My daughter chose the birthday theme of under-the-sea, and while the actual party will have to wait due to a surprise attack of sniffles, I already had arch and anchor made anyway, so I decided to go ahead and finish our ocean themed balloon arch. I've been doing lots of "shopping" online, looking at all of the wonderful under-the-sea balloon tutorials out there, and there are so many wonderful things I could have done, but in the end, for no particular reason, I ended up with a sea horse, turtle, two fishes (one struggles with memory issues), a humpback whale, a mermaid, and a treasure chest. Here are the tutorials that helped to make it happen.
Balloon Treasure Chest
I actually didn't have a tutorial for this one. The base of the chest is a basic basket weave. I actually started from the top, and connected the loose pieces on the bottom when the balloons were too short to continue. The lid was a balloon-doodle that turned out rather nice. The chest really opens and closes! Something my Zelda-loving children have had fun doing.
The gold is made of 160 gold twisted into beads. I think I used three, maybe four?
The jewels are made with scraps of jewel-toned 260's. Imagine that, jewel-toned balloons to act as jewels. There's not much else I like them for, they pop easily. But they sure do look nice in a treasure box. 🙂
Balloon Sea Turtle
There are some really cute sea-turtle tutorials out there, and I actually watched several. I recommend doing a search and doing some browsing yourself to find one that suits you.
I chose Sandi Masori's sea turtle because it was fairly simple and only uses four balloons. When I first watched her tutorial, I didn't have any 160's, but I really loved the way the flippers looked and decided I would get some. (There are other cute turtle tutorials that don't require 160's if you need one.) When I first did my balloon shopping, I stocked up on just about every color of 260's I could find, but didn't even think about the different sizes. I'm glad that I did! I really love working with 160's. They're so cute.
Balloon Sea Horse
There are a lot of cute sea-horse tutorials out there too. Why did I choose Sage the Balloon Sage? Simple. It's a brand new video that showed up because I'm a subscriber, and since I'm looking for ocean-themed balloons and this beauty was served on a silver platter, I feasted.
One of the techniques I picked up on is the way he curls the tail by pinching one side of the balloon and not the other. It's something I will need to practice and work on, but the fact that I was able to curl the tail at all was pretty exciting to me. Newbie victory.
There is a pink sea horse that stars in the "Sofia the First" episode "The Floating Palace". My daughter really likes that episode, so I made him pink in honor of that character.
Balloon Humpback Whale
I really love Mr. Boma's Balloons. They look fantastic and very realistic. His balloons are a great challenge for anyone wanting to progress past the simpler things.
Honestly, I've been struggling with a few of his tutorials that I want to come back to later. My son wants me to learn his millennium falcon, and I chickened out on his "Mermaid's Friend" after watching it a couple of times. I've only been twisting a couple of months and with more practice, I'm sure I'll be able to tackle these well.
Mr. Boma's explanations and tips are great for conquering the task at hand, I'm just not quite where I need to be to really dive (pun intended) his balloons. My whale had too big of a loop around the head, and I made it shorter by turning the pinch-twist for the eyes into a small loop twist, which looks alright but not as good as his original.
Cute fish with short-term memory loss.
This one comes from "Dan's Balloons". Isn't she cute? My favorite part is that she only needs three and a half balloons to make: Light blue and yellow 260's, a black 260 scrap, and a 5" white round.
If you are just getting into balloon twisting, I highly recommend buying 5" rounds with your first order. They make fantastic looking eyes that are quick and easy. I used and twisted a lot of eyes with white 260 balloons in the beginning when the "recipe" called for one of these babies. It's so much easier, and those big bug eyes are so cute!
My mermaid was inspired by many different princess and mermaid tutorials I have watched, but in the end I just sat down and made her. I used a blush quick-link for her head and twisted off a small neck for her and really like the way it turned out. I've been doing apple twists and even Mr. Boma's princess head with a 321, but I think I'll be doing heads this way from now on. It was so much faster, and I like working with a bigger face. Cartoon princesses often have large heads anyway, so it works.
My mermaid's colors were based on Sofia the First in the episode "The Floating Palace", where Sofia turns into a mermaid. Oddly enough, my kids are more familiar with this episode than Ariel. Cater to the client! My 4-year-old was very excited when we dismantled and popped the arch because it meant that she would get to play with the mermaid. I'll probably make her a doll inspired by Princess Oona today. Except, I don't have any gold 260's, drat. I also made the sea horse pink because of Oona's friend, Sven.
Fish blowing bubbles
Ah, cute fish. It was inspired by Holly the Twister Sister's hat headband, but when I sat down to make it, I forgot to give it side fins! I also gave it cheeks and gave it different eyes. So I guess it's my own fish creation.
I made this fish with a silver zebra print. They were on close-out from Continental sales and I was brainstorming on non-zebra ways to use them. I think it makes an awesome-looking fish. I had to do a raisin twist since it wasn't a quick-link, but the end result was worth the extra step. It's a shiny fishy!
Organic Ocean Themed Balloon Arch and Anchor
Putting it all together:
The first step was to create the ocean themed balloon arch. I built an organic balloon arch over a regular column base, and I made the entire thing out of dollar-store balloons, minus the clear "bubbles" made by qualatex.
The arch itself was a week old when I added the sea creatures and took the picture. The clear balloons were starting to become cloudy and all the balloons were getting soft, but other than that the arch was still in good condition.
While I'm not sorry I used cheap balloons for my own learning experience, I intend to use up the dollar-store balloons and not replace them. They have a much stronger latex smell and they pop easier. Our living room smelled of latex for a couple of days after we made this arch, and I wouldn't want to do that to a client. People who have latex allergies often don't have a problem with the higher-end balloons like qualatex and betallatex because they go through a much better cleaning process. They are stronger too. On the other hand, the balloons I used were cheap, and I got to practice.
Mixed in with the round balloons were a bunch of blue quick-link/link-a-loon/whatever-you-want-to-call-them-since-they're-off-brand balloons. They were my anchoring points for all of the sea creatures and I really like the way it turned out.