These are typical balloon twisting terms that are used amongst balloon entertainers to explain how they have created a particular balloon animal. Over the past several years the mbd2.com community and myself and been developing a glossary of terms.
Glossary of Balloon Twisting Terms
This balloon has a 12-inch diameter, measuring 40-inches in length and is manufactured Betalic LLC.
This balloon has a 1-inch diameter, measuring 30-inches in length and was manufactured by Tilly Balloons (Dipco Inc). Entertainers nick-named the 130 as the “Spaghetti” balloon, do to its close resemblance to the spaghetti noodle.
This balloon has a 1-inch diameter, measuring 60-inches in length and manufactured by Pioneer Balloon Company and Betalatex. The 160 balloon is now referred to as the “Spaghetti” balloon.
This balloon has a 2-inch diameter, measuring 60-inches in length and manufactured by several balloon manufactures. The 260 balloon is the balloon used by balloon entertainers to make balloon animals. When this balloon was first introduced entertainers referred to it as the “Pencil balloon”. Presently, balloon entertainers refer to a 260 with a letter after the number denoting the manufacture. 260Q = Qualatex or 260B = Betallatex
This balloon has a 2-inch diameter, measuring 80-inches in length and was manufactured by Tilly Balloons. This balloon is no longer in production.
This balloon has a 3-inch diameter, measuring 12-inches in length and was manufactured by Superior Balloons. This balloon is referred to as an “Air Ships”. The balloon shape reminded people of a blimp or zeppelin. This balloon is no longer in production.
This balloon has a 3-inch diameter, measuring 15-inches in length and was manufactured by Superior Balloons. This balloon replaced the 312 balloon and was dubbed as an “Air Ships”. This balloon was manufactured by Tilly Balloons and is now produced by Superior Balloons.
This balloon has a 3-inch diameter, measuring 20-inches in length and was manufactured by Tilly Balloons. This balloon was typically red and had the end of the balloon dipped a second time in green latex, creating a two color balloon. Entertainer would use these balloons to make balloon apples. This balloons soon became know as the “Apple Balloons”. This balloon is no longer in production.
This balloon has a 3-inch diameter, measuring 13-inches in length and was manufactured by Tilly and Pioneer Balloon Company. This balloon has the last 1-inch dipped into a second color, creating a two color balloon. When inflated the 321 balloon inflates to 3-inch diameter for the first several inches then tapers to a point which is the second color. Entertainers use these balloons to make bees. This balloon soon became know as the “Bee Balloons”.
This balloon has a 3-inch diameter, measuring 50-inches in length and is manufactured by Pioneer Balloon Company. The balloon has been called an Air Ships, but over the past few years Pioneer has introduced new colors and balloon entertainers are started twisting them link the 260 balloons.
This balloon has a 3-inch diameter, measuring 60-inches in length and was manufactured by Tilco International Inc. Tilco discounted this balloon, but Betallic is now producing them.
This balloon has a 4-inch diameter, measuring 18-inches in length and manufactured by Pioneer Balloon Company and Superior Balloon Company. These balloons are typically used with balloon inflated toys.
This balloon has a 5-inch diameter, measuring 24-inches in length and is manufactured Superior Balloon Company.
This balloon has a 6-inch diameter, measuring 46-inches in length and is manufactured by Pioneer Balloon Company. These balloons are typically used by balloon decorators and are very difficult to twist.
Use your index finger to press the knot into the body of the balloon. While your finger is in the balloon, use the thumb and index finger of your other hand to pinch the body of the balloon and grasp the knot inside. Remove your finger from inside the bubble, continuing to grasp the knot with your other hand. Twist the newly formed bubble, locking the knot inside the body of the balloon
Betallatex is a brand name of the Betallic, LLC which manufactures latex and foil balloons.
Bird Body (3-Bubble Roll-Through) Twist three bubbles, usually about the same length. Lock twist two adjacent bubbles together to make a pair. Now take the third bubble and carefully push it through the pair, rolling the outer two bubbles around it, so that you have three bubbles all joined together at both ends.
Bird Body Weave
A string of bird bodies (or three bubble roll through’s) created one after the other from a single or multiple balloons. Not very strong but a great base for twisting other balloons into as a core for a larger shape.
