow? Light BLue Citrine Yellow = Neon Green Onyx Black Emerald Green = Chrome Green Onyx Black Sapphire Blue = Chrome Blue Onyx Black Quartz Purple = Chrome Purple Onyx Black Clear = Chrome Grey Onyx Black Ruby Red = Dark Copper or Metallic Maroon Pink Amethyst Violet = Hot Pink Ruby Red Sapphire Blue = Navy? Sapphire Blue Amethyst Violet = Purple Taffeta
The color mix isn’t always great though; for example, black and white do not create gray, but a pearlized black or a cloudy looking white. The clear colors (Jewel tones) mix better than the translucent colors (Standard colors).
But, if you’ve ever wished that some of the jewel tones were more opaque, then try stuffing a white in them. The resulting colors are much more intense (an added plus) as well now being opaque.
I hope that some of you are already seeing the possibilities of metallic colors for motorcycles, rockets, spaceships, guns, swords, etc.
If you can’t find a pearlized version of the color you need, try stuffing a non-pearl version inside a clear balloon. The clear latex gives the inside balloon an irridescent sheen, though the effect is not as great as that of a real pearl balloon.
You can also use any color inside of any color for two-colored figures. When inflating, blow up a one inch bubble in the outside balloon, then inflate the inner balloon. For instance put a white 260Q inside of a black 260Q and make a figure as you would normally do. As you twist the bear, squeeze the air in the black, so as to leave an air pocket between the inner and outer balloons. Now, with the greatest of care take a needle and carefully prick the outside balloon. It’s fairly easy to do at one of the wrinkles formed at a twist. (I’ve gotten to where I can pinch it with my fingernails). When you prick the outside balloon it will immediately pull away from twist to twist, leaving you with a white segment – leg, neck, etc. while the rest of the balloon remains black.
For example, make a teddy bear and break the outside ear bubbles, the nose, the top & sides of the head, the neck, the belly, and the tail bubbles to create an awesome panda bear.
Stuff a 130 inside a clear 260. Inflation is harder because you have to inflate the 260 before the 130 without letting the 260 deflate. But, try making a poodle inside of a clear 260 (the famous “poodle under glass”) Use a white 130 with the clear 260 and it’s an X-ray of the poodle. Any other color 130 inside the clear and the poodle is wearing a space suit.
I have made light sabers with a yellow outside and a black or brown inside. The darker color for the handle looks cool.
Multi-colored figures take a bit longer, but they are awesome. I use them a lot in balloon art exhibits and private parties when there is time to entertain rather than just make figures. The possibilities are endless.
Q: I have a quick question on double stuffing. I’ve tried several times and have the darndest time getting the second balloon inside the first! Does anyone have any suggestions, tricks, or secrets?
A: I’m sure that anything thin, round, smooth and fairly sturdy can be used as a stuffing tool. Thread the straw inside of one balloon and stretch the balloon out so that the lip end hooks over the open end of the straw. Insert the balloon and straw inside of the second balloon. Grasp both balloons together at the end of the straw and hold them while removing the straw from the inner balloon. Grasp the lip end of the outer balloon and stretch it out until the two lip ends are together. After two or three tries you will be able to do this quickly. To put 130’s in a 260 you need only drop the 130 in.
- Balloon Straws
- There is a heavy plastic balloon straw that works well for double stuffing the 260’s or the 350’s. Most balloon distributors have a variety of balloon straws in their inventory. Balloon straws are made of a plastic material and are stiff enough to work well to put one 260Q inside of another. Use a thin straw that is several inches longer than the uninflated 260Q. Otherwise you can also use an extra long straw from the local convenience store, and slit it to allow you to put a 260 in it.
- Chop Sticks
- Pat-in-the-Hat uses a round, very smooth chopstick. If you go the chop-stick/thin wooden dowel route, don’t use the cheap ones you get for free. (too many splinters, pointy parts are bad for the balloon!)
- Fiberglass (or Plastic) Rods for Kites
- Kites today use narrow fiberglass rods rather than wooden dowels. I took one, rounded and smoothed the end with an emery board, and used it to quite easily stuff one 260 inside another. The fiberglass rod is available wherever kites are sold.
