One of my specialties as a crafter is balloon twisting. Kids and adults are both mesmerized by the process and final product of balloon twisting. But how does one get a sword out of a balloon?! Through a series of connected twists, you too, can learn how to make fun balloon animals.
Why I Love Making Balloon Animals
Balloon twisting is a fun way for kids to work on hand-eye coordination as well as muscle memory skills. Of course, they might not realize this as they will be having too much fun twisting and squeaking the balloons.
There is no one way to make a balloon animal. You will find one twister makes an animal differently than the next twister. Enjoy using your creativity to add your own twist on each animal. No pun intended!
If you have an inclination for fun, enjoy using your hands, and are not afraid of a few balloons popping (it happens), then balloon twisting will be a fun activity for you! I can also guarantee there will not be a big mess to clean up afterwards.
Three Easy-to-Make Balloon Animals for Beginners
- Balloons (Yes, you need balloons you can twist. Some refer to them as Tying balloons while others might call them Long Balloons)
- Hand Pump
How To Make A Dog Balloon Animal
Learning and mastering one-balloon balloon animals is the best way to start out. A dog balloon is one of the most common balloon animals for beginners. It does not involve any pinch twists nor any odd bends. Let’s get started!
Step One: Pump The Balloon and Tie Off The Knot
Place the balloon opening on the nozzle of the pump. Hold it there while you pump so the balloon does not blow off. Give it a good three or four pumps. You will want to leave a little more than a hand’s width unpumped on the balloon.
One mistake beginners make is blowing up the balloon fully. You do not want to do this because as you twist, the air needs somewhere to go. This is why you leave about six inches at the end of the balloon that are not pumped with air.
Tie off the knot on the end, and you are ready to begin twisting!
Step Two: Twist the Dog Nose and Ears
Starting at the end where you tied the knot, make a link that is about three inches. Whoa, what is a link?! It is from the term ‘sausage link’. I will be using the word ‘link’ when you just take a section of the balloon and twist it so that it looks like a sausage link.
Side Note: When twisting, do not be afraid to be aggressive with the balloon. They are made of latex and stretchy so have fun with twisting!
Once you have your three inch link, hold it with your left hand. When twisting, one of your hands will be your “holder”, holding a section balloon while the other hand twists the rest of the balloon.
Make a six-inch link next to the first three-inch link, then twist a second six-inch link that is identical to the first.
Place the two six-inch links next to each other. Because they are the same size, you can easily twist the two six-inch links with the three-inch link. As you twist the six-inches with the three-inch the ears will look like they have popped up thus forming the dog nose and ears. .
Step Three: Forming the Body and the Legs
From the ears, you make the neck. It can be as long or as short you would like. In my example, I kept it on the shorter end at about two inches. Hold that link, then twist two four-inch links. This will be similar to the nose and ears, except not as long.
Take the two four-inch links and twist them together (again, just as you did the ears). These are the front legs.
Just like you took a link to make the neck, you will take another link about four inches as well, and this will be the body.
The remainder of the balloon will be the hind legs and the tail.
While you hold the link that is the body, make one three-inch link then make a second. Twist the two three-inch links together just like you did with the front legs.
*I make my hind legs shorter than the front, but again, the beauty of twisting is that you can do it differently and still have it turn out like a dog! So, if you want your front and hind legs to be the same length, feel free to do that.
Step Four: The Tail
Once you have twisted the hind legs, you will see there is a small link left over. This is the tail! You might need to shift it so that it sits atop the hind legs.
Quick tip: It is common in balloon twisting to shift a lot so that each shape and part sit right on the finished product. Shift as much as you need to!
How To Make A Sword Balloon
Step One: Twist the Handle
Use the same guideline of leaving six inches at the end of the balloon that is not filled with air.
After you have tied a knot on the other end of the balloon, twist a small bubble. The bubble is a small circle, roughly an inch.
Immediately after the bubble, bend the next twelve inches in half with six on one side and six on the other. This will look like a round oval, and the sword will come through at the end of this process.
Twist the end of those twelve inches with the bubble.
You will notice that the rest of the sword starts to pop up, as you have now created the handle.
Step Three: Twist the Guard
You are now going to twist five more bubbles consecutively in a row. These bubbles will follow the first bubble you previously twisted. Remember to hold the bubbles with your left hand while moving down the balloon to twist with your right hand.
After your last bubble, bring the tip of the sword through the oval handle.
Bring it all the way through the oval until you have your balloon sword! Voila!
How To Make A Flower Balloon
Step One: Twist the Flower Petals
You guessed it, leave six inches at the end of this balloon with no air. You are already remembering a very important step!
Once you have tied off the knot, you will then tie a double knot with both ends of the balloon. Balloons are made of latex so do not be afraid to stretch the knot to get it to tie. With both ends tied, your balloon will look similar to a horseshoe.
Bring both sides of the horseshoe together, and squeeze. This will fill that empty space of the balloon with air. You might squeeze around the entire balloon to even out the air.
You now have an oval shape. Starting on the end without the knot, you are going to make a mini oval.
Then make a second oval and a third. The three ovals should be equal in size. You will then place them on top of each other. You should be able to look through the whole in the middle.
Once the ovals are layered on top of each other,ou are going to twist all three ovals together. Holding the ovals together, you will use the same twisting motion that you would to wring out a wet t-shirt or towel. You will need to use all the strength in your forearms for this twist.
After you have twisted the ovals together, you will have your flower petals!
Step Two: Twisting the Stem and Leaves
Grab another balloon for the stem. Once you have pumped it up, tie the knot off. Twist a small bubble.
Push this bubble in between two of the flower petals. Do not be afraid to push it to the middle. This step involves handling two balloons. You are already progressing in your balloon skills!
Let’s add some leaves to our stem. Halfway down the stem, pinch a section of the balloon and fold an eight inch length in half. (this is similar to the handle of the sword balloon) This will be one of the leaves. Twist the end of the leaf into the stem.
See how it is similar to the sword handle? Twist another leaf right next to the first one.
You will have a short stock of the balloon left at the bottom. You can either keep it as a handle for the flower or you can press it up into one of the leaves.
Now you have your flower!
Tips and Tricks For Making Balloon Animals
- You will see some twisters stretch the balloon before blowing it up, but it is not necessary.
- Use a hand pump with long balloons. It is way more efficient than blowing up the balloon with your own air supply from your lungs.
- Trim your fingernails before twisting- you’ll thank me later!
- Latex is sensitive to light and heat so store unused balloons in a cool, dark place.
- Just because your balloon creation pops while you are twisting it does not mean you have to quit! For example, if one of the flower petals pops, you will still have a flower. Because the twists can be very tight, the release of air does not always travel through the entire balloon.