Standard hair braiding technique applied to skinny balloons. Connect all three at one end, and then fold the left, then the right balloon over the middle one and repeat.
Releasing a small amount of air from a balloon after inflation and before tying … this softens the balloon and can make it easier to twist and easier to tie.
Most likely originated by Larry Moss, this technique involves making a simple open pattern of diamonds from pairs of twisting balloons, and then using fully inflated twisting balloons looped through it to close up the shape. So named as without care or small diamonds, the result can look very random and messy, but with care and small diaonds can be very elegant and easy on the hands for large shapes.
This could also be described as a two balloon gymping weave. Two balloons run along their length in opposite directions with small spacer bubbles at each end. This repeats horizontally to give flat aeroplane wing-like effect.
This twist from Magic George (UK) is a combination of raisintwist and hooktwist/tuliptwist. The difference compared to a regular tuliptwist is that, after you push the nozzle inwards, you point it towards the outer skin of the balloon. Then grab it from the outside of the balloon as if it were a raisin. Reasons for using this technique: efficient combination of tulip and raisin at the same time, re-positioning of the nozzle/connectionpoint to get a smooth surface on the side of the balloon.
Gayla is a brand name of the Gayla Industries Inc which manufactures latex balloons.
A weaving technique for making open shapes with one balloon per side of the shape. EG a square would have 4 balloons, a triangle 3 balloons and an M would have 16. Thought to be invented by the Sorrels.
This twist is a variation on the apple twist. Pushing the nozzle into the balloon as far as you can with one finger. If you bend the balloon a bit you can reach further along the wall of the balloon. Grab the nozzle through the wall of the balloon and twist the same way you would in making an apple twist. Then carefully work your finger out of the balloon. The balloon will form a hook shape.
A weave using two balloons, folded in half and looped around and through each other, similar to the game of leapfrog. The end result looks somewhat like a plaited horsetail in dressage.
Open structure weaving technique using pairs of balloons twisted into each other to make diamonds. A very fast way to make a large 3d shape. Can even be a closed shell if the diamonds are made small enough.
Take the ends of 2 simple twists and pull them together to form 2 side by side bubbles. Rotate them 360 degrees to lock in place.
A pop twist begins as a pinch twist, then divided or “split” that bubble into two smaller bubbles by carefully twisting the ear in half, then make another bubble (the bubble that will be popped) then make another ear twist and split. Pop the center bubble.
Prestige is a brand name of the Tilco International Inc which manufactures latex balloons.
Qualatex is a brand name of the Pioneer Balloon Company which manufactures latex and foil balloons.
A soft bubble is a bubble that is squeezed slightly when twisted, thus reducing the air pressure in the bubble and making it soft and pliable.
The Spaghetti balloon or the 130 balloon was first manufactured by Tilly Balloons and when production stopped, Pioneer Balloon Company and Betallic started producing of a new 160 balloon which is now referred to a the “Spaghetti” balloon.
Supertex is a brand name of the Superior Balloon Company which manufactures latex and mylar balloons.
Layered weaving technique using layers of three or more balloons tied together and stacked on top of each other. The bottom-most balloons are then wrapped over the top-most layer and the process is repeated with the new bottom-most layer. Creates a large strong trunk-like structure.
A simple and easy to make fully positional series of bubbles from 2 balloons. Made from a series of 3 bubble sections, with one bubble from one balloon, then two slightly smaller ones from the other balloon and twisted together at the end.
True Flat Weave
Exactly like the two balloon wide flat weave except it is only one balloon high. This is achieved by making the spacer bubbles twice as long as the width of the balloons, so each section can lie flat next to each other. Charles Dolbel may be the original creator, but others may well have come up with it themselves as well.
The word is a balloon entertainer’s slang for an individual who twists or manipulates balloons into shapes.
Where a regular birdbody (or three bubble rollthrough) would use three equally sized bubbles, the unequal birdbody uses one bubble of different size – either larger or smaller. This results in a more bended shape seen in nature, compared to the evenly proportioned but slightly artificial ovale shape of an equally sized birdbody.
Unique is a brand name of the Unique Industries Inc which manufactures latex balloons.
Common open weave using multiple vertical balloons joined by horizontal balloons to create the appropriate shape. Involves a lot of breaking and tying of the horizontal balloons compared to gymping but is often easier to keep the shape accurate.