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A Guide to Balloon Decoration


Balloons can easily transform a normal room into a lovely celebration venue. Table arrangements fill the room with colour and add a new dimension. Room arrangements are more subtle but look lovely at the entrance, on the dance floor or dotted around the room.

Shop here for our balloon ranges and here you can print or download a copy of this balloon guide in PDF format

Balloon decoration may seem like hard work but by spending a few moments reading these guidelines you can achieve professional results relatively easily.

Watch our video demonstration of making balloon decorations on Youtube


Balloons give a wonderful effect, immediately set the celebration theme and transform a room quickly and cost effectively. Here are some colour combination ideas:


Mixed primary colours, mixed shades of blues or pinks, combinations of two or three colours, single colours, football and rugby club colours.


Often gold, silver, ivory or white is used as a base. The following combinations look lovely:

Pastels: pink, green, ivory, lilac

Magenta and Ivory

Pale Pink and Ivory

Lilac and Ivory

Shades of blue

Gold and Ivory

Lilac and purple

Burgundy and Gold

Red and Ivory

Lilac, silver and white

Pale Pink and white

All white or ivory , looks stunning

The list is almost endless.


Pale pink or pale blue and white are the most popular combinations.

Helium (floating) Balloon Decorations - Quantities required

Table Decorations:

We recommend three latex or two foil balloons per decoration. For latex three works very well - more than three is usually too much, whereas less than three can make the decoration look a bit flat. Foil balloons are different because you can get different shapes and because they are significantly bigger than latex balloons, so two per table is idea.

Floor Decorations:

We recommend a minimum of five latex balloons per decoration and a minimum of three foils. Odd numbers usually look better than even. You can always add more balloons but once you go beyond seven latex balloons you just take up space without adding much to the effect


For each arrangement you will need a weight which needs to be heavy enough to support all the balloons and ribbon. The ribbon must be non metallic for latex balloons as metallic ribbon can cut latex balloons. For table decorations you need about 1.5 metres per balloon, for floor decorations you need about 2.25m per balloon.

Obtaining Helium

Disposable canisters:

Small canisters can be obtained from some supermarkets such as Asda, and from Clinton Cards or you may find some on-line (we don't supply gas canisters by post as specialist carriers are required to courier helium and this would make it very expensive). These canisters will fill between 15 - 22 11 diameter balloons. The cost will vary but this can be quite an expensive way to fill balloons particularly if you have quite a number to fill, as you may need several canisters.

Re-useable canisters:

The alternative is to hire a small helium canister from an agent of Air Products:

Air Products helium supplies

They have canisters of various sizes for hire and have depots all over the UK. The link above will give you the name and address of your nearest depot.

Which type of balloon?

There are two main types of balloons available: latex and foil.

Foil Balloons

Standard foil balloons can be inflated with helium and are self sealing (see notes below) which means you don't need to knot them. They also have a valve which means that they should stop accepting helium when they are full - just inflate gently with helium until the valve automatically switches off and tie to a ribbon. This will only work if you fill the balloons slowly and it is possible to burst the balloon if you overfill it. Foil balloons should be filled so that the shape of the balloon is apparent BUT there is still some give in the side of the balloon when pressed. If the balloon is filled so that it is tight a seam is likely to burst and the balloon will either pop or slowly leak out helium. The moral of this – ‘be careful and cautious when you fill them. Foil balloons last for 2-3 days.

There are some smaller foils available which are placed on a stick and cup. These are filled with air and need to be machine sealed.

Foil balloons must never be released outside as they do not bio-degrade. If you take them outside always ensure that they are weighted or firmly tied to a heavy object.

Latex Balloons

Latex balloons can be filled with air or helium depending on the quality of the balloon. You will often see large quantities of balloons for sale at very low prices but they may not be good enough quality to take helium or they may take the helium but deflate after a very short time. Helium quality latex balloons are thicker than standard balloons and often appear much darker in colour when un-inflated than when inflated.

Decorator quality latex balloons last for 12-16 hours when filled with helium and so DON'T do them the day before. On the day keep the room aired but keep the filled balloons out of direct sunlight until you need them.


Our standard balloons measure 11" (27cm) diameter. Place a chair this distance from the wall or table and place the inflated balloon in the gap to ensure that they are evenly filled. This will give a professional appearance and ensure that helium balloons last for the maximum length of time possible.

Tying Latex Balloons

Watch our Youtube video which shows you how to tie a balloon.

Latex balloons need to be tied and this is in fact very easy if you know how the professional balloon decorators do it. Here is a brief explanation - try this out using a balloon with air, then if you don't get it for the first couple of balloons you won't have wasted precious helium:

This method allows you to tie the ribbon and balloon together in one action and also allows the balloon to be adjusted on the ribbon if you need to change its height.

1) Hold the neck of the balloon in your left hand between your fore finger and middle finger.

2) Rest the ribbon in your left hand between your thumb and fore finger.

3) Stretch the neck of the balloon around the top of your thumb and fore finger and pull towards the left of the balloon. Pull right around the back of the balloon and your fore finger until the next reaches your thumb and fore finger.

4) Open your thumb and fore finger and pull the neck through.

5) The balloon can be moved up and down the ribbon. Moisten the ribbon and gently move the balloon along it.

This does work! Try the technique a few times on an un-inflated balloon and then fill one with air and try again. Do this a few days before your event and you will save lots of time on the day.


Tying a latex balloon

Preparing and Arranging Helium Filled Balloons


It is recommended that you prepare as much as you can before the day of the event. Ensure you have enough balloons, weights and ribbon and cut the ribbon for each arrangement and tie it to the weights using a double knot. This will mean that on the day of the event all you have to do is inflate the balloons and knot and tie them to the ribbon. Don't forget to take a tape measure with you on the day.


Foil balloons should self seal (but please read notes above) and so once filled with helium they can be tied to the ribbon.

Latex balloons need to be filled according to the diameter of the balloon. The diameter is usually stated on the pack or on the web site. If filled correctly you will minimise balloon bursts and maximise floating time. Your arrangements will also be of a professional standard as all balloons will be equal in size. In order to fill the balloon to the correct size place a chair with its back the stated diameter from a wall or another object, then simply fill the balloon until it is a snug fit into the gap.

Once you have filled the balloon you need to tie it to the ribbon.

For table arrangements place the base of the lowest balloon about 26 inches/ 66 cm from the base of the weight. This will allow people to see each other when seated. Layer the other balloon(s) above this one so that they are overlapping but tiered.

For floor arrangements tie the top balloon first and layer downwards to make sure that you have enough space for all your balloons.

Curling The Ribbon

The ribbon which is hanging from the base of the balloon should be curled. Balloon ribbon has a slight curl to it. Use the closed scissor blades on the base of the ribbon which is the side which is curling away from you. Pull these closed blades gently along the ribbon in one movement and the ribbon will gently curl. You may want to practice this a few days before the event to ensure you produce a professional result.


Curling Ribbon with closed scissors

Place your balloons and enjoy the celebration.

REMEMBER: Balloons are a serious choking hazard and must not be given to or be within reach of babies and young children.

HELIUM is very dangerous and is an asphyxiant. Never breath helium - it can kill.

It is your responsibility to make sure that you fill the balloons in a safe manner. Use a trolley to carry helium and ensure that people aren't close to you while you complete the decoration. Wear ear plugs and goggles if you are worried about bursting balloons – they can be pretty loud and sting if the latex hits you!

For all enquiries, including those regarding orders please ring us on 0800 5677850.