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Balloon modeling is easy!

And the little doggy embodies the very basics of balloon sculpture!

So it made perfect sense for Môssieur Ballon to choose this iconic model for this first video tutorial, to teach you a few basic concepts of balloon twisting!

For example, it's essential to learn how to inflate a balloon properly and control air pressure throughout the making of the balloon sculpture (or else it might burst, or conversely, undo itself).

And of course, you will learn how to make the very first basic shape in balloon modeling: the bubble (and its elongated variant, the "sausage").


Video Tutorial

To start out, a simplified version of the balloon dog will enable you to take your first steps without too much difficulty. Then, after getting the chance to practice alongside Môssieur Ballon (pausing the video if necessary, or studying the step-by-step photo guide), an improved version of the balloon dog will enable you to perfect your new skills.

Video in French, with English subtitles

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Well, a promise made is a promise kept!

Môssieur Ballon has decided to share his secrets with you.

We will of course start with the basics of balloon modeling, learning how to make a little dog.

So, first things first... we're going to inflate this balloon, but not all the way!

You see, I'm leaving about... Say, four fingers in width!

Four fingers... ok, I can even deflate it a little and tie my knot.

And... So, don't worry, I'm going to go quite fast.

I'm going to go quite fast, but we'll look over all this again from scratch.

(Môssieur Ballon makes the little balloon dog)

And what we have... is the little dog!

So while I'm starting over with the little dog. I'd like to remind you to inflate a balloon, and leave about four fingers deflated!

So, we're going to make one sausage... two sausages... three sausages... while making sure that the last two sausages are the same size.

So, if they're not the same size, at this point it's not too late to start over.

Put them side by side to check, press at their base and twist the last two sausages together several times.

And there, you'll see the dog's head and its two ears take shape.

Now, for the neck... it'll be a little bubble, that's it!

So, to make our sausages, if you're wondering, all you need to do is press... press the balloon, and twist it at the same time, and that's it!

Now, to make sure that the two legs are the same size, I press and twist them side by side so I'm sure they're the same size.

Moving on!

From time to time I press on the balloon, to push air towards the reserve.

A little stomach... one hind leg... two hind legs... straighten all this out... and here's the puppy dog!

How could we improve this little dog?

Well first, we could give it slightly more rounded shapes, because it's a balloon after all, but everything is totally stiff!

So, look... if I do this little thing (handles the balloon)... I'm going to give a slightly curved shape to my dog's tail!

Next, for the stomach, same thing... all you need to do is press a little like this, and you can see it gives it a cute-looking little tummy!

(Môssieur Ballon is now going to make an alternative head for the dog)

Like we did with the first version of the little dog, you press between the ears, and turn!

But here, instead of leaving the ears on top, that's the style... let's say... of a German Shepherd, we're going to make this one Cocker style, with its ears drooping down.

So we're going to use the knot, which we're going to stretch out, and wedge at the base of the ears!

Then, we're going to wedge this part by twisting the ears and pulling them apart.

Now this makes it a bit more complicated, but you can see it gives us a dog's head that's slightly different.

So that we recognize it better, we're going to draw on its nose, its eyes... there!

So, back to work, now I'll make one at my normal speed, and you'll try to make it alongside me.

If you can do it... well, that means you're very close to a professional level, and you should maybe consider not just doing this for fun, but making a job of it!

Normally, it takes a little under a minute, at most, to make a dog like this, maybe even a few seconds.

So you'll see, as I go along I'm controlling the air that's inside the balloon.

And that's really what makes the difference between a beginner and someone who's more used to this: controlling the air pressure in your balloons.

If you don't control it, one of two things can happen...

And here's the doggy!

If you don't control the air in your balloon, one of two things may happen: either the balloon will be too inflated and will burst, or the opposite will happen, it won't stay together and will get undone.


What have we learned making the little dog?

Well, we've learned several things.

First we've learned that you must never inflate the balloon all the way. You need to always leave a little reserve for the air.

As you go along handling the balloon and tying knots, the air will fill the room left for it at the far end of the balloon.

