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This is probably the most important basic technique that a twister should know and master.

How to handle and distribute the air pressure evenly from the beginning to the end of a balloon sculpture, to prevent it from exploding if the pressure is too high, or to the contrary to prevent it from unraveling if the pressure is too low.

 

Video Tutorial

Video in French, with English subtitles

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Hi! I'd like to talk about air control.

Not the air you breathe, but the air blown into balloons.

There are two issues you may encounter.

First case to highlight, the balloon is much too inflated! It's very compressed, and the air almost reaches the tip.

Second case, conversely, the balloon isn't inflated nearly enough! It's all soft, and there's far too much room at the end.

Let's start with the one that's too inflated. The idea, is to keep the air, as much as possible, at the front of the balloon. And whatever you do, don't push it towards the end.

So for starters, we're going to cheat a little, by pulling on the knot, to recover some space, and give the air a bit more room.

Next, we're going to be very careful not to press the balloon more than we have to, and we're going to keep the balloon as compressed as possible.

To do this, as an exception, we're going to twist the balloon as little as possible, because the more you twist the balloon, the more you're pushing air towards the end. And that's exactly what we want to avoid!

So, only go around once, that's enough.

So of course, when the balloon is very compressed like this, it's best to handle it with precaution, and a little slower than usual.

And you can see that for now, I've been able to keep my margin at the end of the balloon, just by limiting how much i twist the bubbles, and by avoiding pressure on the balloon.

Oh! Here I've reached the end of the balloon, and I'm out of room.

We're going to cheat again a little, Instead of making segments one by one, I'm going to divide the rest of my balloon in two. Just two portions of equivalent pressure.

And later, I'm going to divide them in two as well.

You'll see! This way, I'm evenly spreading out air pressure between the last four segments. Let me check...

Yes, pressure is balanced between the front legs, the stomach, hind legs, and tail. I'll still try to give the tail a slightly more natural shape, and there!

To sum up, if your balloon is too inflated, you need to make sure that pressure doesn't go toward the end of the balloon right away, but stays balanced throughout your sculpture.

Now, with the under-inflated balloon, we're going to do the exact opposite.

When the balloon was too inflated, we were trying to keep the air in the front.

Here, on the other hand, our strategy will be to push the air as much as possible to the back of the balloon.

And if necessary, you can even block the balloon between your arm and side to force the air even further back.

And here look: we've already been able to shorten the reserve a great deal.

OK, next it's like usual, except we're going to twist the balloon as much as possible when making the bubbles.

So instead of twisting the bubbles three times, you'll twist... say, ten times if you have to!

Remember, twisting the balloon takes up space and pushes the air back. And in this case, that's exactly what we want to do.

So, press the balloon well when forming bubbles, and keep regularly pushing the air in the balloon back, as soon as air pressure builds up after a few bubbles.

You'll need to compress the balloon with both your hands, even your arm if you have to. Each time you block bubbles, for example here, at the legs, keep twisting the balloon more than necessary.

Continue like this, each time pressing a little more, to form the bubbles and the different sections of the balloon.

This time, we can afford to strongly accentuate the natural shape of the tail and stomach

And at the end, look: we completely made up the huge margin of empty balloon we had at the beginning.

Now, let's compare both figures together.

You can see that in spite of the balloons being very badly inflated at the start we've still been able to make our little doggies in both cases, and without popping them, or conversely, without the balloon getting undone.

All this, just by mastering air pressure control.

Air control is paramount! It makes the difference between a pro and a beginner, the difference between a balloon that pops in some poor kid's hands, or a balloon that unravels through lack of tension, so practice controlling air in balloons.

See you soon! For another lesson with... Môssieur Ballon!

 

Step-By-Step Photo Guide

 

1- To practice, we are going to make two versions of the classic dog sculpture (see the balloon dog tutorial). The first balloon won't be inflated enough, while the second will be far too much.
2- Take the under-inflated balloon (with a margin much wider than your hand). The tactic will be simple, you'll have to use as much latex as possible... and as little air as possible!
3- Start by squeezing the balloon near the knot, to displace air pressure towards the end of the balloon. Use both hands, if necessary, to push the air even farther.
4- When making the first bubble, twist the balloon 2 or 3 times more than usual (turn it 7 or 8 times at least) to "use up" the most latex as possible.
5- Once the first bubble is finished, squeeze the balloon again to push back the pressure that built up again after you made the first bubble.
6- Make a second bubble, again twisting the balloon far more than needed, with the purpose still being to use more latex than necessary.
7- Next, don't forget to push back the air pressure towards the end of the balloon again,
8- Then the third bubble in the same way.
9- And so on and so forth, for each of the following bubbles.
10- After several bubbles created this way, the margin at the end of the balloon has shrunk noticeably.
11- And in the end, you get a sculpture with pressure that's perfectly balanced throughout the design.
12- For the balloon that's been inflated too much, the tactic used will be exactly the opposite. You'll have to use as much air as possible... while using the least latex as possible.
13- One starting trick is to latch onto the knot of the balloon...
14- and tug it back to displace it and free up the inch or so of latex that's caught in the knot (as long as the knot wasn't tied too tightly in the first place).
15- Then, turn the balloon over,
16- And firmly press the end of the balloon so that the air goes back into the space that's been freed up by the knot.
17- With a bit of luck, by doing this you can get an inch or so of your margin back.
18- Here is the somewhat deformed space where the air was able to move back to, just next to the knot, freeing up that much space at the end of the balloon.
19- When starting the first bubble, twist it as little as possible (once or twice at most).
20- Make the second one in the same fashion. The air pressure in the bubbles being higher, they will be a little more prone to bursting, so you will need to handle them a little more delicately.
21- Go on like this with the next ones… whatever you do, do not squeeze the balloon in order to push the air pressure forward, since it needs to remain as compressed as possible.
22- Several bubbles have been done in this fashion and you'll notice that there's still some margin left at the end of the balloon (practically as much as there was on the first balloon at this stage of development).
23- And in the end, here too, we get a sculpture with pressure that's perfectly balanced throughout the design.
24- Here are the two sculptures side by side. The only noticeable difference is that one is larger while the other is smaller, but the proportions of both sculptures are harmonious, and much the same.
25- There you go, now it's your turn!

And that was the end of this lesson!

 

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