Who doesn’t love balloons? I mean, their so colourful and bouncy and fun…well, I’d have them around my house everyday if I could. So, it’s not surprising that I usually have to control myself when it comes to parties and put a reign on the number of balloons I use. I just find that while there are tons of different ways to add texture and dimension to a party design, balloons never, never disappoint.

They are also one element that is moveable, making it the ultimate design dream; if a bunch don’t fit here, well, just move them over there! You can arrange them in bunches, tie one single balloon to each chair, or scatter them around the floor. A dessert table or buffet is instantly spruced up with a few colourful balloons bobbing around and they just make people happy.

But there is important stuff to know about balloons before you buy them, and I’m going to tell you what you need to know!

My impetus for writing this post was from a disastrous balloon experience I had a week or so ago. I like to experiment with looks before I commit to the final design of a party and so, I often buy balloons or single items to do a mini test in the weeks leading up to the party. I am styling a birthday party coming up so I wanted to test some balloon colours to see if they went with my overall theme. I went to my regular party supply store, the one I have been going to for over 10 years to get my testers.

They were lovely and the colours worked great with my theme. I was happy. And so, I went to bed.

I woke up to my little friends bobbing sadly and dangerously close to the ground! By midday they were a sad bunch stuck halfway between floating bliss and deflated emptiness. What was going on? This had never happened to me before, but truth be told, I hadn’t really given balloon life expectancy really any thought before.

So, I went back to the supplier with my sorry little bunch and demanded to know what the meaning of this was (okay, okay….I politely asked what had gone wrong). Well, my go-to party place was now using a different type of balloon and float and their “new” balloons would last between 12-24 hours.  I’m sorry, what? Who, I ask you, would only need balloons to be bouyant and bouncy for a mere 12 hours? Usually you pick them up the night before the party and could expect them to last a least a few days. Well, this just would not do.

So, I hunted down a new supplier and I am really pleased with them. The balloons look great and I am happy to say are still floating high after 5 days. Fantastic! But, the whole experience prompted me to let you know a few facts so that you can ask the right questions and set the right expectations with your supplier. So, here’s some info for you:

  • Latex balloons are the most common and easiest to use. They can be filled with helium, which allows them to float, or just air, in which they’ll stay on the ground. 
  • Those balloons that are filled with just air will last longer than the balloons filled with helium. That’s because the helium comes out through tiny holes in the latex much quicker than regular air does
  • To extend the life of balloons using helium, ensure that your supplier is using a good hi-float. This is a coating that is pumped into the balloon before it is filled to make the balloon less pourous. With less helium escaping as quickly, you’ll have balloons that stay nice and high for much longer
  • A good balloon supplier typically will blow the balloon up first to sort of stretch it, then pump in the hi-float, then fill with helium. If they simply fill with helium, or fill with float then helium without the initial “stretch”, then the balloons will be a floppy few very quickly.
  • Mylar balloons are the fun, shiny balloons that are very popular now. They can only be filled by helium.
  • Mylar balloons can be in different shapes and sizes.
  • Mylar, unlike latex, can be used again. Simply let the air out, fold, store and fill the next time you want to use them.
  • The mylar balloon has a metal coating inside which gives it it’s shine. Because of that they cannot be released into the environment because they could cause a short circuit if entangled in power lines.
  • Latex balloons, because they are biodegradable, are the ones used for those balloon releases into the air

So, there you have it. You are sufficiently informed on balloon stats (just what you needed right?!). Have an awesome party.


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