- Knitting Needle
- I use a knitting needle to double stuff. Place the inside balloon on the needle and then push it into the outside balloon. It works well and is quite fast.
- If you use a knitting needle, I think you’d want to file the point down a bit first.
- I use a knitting needle ,which you can find at yard sales or in hobby stores real cheap. The end is smooth, so there is little chance of poking a hole in the balloon.
- Q: Do you powder the outside of the inner balloon before stuffing? If so, do you use baby powder, talc, cornstarch, what?
A: Others have suggested powdering the balloons a bit, but for me it’s easy. It’s mostly a matter of getting it started.
A: Baby powder applied to the outside of the first balloon makes it easier to slip inside the second balloon.
- Soda Straws
- I have tried using a soda straw but someone must have a better way!
A ‘balloon straw’ and a ‘soda straw are two completely different animals, just in case you didn’t already know.
The following material has been saved from posts on the mailing lists. Rather than keeping it hidden away, it has been temporarily placed here until the guide editors get a chance to move it to its proper location in this chapter. Feel free to make use of it.
2/15/99 While I was at clown camp last year, a fellow from Japan, who's name escapes me, showed me a way to pop the outer skin that requires no space between layers. He used a piece of vinyl tape, and the balloon popped as he ripped the small piece of tape off. One tool that I have seen and since used for this is a bamboo skewer, such as the kind used to make shiesh-kabobs. Don't use the pointed end, of course, and you should be able to get a batch of "stuffing sticks" for less than $2 per 100 at most supermarkets. (I work at a supermarket, and the skewers there are $1.29 for a package of 100) What I use (which I believe is easier and faster) is a rod cut from a wire coat hanger. The plastic-coated ones I like the best, but it doesn't matter, as long as you file or sand the cut end so there are no sharp places. Cut off the long, lower, horizontal bar of the hanger, file the ends, then shape one end into a loop for easy handling. The other end, of course, is for stuffing one balloon inside the other. This will work for 160's also, which a straw will not. You will find the thingamagig mabey not in every household but at least in every 7 eleven or circle K. The thingamagig is also known as a straw. you slice it up one side lay your balloon inside so the round end of the balloon is sticking out just a little then stuff it in the other balloon. Then with one hand grab the round end. Make sure you pinch tight enough to hold onto the balloon inside. Slide out the straw and Walla :-) the balloon is stuffed. I learned this from the "Y" in "WAY Cool" team just 3 days ago. During the double-stuffing segment of my balloon class, I taught double stuffing with a straw that can easily be used for a 160. Slit a long (Super Big Gulp/Thirstbuster type) straw lengthwise and open it. Lay the balloon that is going to be stuffed inside the straw leaving a bit of the uninflated end hanging out. The straw closes around the balloon. Stuff the straw containing the balloon into the 2nd (outer) balloon. When using a 160, just close the straw so it overlaps making it very a very thin tube. When you've placed the straw inside the outer balloon, hold the balloons at the uninflated end and remove the straw. I found this method easier because the outer balloon goes over the smooth exterior of the straw more easily than going over the latex of the interior balloon. I just didn't find the interior balloon would 'drop' into the exterior balloon as easily as I thought it should, and I figured it had to do with latex on latex. I find the slit straw works just as well with 160's as it does with 260's. Yvonne (YUMMY) Brogdon One other helpful hint: double stuffing can be done two ways; the first is to just place one balloon over the other once onto the wooden dowel. the easier method is to place the first (inner balloon) over the dowel, then inflate and deflate what will be the outer balloon. It is now weaker and has a larger diameter, thus making it easier to pull over the inner balloon. if you put a white ballon inside any double stuffed ballon, it looks neat (outer balloons must be semi-see through, such as dark blue). balloons have like a very light powder inside of them. I have noticed that when I stuff a colored balloon inside a clear balloon, the clarity of the balloon diminishes. So, I tried rinsing powder out of the clear balloon, leting it dry or drying it with the blower, and have found that the clarity has increased. Yes, we also have turned our clear balloons inside out, rinsed them off, dried them, and used them (with super hi float inside, sometimes with hi float outside) for various jobs where we wanted the sparkling clear effect. However, this technique is time consuming