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Now here is the tutorial for Tux, the penguin that took the Solutions Linux of Paris by storm in 2012.

The software company Zarafa was giving out Tux balloon kits as freebies, and I was tasked with performing a demonstration.

Geeks love to play, and Zarafa's stand was packed!

Contrary to first impressions, this balloon figure is very easy to reproduce. Apart from the "loop division" this figure also does not use any new technique other than the ones presented in the first 2 tutorials of this series. However, just using and mixing 3 colors gives this sculpture a much more complex and complete look than all the previous ones.


Video Tutorial

Video in French, with English subtitles

Click to toggle on display


Now here is the tutorial for Tux, the penguin that took the 2012 Solutions Linux convention by storm.

First of all, you need to inflate a black balloon and leave about the width of a hand, or four fingers, uninflated.

You do the same thing with a white balloon.

Then... you tie both balloons together.

You start with the white balloon, forming two identical bubbles about three fingers long.

And you block the two bubbles by twisting them together several times around their bases.

So, we already have our penguin's two eyes!

Let's now take the black balloon, and make a wide loop which we'll roll around the eyes like this.

Then, you turn the loop and the eyes, to lock them together.

You push the rest of the air to the end of the black balloon, and we're going to fold it into three parts of equal, or roughly equal, length.

Actually, the far end of the balloon will have to be a little longer than the first two parts.

It's quite simple!

First you quickly assess the size of your parts, by making a sort of zigzag, like this!

Once you can make the first fold, all you'll have to do is form two perfectly identical lengths of balloon, that we'll lock together at their base, which is also the base of the head of our little mascot.

We've just made its two wings.

Now, we need to create a little bubble at the end of the black balloon, so that the part next to the wings is a little shorter, like this!

And, by locking this bubble between the two wings, we obtain Tux' back and tail!

Let's go back to the white balloon.

At its base we make a well-rounded bubble that we're going to pinch, and twist to make into sort of ear or bean shape.

We will use this 'bean-bubble' to wedge Tux's head firmly, above its wings and back.

And the rest of the white balloon will come in front, to allow us to shape the stomach.

So, air control...

You form a length of balloon which should be much longer than the back, and lock it beneath the two wings around the tail and the base of the back.

Give it a shape so that it forms a slightly round belly, Well, a bit like the aptly-named Môssieur Ballon (Mister Balloon)!

So, air control again, but this time, we're pushing the air all the way to the end.

You shape a small round bubble at the end of the white balloon, and lock it at the base of the wings, around the tail and the base of the back.

It doesn't matter which side the bubble comes out from for the moment.

We fold the big white loop thusly shaped into two equal parts, just to mark where the half of this loop is located, and we use this mark to divide the loop into two equal parts, by pressing and turning them just like this.

Refine the shape of the two loops to have them well-rounded.

Also put the finishing touches on the tail, to give him a little curved shape, and there, our penguin is starting to take shape, except it's missing a little beak!

The simplest solution is to take a little round balloon, or even to cut off the end of a yellow modelling balloon.

Since I have a lot of little round balloons, I'll use one.

Firstly, inflate it normally, then deflate it a little, until it takes on a slightly pointy shape.

If needed press a little on the end of the balloon, so that the air stays confined towards the balloon knot.

All we need to do now is to block the knot of the yellow balloon around the 'pinch-twist' at the base of the head.

Refine the shape of the beak any which way you like, and you can also force the black loop of the penguin's head, between its eyes a little so that they show more.

And finally, a bit of black marker on the eyes, and it's done!

OK, now Tux and I have some coding to do!

So, see you soon! For another lesson, with... Môssieur Ballon!


Step-By-Step Photo Guide


1- Inflate a white balloon leaving a margin at the end of slightly more than the width of a hand. Then tie the knot.
2- Do likewise with a black balloon and tie the knotted end of each balloon together.
3- With the white balloon, make a first oval bubble about three fingers wide.
4- Make a second, identical bubble, following the first.
5- Twist the bubbles several times around their base to keep them in place. We already have our penguin's eyes!
6- Roll the black balloon along the groove located between the two white bubbles. In this way, shape a wide black loop and bring its base to the base of the two white bubbles.
7- Twist the two white bubbles and the black loop several times around their base to keep them in place. We've just made the head of our penguin.
8- Push the air to the end of the remaining portion of black balloon (don't bother with the remaining portion of white balloon for the moment), you should get a shape similar to this one.
9- Make a zigzag with the rest of the black balloon so that the last segment is slightly longer than the first two. Make a mental note of the position of each of the two bends thus formed.
10- Make a first long bubble at the first bend formed by the zigzag.
11- Then make a second long bubble, identical to the first, normally it should fall more or less at the second bend formed by the zigzag.
12- Twist the two large black bubbles around their base several times to block them at the base of Tux's head.
13- You should now have a shape resembling this one, with at the center, under the head, the two wings we've just created (the two long black bubbles).
14- With what's left of the black balloon, make a bubble that's shorter than the previous two. Doing so you will also get one final bubble that should be wedged between the two wings.
15- Then roll this last bubble several times between the wings to keep everything firmly in place. You can now make out Tux's head, wings, back and tail.
16- Go back to the white balloon and form a small, round bubble at the base of Tux's head.
17- Make this bubble into a pinch-twist which will enable us to keep Tux's head firmly in place on top of its back and shoulders (or rather its back and wings).
18- Notice that the rest of the white balloon is naturally located under the pinch-twist.
19- You will have to feed it through to the other side, so that we can use it to make Tux's belly.
20- Push the air in the white balloon a bit towards the end, and shape a large bubble for the belly which should look a little rounded.
21- Then finish pushing the air all the way to the end of the white balloon so that there is no remaining length of empty balloon.
22- Make a small bubble at the tip of the white balloon.
23- Then wedge the small white bubble into the joint common to the base of the wings, the base of the back, and the tail. It doesn't matter which side the bubble is sticking out from for now. Having done this, we get a large loop.
24- We are now going to learn how to divide one big loop into two smaller loops. To do this, twist the large white loop into two equal parts and take note of the central mark.
25- At the level of this mark, press the balloon to form two large bubbles then hold one of the bubbles firmly in one hand while twisting the other bubble around its base with the other hand, to divide the loop into two equal parts.
26- This way, you get two distinct bubbles. Now let's see how to turn both of them into loops.
27- It's very simple! All you need to do is bring the creases formed at the ends of each bubble together, and thus naturally shape two new (smaller) loops.
28- Hold one of the loops firmly in one hand while twisting the other loop around its base with your other hand to keep them both in place.
29- Finally, place the small bubble, that we had set aside, right between the two loops. We have just made two wide, webbed feet, on which Tux can now stand securely.
30- We are almost finished. All that's left now is the beak! For this, very lightly inflate a small round balloon, preferably yellow.
31- Press on the tip of the balloon and, gripping the latex, twist the tip a little so that the air leaves it completely and pushes against the knotted end of the balloon.
32- Gently let go of the latex to enable the air to come back gradually into the balloon, which should now be elongated or at the very least oval.
33- Wedge the knotted end of the beak at the base of the head. Lastly, draw on the eyes, and round out the shapes of Tux's wings, back and stomach to put the finishing touches on this sculpture.
And that's all there is to it!

And that was 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:

Reminder: It is essential that you master these basic skills!