It doesn't matter how old or cynical you get – you can still be charmed by a balloon animal. Making your own balloon animals at home first requires you to blow up long balloons, which tends to be a little tougher than blowing up traditional round balloons. Of course, this particular shape of balloon can be used for more than twisting balloon animals. You may choose a different inflation method depending on your use for the balloons.
Filling Long Balloons With Air
Obviously, if you're going to twist long balloons into shapes such as animals, filling them with air (as opposed to helium) is the way to go. You may have seen balloon artists prep their long balloons for inflation by stretching them between their hands a few times. This step really isn't necessary and probably won't help you fill your balloons any faster; in fact, it could cause certain parts of the balloon to bulge if one area gets more stretched than another.
Video of the Day
The easiest and most efficient way to blow up long balloons is to use a small air pump. These are available at party supply stores or online and start at just a few dollars. Simply insert the pump nozzle into the balloon opening and squeeze the pump until you're satisfied with the fullness. Pinch the top of the balloon below the nozzle, ease the nozzle out and then tie a knot.
If you don't have access to a pump, there's always the option of blowing up long balloons by mouth. Focus on keeping your cheek muscles taut and not letting them puff out.
Filling Long Balloons With Helium
If your goal is to just create decorative long balloons that float, you'll want to inflate them with helium. This requires you to either rent a helium tank kit from a party supply store or have the store blow them up for you. Unfortunately, latex balloons filled with helium tend to become droopy within half a day of being inflated. There's a sealant product called Hi-Float available where balloons are sold, which will keep them afloat for several days.
Making Long Balloon Curls
Maybe you'd like to do something festive with your long balloons but lack the time or patience to learn to make balloon animals. It's surprisingly easy to make balloon curls shaped like spirals. The key is to blow up the balloons the right way. Once inflated, you won't have much luck making a straight, long balloon curl.
The first thing to do is to blow up the balloon and then let the air out; this step stretches the balloon, which will help it hold its curled shape. Next, find a long spherical object to wrap the balloon around. Something like a pole, an empty water bottle or a rolling pin will work well for this purpose. In a pinch, you can even use someone's finger, though this requires having a second person to inflate the balloon.
Secure the bottom of the balloon to the spherical object using a rubber band or a second empty balloon. Wrap the balloon in a spiral shape around the object making sure the balloon stays flat and slowly start to inflate it using a pump. As the balloon expands, it will maintain that curled shape. Tie a knot in the opening and gently remove the bottom of the balloon from whatever was holding it in place.