I don’t make balloon animals for a living, and I don’t consider myself a pro, but I do think I’m pretty good. Check out that look of joy on the frog picture at my getting started with animal balloons. It’s awesome being able to surprise and delight people.
Aside from the collection of balloons I use, I have a couple of tools that I use.
My favorite balloon accessory is my Twist-em-Up Busking Bag, seen up above here. You can hold several hundred balloons (maybe a thousand? I haven’t counted) in the middle. The 160s, 260s, and 350s live in the middle. There are four pockets around the perimeter that hold my specialty balloons. One pocket for geo blossoms, one for hearts, one for 321B bee bodies, and one for happy faces and aliens. I might have some white rounds for eyes, but typically I don’t carry a bunch of rounds. Each of the pockets have a couple of high bouncy balls.
The first tool in my arsenal is a small pump, a 160 Blaster that I keep in the middle of the bag. It fits perfectly in the space that doesn’t have any balloons in it. I can’t mount-inflate 160s, so I use this pump when I need to inflate a small balloon. It’ll inflate larger critters if my mouth is exhausted at the end of a long day.
Another is the T.Myers Ball Putter. This looks like a piece of wood with a nail in it, but it’s actually a piece of wood with a nail in it. You use this to put balls inside of balloons. Basically you stick the ball on the nail, shove the stick into the balloon, pull off the ball and pierce the skin of the balloon with the nail, and the ball falls into the balloon. Re-tie and twist your creature. Balls inside of balloons are very popular, because most folks have not seen balls inside of balloons, and wonder how they got in there. My friend Mr Kebbin drilled out the handle and attached a lanyard for me, which makes it easier to keep up with.
Speaking of stuff inside of balloons, the Magic Pipe is another tool. It’s a tube with a spike on the inside. Anything that fits in the pipe can be put in a balloon. Rings. Coins. Sugar. Water. Pushpins. I like making a clear dog with a sharp pushpin in the belly. Plus, this thing makes a really cool sound. You do need to be careful that someone doesn’t pop it – high velocity pushpins could be bad news. The magic pipe is even faster than the ball putter for putting stuff in the balloon, but unfortunately bouncy balls don’t work in the magic pipe.
When I’m doing a job, like the First Lutheran easter egg hunt or a Take Your Offspring To Your Place Of Toil Day, I’ll be wearing my T’Snippet around my neck. This thing is a Canadian milk pouch slicer. It’s awesome for taking off unwanted nozzles or knots, as well as cutting off the end when I need to deflate the rest of the balloon.
My final tool is one that’s not available, because it was custom-made by a friend of mine. Mr Kebbin took some industrial-grade solder and made a shepherd’s crook kind of thing. This tool is great for double-stuffing balloons, as well as doing a deep tulip or hook twist. It fits in the middle of the busking bag with the 160 Blaster.
The tools have pretty specific purposes, but it’s great to have them when you need them.