Making Balloons Last
Prolong balloon clarity is to place inflated items in a clear plastic bag.
-- PREINFLATING PLASTIC BAGS PREVENTING FROSTED BALLOONS KEEPING CLEARS CLEAR BALLOON SHINE/SHIELD SON OF A GUN/ARMOR-ALL FOLIAGE SEALER BALLOON JUICE HAIR SPRAY OTHER HI FLOAT Hi-Float and Super Hi-Float SQUIRTING IT IN TO CLIP OR NOT TO CLIP, THAT IS THE QUESTION I'VE BEEN SLIMED! PRE-TREATING UN-INFLATED BALLOONS PRE-TREATING INFLATED BALLOONS THE NECESSITY OF HI-FLOAT SPEED / COST SALES TECHNIQUES HI-FLOAT IN DECOR HI-FLOAT ON THE OUTSIDE METALLIC BALLOONS HI-FLOAT AND GEO BLOSSOMS HI-FLOATING 260's HI-FLOAT AND AGATES TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING FLOAT TIME ARTISTIC APPLICATIONS OF HI FLOAT -- Note: Some of the following comments include amounts of money in the imaginary unit called "C-shells." These units are used to avoid any hint of illegal price fixing in the balloon industry. PREINFLATING We preinflate with air to expand the balloon for many reasons. Pearlized balloons that are combined with imprints are invariably smaller and odder shaped, especially when using the same size balloons (both 11"). Preinflating with air gets them closer to the same size. They are also a bit softer to tie and seem a bit softer after inflation so that there's a bit of expansion room. We preinflate all 3' balloons when we receive our stock to assure no defects because we usually don't carry a large inventory in that size. Sometimes, when we're low on 16", an 11" can be expanded through air inflation to get pretty close to the 16" size. Most often, we preinflate to get extra helium into the balloons the night before do that they will be at 11" the next day when we need them. The trick in assembling the arrangements is to keep the balloons a little closer than usual to make up for the shrinkage that will occur. We pre-stretch everything now. If there is any defect, it is caught before hi-float and helium is wasted and relaxing the latex cuts down on breakage. Over/undersizing? Use your judgement. A balloon should never be inflated to the point where a few degrees warmer will pop it. That's overinflated to begin with. An 11 inch balloon inflated to 11inches at room temperature (70 - 75 F) should be able to withstand 90 - 95 F without popping, because it should expand to about 12.5 inches or more before it pops. Try measuring your balloons to see if your idea of an 11 inch fully inflated balloon is really 11 inches.
- The only way to prolong the balloon clarity is to place inflated items in a clear plastic bag. When I was vending outdoors, I would place stuffed balloons into clear bags, twist closed tightly to fit snug over the balloon and put a big bow on the plastic bag as well.
- Whenever you blow up a balloon, you immediately subject it to oxidation, its just a fact of atmospheric physics. I do Balloon Deliveries using both rounds and non-rounds. The best, fastest, cheapest cure is a plastic bag, 55 gallon drum liners are my favorite. Find one large enough to hold your entire delivery and stuff them in, tie with a piece of curling ribbon. Just before the delivery, take everything out of the bag, fluff and fix where necessary and wow them with your product.
- If you are interested in buying very large plastic balloon bags, you should check this source:
The Rainbowrapper CO.
8389 Mayfield Rd. Ste.
130 Chesterland, Ohio 44026
1-800-449-8806 or (216)729-4644
I just ordered them and I like them, they even sell them in three sizes at $25.00 each roll, plus shipping:Medium: 38″ wide x 50″ long (will hold seven or ten 11″ balloons) (140 bags per roll)
Large: 38″ wide x 70″ long (will hold ten to fifteen 11″ balloons) (100 bags per roll)
Extra Large: 38″ wide x 90″ long (will hold twenty to twenty five 11″ balloons) (78 bags per roll)
I spoke to Keith Redfern, who owns this company. They are a 15 year old balloon company from Cleveland who designed these bags specifically for the balloon industry. I’ve always had difficulty finding anything larger than the standard 55 gal trash bag for my balloons, and if these are as good as they claim they are, these bags will be a big help to those of us who do a lot of bouquet deliveries and/or decor with pre-inflated latex. The bags are high density poly, anti-static (!), and ventilated (hallelujah!). Give Keith a call, and he’ll send you some samples!
- I’ve used the Rainbowrapper bags for everything from delivery bouquets to transporting String of Pearl Arches and have found them to be WONDERFUL.
- We get our large bags from Viking Paper Products. Our bags are “see-through” and about 72″x48″ and cost us about 15-20 cents each.
- We use 55 gallon drum liners (trash bags) that are clear, we get them wholesale for $10 a box (60 per box). It’s great to be able to see all the colored balloons in the bag, and it keeps them from oxidizing too!
- A clown friend uses a very large (trash can sized) mylar bag to transport her balloons. It is decorated with balloons and confetti, just perfect for a celebration! She said they’re available at most Hallmark stores. They’re durable and attractive.
- When I stuff balloons, I treat the outside of the balloon and then put a clear floral bag over the balloon after it has been decorated. Then I gather the top of the bag and close it with some curling ribbon to decorate it. This serves two purposes: it is easier to carry and it keeps the balloon fresher much longer.
BAGS TO PREVENT OXIDIZING The name of the company that sells “all sizes of bags” is Associated Bag. The phone # is 800-926-6100. The bag I use for transporting large #’s of balloons is 22-3-14. The size is 36 x 28 x 60. The cost is $62.00 for a box of 100.
Anyone looking for a nice bag to wrap your balloon stuffings in? Stock # 28-3-556 the size is 26 x 32. Usually have to cut some off the top. The box qty. is 500 and the price is $62.00. They also carry bags that would work well for balloon bouquet deliveries. BUT I have found that Ace Hardware carrys a 55gal. clear bag that is less expensive and can be purchased in smaller qtys. ($11.49 for a box of 60) Just wanted to add this about storage bags. The Mattress bags are great, but for inexpensive bags we buy the Christmas Tree bags at about 59 cents each. They are not as heavy duty , but they are huge and do the job extremely well. We have used each of them many many times. We also like the fact that they are white and not clear as this probably helps stop any fading or oxidation. We are fortunate to have a discount store "The Christmas Tree Shops" in our area , otherwise these would certainly be well over a dollar or two. I work at a store that often delivers large bunches of balloons, usually helium bouquets, but the same principle should apply. The local grocery stores do a lot of recycling. The materials to be recycled, plastic or aluminum, are put into large boxes, with plastic bag liners. These liners are HUGE! I have personally been able to stuff over 3 dozen 11" latex balloons into one of them, and then tie the neck shut for delivery on a windy day. I would suggest you check out your local recycling centers to see if they have these liners, we call them barge liners. A case of 100 only costs $22 here, or about a quarter each. They are tough and durable which makes them reusable. How you transport the filled bags is your own problem.;-) Seriously, one full bag is about 3'x3.5'x6', so you should be able to stuff a couple hundred inflated 260s in each. If you have a pickup truck, just stack the bags in the back and tie a light tarp over them. Just don't stack them on top of the chainsaw. I do my air inflated balloons the day before ALL THE TIME. I found LARGE clear bags that hold about 75 inflated balloons. I time tested them for several weeks, in my van, in hot humid weather and was SHOCKED that they still looked great!! I can look up the name of the mfgr. if anyone needs it. The only problem is that you have to purchase a whole box. (50 bags) We too do much of our air-filled work a day or two in advance. We wrap them in large plastic bags and they are ready to go. Graham Rouse once suggested to me to purchase large mattress bags from U-Haul to serve as really large holders of sculptures, etc. They work great - thick, strong and come in several sizes (double, queen, king, etc.). We have a U-Haul dealer right around the corner. Is there a proper way of transporting inflated balloons without having problems with static from the plastic bags? What is the concern with static? Try spraying static guard inside of the bag. I also like to use this on our ribbons. More than half the time the customers will ask "what are you doing?" Then you tell them that it is a customer service that seperates you from the others. Try it! They appreciate it by coming back again and again!! I often will preinflate my airfilled items. I have done it up to a 5 days before event. I always put completed arrangements into large mattress bags when completed. This keeps them from oxidizing, and it's also a great way to transport from site to site. I get my mattress bags from the Packing/Shipping company. They are thick and strong and will last a long time with a little care. Also, after Christmas when the sales are happening, I purchase the bags for Christmas trees. These are very thin but can be used once or twice, and price makes them disposable. Not a problem inflating early as long as you keep the balloons in bags. Get yourself some mattress cover bags from somewhere like U-Haul or Ryder. We have done topiaries as far as 3 weeks ahead with no problems. The only thing we do different further out is to size them a little bigger to allow for shrinkage. We LOVE airfilled stuff for exactly that reason! I wouldn't hesitate to store your airfilled topiaries for later decorating. As long as you put them in plastic to help avoid excess oxidizing. In April I did all of the decorating for our Gala Event. We started on Tuesday with the airfilled sculptures, bagged them and were fortunate to have the use of someone's empty house for storage. We had 3 rooms FULL of the inflated, bagged balloons, took a panel truck to haul them to the Event. All balloons faired wonderfully, no problems. We did use a lot of satin balloons which don't show the oxidation as much as the regular balloons, but also used 5 gross of clear balloons and they held up wonderfully. Do NOT bag helium balloons (especially if hi float isn't dry) until right before delivery time. I learned that lesson a few years ago the hard way when I thought I would get ahead of the game by doing the helium the night before and bagging them. Out of 100 balloons, maybe 10 floated! Now I always do my helium balloons the day of an event, even if it means a 5:30 wake up, just to make sure they are nice and fresh and full size!
