Michelle A Scanlon
Floating clouds made from balloons, or Cloud 9 balloon clusters, are created by gathering nine latex balloons and suspending the resulting group from the ceiling or tethering them to the floor with monofilament line. They're quick, easy, inexpensive decorations that enhance the fun atmosphere of any event. Even if you have no prior craft skills, by following the guide below you can create balloon clouds of your own.
Create a template for your balloons by tracing the outline of a plate or pie tin onto a piece of poster board. The size of the circle reflects the inflated diameter of your balloons. Remove the traced circle scissors. As you inflate each balloon, hold it inside the cutout, filling the balloon until it just touches the sides of the poster board. This way, all of your balloons will be approximately the same size.
Fill a balloon with helium. Tie a knot at the end. Attach a piece of monofilament line 60 cm (2 feet) in length to the tail of the balloon. Place the free end of the line underneath a heavy book.
Fill a second balloon and tie a knot at the end. Holding both balloons by their tails, tie them together, forming a big, balloon bow tie. Repeat Steps 1 and 2, creating two bow ties.
Twist the two bow ties together at their centres, forming a balloon four-leaf clover.
Inflate balloon No. 5. Knot the end and attach a 60 cm (2 foot) length of monofilament line. Attach balloon No. 5 to the centre of the four-leafed clover by wrapping both the balloon tail and the line around the junction made by the four balloons in the clover. Use the line to form alternating Figure 8s around the ends of the clover balloons, being sure to wrap at least three times around each balloon.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4, making a second four-leaf clover. Bind this second clover tightly to the first by running monofilament line through the centre and wrapping it in alternating Figure 8s. Be sure to offset the balloons of the second clover so that they lie in between, rather than directly on top of, the balloons of the first clover.
Inflate balloon No. 9. Knot the end off and attach a 30 cm (1 foot) length of monofilament line to it. Attach the balloon to the centre of the cluster with the line.
Measure the distance from the surface where you will anchor your balloons to their suspended height. Cut a piece of line to fit the finished distance and tie it to the centre of the cluster on the bottom. Tuck all knots inside the balloon cluster and trim any excess line.
Place the balloon cloud cluster in the desired location. Anchor it to the floor or table by tying the end of the line to a heavy object, or securing the end with a piece of strong tape. Alternatively, non-helium balloon clouds can be suspended from the ceiling by tying the line around the tail of the top balloon (rather than the bottom) and attaching it to a ceiling hook or rafter.
- White and clear balloons make great clouds. However, feel free to use other colours.
- Clusters can be linked together with tulle, ribbon or lace for a decorative swag effect.
- Helium balloons stay aloft for 12 to 24 hours, so don’t decorate too far ahead.
- Michelle A Scanlon