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A real winner with most children, this is another very easy figure to make.

However you will learn three new and important basic skills of balloon modeling: making loops, pinch-twists, and making a sharp angle on a balloon segment.

You will also review how to curve a balloon segment. This is something that we briefly talked about in our first tutorial, while working on the improved version of our little doggy.

This article is divided into two complementary sections: a comment section, followed by a detailled video tutorial. Last but not least, a step by step photo guide has recently been added for feedback and questions.


Video Tutorial

Video in French, with English subtitles (if captions do not automatically display in your favorite language, you simply need to modify YouTube parameters at the bottom right of the video screen).

Hello! Today, Môssieur Ballon will teach you to make a sword! A sword? What am I saying! This is no mere sword! It's an air-saber equipped with digital protection and a push button! You'll see, Môssieur Ballon never lies! Although he tends to exaggerate a little. So, for this famed air-saber, I've chosen... a silver balloon. I find that the color of silver balloons matches the steel of a real sword really well.

For the saber, you need to inflate the balloon all the way to the end. However, the air pressure shouldn't be too tight. There... I let some air escape a little... There... can you see how it's fairly supple? Now... you can tie your knot.

So, you can see I do this a lot with the balloon, but you may or may not be able to do it. I have dry hands, and this allows me to make the balloon thinner (like this). If you have hands that are a little moist, your palm will grip on the balloon and make it burst. If that's the case don't do this!

So, here's a balloon inflated all the way. Did someone say a sword? Well... it's not quite finished yet.

I'll start with making a little bubble. So, as for the 'sausage', I'd like to remind you... all you need is to press at the length you want, and twist the balloon! An important detail: always twist the balloon in the same direction! You can't twist it towards the left one time, and towards the right the next time. You need to choose! Always left or always right!

In the same way, I personally always twist it the same way, and I always make the balloons pass on my left side. So if you're left-handed, you may want to do it in the opposite direction.

So, a little bubble... I press a little... and next, we'll make a loop. So this loop shouldn't be too big... nor too small. It'll have to be just the right size. What size should it be? Well it's simple: the loop will have to be big enough for the balloon to fit through it.

So... here... I went with this size. Once you've settled on the size of your loop, you press and twist... a bit like the dog's ears, except it's a whole loop.

So this... is what our balloon sculpture looks like for now. Then all that is needed is to pass the balloon through the loop. There!

And you have something which is starting... to look... like a sword! And this is where the difference is made, between a beginner who will leave their sword like this, and someone who's an artist, who will be able to give a far more professional shape to this balloon.

First, I'll press... and stick the balloon between my palms like this. Look, I've given it a little shape that's nice and straight, and lengthened.

Next, I'll give this a shape that's rather straight, and slightly curved backwards, like the blade of a saber!

And finally, I find this knot a little awkward... I'm going to teach you to make what's called a "pinch-twist". You can call it however you want, what matters is that... how can I show you... with one hand... one finger... two fingers... you hold the balloon knot. And... with your finger... you slip your left forefinger underneath it... and turn this way... and take out your finger... and turn it well.

Here's the finished sword! You can see that by making a little extra effort, this sword really looks like... a sword! I told you a saber... an air saber... with a digital protection! In the sense that it protects your fingers ["digit" in Latin]. And the push button... if the force is with you and you press it, the blade should go back in! But... you need to have the force with you!

You can see that with little effort, we get to a product that really looks like a sword. And here is... the same sword... without the finishing touch! So I'd like to encourage you, my dear students, to give an extra touch to your work! This will tell the difference between an artist, a pro, or an amateur and a beginner!

Look at these two swords that don't look alike... All it takes... is to add a slight curve in one place, to pinch the little bubble like this, and you can see...we have two swords that are really... let's just say they're swords!

Ok! Shall we? So, as always, I will now make the sword at normal speed, like I would during an event, and you'll practice going as fast as me! Frankly, the sword is one of the simpler balloon sculptures! Which is convenient, because if you're at a birthday party, and you make swords, everyone will want one! So you shouldn't take too much time to make them. 15 seconds, 20 seconds maximum. And here's... our little sword!