PREVENTING FROSTED BALLOONS
Making Inflated Balloons Last: Products
- Are there any balloons that do not cloud up?
No. All latex balloons are made from latex and the characteristics are the same… latex oxidizes, period! One other thing you can do, though, is apply a chemical to the balloon surface, to prolong clarity by weeks.
- How can I avoid having that milky coating on my balloons during hot weather? I used STP brand Son-of-a-Gun and it was ok, however, it didn’t last that long. I’ve tried a half and half combination of Hi-Float and water; however, that only streaked the balloons real bad. I’ve also heard that Armor All works too. Is there something else that I don’t know about?
I have found that if you can keep the balloons out of the open air, maybe in a plastic bag, that it'll cut down on the oxidation. The fridge is a great place to put an inflated balloon to keep it's shine. However, it's not such a great place to show them off :-) If you use pearlized colors, the "fogging" isn't so apparent. It is perfectly normal for balloons to "oxidize" and get cloudy when exposed to the air especially when it is warm and possibly humid! I always use the satin or pearlized balloons to help the oxidation not be as noticeable. We also always bag the balloons, and, when setting up, we do so as quickly as possible before the balloons oxidize and you can see our "handprints". The shrinkage would also be due to the heat with no a/c. Even at times with a/c we notice the oxidation just because of the humidity in the room. I explain to my brides that have balloons outside or inside with no a/c or in this "wonderful" summer weather that with the weather conditions, our balloons will take on a "frosted" look so there are no surprises!! "Frosted" sure sounds better than "Cloudy", huh?? =) There could be seveal reasons for the "fogging" of your balloons. Foremost is too much handling. When I make columns well in advance, I string them on line and place them in real big plastic bags. I can do this up to 5 days in advance & they still look brand new. KEEPING CLEARS CLEAR > I'm in a dilemma called HOT and HUMID weather vs. Diamond Clear Balloons!!! > Doing a Decor job for a Wedding tomorrow using > lots of Clear Balloons (Qualatex Diamond Clear Flowers A Round), and the > weather is going to be HOT 39c, overcast/cloudy, stormy and humid. The > venue is air conditioned with an evaporative cooler (water cooled) adding > more moisture. I'm extremely worried about clouding/oxidization of these > Balloons. Balloons have 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. If you have any regular HI-FLOAT (not the new super hi-float) It can be mixed with water and put into a small round wash basin. After inflating the balloon you can gently give it a bath. This is best done by holding the balloon in your hand upside down and using a cup or dipper pour the solution gently flow over the balloons until all surface is covered - hold in place until the excess flows off the balloon and into the basin. This sounds messy, but it's not a scary as it sounds. We used a clothes-line in the back area of the shop and put newspaper on the floor. Just like doing laundry - I used a clothes pin to hold them in place. By the time the end of the line came around - the first were dry enough to be tied into bunches. Another way is to gently insert a pencil into the balloon and then hold the neck tightly onto the pencil and lower it into the HI-FLOAT. Remove and slowly fill with helium. After done they will take a few minutes to be dry enough to pull together in groups. We usually do anything like this in shop and transport. The pour method dries a little faster. I have even used this method on large paddle balloons! They are always a hit. 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'll get the best results for a clear balloon if you use regular hi- float (not super hi-float) in a 1:1 ratio mixed with water. Rinse off the balloon (both sides) and dry completely. Dip it into the mixture and use a straw to move the excess off the balloon. Air inflate the balloon (or use nitrogen) and it will almost be dry when it's inflated. If it isn't, use a hair dryer on cool to completely dry it. This is a pain in the .... if you have lots of balloons to do, but if it's just a few, you'll love it because they are really crystal clear and will stay that way quite a while.
Balloon Shine and Balloon Shield
- I have a sample bottle of a product called Balloon Shine by Maxim, and it works pretty well, but you must buff each balloon you spray it on.
- Balloon Shine and Balloon Shield (by Maxim, Inc.). Also if you can do your balloons in the air conditioning along with applying the Shine or Shield, this will help.
- I purchased Balloon Shine from my local balloon company. However, STP worked as well as Balloon Shine.
- I used to own a car wash and I know my car chemicals very well. Balloon Shine looks like, smells like, and acts like STP. Balloon Shine also makes my tires look great! So you do the math.
- Balloon Shine is a product made specifically for balloons but, unfortunately, the results are similar to Armor All.
- We have used Balloon Shine and while it is good for short periods, our best results have come by using the original “Hi-Float” formula to seal the surface.
We were given a can of the same aerosol shine you are speaking of. It was given to us by Alex Shephard from Mexico. I'm not sure what the name of it is either because I don't speak a word of Spanish. Maybe someone on this list can give you his phone number, or check in your QBN Director under Mexico. He is a CBA, and a terrific balloon artist and teacher as well. I seem to remember Alex telling us it is a silicone-based product, and because of that, it has very little, if any, "smell". It leaves a very slick surface to the balloons, but the 4 or 5 balloons we sprayed in our sculpture remained unoxidized the entire 4 days. Since this product was given to us to try out, I have no idea what the price is on it. You can spray them with Balloon shine (available at all the best balloon suppliers) but a much cheaper alternative is dashboard protector spray like Wynnes Dash available at your local supermarket or garage. I have used balloon shine on 260's a few times, and it definitely makes them last a lot longer. I have found that the best way to apply it is before inflating the balloon. I spray a small amount into the bag of balloons then rub it around till they are all coated. This makes a little balloon shine go a loooong way. The balloons are very slippery and tying the knot and twisting them is a bit tricky but I soon got used to it. I find that when I am doing huge amounts of balloons to be delivered (eg. as invitations etc) they can be made up a few days in advance and still look very fresh on delivery day. This all takes a lot less time, makes less mess, is cheaper and leaves the balloons shinier than using hi-float inside the 260 . (IMHO) What do you use on air sculptures to have them not oxidize? Balloon Shine is just way too time consuming.
SON OF A GUN/ARMOR-ALL Substitutions: Automotive Products
- STP is a water based automotive product for making rubber, vinyl, plastic and finished leather shine. Most people use it for the “Wet tire” look. The important thing is that STP is WATER based. Some of these applications are petroleum based and will eat through latex very fast.
- I do not know if Armor All is water based or not.