and hi floating outside the balloon can get quite messy as well as being a challenge to dry if you have very many to do. We have used a hair dryer on low -- again too time consuming for a big job. It's most effective for a focal point grouping or arrangement or stuffed balloon. We also use Klearkote, which does a pretty good job - I like it better than Balloon Shine, etc. Have also used clear acrylic waxes, like Future, when we have done 50 or more stuffed balloons for quick sale - Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day. You will get a longer floating life by treating a double-stuffed balloon with SUPER HI-FLOAT. The method I recommend is to treat the 16" balloon, using the green clip but not pressing down quite all the way, so you add just a little bit less than normal. Rub the balloon as you normally would and then use a pencil or stick to insert the 11" balloon. I usually blow a puff of air into the 16" before I do this so I can keep the 11" from touching the 16" more than necessary. You do not need to treat the 11" balloon. Inflate the 16" about half way, and then inflate the 11". If you hold them straight up while you are inflating you can keep the 11" balloon from touching the inside walls of the 16" balloon. If it does stick to one side you can usually tap that side to get it loose, and any HI-FLOAT that has gotten on the 11" during the process will dry clear and not look bad. This really isn't too hard to do, and like anything, it gets easier with practice. If you get a chance to watch the HI-FLOAT Tips and Designs Video you can see Bruce Walden demonstrate this method, and believe me, he makes it look easy! SUPER HI-FLOAT will also increase the floating life of an 11" balloon inside another 11" balloon. Donald Barrucci is right - double stuffed balloons float longer than a single balloon anyway, but you can get them to float even longer with SUPER HI-FLOAT. To treat them you would put one balloon inside the other, and then just treat the inside balloon the way you normally would. You may have to add a little less HI-FLOAT because the two balloons will be heavier than just one. 2/15/99 I too had the same question, and I called my distributor here locally, but wasn't satisfied with their answer. I then called Pioneer, and they told me that they DON'T charge more for the solid colors, that the pricing is totally up to the distributors. It is actually easier to package the solid colors than the assorted, but the fact that many more bags of assorted are sold, makes for the ass't. costing less. The people at Pioneer insisted that the pricing difference was NOT on their end, but at the distributor's. Go figure. I finally gave up in frustration. Tom Myers writes: It depends on the solid color. Standard solid color 260's cost the same as the regular assortment. The standard 260 colors are White, Light Blue, and Pink. You'll notice that those solid colors retail for the same price as the assortment. Jewel Tone colors and Pearl/Metallic solid colors cost more from Pioneer and that is reflected in the retail price. My understanding about the cost difference is that there is a difference in Pioneer's cost of making different colors but the reason really doesn't matter. Pioneer sets their prices and they may have to look at a lot of variables besides actual manufacturing cost. Their price is how they have decided their business can best meet the market and still generate profit. The regular and entertainer assortments (while containing the more expensive colors) are the same price as the standard one color balloons. We are getting this price because so many assorted bags are sold compared to the number of bags of solid colors. The high volume on a product allows them to give us a deal. This logic only works if you realize that a solid color bag of balloons is a different product than an assorted bag of balloons. They may be the same balloons but the handling, storage, production schedule and sales reports have to handle them as individual products. It seems like a solid color bag would be easier to make than an assorted bag but sales volume changes that. >I would LOVE to see some agate 260 balloons. FYI, there were actually some made many years ago. I have close to a whole gross of them. They are like the CTI neons: they fade when inflated. Anyone remember Ashland Rubber Co. out of Ashland, OH? Truth be told gray was made back then,too. It is a new color to most, but not some of us. I actually have a few gray 130's. 5/2/99 Yvonne Brogdon, the "y" in WAY Cool Balloons book series, taught this neat trick. You'll need a FAT drinking straw, she recommends the ones from 7-Eleven. Slit the straw open, lengthwise. Lay the balloon inside the straw, - - NOW HERE'S THE SECRET - - you need just a little of the closed end (opposite the end you blow into!) sticking out the end of the straw. That will help keep the balloon inside the straw. Now slide the straw filled