In this three part article, I will be addressing the top 3 questions asked by beginning balloon entertainers. In part 1 of 3, I will be discussing balloon stuffing.
Question 1. What do you use to stuff a balloon inside a balloon?
Answers: An elastrator, stuffing tube, force insertion, pre-inflation, The Magic Pipe, Conwin Insider Stuffing Tool, and Keepsafe Balloon Stuffer.
Elastrator is a tool designed to castrate male livestock, typically used on a bull calf. Elastration is placing a banding over the testicles, which shuts off the blood supply to the testicle, causing the testicle to be reabsorbed or fall off.
The elastrator can be used to stretch open the nozzle of a balloon, allowing objects to be dropped or forced into a deflated balloon.
Using a elastrator allows objects to be inserted into a balloon freely with the balloon wrapped around the object, which typically happens with force insertion. The elastrator gives the user the ability to stuff multiple objects into the balloon by inflating the balloon after the object has been inserted and moving it to the bottom of the balloon. This process is done repeatedly until the desired number of objects is inserted.
Stuffing Tube – I first learned about this technique from a Ralph Dewey article in BalloonHQ. Dewey used a drinking container and created a tool to insert smaller objects into a 350 balloon.
Force Insertion – this is the process of forcing an object, or balloon inside an inflated 260, 350, or 464 balloon. The larger balloon is inflated and depending on the design, the object is pushed from the front or back of the balloon.
If the object is force inserted from the nozzle side, the nozzle is encapsulated around the object. If you start at the end of the balloon, you will eliminate the bump caused by the nozzle.
This technique will cause a layer of balloon to be wrapped around the inserted object. Once the object is forced to the end of the balloon, the outer layer of the balloon is popped. The encased object is now being squeezed by the balloon, and when you inflate the remaining balloon,the object is free to move about, but may be distorted due to the pressure of the collapsed balloon.
Once the object is inserted, inflate remaining balloon.
Pre-inflation is the process of simply stuffing one balloon inside another balloon.
Decorators use this technique to create realistic faces and body parts that you see in competitions. The stuffing of multiple balloons along with using different shapes creates contours of the balloon figure’s face.
The Magic Pipe by Qualatex – This little tube allows a balloon entertainer to stuff small objects into a 260 balloon .
Demo video produced by T. Myers Magic.
Conwin Insider Stuffing Tool.
Keepsake Balloon Stuffer – These machines have been around for years and are used place objects in a crystal clear balloon.
Balloon stuffing is still evolving and new techniques are being developed. I have heard about, but not seen, homemade machines based on the Keepsafe concept, that are long tubes, allowing the artist to use 350 and 646 balloons. These longer balloon lengths allow the fabrication of realistic arms, legs, and when deflated, the outside balloon transforms into the skin of the object