- STP brand “Son of a Gun” can be used on the outside of a latex balloon (instead of Hi-Float) to prevent the chalky oxidation that results from long exposure to air. I doubt that it has any of the Helium-diffusion-rate-altering qualities of Hi-Float though. Knowing how slippery “Son of a Gun” makes car seats, it may not have any practical application for twisted sculptures.
- Don’t use Armor All until after the ‘loon is inflated and the figure is made. I’ve had hearts and blossoms stay shiny for more than 3 weeks in the mall after being treated.
- Bigger cities have car-washing chemical suppliers. They will have a version of STP in a gallon jug. You will want to ask for a water- based product. The company will have it for a fraction of the cost.
- I don’t recommend using STP or those other auto products. They feel oily to the touch and they take time to apply. There is a product called Balloon Shine that does the same thing (retard oxidation) but again, the time factor is too much for me.
"Son of a Gun". Spray it on a lint free rag and then wipe the outside of your balloon completely! It also keeps your clear balloons from "fogging" up! Great stuff! Do not spray directly onto the balloon. Also use on imprinted balloons, if you can; turn them inside out because when you go to shine them ... the imprinted ink will smear! One can also just purchse this from a store like Wal-Mart. Good luck!!! I heard you could use "Son of a Gun" which is a dashboard cleaner. But also heard do NOT use "Armor-All", I guess it eats the balloon slowly or something like that. Different brands do different things. Armor-all works OK, but, frankly, it's a royal pain if you don't need something on display more than a day. Also, if you use pearlized colors, the "fogging" isn't so apparent. You can use spray Armour All to prevent oxidation but do not spray it directly on the balloon. It goes a LONG way if you spray a cloth and rub it over the balloon. Cotton diapers work great for this. > Is there any way you can prevent the creation from going so dusty? I > find that after about 4 hours, the sculpture's color doesn't shine > through because of all the dust on the outside. Once I did a outdoor > gig, and I had examples hanging up behind me. The black balloons > looked like they were gray! Actually the problem is oxidation and not dust. STP Son Of a Gun or Balloon Shine sprayed on each balloon then wiped till dry (polished) works well but is time consuming. Oddly enough, these products attract dust (but it won't really be visible) and small dust particles can be sharp and slightly increase your poppage rate. But if you want your black balloons to stay black and your clear balloons to stay clear it is a must to polish them. Regarding Son of a Gun . . . . I picked up this technique from Saul at Conwin Carbonics . . . In an area where people won't be walking (they can slip), we cover the floor with plastic and just spray the heck out of our sculptures, etc., until they're dripping. We let the sculpture sit there or leave the plastic at the bottom until it stops dripping and VOILA!!!!! We don't do any rubbing . . . I don't know if you'd have to for centerpiece things, but for all the other stuff just let it drip dry. As long as you have thoroughly sprayed it down, it's beautiful. The stuff is so cheap at K-mart or Pic'n'Save that it's worth using more and saving on time and labor. We once did this technique on our 10' palm trees that had to be outside and DIRECTLY IN THE SUN for 3 days while the temperatures were in the 90's plus and VOILA! They were just gorgeous! When the job got struck, not all the little balloons (they were all goldenrod by the way) at the top were popped until a week later, and YES they were still beautiful. The only draw back to this technique is you have to spend a little bit of time (when the job is done) cleaning your pole and base with windex or something to cut the slippery effect. FOLIAGE SEALER There is also another product out there that used to be called Glitter Glue, but is now called "Foliage Sealer". It is by Design Master and comes with a very bright yellow label. The label includes the words "formerly Glitter Glue" in VERY small print on the bottom. Glitter Glue used to be used all the time by balloon artists, but until Pat Skistimas shared with us that Design Master had merely changed its name, we thought they'd stopped manufacturing it. The cost for this product runs about the same as a can of Design Master paint. This product works great on all balloons EXCEPT clear. It tends to leave a slight haze on the clear balloons. It will even take oxidized balloons and make them shiny again!! When you first spray it on, it will be a little bit hazy, very sticky and tacky. However, after it dries, it shines like a new balloon, and it is no more tacky than Armour-All or STP. Another drawback is that it's expensive, and, since it is an aerosol, it has the inevitable "fragrance" :) associated with most aerosols, so you need to spray it in a well ventilated room. We still prefer Balloon Shine for our everyday bouquet deliveries, but we always have a good supply of Design Master Foliage Sealer in stock for sculpture work. We also have never tried it on helium-filled balloons so don't know whether it will add weight to them or not. We've only used it on air-filled designs. Works GREAT!! If you can find it, try it....you'll love it! The Inspireworks tapes suggest glitter glue. Design Master's Foliage Sealer (formerly Glitter Glue). It's the same product, they changed the name. Glitter Glue is made by Design Master, but is now called Foliage Sealer and comes with a very bright yellow sticker. It will say in very small print at the bottom of the label "Formerly Glitter Glue". Pat and Jim Skistimas introduced us to this fine product at IBAC two years ago, and we've been thanking them ever since. Although it is expensive, when it is absolutely necessary to have your balloons last and remain unoxidized, this is a great treatment to use. In spite of it's name (Glitter GLUE), and although it is quite sticky when first applied, once dry, it does NOT seem to have any residual stickiness. Another great attribute of this product is that it will even bring the shine back to balloons that have already oxidized!!! REALLY!!! We haven't yet had an occasion to use this on helium-filled balloons so don't know how much it will affect the fly-ability of the balloons. Foliage Sealer is applied the same way you would use a spray paint. It is applied as a spray, directly onto the outside of the balloon. If you are applying to a sculpture, column, arch, or balloon wall, it can be applied AFTER the item is finished so you only need to spray onto the parts of the balloons that are visible. Once again, we have NOT yet tested this product on a helium-filled balloon, arch, etc. and do not know if it will make the items too heavy to fly. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has. Anyone who carries Design Master paints would probably carry this product. Try your floral wholesaler first, and if no luck, try craft stores. Well, I guess we hicks out here in Kansas aren't so out of touch as some of you may think. We've been using Glitter spray for a number of years. We buy it either at a floral wholesaler or a cheaper version of it which works just as well at Walmart stores. It works very well on helium-filled balloons and can't see that it significantly affects flying times. For oxidation problems I use Design Masters Foliage Sealer...it comes in a white and yellow can. I purchase it at a local craft store. It works great! This past summer my husband and I were packing the van for a wedding, and the first thing we put in the van was the 4 ft Heart sculpture that was already finished He left the back door open while loading the van, and in less than 10 minutes the heart scultpure had oxidized. Luckily I always keep a can of Foliage Sealer in the van.....it worked (and works) miracles! We have used a combination of original Hi-float...letting it dry, then spraying Design Master Floral Spray (formerly Glitter Glue) over that. These projects had not been subjected to direct sunlight and a majority of the balloons were round, but this process was pretty successful for sealing both new and oxidized balloons. Out-of-doors, there has not been anything we have tried that lasted as long as natural latex. BALLOON JUICE Also, South Bay Balloons(formerly part of All American of Santa Ana, CA) in the San Jose, CA area has something called "Balloon Juice" that works really well. Their number is (408)486-9820. HAIR SPRAY Hair spray on the outside of the balloon will make it last a long time but don't touch it or it shrivels. Hairspray actually helps keep the air in longer by sealing the balloon. No, it doesn't make it stiff. OTHER Spray your creation with Silicone Lubricant. Found in most Wal-Mart stores in the Auto dept. Keeps your balloons bright ten times longer. I always coat my balloons after inflation. I never tried to coat them before inflation. I do know that it would be harder to tie, cause that stuff is slippery. I sell peacock punch balls at festivals, and when they get chalky, I spray them. Never used the stuff on 260's, but latex is similar, and should react the same. Toxic? Never thought about it. Better check, just to be sure. We have tried every brand of rubber treatment made and have found "2001" to be the best! We get it at our automotive store. We buy the big bottle and pour it into a smaller spray bottle. Put it on when you first inflate the balloons for best results. Copied from a Fredericksburg VA area Newsletter: "Hi I'm POP-O the Clown... Balloon sculpting has always been one of my favorite crafts, but felt that they didn't last as long as they should, so I decided to do something about it and discovered a way of preserving the balloons with a clear non-toxic coating that seals the balloons and gives them that shiny just blown up look for weeks or even months. Since then, I have been able to supply people with colorful long lasting balloon sculptures, store displays, and memorable party decorations of all sorts. POP-O has written down the secret of this balloon-preserving process for anyone who's interested, to get your copy send $4.50 for the booklet to: POP-O the Clown at PO Box 607, Locust Grove, VA 22508 (540) 972-0089
Hi-Float and Super Hi-Float
- Hi-Float: is a gummy, glue-like, resin that you apply to latex balloons to allow them to retain helium for longer periods of time. Once it dries, it forms a plastic-like coating that adds many more hours to the life of a balloon before it “drops”.