balloon into another balloon. Next, you'll need to grab BOTH balloons, (that little bit out the end of the straw, plus the outer balloon) and hold that end while you get the nozzle of the inner balloon inside the straw as you pull the straw out. It's really pretty easy. This seems pretty complicated....Just open up the larger balloon with your fingers and stuff the smaller balloon (non-nozzle end first) inside the larger balloon. Hang on to the nozzle of the smaller balloon so it doesn't go all the way in. Then blow up the smaller balloon first and tie it off. (Yes, it will be blown up inside the larger balloon.) Now, putting a sleight pressure on both nozzles together, blow up the larger balloon about 2-3 inches beyond the small balloon. You just have to make sure the smaller balloon doesn't "blow" into the middle of the larger balloon. Thus, putting the slightest pressure on both balloons at once while you blow. I'm presuming you use this balloon for popping the outer one (at the non-nozzle end) with a needle of sorts (I use a non-stapled staple). At least that's what I do with it. Because the inside balloon is smaller than the outside balloon, only the outside one pops (usually....I always make two of these just in case). It's also neater if you can change the entire color of the balloon on the inside, too. When it pops it gives the illusion of the white balloon on the outside, now becoming a smaller red one. Stuffing one 260 inside another: Both balloons are the same size, and both are too small to easily stretch the outer balloon very wide for more than an inch or so. On my experiments with double stuffing 260s, I have used a bamboo skewer, like you would use for small shiesh-kabaos, to force the inner balloon inside. (using the blunt end, of course!) The sticking and popping problems are probably due to trying to fill the inner balloon *first*... Try inflating the outer balloon partway, *then* filling the inner balloon. Keep the airspace in the outer balloon just ahead of the inner one until you reach the desired size. This seems to work as well for 260s as it does for rounds. For those of you attempting to use this to double stuff helium rounds, I recommend ommitting the Hi-float. Hi-float is great for single helium balloons, but while it is slimy and slippery when there is a thick coat, when you stretch it out it becomes very tacky, like tape, and can easily rip one or both of the balloons. The technique I (Yvonne (YUMMY) Brogdon) developed and teach came from two needs.....a way to keep the inside balloon from sticking to the sides of the outside balloon, and I wanted a way to do it quickly and easily in public if i wanted to without having to carry around a long skinny wire or knitting needle. If you have your own successful method, wonderful! I had trouble with the methods I was taught or had read about, and I found this to be the quickest and easiest way and what worked best for me. Maybe someone else might want to try it. You need a LONG straw, like the ones that you get with a 44oz drink at your local convenience market and the two balloons you're going to use. You can stuff 160's into 260's this way or you can use two 260's. 1. Slice the straw lengthwise (an exacto knife from the inside out works really well) and run your finger down the straw to 'open' it up. 2. Lay the inside balloon inside the straw. Make sure about 1/2 inch of the uninflated end protrudes from the bottom of the straw. You'll find there is a very small length of balloon left at the top, the nozzle end. Almost the whole balloon fits in the length of a long straw. The straw gives the outside of the balloon a smooth surface so there's nothing to stick. 3. Close the straw around the inside balloon. Overlap the slit sides, so it's skinnier than it was originally. This helps to insert it more easily. 4. Insert the straw/balloon fully until you can feel the straw at the bottom. 5. Hold the uninflated end of the inside balloon through the uninflated end of the outside balloon. While holding the ends, pull the nozzle end of the outside balloon out of the straw at the top. 6. Still holding the uninflated ends, grab the straw at the top and remove it from the balloons. I reuse my straws to stuff balloons until they're all bent out of shape. > Do you have any pointers > for popping the outside balloon WITHOUT popping the inside balloon? I > try to pop the outside balloon and end up distroying the whole thing. Yes, I do have a great method. I used to use the regular snap/pinch-at-the-twist method and had a really rough time with that. After lots and lots and lots of practice I was successful about 3/4 of the time. SUZAN, a clown and balloon artist from Tokyo, taught me to do it with tape. The only thing is that you have to throw in a roll of scotch tape in your bag o' tricks. Once you make your creation, take about a 2 inch strip of scoth tape and tape half of it onto the bubble whose outside balloon you want to pop. Make sure it adheres well. With your hand on the part not taped onto the balloon, snap the tape away from you and the balloon in a quick downward motion. The tape takes off the first layer of the balloon and leaves the bubble in tact. It works probably 99% of the time. Remember it's a quick snapping technique. 