The Ultimate Balloon Book

The Ultimate Balloon Book - 64 projects to blow up, bend and twistThe Ultimate Balloon Book: 46 projects to Blow Up, Bend & Twist, by Shar Levine & Michael Ouchi

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The Ultimate Balloon Book: 46 Projects
 is a very good book, which lives up to its’ title — it includes 64 projects, made with 1 or more balloon animals. Okay, maybe it’s not the ‘Ultimate’ balloon book, but it is very nice. In a nutshell, it combines the best elements from two other balloon animal books ‘series’ —  Aaron Hsu-Flanders‘ books, which are heavy on step-by-step photographs, but short, and  Captain Visual’s  longer, more detailed books, which rely heavily on line art. The Ultimate Balloon Book falls in the middle of these two quite nicely. At  96 pages, it’s  much longer  than Hsu-Flanders’ books, but doesn’t attempt to be the one-volume encyclopedia of twisting of Captain Visual. It does include dozens of color photographs, typically showing the finished creation, as well as numerous diagrams showing the construction of each creation. It also includes a difficulty rating for each creation, from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

It’s a very good book for  beginners  , and even  intermediate  balloon twisters will find some neat projects. Please note that it does  not  include any tips on performance, working a crowd, handling lines, et cetera — for that, I recommend the much longer  Captain Visual’s Big Book of Balloon Animals.

I rate it 4 clowns  clownclownclownclownout of 5.

Table of Contents

Materials, Safety Tips and Techniques
Basic introductory material, starting with where to buy balloons, how to store them, the different types (320, 160, bee, etc.), and the basic twists and folds to make balloon animals

Chapter 1: Materials

Types of Balloons, Where to purchase balloons, How a balloon is made, Storing balloons

Chapter 2: Safety Tips

Working with balloons, Do’s and don’ts

Chapter 3: Basic Techniques

Inflating a balloon, Burping, Tying a balloon, Basic twists, Difficulty Scale
  • Balloon Creations

  • Beginning the meat of the book – the standard dog, but starting with the horse we get a little fancier – the horse has lips, and a main — it’s not just a dog with a long neck :o) Likewise, the other creations have a little more ‘oomph’ in them.

    Chapter 4: Animals

  • Dog, Horse, Pig, Cat, Teddy Bear, Butterfly/Dragonfly, Dragon, Stegosaurus, Scorpion, Fish

    Chapter 5: Plant Life

  • Daisy, Palm tree, Tulip

    Chapter 6: Other Fun Things

  • Guitar, Motorcycle, Airplane, Spaceship, Silly balloon figures
  • Decorating with Balloons

  • Creating chains of balloons for decoration. Braiding balloons, either for decoration, or to use in larger sculptures, such as hats, or the ring toss game later in the book. A nice spider on a web, and a braided flower for a centerpiece.

    Chapter 7: Chains and Braids

  • Single circle chain, Figure 8 chain, multilink chain, three-balloon braid

    Chapter 8: Special Occasions

  • Halloween spider and web, Birthday centerpiece, Starbrush
  • Wearable Balloons

    • Making a bracelet, mouse & turtle bracelets, hair ornaments (for girls with longer hair), basic hats (I like the foolscap with three ‘ears’ for a quick, clownish hat), and the braid technique from earlier is used to make a ringtoss hat — toss a balloon ring over the hat to score a point. It really begins to shine when they get to the costumes, however; The angel wing is very useful, and quite versatile as well — I intend to use the angel costume in conjunction with a clown skit.

      Chapter 9: Wearable Balloons

    • Plain bracelet, Mouse bracelet, Turtle bracelet

      Chapter 10: On Your Head

    • Hair ornament, Two-balloon headband,, Basic hat frame, foolscap, Ringtoss hat, Starburst hat

      Chapter 11: Costumes

Body frame, Butterfly, Bumblebee, Angel, Pirate with parrot and sword, Robot

Fun and Games with Balloons

  • The houses are simple, frame-construction houses. I’ve used the simple house (on a smaller scale) in Children’s Church, talking about the foolish house built upon the sand — with a tack hidden in my hand, I popped the different parts of the house (at the appropriate part of an accompanying song). For pure entertainment, I truly like both the ring toss (similar to the hat, previously mentioned) and the dart shoot — pull back an inflated balloon as the dart, and fire it through a loop in a ring-toss braid. The last game is the most challenging to make, with inserting 3 balls in a triple-braid balloon (transparent works best), racing to see which ball can get to the end first.

    Chapter 12: Fun Houses

  • Simple house, Fancy house

Chapter 13: Games

  • Balloon darts with balloon targets, Ring toss, Three braid maze with racing balloon balls

 

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