- Super Hi-Float: is a liquid substance that is designed to go inside helium-balloons to make them float longer. It can be a little messy. Before you insert the gel into the balloon make sure that you remove all of the air from the balloon first (If you don’t then the gel will be forced back out of the balloon). Don’t use very much Super Hi-Float either because all you need is enough gel to give the balloon a thin layer of protection. The gel takes about 30 minutes to dry. Once dry you’ve got a balloon that will stay inflated for months.
- “Hi-Float and Super HF are non-toxic, non-irritating, non-corrosive, non-flammable, and biodegradable. They are very similar to the adhesive found on the back of postage stamps.”HI-FLOAT has a free design book they will send out or one of your suppliers may have copies in house for their clients. There is a lot of info in this little blue book!!! Here is their phone and snail mail info: HI-FLOAT
13025 Middletown Industrial Blvd, Louisville, KY 40223
Phone: 1-800-57FLOAT or 502-244-6873
fax: 502 245 9711
SQUIRTING IT IN One thing, if you have never used hifloat, make sure you have the end of the nozzle ALL the way into the balloon body. Don't squirt it in the neck; this is some of the yuckiest stuff you can work with. Keep it off your hands, inflator and out of the neck. TO CLIP OR NOT TO CLIP, THAT IS THE QUESTION Hello. My name is Don Burchette and I invented Hi-Float and Super Hi-Float. Regarding the mention of how much Super Hi-float to add to your balloons: If you add the full recommended amount, an 11-inch balloon should float at least 4 days indoors in hot summer weather and 10 days in cold weather. The difference is due mostly to humidity. If you add less Hi-Float than recommended, the balloons will float less time than the maximum. In other words, to get the maximum floating life possible any time of the year, add the full recommended amount. You may find that in the winter, using half of the recommended amount gives an adequate float life, but in the summer this would cause complaints due to reduced float life. To be safe, I generally recommend you always use the full recommended amount of Super Hi-Float. That way if something else is not quite right (temperature, humidity, balloons not fully inflated, etc.) you still get a long float life. However, if I were decorating an event to be held the same day, I might use half of the recommended amount of Hi-Float since it may not be necessary for the balloons to float a long time. Although, some decorators have told me they still treat the balloons fully since many balloons get taken home by the guests. If you have any other questions about Hi-Float please feel free to call our toll-free number 1-800-57FLOAT. Don Burchette Always use a Hi-Float clip on your pump stem. It helps to get a more precise measure of Hi-Float, without overdoing it. The hi float people will probably tear their hair out (after they get the hi float stripped off), but we DO NOT use their clips -- simply pump in enough to coat the inside of the balloon -- about the size of a new pencil eraser tip in an 11" balloon. We also feel that it's a bit faster to treat the balloons without the restricter clips. I agree with the "PENCIL-ERASER" amount, if not even using a tad less does fine for 11-inch Qualatex Jewel-Tones. Plus float time is still excellent. Best advice to anyone new to Super Hi-Float....Experiment with the product! If your balloons look and act "drunk," then reduce the amount you use. Also I personally recommend that you "rub it in," and remember to coat the entire inside surface of the balloon, even going as far as coating it into the neck. I agree with several others regarding how much hi-float to use. In the beginning I followed the guidelines religiously but was having trouble with some balloons not floating upright. After experimenting I concluded that if I used the next size clip down from the recommended one I got great results (I use the white clip for all my 11"). My balloons float perfectly, the up time is anywhere from 3-5-7 days consistently. Try some experimenting on your own. It's also important to spread the hi-float as evenly as possible. Try using less hi float. I never use the amount that the instructions dictate. Try using the clip for the next smallest size.(e.g. - use the 9' clip for 11' latex) Also, it is very important that you secure the ribbon down to a weight. Don't just let the balloons float up to the ceiling because they will invariably wind up floating sideways. This causes wet hi float to pool on one side of the balloon as opposed to pooling at the neck. I have also found that cutting down on the amount of super hi float helps especially outdoors. I use the white clip most of the time now for 11". I'VE BEEN SLIMED! The largest drawback to Hi-Float, is if the balloon pops during inflation-you get slimed, and you'll find parts of balloons stuck to every conceivable surface around. It's water soluble though, and doesn't leave a stain. If a balloon pops and throws hi float around the room, you will not be welcome at that event site again. You could inflate your balloons early enough for the balloons to dry, but I think this is a waste of time and expense of the hi float. It's a bit time and space consuming, but I do it all the time. I blow duplets up and use spring clamps and let the hifloat dry. I also use a ribbon with weights on each end over the duplet. I make the ribbons different lengths, so that the balloons will have air circulating all around it. I've learned that if I do any balloons with high float in them I make sure I blow them up (treated with super high float of course) a couple hours before the event so the hi float has time to dry inside before actually using. That way if they do possibly pop, no ooze. To answer your second question, balloons that are put in bags before the HI- FLOAT dries will loose air because the HI-FLOAT cannot dry without air circulating around the balloons, and the HI-FLOAT barrier cannot hold in the helium until it is dry.
PRE-TREATING UN-INFLATED BALLOONS
- I often apply Super Hi-Float ahead of time for parties, holidays, etc. Just place them in a plastic bag to limit the amount of air they are exposed to… A zip-lock bag, with the air pressed out of it, keeps the high float fresh for weeks. I’ve experienced no problems with the balloons.
- Hi-float the balloons, “squish” them, and cover them with plastic wrap to keep out the air. You then have to re-squish (to evenly distribute the Hi-float on the balloon interior) before inflating.
- Pre-treating and storing without inflating… I have simply treated with Hi-float, grouped the balloons (6-12), placed rubber bands around them, placed upright in an airtight container and refrigerated. They can be done weeks ahead of time this way.
- Just Hi-Float your balloons, and use a rubber band to tie 10 or so together, then store them with the neck up to minimize the hi float in the neck. When you’re ready to inflate them, rub the balloon so the Hi-Float is redistributed within. We use paper clips (remember them?) to hang 3 or more groups of balloons together from some wire shelving. Some people have done this, and then refrigerated them for up to 30 days!!! Just remember to let the balloons warm up to room temp before inflating!
- I have had no trouble putting balloons with Hi-Float into the refrigerator on Monday for the following weekend. Just be sure to tightly bind the necks. I have also found that if you fill the balloons with Hi-Float, secure them with a “rubberband” and do not put them in the refrigerator for a day or two, they really get very large when you inflate them. (This I learned years ago by accident.)