5/2/99 If you want to use Qualatex silver 260Q's but want a silver that's more grey, double stuff with a black. It gives a much better silver. 5/7/99 Double stuffing technique allow the balloons hold their color _and_ form much longer and can improve your work immensely. Now, yellow and orange, which I was reluctant to use in the past because the colors faded so quickly, stay bright for days with a white balloon inside them. And in addition to the new, brighter colors, the balloon flowers hold their air much longer. A bouquet I made 10 days ago still looks as good today as it did when I made it. Before, they would only last about 5 days before fading and starting to deflate. 6/18/99 To create Periwinkle at a wedding, I put the Qualitex pearl spring lilac inside the pearl blue azure. Then inflate the balloon to the needed shade. ( Starts off blue then the larger you inflate the balloon the more purple tint will show through) I have also found for the darker blue tint of Periwinkle you need to use a larger size blue azure balloon. Such as for a 10 inch size balloon you will need a 16 inch pearl blue azure. This keeps your blue color thicker so the purple does not show through as much. If you need more of the purple shade of Periwinkle use the regular size balloons and inflate to correct shade. On page 21 of the March/April 1992 Images is a color chart showing 38 different combinations of colors. To tie off double stuffed balloons, inflate the balloons, then stretch the neck of the inner balloon around and outside the neck of the outer balloon. Kind of hold the stretched neck of the outer balloon over the index finger of your left hand then pull and stretch the neck of the inner balloon away from you with your right hand, pulling the inner balloon neck over the index finger,middle finger and ring finger (hold those three fingers together tightly), cup those fingers slightly and tuck the inner balloon neck under from your palm toward fingernails and remove by pulling the inner balloon neck. It is incredibly simple, quick and makes doing double stuffed balloons a breeze (even pearlized/metallics). Secondly we never tie the tulle on or work with it within the knot; simply lie it across the top of the balloon neck and it will be tied in while you are tying off the inner balloon. If you are using latex outside and use regular ribbon, they could blow off the ribbon, so in that circumstance, we knot the ribbon around the latex knot. Especially important with 16" & 3' because wind can sometimes blow them off the ribbon. Actually their method of tying double balloons has made me use many more of the clear latex because now it's so simple to add several into all balloon bouquets and distinguish ourselves from the cheap party store balloon bouquets. I always get great reactions when I make flowers with different shades of green in the stems. Tip enhancer: When making balloons for small children, I try to make designs using colors to match their outfits. Adults are always very impressed. When I first started out, I used to buy the Qualatex assortment from a local shop. The colors were far more limited then than they are now (Red, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Green, and White, I think). I didn't order from a supplier, so I don't know what was actually available at the time. There weren't any browns or greys, as we well know. I didn't have the option of making creatures in their actual colors. Even so, there were certain colors that struck me as being better for certain animals. Orange for kangaroos, blue for rams, green for mooseses(es?), etc. There's nothing rational about that, they just struck me as being better that way. There are several twisters who make very fancy, multi-balloon characters that really have to be made in a particular flavor. Bruce K and John the Beloved Balloon Man have some real dazzlers that actually can't be made by human beings (unless you invest in their superlative videos). For those twists, anything less than the correct color is unthinkable. For your average twister (like myself), who often creates one-balloon variations on dogs, the color is not an issue. I like having the option of twisting something in grey or brown, but I always fall back on the Doug Henning-esque "magic world of balloons" routine. In the magic world of balloons, everything can be any happy color it wants to be. All it takes is a little im-magic-nation! Feed them a line like that, and you can hand them something that looks like a limp banana slug and call it a Power Ranger. Okay, I exaggerate...I'd never do that...well you get the point.