A balloon arch can be a really fantastic room decoration for a party, but although they look really professional and are often only used for really special occasions such as weddings, there's no reason why you can't easily and fairly quickly create a really eye catching balloon arch for any birthday party or special event. The first thing you'll need is a disposable helium tank ideally,
because although you could buy a whole load of helium balloons pre inflated, these are going to take up a massive amount of room and require several car journeys to transport. A disposable helium tank doesn't cost much, and can be used to inflate around 50 nine inch balloons or 25 eleven inch balloons, which is going to easily be enough for a balloon arch. Next, choose your balloons. You could have plain, coloured helium balloons, ones with a special message on or even letter balloons so that the arch spells out a greeting or someone's name. Next, you'll need some fishing line and a couple of large balloon weights. Don't go for the ordinary little ones - you'll need the bigger variety as there's going to be a lot of pull on these balloons.
Tie one end of the fishing line to a balloon weight, and then hold up the fishing line roughly in position where the balloon arch will go so that you can see how much you'll need, but don't cut it just yet. If you want your balloon arch to last a good long while without sagging then a good tip is to use some Ultra High Float, which is a liquid you can use to coat the balloons, making them last much, much longer.
This is what the professionals use for weddings and public balloon displays. Now comes the process of inflating each balloon and tying it to the fishing line. You could just tie the balloon straight on to the fishing line or you could tie a small piece of line around the base of the balloon and then tie this to the fishing line.
The advantage of this is that it is slightly easy to do, and if a balloon does have an accident it's easier to replace a balloon quickly this way. As you start tying more balloons on to the arch it will obviously start to float up, and so it's a good idea to have something heavy holding the other end of the line down, otherwise you'll end up doing a lot of stretching! Once you've tied all the balloons on, and attached the weights to both ends you can move these about to get the right angle and position of the arch.
If using it as an entranceway another little touch is to tie a length of ribbon to each balloon so that this hangs down, just touching the floor. This creates a coloured curtain underneath the arch which really helps to make the whole thing look very professional. One tip I would suggest is to make sure you plan plenty of time for this. It can be a bit fiddly, and will probably take twice the amount of time you plan!
Have an extra pair of hands if possible, and have a few spare balloons and plenty of fishing line. Once you've got the idea you can be really creative, alternating colours, creating two or more arches, one inside the other (creating a rainbow perhaps) and even alternating letters with plain balloons to create a longer arch which includes a single name. You could have very long, low arches or tall narrow arches which are ideal for doorframes.
As far as weight is concerned, a typical helium balloon will lift about 5 grams, which means that an arch of 20 balloons will need about 50 grams at either end. However, what you will find in some cases is not that the balloons pull up, but that they also pull inwards, so it's usually best to double this weight. If you do create a balloon arch, please send us a photo - we'd love to share your party decorations with other readers!