I put hi-float in several days in advance. I even have some in the freezer that are a few months old. I put all the hi-floated balloons in tupperware or similar sealed plastic containers. It keeps them from drying out. You can get away using only half the recommended amount of Super Hi Float. We learned that you don't need to put "pre-gooped" Hi Float balloons in the refrigerator if it's only for a day or two. The secret is to simply put that rubber band tight around the necks...to keep the air out. The other answer to your question is you can hifloat ahead of time by squirting in the goop, then bunch the balloons together and secure with a rubber band at the top, put them in the fridge; the goop will not dry on you if the rubber band prevents air from getting to the goop. Before you inflate the balloon squeeze to hifloat around to get good distribution around the inside, then inflate. Bruce Walden taught this in one of his classes, so I high float and refrigerate all the time. If I need the balloons before they reach room temperature, I put them in the microwave. Hi-floating in advance can be a great convenience, and many decorators do it. The balloons are hi floated a day or two before the event. After inserting the hi float & squishing it around the inside of the bulb - being careful not to get any into the neck area - stack the balloons by putting your thumb into the the rounded area so that there's not much room for air, then place them all into a ziploc bag with the rounded balloon base at the bottom and all the necks upright. No need to seal or refrigerate unless you're really doing them far in advance. Just fold over and keep upright so that the hi float doesn't liquify and get into the neck area of the balloons. Regarding the preparation of latex balloons with a booster solution, we bundle ours in groups of 7-10, tie them with left-over curling ribbon scraps, stand them in zip lock bags and store them. If the job or delivery is more than three weeks in the future, we'll refrigerate, but shelves in the basement work well in our climate. On occasions that we have needed to hi-float in advance we have had problems blowing the balloons up with the split second duel sizer. We stored them with the necks up, and the necks seem to stick shut just enough that it causes a problem with the duel sizer. Having to resort to the other inflator slowed us considerably. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Insert the highfloat nozzle deep into the balloon's body, to pump it in, then wipe its nose off inside, by pinching it clean. When storing pre-hifloated latex for use at a later time, we bunch the hifloated latex together with a piece of left-over ribbon and place in a zip-lock bag. This air tight storage makes it possible to prep balloons ahead of the time. I have had no trouble putting balloons with Hi-Float into the refrigerator on Monday for the following weekend. Just be sure to tightly bind the necks. At IBAC, Christopher Horn gave a great suggestion about cutting off the neck of an old or broken balloon and then just using the rolled top of the balloon as a rubberband. It is so obvious, but something I never thought of before.....now all my Hi-Floated balloons are secured with these "rubberbands." Be sure to take them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before inflating them to let them get to room temp. I have also found that if you fill the balloons with Hi-Float, secure them with a "rubberband" and do not put them in the refrigerator for a day or two. They really get very large when you inflate them. (This I learned years ago by accident.)
PRE-TREATING INFLATED BALLOONS The only advance preparation process recommended in “The Hi-Float Book” is referred to as “the dry method,” abbreviated as follows:
- Treat the balloons on the inside with Hi-Float. Inflate and seal with clips.
- The next day, remove the clips and add helium as necessary.
- Note: It is important to keep Hi-Float out of the stem of the balloon so that helium may be added the next day to fully inflate the balloon.
This technique was developed so that customers could receive treated balloons without the risk of being “slimed” if a balloon popped. It may also be useful for preparation of balloons to be used in a spiral arch or other design with balloons spaced so closely that the Hi-Float cannot quickly dry. Because Hi-Float must DRY to form the helium barrier coating, the balloons must be inflated while the Hi-Float is wet inside.
Check out the "dry method" on page 4 in the HI-FLOAT book: Step 1: At the end of the day treat the balloons for the next days deliveries or decorating jobs with the recommended amount of HI-FLOAT. Inflate the balloons with helium and seal with plastic clips or discs. Step 2: Allow the balloons to dry overnight. In the morning remove the clips and give the balloons an extra shot of helium to regain their full size. Reseal the balloons. This will result in a fully inflated balloon coated with HI-FLOAT that is completely dry. The added advantage is that if a balloon accidentally pops there is no mess. When using the "dry method," it is important to keep Hi-Float out of the stem of the balloon so that helium may be added the next day to fully inflate the balloon. THE NECESSITY OF HI-FLOAT What a wonderful product! At the back of our showroom where we do all the inflating of deliveries, there is a sign on the wall for all staff AND CUSTOMERS to see. "Hi-Float is MANDATORY for every delivery arrangement". Some customers will ask, "What is HI-Float?" Before you know it, they want to pay the extra, even though their balloons are for little Jodi's birthday party. This impresses the other mothers with the float time of that balloon Lisa brought home from little Jodi's birthday party. "How come Lisa's birthday balloons didn't float for 5 days?" Picture this; A typical hospital stay for a new baby is now 3-4 days. Most bouquets of balloons are ordered and delivered within the first 2 days. Visitors, the hospital staff, the proud father etc, that come on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5..... notice that one particular arrangement lasted throughout, while other balloons "died" and were taken away by the nurses. Make sure your business name and number is easy to read on that balloon delivery arrangement! Our competitors actually try to argue with us that it is not worth using. I don't argue of course.... let 'em suffer the consequences! I agree that high float is as necessary as ribbon, helium and balloons for our business. It costs @ 15 cents for an 11 inch balloon & @ 5 cents for helium for that balloon (depending, of course, on where and how much you pay, I am merely using my statistics). To spend your time and effort to make your creation (no matter how small or large) to last for just one day has ABSOLUTELY NO comparison value when you add @ 15 more cents for super high float or 11 cents for high float and it lasts for at least a week. I've actually had them last much longer. Truly, a customer ran in to me on Dec. 20, 97. I did ballons for her daughter's B-day Nov. 21, 97. She was so excited and raved to everyone around, that the balloons were still up and they should use me, if they ever needed balloons. I handed out several cards by request. I even treat my king 7's on the outside. They stay perfectly clear and last and last! That is one of the major hesitations on potential a customer's part, spending X amount of dollars for balloons to be gone in one day. They make comments like 'at least flowers last for a few days'. I assure them that properly treated balloons can also. I am new to this business (3 months), but it is very clear to me that you can't exchange word of mouth referral for any amount. That is what high float gives you, not to mention, the longer visibilty if it is in a high profile place. If something is "in someone's face" it is on their mind. We use super hi-float in every latex balloon that leaves our shop. Period. We stand on our reputation for long-lasting balloons and have had many return customers as a result. Our company philosophy and mission statement includes a sentence stating that we will "exceed our client's expectations", and we feel that including boosters in our latex work has a positive effect on our overall image. The longevity issue comes into play with us on the decorating level as well as the daily delivery level when we have three or four jobs on a given day. We can be sure that the decor will last regardless of the room conditions, even if the set up takes place at 6:00am for an evening event. At a cost of less than 1.5 cents per balloon, we feel that this insurance is well worth the cost, which is passed along to the client. We do not offer the choice of "to hi-float or not to hi-float" as many of our colleagues in this area do...super hi-float is standard in our shop. After all, we are the experts and the consumer simply desires a quality product. Using SUPER HI-FLOAT gives a balloon business an edge over the competition, because you are able to provide a longer lasting product, and therefore more value for your customers' money. Working at a local Paper Warehouse, I swear by Hi-Float and Super Hi-Float. My display and promotional balloons last up to a week, and I can attest that experimentation is the best way for balloon decorators and retailers alike to discover their potential with Super Hi-Float. Super Hi-Float provides the retailer with yet another assurance of customer satisfaction, due to the extended life of the balloons leaving the store. Many of my customers have returned to our store, simply for the fact that they were "amazed" by the float-time of my work. SPEED / COST After a short time you'll find that you can put Super Hi- Float into balloons and inflate them in a very short time. It doesn't cost too much either. In England it costs about 6 - 7 Pounds for a bottle full. If you have a real big job, you can always 'treat' the balloons far in advance with your other prep work, so the time on the actual job would be the same. Hi-floating in advance can be a great convenience, and many decorators do it. If time on the job isn't a concern, I find it simpler to hi-float on site, especially for smaller jobs.
- Do you sell Hi Float or keep it as a ‘trade secret’?
I use it as an add-on sale when selling balloons “to go.” I always have asked customers if they would like HI-FLOAT, tell them the benefits, and the small additional price per balloon. I think it’s a bargain at 3 C-shells per dozen balloons and customers love it.
- I think all deliveries should be HI-FLOATed, since the longer the balloons last, the longer they will be around to remind people of your business. I like to deliver big bouquets of HI-FLOATed 16-inch balloons to office buildings. That way the recipient is less likely to take the balloons home from work (they’re too big!) and more likely to leave them on their desk. (I’m getting paid to advertise!) Let me tell you, a 16-inch with HI-FLOAT lasts a mighty long time!!!
