A party isn't complete without decorations, and nothing says “party” like balloons! Foil balloons are an excellent option for shapes, letters, and numbers. Whether you’re blowing up balloons for a birthday, anniversary, or graduation, knowing how to inflate a foil balloon properly will save you time.
As professional party planners ourselves, we know you have a lot on your plate. To get you started on your festive decor, we'll explore the best methods for inflating foil balloons.
What Are Foil Balloons?
Foil balloons are a popular type of party balloon made from a thin, continuous material called Mylar or nylon. Mylar is a highly reflective and flexible film that consists of stretched polyethylene terephthalate (PET). You can get them in various colors, shapes, sizes, and arrangements, from character balloons to balloon bouquets.
Foil balloons are ultra-durable and much less likely to pop, making them ideal for outdoor events, birthday parties, and other celebrations. They also maintain their shape and buoyancy longer than latex balloons.
Types of Foil Balloons
Foil balloons come in several shapes, sizes, and styles, giving party planners endless possibilities for jazzing up their events. Here, we take a closer look at some of the more common types:
1. Standard Foil Balloons
Standard foil balloons, as the name suggests, are the most common type you’ll see at parties and events. They usually come in basic shapes like circles, squares, stars, and hearts. These balloons are available in sizes ranging from 4 inches up to 40 inches. These can be either plain, printed with images or messages, or feature unique patterns.
2. Number and Letter Foil Balloons
Number and letter foil balloons are perfect for celebrating milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. They’ve scyrocketed in popularity over the last few years as a great addition to every party! These balloons come in digits (0-9) and letters (A-Z), allowing you to mix and match to create specific words, names, ages, or dates. Choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to suit your theme.
3. SuperShape Foil Balloons
SuperShape foil balloons are oversized and come in various shapes, ranging from animals and cartoon characters to popular brands, objects, and themes. These balloons are perfect for creating a visual focal point at any event and serve as the perfect backdrop for photo booths! SuperShape foil balloons can act as standalone decorative pieces or be combined with other balloon types to create an impressive balloon bouquet.
4. Orbz, Cubez, and Diamondz Foil Balloons
Tired of the same only balloon shape? Orbz, Cubez, and Diamondz are unique 3D-shaped foil balloons that add a playful touch to your decorations. These add shape and dimension to your unique balloon bouquets, creating the perfect photo op for your guests.
Tips for Using Foil Balloons
Now that you're familiar with some of the different types of foil balloons, let's look at some tips to help you get the most out of your decorations.
1. Inflate Appropriately
Foil balloons can be filled with either air or helium, depending on your preferences. Helium is the way to go if you want your balloons to float. If you’re just looking to hang them on the wall to create a backdrop, then you can use a straw to inflate them without helium.
2. Think About Temperature Changes
Even though foil balloons are well-suited to outdoor events, you should be careful with extreme temperatures, which can affect their buoyancy. On hot days, they may expand and burst. Colder temperatures might cause them to contract and appear deflated. If possible, store and inflate the balloons in an area with a consistent, room-temperature environment.
3. Create Unique Arrangements
Don't be afraid to get creative and mix different types, shapes, sizes, and colors to create stunning arrangements! Consider using coordinating ribbons, weights, and other accessories to complete the look. Balloon garlands and arches can add a unique and eye-catching display to your event.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
With proper care and attention, your foil balloons can elevate any event. However, avoid the following common mistakes to ensure your decorations look their best:
1. Overinflating Balloons
Overinflating your foil ballon can lead to the balloon popping or leaking, but it may also result in a distorted or misshaped decoration. You want your “happy birthday” foil balloons to say happy birthday and not something else.
2. Not Securing Properly
If you're using helium-filled balloons, it's important to secure them properly using a balloon weight, ribbons, or other anchors. This will prevent your balloons from floating away, which also helps protect the environment by reducing balloon litter.
How to Inflate Foil Balloons
There are a few ways to inflate a foil balloon, so how you do it is up to you! Here are step-by-step guides for each method.
