Homemade balloon weights

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Balloon weights keep your party balloons from floating away. There is no need to display balloons only where you can tie them; they can be set anywhere--on tables, in corners or outside. The weights available at florists and party stores are sand-filled plastic wrapped in paper.

Make interesting weights yourself that add to the decor of your party for a fraction of the cost.

Favour weights

Party favours as balloon weights work well for children's parties. Fill favour bags with small candies, then tie the end of the balloon string around them. Use plastic party sacks and tie the string around the handles.

Stack 3 to 4 cookies and wrap them in coloured cling film. Tie the balloon string around the centre of the stack and place at each table setting. Avoid setting these on the floor as little feet may crush them.

Rice weights

These are similar to store-bought balloon weights. Fill a plastic baggie with 120 ml (1/2 cup) to 240 ml (1 cup) of dried rice. Dried beans, sand or aquarium gravel can be substituted. Cut a 25-cm (10-inch) diameter circle from wrapping paper or fabric. Set the filled baggie in the centre and gather the fabric around it. Tie it with a ribbon to secure, then tie the balloon string to the weight. Use more rice for larger groupings of balloons.

Alternately, fill a plastic cup with sand or rice. Place a large square of wrapping paper over the top of the cup. Gather the paper to the bottom of the cup and wrap a rubber band around it to secure. Flip the cup upside down and tie the balloon string around the rubber band.

Decorative weights

Tie the balloon strings around stuffed animals for a child's party. Place a party hat on each animal to add to the festive decorations. Use stuffed animals you already own or purchase inexpensive ones and let each guest take one after the party.

Fill small boxes--such as jewellery boxes--with sand or rocks. Wrap each one like a little present. Place a bow on top, then wrap the balloon ribbon around it and tie securely, hiding the end inside the bow.