- When selling balloons with HI-FLOAT, let me recommend that you add a tag that explains that the balloons were treated. Otherwise the customer or recipient won’t know/remember and will likely develop an unrealistic impression of how long latex balloons last w/o treatment. That can come back to bite you. Ask me to tell you about the disgruntled customer I had once because of this very thing!
- If someone comes into the shop for a few balloons, we sell them Hi Float as an add-on sale. Some customers want it, and some don’t see the need.
- We do not offer the choice of “to hi-float or not to hi-float” as many of our colleagues in this area do… super hi-float is standard in our shop. After all, we are the experts and the consumer simply desires a quality product.
HI-FLOAT IN DECOR While I totally agree that HiFloat is a great product and is very desirable in Balloon Deliveries, I want to add that it's not as practical or necessary when decorating . In our 16 years we have have only used HiFloat once on a decorating job. Most decorating jobs are for a short period of time ( 4 to 6 hours). There would be no reason to hifloat an arch. I guess some people would argue about centerpieces, but other than that I don't believe it is useful. Please don't misunderstand my comments, Deliveries YES, Decorating No, but there are exceptions. I never hi-float for decorating jobs unless it is more then a one day event. A properly inflated Qualatex balloon should last a good 18 hours. I've done 6 weddings in a day with in a hundred mile radius and never had any trouble with the first ones going down. When balloons are hi-floated I think they are harder to decorate with (if the hi-float isn't evenly distributed or if you put just a little too much in they don't hang right on an arch). Normally, I don't hifloat for party decor. I have never had a complaint re: balloons lasting even after the party is over. But, at IBAC it was mentioned to hifloat as insurance. I have a wedding to decorate for tomorrow (175 balloons). Should I hifloat in advance, or do on-site? If in advance, do I hifloat, tie necks, and place in fridge in airtight container? What works best for you?? Much of this depends on your personal preference, and how much time you have. I find that hi-floating spiral arches, etc, is a waste of time and $, as they will usually last thru the event with no problem. We usually hi- float pearl arches if time and longevity are a concern. I always hi- float the helium balloons used in centerpieces, floor bouquets, etc. , as they often get taken home, and the perception of quality is much greater if they last a long time. Ideally, we like to hi-float and preinflate whenever possible, so when we get on site the balloons are dry, and will take a lot more abuse re: handling and static. I hate cleaning hi-float off suspended ceiling and chandeliers! We always hi float everything for all events except releases. We have decorated events since 1989 and quit Hi Floating them about 6 years ago when it dawned on us that the balloons have a life expectancy that goes through the events anyway. We also found that labor costs were too high for the extra time to Hi Float. Our customers haven't noticed the difference and have never complained. Job cost the labor and materials for Hi Floating the events and see what you have to charge to make a profit. Bouquets of balloons that go out of the shop on delivery are Hi Floated because they are gifts and that's where the value is perceived. We include the cost of Hi Floating in the price of the bouquet. Even 3' hot air gifts last for a week or more with the Hi Float. Hi Floating balloons to last through heat doesn't work. I tried that outside when my boys were little for their birthday parties. The balloon latex expands in the heat or sun, but the Hi Float, which dries, does not, so as the balloon expands, the Hi Float just pops off the inside or cracks, and the value is lost. There's no need to hi float for your party even with the heat. I have decorated in 100 degree weather and the balloons lasted the wedding and beyond. If a balloon pops and throws hi float around the room, you will not be welcome at that event site again. You could inflate your balloons early enough for the balloons to dry, but I think this is a waste of time and expense of the hi float. Regarding the balloons I did in the 100 degrees weather, I did over inflate a little. If I'm doing a job on Friday for an event on Sat, I ALWAYS hi float just in case. Now it's easy to do this if I know how many balloons to hi-float because I can squirt them that week sometime, take bunches of 20 or so, loosely put a rubberband around the top, and loosely place them neck up in a square tupperware (or whatever) type container, in my fridge. The hi-float doesn't dry out, I can pull out the container the day I want to inflate them, squish the stuff around a little, use my "special" downward facing inflator nozzle (from Conwin, of course), and inflate away! If I miss the count of balloons by a few, I just blow them up with no stuff inside. This works extremely well if you have 2 weddings or more on a weekend and some of the rooms are free on Fridays. You can decorate on Friday, make a quick stop to check it out on your way to the other job(s), and fix whatever needs fixing. I never hi-float balloons that only need to be up for less that 18 hours. Makes no sense. They stay up anyway. If you will be doing party decorating, don't bother with hi float on those latex as the party usualy never lasts more than 6 hours - Reserve the hi float for those times you really need it, deliveries and decor jobs that need to last several days I agree that Hi-Float is not always necessary for decorations; if you don't need them to last longer than 12 or so hours, then you might not want to treat the balloons. But I love the idea of treating centerpieces and other items that might be taken home by guests as favors (and attaching a business card)! That way they can enjoy them for several days after the wedding, and what a great impression that makes for your company! HI-FLOAT ON THE OUTSIDE Any time I am working on a balloon sculpture "exhibit" that I want to stay fresh for more than a day, I use the Hi-Float and water mist (half Hi-Float and half water). I keep the solution in a 6 inch deep plastic bin and use a small submergible pump to dispense it. I suspend the sculpture over the bin and use the hose to get a good covering. It only takes a few minutes for them to drip dry. A slow-speed fan helps to speed up that process. The coated figures stay clear and last for days. Some people add HI-Float to the outside of balloons before inflating them to avoid the "dust" that forms during longer periods of times or outside biodegration. METALLIC BALLOONS When inflating Qualatex 11" Jewel-tone and pearl-tone balloons with helium and templating to 11", we have found they tend to become a definite pear-shape. We combat this problem by preparing all of our balloons a day or two ahead of the job: What works for us is to insert Super Hi-Float, tie 7 or 8 together with some discarded pieces of curling ribbon, place in a zip lock baggie and store. This allows the balloons to be blown to a much larger size, and helps to eliminate the pear problem (for reasons why, see the effect of water on latex in the Balloon Science 101 chapter). Refrigeration has also been suggested to us as a means of extending the time between preparation and inflation. This simple method has been so successful for us that we do all of our delivery balloons ahead of time also. In fact, the employees in our shop CRINGE when someone stops in to order a bunch of balloons "cash & carry"! They simply do not look as full as the ones that have been prepared. Helium balloon shrinkage At times this has happened to us and one of the following situations is usually the reason. Pearlized balloons RARELY hold their size even with the proper amount of super hi float and helium. Heat and humidity are killers if the hi float didn't dry completely. Bagging balloons before they are completely dry will cause severe shrinkage. Putting too little hi float into the balloons will cause this problem. Underfilling will cause shrinkage too (we always try to overfill if we are doing them the night before). Check your helium -- was it mixed with air? Was the tank nearly empty? Who manufactured the balloons? What size and color was used? Were they left in a very cold room where the hi float did not dry quickly enough? Did you put too much hi float in the balloons? Don't know if you'll get the same experiences from others but I do know that we have had this happen, especially with Pearlized balloons, and it's a real bummer -- now we air inflate, deflate, hi float and inflate so that the balloons have been stretched a bit if we want to prep the job the night before. One nice advantage to hi floating ahead of time is that the balloons blow up a bit bigger - especially pearlized, and they seem to last even longer. It is true that pearlized and metallic colored balloons float about a third less time than regular colored balloons. You could just add a little less HI- FLOAT than normal, but they will float much longer if you use one of the following methods: METHOD 1: Inject the SUPER HI-FLOAT into the balloon the day before it is to be inflated, using the BLUE clip for an 11-inch balloon. Rub the balloon in the normal manner to spread the SUPER HI-FLOAT around when it is injected into the balloon. Treat several balloons this way and then gather them together by placing a rubber band around their necks to keep the SUPER HI-FLOAT from drying out. The next day briefly rub the