Using an Air Pump
Handheld balloon pumps are inexpensive, portable, and easy to use. They're ideal for inflating smaller foil balloons or when you only have a few balloons to fill. Here's how to use a hand or air pump to inflate your foil balloons:
Simply insert the pump's nozzle into the balloon's filling tab. The tab is a narrow tip with a small, self-sealing valve located at the base of the balloon.
Hold the balloon steady with one hand while using your other to pump air into the balloon. Be gentle to avoid damaging the foil.
Monitor the balloon's inflation progress. Stop pumping air when the balloon reaches its desired size and is fully inflated.
Remove the pump's nozzle from the balloon's inflation port. The valve should automatically seal, keeping the air inside.
Using an Electric Balloon Pump
An electric pump is a faster and more convenient way to blow up your balloon. These pumps don’t have helium, so they won’t float, but it will save you time. Follow these steps to use an electric balloon pump:
Plug the electric balloon pump into a power outlet.
Switch on the pump and wait for a few seconds for it to start up.
Attach your foil balloon's filling tab to the pump's nozzle.
Gently press the balloon against the nozzle to release air into the balloon.
Once the balloon is fully inflated, remove it from the nozzle, and the self-sealing valve will do the rest.
Tips: If you want to save the hassle, go to Party City and have them inflate the balloons for you!
Blowing up Balloons Manually
If you don't have access to a balloon pump or need to inflate a foil balloon in a pinch, you can do it the old-fashioned way! Keep in mind that this method will almost certainly take longer and may leave you out of breath. To inflate a foil balloon manually:
Locate the balloon's filling tab and pinch the valve open using your fingers.
Blow steadily into the balloon. Note that foil balloons may require more force than latex balloons. You can also use a drinking straw or any long, narrow tube if you find it difficult to seal your lips around the valve. Push the straw into the filling tab until it breaks the inner seal.
Stop blowing air when the balloon fully inflates and reaches its recommended size.
Release the valve, allowing it to self-seal and trap the air inside the balloon.
Filling Balloons With Helium
If you want your balloons to float, use helium! To fill the balloon with helium, follow these steps:
Purchase a helium tank or visit your nearest Party City to have your balloon inflated for you.
If you’re using your own tank, make sure it is secured and upright with the nozzle attached.
Place the balloon's filling tab onto the tank’s nozzle, ensuring a tight seal.
Slowly open the tank's valve, allowing the helium to flow into the balloon. Monitor the balloon to ensure it does not overinflate.
Close the tank valve and gently remove the balloon from the nozzle. The balloon's self-sealing valve will secure the helium inside the balloon.
Attach a ribbon or string to the balloon's anchor to keep it from floating away.
Note: Helium-filled foil balloons won’t float forever! They may start coming down after 12 to 24 hours, depending on factors like balloon size, temperature, and air pressure. You might need to top off the helium before an event to keep them afloat.
Get all the foil number and letter balloons you need from Party City! We have the best balloons for every occasion, from birthdays and graduations to holidays and themed parties. Customize your event with foil letter or number balloons, or impress your guests with a stunning balloon backdrop. Check out our extensive balloon collection online, or find a Party City near you!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you inflate foil letter balloons?
Lay out the foil letter balloon on a flat surface.
Locate the inflation valve on the balloon. It should be a small, clear plastic tab or stem sticking out from the balloon.
Insert the nozzle of a helium tank or inflator into the inflation valve. If you're using a tank, make sure the nozzle is tightly screwed onto the tank.
Slowly release helium into the balloon until it fills up. Be careful not to overinflate the balloon, as it may burst.
Once the balloon is fully inflated, carefully remove the nozzle from the inflation valve. Press down on the valve to seal it and prevent helium from escaping.
Tie a ribbon or string to the balloon's filling tab or stem, and it's ready to be used!
How long do foil letter balloons stay inflated?
Most foil balloons stay inflated for several days to a week or more, depending on the quality of the balloon and how well it is sealed. Using helium to fill the balloon will also keep it inflated longer.
How do you air down a number balloon?
To air down a number foil balloon, locate the valve stem. Push down on the valve stem with a pointed object, like a pen or key, while carefully pressing down on the balloon. This will allow air to escape slowly.
Continue pressing down on the valve stem until the balloon has deflated to your desired size. If you want to deflate it completely, gently fold it until you get rid of all the small bubbles.