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  • Balloon twisting 201

    August learning events

    Lizbeth Kohler



    Here's the scoop on some of the twists used in balloon sculpture. By combining these twists in various ways you can create thousands of figures from your balloons. More twists will be added as the need arises.

    Loop Twist(Fold Twist) This is a lot like the ear twist, but it is done with a much longer bubble. Just take a long bubble, fold it back on itself, and twist the two ends together. This is good for large ears, hands or feet on multiple balloon figures. Lock Twist Twist two bubbles, usually about the same size. Bring opposite ends together so that the two bubbles are parrallel and touching each other. Twist them together to lock in place. This is the most common method of making legs and ears on simple figures. Pinch Twist (Ear Twist) Twist a 1 to 1.5 inch bubble, leaving it a little on the soft side. Then twist the two ends of the same bubble together. This makes an ear-shaped bubble that is good for ears, lips, or sometimes to hold another bubble in place. Toe Twist(Split Twist) Begin with an ear twist. Grab the two sides of the bubble and twist it in two, making two bubbles about 1/2" or less in diameter. These are good for adding fine detail to faces or hands and feet. Another method of beginning the twist is to roll it so that the center part attached to the adjacent bubbles splits the pinch twist in two. Then wind the two bubbles in opposite directions to make it hold.

  • Pinch-pop Series

    The pinch-pop series is used to separate two sections of a balloon. It consists of three small bubbles in a row within a loop of bubbles.

    Make a pinch twist in each of the outer bubbles in the series. Then toe-twist each of the pinch twists to secure them. Both the pinch twists and the toe twists should be given three full twists to ensure that they will hold.

    Now comes the 'Pop' part. You pop (break) the center bubble to allow the rest of the loop to separate. The pinch twists and toe twists will seal the ends and keep the balloon from deflating.

    Bird Body (3-Bubble Roll-Through) Twist three bubbles, usually about the same length. Twist the opposite ends of two adjacent bubbles together to make a pair. Now take the third bubble and carefully push it through the pair, rolling the outer two bubbles around it, so that you have three bubbles all joined together at both ends. Apple Twist (Tulip Twist) No, this is not a pastry. It is a technique used in round balloons to make an apple shape. With long 2" balloons it is sometimes called a tulip twist. Push the knot about 2" down into the balloon with your index finger. With the other hand, pinch the outside of the balloon and grab the knot. Carefully pull out your index finger and twist a bubble at the point where you pinched the balloon on the knot. Apple Link This twist is done exactly like the apple twist, except that you hold the knot of another balloon along side of the knot that is getting the apple twist. When you grab the knot from the outside, grab both knots, and the two balloons are linked together.

  • Hook Twist The hook twist is similar to a very deep apple twist. Push the knot as far into the balloon as your finger will reach, and grab it through the balloon with the opposite hand. Instead of just pulling your finger out, bend the finger and peel the balloon off from the outside of the curve. This takes a bit of practice, but it allows you to make some unique figures. S-Hook Twist Once you have mastered the hook twist, try the S hook. This works the same way, except that you bunch up the balloon to get your finger even deeper into the balloon. I think it makes a terrific squirrel tail. Z-Bend To make a sharp bend in the middle of a balloon, fold it over and squeeze the air out. Then pull the balloon out of your fist, and the bend should remain. Repeat if necessary. Spiral Make a twist in the middle of a balloon and fold the ends toward each other. Rotate both ends in the same direction


    This flower is the opportunity to learn how to combine multiple balloons.

    Fully blow up one 260, but let some air go out of the balloon in order to soften it.

    Tie a knot so that the balloon becomes a large loop.

    Bring this knot close to the center of the loop.

    And twist to make two equal new loops.

    Now bring the two loops together. (You can note if one is bigger!). Then bring the knot close to the center of the two loops.

    Here the knot is right under the right hand's thumb. Then twist again, using both hands, and make 4 loops this way.

    Note that once you've twisted, you'll have two loops in each hands. Here is the final expected result of loop divisions.

    Same job for a second 260 balloon.