balloon a second time and then inflate with helium. METHOD 2: (will give about the same increase in floating time as Method 1) Inflate the balloon with air to stretch it. Then deflate the balloon fully, treat it with SUPER HI-FLOAT in the normal manner, and reinflate with helium. This information is in the latest edition of The HI-FLOAT Book (blue cover, says "revised Nov. 1996" on the inside of the back cover). This is from the Hi-float Book by Don & Marjorie Burchette: Pearlized and metallic colors float about a third less time than regular balloons. If you need the maximum floating life possible, don't use pearlized or metallic colors. Also, agate balloons, heart-shaped balloons, and geos float much less time than regular balloons. To maximize pealize balloons with high float, inflate balloon with air (before highfloating), then highfloat. The balloons may seem bigger, but they'll take more air and last longer. Pre-inflating does help balloons float even longer because they have been stretched and can hold more helium. However, this method is really only necessary if you are inflating pearlized or metallic colored balloons (which do not blow up as large as regular colors) or unusually shaped balloons, such as Geo Doughnuts and Blossoms. I preinflate the balloon to its full size with air, let the air out, and then I treat as I normally would with SUPER HI-FLOAT and inflate with helium. You might want to try testing a couple balloons in your shop. You could blow up one as you usually do, and then another that you have prestretched and see what kind of a difference you get in the floating life. Of course, if you want to increase the floating life of your balloons an easier way would be to use the next larger size balloon - it would accomplish the same thing (allowing you to put in more helium). HI-FLOAT AND GEO BLOSSOMS The blossoms traditionally do not float as long as an 11" balloon. The "helium lift" to weight ratio of the balloon is not as high as other balloons. Using Super High Float will help, but don't use too much, and be sure to get it spread all the way around to assure that it will float straight. Bruce Walden recommended the following: inflate the balloon and clip it (instead of tying it) until the Super High Float dries. Then remove the clip and top off the balloon with helium that was lost during drying time. Using Hi-Float with Geo Blossoms: Don Burchette, the inventor of Hi-Float, just completed some tests, and I wanted to share the results with everyone. He found that he could extend the floating life of 16-inch blossums and doughnuts up to several days using the following method: First - Inflate the balloon with air to stretch it, then deflate it. Second - Inject Super Hi-Float using the WHITE clip on the pump dispenser. Rub the balloon to spread the Super Hi-Float around. Third - Inflate the balloon as large as possible with helium. The prestretching of the balloon with air lets you blow it up larger the second time. In an air-conditioned environment the balloons Don tested floated for several days using this method. As for (16-inch) heart-shaped and Geo balloons, the method for getting the maximum floating life isn't in the HI-FLOAT book yet - Don Burchette just discovered this method during testing he did this summer: (1) Inflate the balloon with air to stretch it, then deflate the balloon fully. (2) Inject SUPER HI-FLOAT using the WHITE clip on the pump dispenser. Rub the balloon to spread the SUPER HI-FLOAT around. (3) Inflate the balloon as large as possible with helium. This prestreching of the balloon lets you blow it up larger the second time (as it does with pearlized balloons). The balloons should float several days using this method. Another tip - these balloons have a very short neck, and Don found them much easier to tie when they are fully inflated if you use a tying aid such as "Knot-A-Balloon". That information may not be in the book, but it is on the newly released HI- FLOAT Video (has anyone seen it yet?) The video has 44 minutes of tips for using HI-FLOAT, and features Bruce Walden and Don and Marjorie Burchette. The video can be purchased from your HI-FLOAT distributor, and I think even those already familiar with HI-FLOAT can pick up a few new tricks from watching. Geo's do last longer with Hi-float, but you have to make sure to evenly cover the entire balloon. If you have too much Hi-float at the top of your balloon this causes extra weight. The weight if heavier than your balloon stem will cause the top of your balloon to be weighted down. I always use Super Hi-Float in my donuts and blossoms. I use the blue clip, but I don't use the full amount. I short it by just a pinch. Also, it is very important to inflate it to the maximum. I usually have either a 260 or 2- 5" balloons in the center. But they usually float for 2 - 4 days. I tell my clients their float time is a little less than others in my arrangements. This way they are not dissappointed. HI-FLOATING 260's I have Hifloated some 260's, and had them stay up looking good for over a week. The people at Lonestar balloons told me they had had them stay up for about a month. Hifloat does work well, but it is a mess to put it in the balloons. I found that completly letting all the air out then filling them works the best. They twist the same. Should you pop one while twisting you'll have a mess, but other than that it works well. It can be mess but worth the time. I use it for display balloons that I want to stay looking good for long periods of time. Yes I use Hi-float on air blown balloons (sometimes). If I am doing spiders for example, the 260Q legs don't always last the 3 weeks that I need them to (they seem to be made thinner). So I discovered that Hi-floating 260Q's gives them an extra "layer" so they last 3 weeks or more (and I don't have to go back and do repairs). Of course I charge a bit more for that extra step. Also, realise that I do this only for "fast", small sculptures like the spiders. I haven't used the basic Hi-Float, but have used Super Hi-Float to try and put a coating on the outside of completed models, as per the guide. But had problems... The Hi-Float book recommends that you use basic Hi-Float for this purpose, but as the vendors I know only sell the super stuff I thought I'd experiment to see how it worked. I made 6 identical teddy-bears using brown balloons, left one uncoated and coated the others in different Hi-Float / water mixes (1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 and 1:5). The bears were then pegged by their noses on the washing line outside to dry, and then brought inside and put in a safe place. The idea was that I would then check them each day, and judge the shine, inflation, etc., each half day to see which mix gave the best results. Well, the results were fairly cut and dry - after two days every bear except the untreated one had got at least one burst bubble, and some were looking extremely sorry. Consequently the Super Hi-Float has not been back out of the bottle. Someone also asked what Hi-Float is made of, and as far as I can remember it is a suspension of plastic - if you can get a copy of the Hi-Float book it tells you a bit more in there. HI-FLOAT AND AGATES Other reasons to use Hi-FLOAT outside the balloon is because certain types of balloon's don't allow the glue to dry fast enough (Swirl/Agate Colors in particular). Hi-Floating the inside of an Agate (the way you would any other latex) doesn't really increase the floating life of the agate. This is because agates are actually turned inside out when they are produced. In order for the HI Float to work on an Agate, you have to Hi Float the outside of the agate. If you have a Hi Float hand book it explains the method of hi floating on the outside. If you only need the agates for one day, you probably don't need to hi float them. We do hi float them (using the outside dipping method) when we add agates to delivery bouquets. Another way to hi-float Agates is to double stuff them with a diamond clear and hi-float that one. The agates prevent the high float from drying properly, so you've got a downed one sooner. To treat it, you dip the balloon into a glass (or whatever) of high float so that it coats the outside of the agate, and then inflate. A whole lot messier, but it works. Agates are a pain compared to normal balloons. I've had plenty "shred" over time so that the color drops off the clear outer balloon, and since they're double dipped, they're heavier. They may hold helium longer untreated, but their weight offsets it. From what we know here at Incredible Balloon, the 11" Agate balloons were heavier than most other 11" balloons Therefore the Hi- Float would not dry completely, and the added weight of the Hi-Float and heavy latex would limit float times. In February of 1995 the Canadian plant which produces Agate balloons switched to a lighter thickness of latex. If your bag of Qualatex balloons was produced after that date they should perform like all other 11" balloons. : - ) Look to the lower right of the UPC code on your bag of balloons, and there should be a 5 digit number. First two numbers indicate yr. - the next three indicate the day in the year. day #1 to day #365. Hope this helps. Agates and HI-FLOAT. Mark from Incredible Balloons was correct - the old agates were heavier and therefore the HI-FLOAT could not dry fast enough to hold in the helium. However, the new Agates can be treated with HI-FLOAT without any problems. If you have some of the older Agates the best way to get maximum floating life is to double stuff them with a clear 11" balloon. Treat the inside balloon in the normal manner. TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING FLOAT TIME Here are some recommendations: HI-FLOAT takes a few hours to dry inside a balloon, and the balloon will lose helium during those first couple of hours. Therefore, balloons you inflate at night will inevitably be smaller the next morning. We recommend inflating the balloons as fully as possible, until they are starting to become almost pear-shaped. As the balloon loses some helium in the first few hours it will lose some of the pear shape and become more rounded. Yvonne Mastny suggested prestretching with air - this is a great way to get your balloons to hold even more helium, and therefore be the size you want them to be after a few hours. You also want to make sure you add the full recommended amount of HI-FLOAT. The blue pump restriction clip is for 11-inch balloons. Adding less HI-FLOAT will allow the balloon to lose helium (and shrink in size) more quickly. I work at a party store part-time, and I have seen employees use either too much Hi-Float, or not enough helium. Hi-Float is like Brylcream (a little dab'll do ya). For 11" balloons, all you need is what amounts to about 2 eyedrops of Super Hi-float. Also, you must coat the entire inside of the balloon, even getting into the neck. Use more than that, and if you don't spread the solution around to fully coat the inside, and you will get a "drunken" balloon: that is, it will appear lopsided, and won't last for very long at all. Also, be careful not to "underfill" your balloons, especially pearlized balloons and GEOS. Remember, when you add Hi-Float, you're adding weight to the balloon, and you'll need just a bit more helium to compensate. There are several factors that might have affected the poor results of the float time for the balloon you purchased. #1 The quality of the balloon (if the party store was using a poor quality balloons they are not going to last as long as a Qualatex Balloon. I own a party store and have checked out the balloons that a lot of the party stores sell in the area and most of them sell very cheap balloons) #2 The complete coverage of the balloon is very important. #3 I have found that the weather also can affect the float time of your balloons....I hate summer time! Some reasons balloons flounder even though they were hi floated: Were the balloons 11"? Did you let them dry before bagging them? Was it very hot and humid in the inflation area? Did you underinflate them? Did you put too much hi float in them - I find that the restrictor for 11" sometimes creates a "hovering" balloon, especially with pearlized, so I just don't use the restrictors at all. Check your tying -- perhaps you are tying too loosely and perhaps you're pulling too tightly and burning the balloon neck. And did you give thanks and praise to the Balloon Goddess? Sometimes weird things just happen, but not usually to the entire job. Much better luck next time -- don't give up on hi float because it gives us such a larger window of preparation time. I use super hi-float daily and have found that pre-stretching with air first and then over-inflating or at least inflating to full size makes all the difference. Of course the hi-float has to dry properly but overall the results are great. I read somewhere, that Hi Floated balloons perform best when they are allowed to dry in a cool dry environment. So if the weather is extra humid, the hi float isn't going to dry properly, thus reducing performance. Humidity is definitely one of the biggest factors in how long a balloon will float. Even if you use Super Hi-Float, 4-5 days is about all you can expect from an 11-inch balloon in humid conditions. We recommend using larger balloons in the summer time (14-inch) to increase floating times. Anyone who is interested can call the Hi-Float Company toll-free at 1-800-57FLOAT for a tip sheet that contains suggestions for getting the maximum floating life from your latex balloons. Hi-Float will keep balloons flying for 3-5 days and Super Hi-Float will keep them flying for 5-7 days. So doing your balloons the night before is positively no problem. We do find, however, that the balloons do come down about 8-10 percent (probably due to the drying time needed for the Hi-Float inside the balloon), so be sure to fill them full. Another trick we have learned is to pre-inflate your balloons with air, deflate them, and then put your Super Hi-Float in them and re-inflate them with the helium. The pre-inflation process stretches the balloons so they will inflate larger and float longer. Pre-inflating does help balloons float even longer because they have been stretched and can hold more helium. However, this method is really only necessary if you are inflating pearlized or metallic colored balloons (which do not blow up as large as regular colors) or unusually shaped balloons, such as Geo Doughnuts and Blossoms. I preinflate the balloon to its full size with air, let the air out, and then I treat as I normally would with SUPER HI-FLOAT and inflate with helium. You might want to try testing a couple balloons in your shop. You could blow up one as you usually do, and then another that you have prestretched and see what kind of a difference you get in the floating life. Of course, if you want to increase the floating life of your balloons an easier way would be to use the next larger size balloon - it would accomplish the same thing (allowing you to put in more helium). HF 11" balloons sized to only 9" would have definitely less float time than 16" downsized to 14". 16 inch or 3 foot round balloons can have up to 2 weeks of float time. I have some 11" balloons that I just took down today and they have been up for 2 weeks. They were still floating but there was some shrinkage so I decided to replace them. I have some leftover printed balloons floating around my apartment. They were treated and inflated in the morning 6 days ago. Out of 20, I still have 5 on the ceiling. SHF If used in 260's, it makes them last for months. 2 weeks ago today, we inflated 14" latex, augmented with Super Hi-Float. As of this morning at 8:45 am, the 14" Super Hi-Float coated latex is STILL floating. Granted, it's about the size of an 11" balloon, has virtually no lift and has been in an air conditioned area, but the fact remains that it is still floating. ARTISTIC APPLICATIONS OF HI FLOAT The best reason to use High Float though is to create internal effects with confetti/glitter. My favorite trick I read years ago in Image magazine was a to do spider web INSIDE a clear latex 16" balloon-complete with spider. Everyone wondered how it was done at the time. You inflate the prepared balloon-sans plastic spider-with air and allow it to dry. Then deflate the balloon and pull/stretch it 1-3 times. Reinflate SLOWLY with helium and add the spider afterwards - if you do it before re-inflation it'll throttle around and likely break the balloon as well as screw up the "web". I prepare 3 balloons for every "one" good one that I use since it's fairly tricky to get the web to look right. Add food color to Hi-float to make swirled colors in a white balloon. Be sure not to squish the Hi-float around too much or you will have a pastel, solid color interior. I'm thinking strawberry swirl ice cream... or maybe confetti inside to make it look like chocolate chips... how about some sprinkles made from bits of chopped up curling ribbon? To Easter Eggize balloons, put a bit of hi-float (not much for a 5"er) in a white balloon and then put in just a bit of food coloring (a drop makes a nice pastel shade for an 11"). Do the usual spreading technique for the hi-float and then inflate. I do Balloon-in-Balloons Hi floated all the time. Here's what I do. I high float the outside balloon, blow it up about 2/3 to 3/4 the way put a jumbo quicky clip on it and let it dry for about 2-3 hrs till it is no longer sticky inside, but still flexible. Then I remove the clip and inflate the inside balloon and tie it. I've never tried several. If it is at all sticky inside you may have a problem, and if you wait too long to add the inside balloon, the hi float dries, and will crack inside, and make the balloon look cloudy and UGLY. The drying time also depends on the temperature, and the weather conditions, so your balloons may dry either faster or slower than they do here. I wrote about Hi-Floating(super) Gumballs (in England we call them BubbleGums) for a delivery. It was said that it couldn't be done. So I did the delivery without them. (She was still really pleased anyway). The problem really bugged me. Then an idea hit me so I tried with 11". I coat the balloon with the right amount on the inside and rubbed it around. Then I took a Diamond clear over a pencil and gently stuffed it inside, took out the pencil and gently moved the balloon and so it coated the other balloon and got all the air bubbles out and then inflated as normal. The Super Hi-float is sandwiched between the two balloons leaving the inside sticky free. The method that I think works well for an 11-inch balloon inside a 16-inch is to treat the 16-inch clear balloon, using a little bit less Hi-Float than normal. Rub it around they way you normally would, and then insert your 11-inch balloon. Blow up the 16-inch about halfway and then inflate the 11-inch. If you hold them straight up while you are inflating them the 11-inch will not stick to the inside of the 16-inch. If it does you can normally get it loose again by tapping on the side. I also always preinflate if I am doing any type of special effect balloon - a confetti balloon, spider web balloon, Easter egg balloon, etc. - because I don't want to spend my time and materials and then discover the balloon has a defect.