A balloon arch makes a festive entryway or decoration at parties and other events. Fortunately, you don't need helium to get the balloons to form a beautiful arch. You can make your own arch with just a few simple supplies or purchase a balloon arch stand kit or balloon column kit to make things a bit easier.
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DIY Balloon Arch Without Helium
If you want to have a freestanding balloon arch without helium, consider making your own frame using PVC pipe. You will need a stand for either side of the arch. Start with a 12-inch square of plywood. Screw a pipe flange into the center of the board. Then, you can insert the PVC pipe into the flange.
For a 20-foot arch, you will want 20 feet of PVC piping. This can be difficult to transport, so consider using two 10-foot lengths of pipe with a coupling to connect them. The PVC should be about 3/4 inch in diameter so that it is bendable into the arch shape. Place each end of the PVC into the two stands. You may need to weigh down the stands with sandbags or bricks. While the PVC will be covered by balloons, consider painting the stand or adding some decoration around the base to hide the plywood and weighted material.
If you are building the arch outside, you can consider using rebar as an alternative to the stand. Drive the rebar into the ground like a stake, leaving about 12 inches of rebar above ground. Then, thread the PVC pipe on the rebar to secure each end of the arch.
Other Arch Frame Options
If you don't want to make your own balloon arch, you can also consider purchasing a balloon arch stand kit from your local party store. These have everything you need to create the arch, but you may be limited in the sizes available.
You can also use existing structures in your home. For example, put balloons in a doorway to welcome guests to your party. If you are using the arch as a stage decoration or decoration over a cake, food or gift table, you can use a small curtain rod to support the top of the arch and allow the balloons to hang down to create the side of the arch.
Prepare the Balloons
You will need a lot of balloons to fill out your arch. The Party City balloon arch, for example, can hold up to 96 balloons. It is a good idea to get more balloons than you think you will need. This gives you extras to fill in any gaps and to replace any that pop.
If you have help, you may be able to blow up the balloons yourself, but with this many, it is best to get a balloon pump to make the process easier and faster. You can make the balloons the same size or use balloons of varying sizes to add some interesting dimension and texture to your decorations.
Attach the Balloons
If you purchased a kit, follow the instructions included to attach the balloons to the arch. The Party City balloon arch has small discs, each with four holes spaced around the arch. You will put the tied end of each balloon through the provided holes to fill in the arch.
If you made your own arch, you can secure each balloon individually to the arch with tape, but a more efficient option is to use a balloon decorating strip or balloon arch tape. You can typically find this at the party supply store when you purchase the balloons. These are clear, nonsticky strips that have perforated holes along the strip. Put the tied end of the balloon through the perforated hole.
Now, secure the balloon decorating strip to the prepared arch. You can use tape, twist ties or string to secure the balloon strip to the arch. If you want to add more balloons to fill in the arch, consider inflating some smaller balloons and gluing them to the balloons already on the arch. Use a low-temperature glue gun to avoid popping the balloons. You can also make the arch more interesting by gluing other decorations to the arch, such as ribbon or foliage.