    Now combine the two balloons as well as you can. It might be a hard time if the balloons where too much inflated

    Okay, now everything becomes easy

    The stem is a simple task : inflate leaving a 2 inch tail

    one loop as the first feather ...

    ... then a second feather ...

    The stem is already over, just form a bubble at the top of the stem ...

    ... like this ...... in order to place it between the petals

  • PIG

    (Tulip twist & Teddy Bear face)

    What's new here? -- the tulip bubble for a realistic pig nose and the 3 bubble body

    Put your finger inside the balloon and push the knot inside as far as possible. The goal is then to pinch and hold the knot from the outside with the right hand.

    The knot will then be held in the second bubble (the rest of the balloon right now) Once the knot is held, you can remove your finger from the inside of the balloon.

    Here is the result. It will stay like that as long as the knot is still in the right bubble

    Now do exactly as for the teddy bear : form 7 bubbles for the pig's head and lock the second one with the last bubble and put the nose inside the newly formed loop

    ... ear twists the ears! And here is the pig's head finished, front view

    rear view Small neck, 2 bubbles with a lock twist for the legs

    and here is a pig coming your way

    To have a body with some volume, make the 3 bubble body. So form 3 bubbles, leaving enough balloon for the remaining legs

    Lock twist the first 2 bubbles

    And push the remaining bubble in between...

    ... like this and you then only have to finish with the 2 legs in order to get a real nice pig


    (Advanced uses pop twist)

    Start with a small bubble for the nose

    Then make this : ear twist + small bubble + ear twist. Use one hand to maintain the nose and the rest of the balloon (here the left hand).

    Use the other hand to grasp the 3 bubbles you've just made and turn/twist them

    Here is the result : the monkey head

    Now let's start the difficult part... the arms leave a bubble for the neck, make a long bubble for one arm, a small soft bubble for one hand, another small bubble which will be removed later, another small soft bubble for the other hand and finally a long bubble for the second arm. That's over now!!!

    You don't have to make them all right now, you'll make them step by step...

    So first leave a short neck and make a long bubble followed with a soft ear twist

    You now have to divide this ear twist into 2 equal bubbles. Hold the two parts as shown on the photo

    Now turn hands opposite ways so that you split the ear twist bubble into 2 parts. (Yes! you can do it if the ear twist bubble is soft enough) (you can let the neck and the arm form only one bubble, you'll twist it again later)

    The expected result is here!!!!! Turn again those tiny bubbles together one or twice (I mean both at the same time) and you've made a great tie

    Make the central bubble and make again that soft ear twist and split it again. You then have to make the second arm and lock it at the base of the neck

    Once the arms are locked together, you should expect to have a monkey like this one

    Leave a bubble for the monkey body & make repeat the same steps for the arms

    Now use whatever you want to pop the two central bubbles

    And the arms are

    now free and should stay


    Here is the final result!!!

  • Ray Gun

    Start with a 3 or 4 inch bubble followed by two pinch twists or bear ear twists, Figure 1. Make a loop just big enough for the rest of the balloon to fit through, Figure 2. Twist a small bubble followed by a second loop the same size as the first. Pull the remainder of the balloon through the two loops, Figure 3. Kids are crazy about this gun. You can put it into a shortened up version of the scabbard for a holster. Or use the full length of balloon with a loop on either side of the kid's waist for a six-gun look.

    UPSY DAISY To make the Upsy Daisy inflate a 260 leaving a 2" tail. Tie the balloon, then squeeze the air down until you have only a 3/4" tail left. Make an apple twist on the knot end. Fold the apple twisted end down toward the opposite end and twist the two layers of balloon directly beneath the apple twist about 5" from the end of the balloon. This forms a large loop with a short tail left over, Figure 1. Twist a loop about a third of the way down the big loop. Fold the twists at either end of the large loop together and twist, Figure 2. Squeeze the air in the tail until there is a small bubble directly under the flower top, followed by an uninflated section, then an oblong bubble.

    This is a wonderful little flower to hand out. It's one balloon and has a nice wobbliness to it. But wait, there's more! If you twist the flower top as though


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