What have we learned? Well, we've learned... several things. But the main thing was the "pinch-twist", which we could otherwise just call a little "bean"... So we'll get back to the little "bean" later, because it's a very important part of the little tiger, which I'll teach you to make in a following lesson.

So, we've learned to make a "bean", we've learned... or rather we had already learned it with the little doggy, but... we've revised that it was important to give the balloon shape, simply by directing it with your fingers... practice like this! You can see here... we have a shape... the shape of a saber going off this way. A saber doesn't go this way, it wouldn't be a saber!

And... it's very important... and in every one of my lessons... I'd like to, if I may, remind you of this important point: Go the extra mile, give your creation an extra touch! Don't do things half way!

Everyone can make a little dog... everyone can make a sword... But not everyone can make a sword... Môssieur Ballon's style! (except my students!)


Step-By-Step Photo Guide


twisting a balloon sword, step 1
1- Inflate a balloon leaving a very small margin. Let a little air escape, then tie the knot without making it too tight The balloon mustn't be either too compressed or too soft.
twisting a balloon sword, step 2
2- You should be able to press the balloon between two fingers, without forcing on it too much, or conversely, without your fingers reaching each other too easily.
twisting a balloon sword, step 3
3- At about 3 or 4 centimeters (1 1/2 inches) from the knot, press the balloon, and twist...
twisting a balloon sword, step 4
4- to form a small, rounded bubble
twisting a balloon sword, step 5
5- Holding the bubble with one hand, bend the balloon with the other hand to shape a loop that's 10 to 12 centimeters (4 to 5 inches) high.
twisting a balloon sword, step 6
6- Firmly hold both ends of the loop together
twisting a balloon sword, step 7
7- then keep the loop in place by twisting it several times around its base.
twisting a balloon sword, step 8
8- Open the loop wide to create an opening at least as wide as the balloon is thick.
twisting a balloon sword, step 9
9- Bring the tip of the remaining length of balloon to the opening in the loop.
twisting a balloon sword, step 10
10- Push the tip of the remaining length of balloon through the opening in the loop, widening the loop slightly with your thumbs if needed, to pass it through the loop.
twisting a balloon sword, step 11
11- As soon as this portion of balloon is long enough, pull on it to bring most of the remaining portion of balloon through the loop. You will see a second loop take shape.
twisting a balloon sword, step 12
12- Careful! You shouldn't pull the balloon all the way through, but stop when the second loop is about 15 to 20 centimeters (6 to 8 inches) high.
twisting a balloon sword, step 13
13- Our balloon sculpture is now vaguely starting to look like a sword. Now all we need to do is perfect it. Let's start with an angle at the bottom of the sword.
twisting a balloon sword, step 14
14- With one hand, compress the second loop to bend it into two parts, with the side located under the bubble slightly longer than the other.
twisting a balloon sword, step 15
15- Gently pinch the newly formed angle to push the air from it, then twist the latex between your forefinger and thumb and release it very gently so that the air gradually comes back into the angle.
twisting a balloon sword, step 16
16- You should get this shape: perfectly straight under the first loop, but slightly rounded under the bubble.
twisting a balloon sword, step 17
17- Pull on the bubble's knot with one hand; meanwhile, with your other hand, you need to bring both ends of the bubble close together, while pushing the center of the bubble away with your middle finger.
twisting a balloon sword, step 18
18- When both ends of the bubble are touching, twist the bubble around its base to keep it in place.
twisting a balloon sword, step 19
19- What you have just made is called a pinch-twist. It's a great way to hide knots, and this skill is useful for many other things, as we'll see later on.
twisting a balloon sword, step 20
20- Push the air to the end of the balloon, if need be, to evenly spread the air over the entire length of the blade.
twisting a balloon sword, step 21
21- You may decide to keep the blade nice and straight. By the way, here is how you hold the sword.
twisting a balloon sword, last step
22- Or you can choose to give it a curved shape. You just made a great sword, well done!



 Do you need more help with this tutorial ?

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