Secondly, we've learned to make balloon "sausages". To make a sausage, all you need to do is press the balloon and twist!

Thirdly, we've learned that you only need to hold the beginning and end of the balloon, and not worry about the middle, which allows you to make a whole string of sausages without it ever getting undone.

No need to go this way, or go like that... It's very complicated like this, isn't it? There's no need, you only need to hold the beginning, and the end!

What else have we learned? We've learned to make little bubbles. This is going to be very important for the end.

Little bubbles are like sausages, only smaller. Like little cocktail sausages!


Then, one last thing, a word of advice, control the air pressure well!

The issue beginners come across is that often, the beginning of the balloon will be so inflated it's bursting at the seams, and at the other end, there's still room for air.

What you need to do is, as you go along, press the balloon, just like this!

See, when I press the balloon, the reserve fills up... Look!

So, gradually, you make a sausage, a second sausage, a third sausage... and there, you press the balloon a little, to make sure the pressure is balanced all along the balloon sculpture.

Make sure to practice, and see you soon! For our next lesson... with Môssieur Ballon!


Step-By-Step Photo Guide


1- Inflate a balloon leaving a margin at the end of about the width of a hand. Then tie a knot without making it too tight.
2- Starting from the knotted end, make a first bubble about three fingers wide at most. This will be the dog's head.
3- Make two more bubbles following it, of the same size as the first. These will be its two ears.
4- Place the ears side by side.
5- Press two fingers at their base to pinch both folds together...
6- and with your other hand, twist both ears ears together around their base several times to keep them in place.
7- Two ears appear, pointing straight up on top of the dog's head. This is the simplest version of the iconic balloon dog.
8- To make a dog with floppy ears, hold the knot with one hand...
9- then, with the other hand, pull on the nozzle while keeping the knot firmly pinched, to free up an extra length of balloon.
10- Pull the nozzle under the fold at the bottom of the ears...
11- take it from the other side of the fold and stretch the length of balloon further.
12- Roll the nozzle around this fold again in the same way at least two or three more times.
13- Next, turn around the dog's head and pull apart the top of the two bubbles forming the ears, to wedge in the top of the head bubble.
14- On the other side of the ears, wedge in the top of the remaining portion of balloon in the same way.
15- Like this, you get the head of a dog with floppy ears.
16- To shape the neck, be sure to make a small bubble. Don't make it too big, this isn't a giraffe!
17- Hold the head well so the neck bubble doesn't escape, and shape the first front leg.
18- Then, shape the second front leg, making sure it's the same size as the first one.
19- Bring the two legs together...
20- then, as for the ears, press the base of both bubbles together, and twist them together several times to block them together.
21- If need be, rearrange each part so that the doggy's head and front legs are facing in the right direction.
22- Make a longer bubble for the stomach.
23- To make the first hind leg, place the remaining portion of balloon parallel to the front legs...
24- so that it's easier to compare their size. Obviously, they need to be roughly the same length.
25- You also need to check that the second hind leg is the same length as the first one.
26- As for the ears and the front legs, bring the hind legs close together...
27- press their base and twist both bubbles together to block the hind legs together.
28- Now this is starting to look like a little dog. Now, we need to improve a few details for our dog to be less stiff and more natural-looking.
29- Hold both ends of the stomach bubble and gently move them back and forth, to rub them gently against each other at the center of the bubble.
30- Next, press the tail bubble between your hands, to form an S shape, and like previously, rub gently at the folds of the S.
31- Now we have a little dog with much more natural and nice-looking curves.
32- Draw a few features on the dog to bring it to life.
33- Alternatively, to get a shorter tail, make the legs longer.
And that is the end of this lesson!


Document-pdf Download the PDF guide sheet with detailed photos of each step


Basic balloon twisting techniques used in this tutorial

Feel free to go over these techniques again, as one day you'll have to master them perfectly. Practice regularly... And who knows, maybe some day your balloon sculptures will end up in an exhibit at the Palace of Versailles?