The making of balloon animals and other shapes has been around for many decades. The art is called ‘balloon twisting’ and is fairly self explanatory. The artist twists the balloons into many wonderful and different shapes, many of them animals. The balloons used are usually latex and the most popular is the 260 – so called because it inflates to 2 inches by 60 inches and is a good size for many shapes.
Most balloon twisters start of learning how to make one balloon shapes and need to spend many hours practicing the various skills such as tying the balloon one-handed, making balloons within balloons and holding the twists while making other twists then twisting them all together. Once proficiency has been gained with making a variety of one balloon shapes or animals, more skill can be gained by learning how to make shapes with two or more balloons. The types of shapes is only limited by the twister’s imagination and the amount of time he has available to practice both the twisting and the ‘patter’ or story telling between the twister and his audience. The better this patter is the better the demonstration, audience participation and enjoyment of all.
In earlier years balloon twisters inflated their balloons by mouth though this is rarely done now. It takes a good set of lungs to be able to blow up balloons over a 4 or 5 hour period. Also in today’s society, many people are wary of taking something that has been in someone else’s mouth. Most balloon twisters now use some sort of pump which can be a hand pump, electric, battery or a compressed air tank. Helium is not suitable for twisting as the balloons used are too porous and the designs are too heavy. Apart from that, children especially want to hold their balloon animal or shape close and don’t want the risk of losing it. Children of all ages as well as adults love balloon animals and shapes or twisting.