Everything you need to know to create your own party balloons!

*IMPORTANT!* You should read this complete guide before purchasing your balloons. If you already have your balloons, you might want to check the following tips before start inflating!

Sweetest 18th birthday party balloons with helium confetti balloons, unicorn balloons and giant number balloons in Vancouver, BC.

So you have a party to plan and decorate, where do you start? Wondering where to kick off the process? We've seen numerous customers find themselves in a bind, seeking last-minute solutions when their initial plans faltered. This article is designed to be your lifesaver!

Balloon decoration essentially boils down to two categories based on the gas used: helium or air. A balloon inflated with helium gas is a helium balloon, capable of floating. On the other hand, a balloon filled with regular air is an air balloon and won't float. Let's begin with helium balloons. If your decorations will be exclusively air-inflated, you can skip the next section and proceed directly to Air Balloons/Organic Balloons. Yet of course, simply order balloons from us eliminates all the hassle and headaches ; )

Helium Balloons

When it comes to inflating and creating helium balloon decorations, there are two critical factors to consider: helium quality and balloon quality. Numerous online retailers often fail to adequately specify balloon sizes and intended uses, relying on customers' lack of awareness. Fortunately, Vancouver Balloons is here to provide guidance.

At your own event, you certainly don't want balloons that float poorly, as half-floating balloons can cheapen your decorations and undermine your event's ambiance. So, how can you ensure your balloons perform as expected? We evaluate balloons based on three key aspects: size, material, and style.

Firstly, size matters. For a regular latex helium balloon to float well and maintain its appearance, it should be at least 10 inches in size. In our standard bouquets, we utilize two sizes: 11 inches and 12 inches. These sizes allow for sufficient helium to be infused, resulting in a 3-6 hour float time without any pre-treatment (although many balloon shops pre-treat latex balloons for extended helium retention beyond 24 hours). Can a 9-inch balloon float? Yes, but its limited capacity to hold helium means it will likely descend within 2-3 hours due to its inability to sustain its own weight. A majority of online retailers found on platforms like Amazon, Alibaba, or Shein offer balloon kits featuring balloons sized between 7 and 10 inches. Higher-priced kits might also include a few 12-inch balloons. Although 5-7 inch balloons can float when adequately inflated with helium, they are constrained in size and incapable of supporting even a single ribbon strand. Consequently, they are unsuitable for crafting helium bouquets or bunches. Typically, 5 and 7-inch balloons are reserved for specialized balloon art and organic decorations.

Numerous clients have voiced their frustrations about balloons sinking despite using our premium helium. Often, the issue lies in the balloons themselves – they aren't helium-grade balloons. It's understandable that regular customers like you may not be aware: not all balloons are suitable for helium inflation. Simply filling balloons with helium won't necessarily make them float. For example, foil balloons under 16" or 18" are most likely not helium grade and is meant to be inflated with air only. However, foil balloons are designed in various shapes to suit the decoration needs and the measurements are not always the best indicator when it comes to foil balloons.

Take this balloon kit we found as an example:

This kit is marketed as helium-grade, boasting balloons that are touted to be tear-resistant and burst-proof even after inflation (an intriguing advertising approach, as balloons typically rupture during inflation, not after). It's available for purchase at a price of $29.99 Canadian before taxes. Upon careful examination, we were not able to find the size measurements of the foil balloons. Making it harder for regular customers to determine whether the balloon is intended for helium use and will have to rely on the sole description of the helium grade promise. While the balloon might be of the right size and condition (helium grade foil balloons should be self-sealing at the neck), it might also be a 14" Air fill only display piece meant to be attached to a stick and not floating.

Considering the points discussed earlier, our recommendation for customers purchasing online balloon kits intended for helium use is to prioritize checking customer reviews prior to finalizing their order. These reviews provide valuable insights into balloon sizes through real photos and offer insights into potential issues you might face with such balloons.

Another effective approach to avoid squandering helium on non-helium-compatible balloons is to bring your balloons when renting a helium tank from us. Our staff can promptly assess your balloons and offer suggestions based on their quality and size. This ensures you make the most of your helium tank without inflating balloons that won't achieve the desired effect.

Air Balloons / Organic Balloons

 Another big party trend setter is the air inflated balloons, might also be known as organic balloon garlands or arches. These balloon arrangements exude a tremendous "WOW" factor, transforming spaces and often becoming eye-catching highlights fit for Instagram and TikTok. These installations serve as party backdrops, particularly if you envision memorable photo opportunities at your event. However, a noteworthy drawback with organic balloon installations is their substantial size and associated cost. This has led many smaller party hosts to opt for creating their own installations due to a tighter budget.

Carnival Circus Party Balloons, installation available for Vancouver BC

Illustrating this point with our carnival-themed balloon installation, our comprehensive package is priced at $1995 before taxes, which also covers the onsite set-up fee. While this price point might surpass the comfort zone of smaller budget parties, it's important to note that organic installations of this scale present a more cost-effective option compared to floral arrangements or custom signage and backdrop boards of similar size. Moreover, they excel at accurately capturing a specific theme, contributing to a cohesive and captivating event atmosphere.

If you're set on creating your own organic garlands, there are several factors to take into account: balloon sizes, the number of balloons required, and attachment points.

To begin, a diverse range of balloon sizes is essential. Ranging from 5" to 16" or even 36" balloons, each size plays a role in crafting an impressive garland or arch. There are balloon kits available online through platforms like Amazon, Shein, or Etsy, these kits often provide balloons in varying sizes. However, it's important to note that the quantity of balloons required to achieve a substantial length might exceed your expectations. In numerous instances, the contents of purchased balloon kits may not suffice to recreate the exact balloon arrangement depicted on the cover image. Not to mention, balloon artists don't use the plastic balloon chain belts to create garlands or arches at all, and this might be one of the main reason why your balloons come out different from your expectations; however, using the plastic balloon belt is an easier way to create garlands for any first timer. 

Similar to helium balloons, air-inflated balloons also exhibit varying qualities. Often, the balloons kits purchased online feature less opaque colors and are thinner in material. This factor significantly impacts the end result, potentially resulting in a garland that appears less sophisticated. Having said that, those balloons still work perfectly, but of a lesser quality, and we suggest using electric pump or a hand pump to inflate them and avoid putting them into your mouth to protect you from potential chemical residue.

If you are interested in learning more about the balloon world, follow us on Tik Tok and Instagram for more fun experiments, behind the scenes, and tutorials!