Developing and Designing Balloon Animals

It was a quiet day at the restaurant where I performed comedic balloon entertainment, so I used the slow evening to create this fire-breathing Dragon.  A little girl was watching, and when I was done, guess who got it?


Here is a side view of the Dragon.  It is never easy to take a picture of a balloon animal design, especially when you have a lot of detail in the balloon animal.  You can never get an angle that shows off the model.

The Dragon took about 10-15 minutes to create.  Mostly because I was playing around with the head design, typically, it should only take 2-4 minutes to complete the whole Dragon once developed.


Well, it was one of those sleepless nights when my mind was working overtime, and the Dragonhead developed a little further.  Here is a picture of what I created in my head.  I chose purple, thinking it would look cool, but I forgot that purple is tricky when working with photos.  Many times it seems bluer the purple.


Now, here’s the funny part.  After I built the head, it no longer looked like a Dragon but more like a Werewolf. Yes, this is how balloon entertainers develop new balloon animal designs.  We start with a concept in our head, begin to build it, and presto, create something different from what we set out to accomplish.

So here is a closeup of the Werewolf head.


To give the Werewolf a menacing look–make the balloon bubble between eyes wider at the top and tapers to the bottom.

Here is the complete design, which started as a Dragon and wound up being a Werewolf.


A picture can never really show the exact size of an object, so here is my 2.5-year old son Carter holding the Werewolf.


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Would you mind leaving me your thought?  So many people look at these pictures and don’t comment. Even a long-time professional balloon entertainer like me likes to hear words of encouragement.

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22 thoughts on “Developing and Designing Balloon Animals”

  1. I like them both – and look forward to a tutorial on how to do the dragon’s fire – it’s so effective 🙂

  2. Dale, nice work! Wow, you’re fast! There’s no way I could make something that detailed in under 5 minutes…by the way:how do I go about getting one of those ‘slow nights at the restaurant’ that I keep hearing so much about? lol. Once I start, I don’t get a chance to stop! lol. It’s probably because you’re so fast…
    Personally, I like the Werewolf better. It should work out for you nicely when ‘the Wolfman’ comes to theaters! Nice work on the dragon, too, tho. How DID you make the fire?

  3. Dale,

    I have a question. I have noticed on my facebook and different sites that there are a lot of really good designs and I love them. I think these 2 are great. When do you have time to make them? 90% of my work is “line” work or condensed birthday paries and I only have time for 2-3 minutes per balloons . Granted, I will mke the birthday child alarger sculture.

    Thanks for your time Dale.

  4. Crystal’s right – that fire is great!
    Whenever I see a comment like “this should only take 2-4 minutes once you know how it’s made”, I never know whether to think “OK; keep twisting and I’ll eventually get that fast” or just shake my head and put the kit down .. but I love twisting balloons so that’s never *really* a possibility. Guess I’ll just have to keep minding the magic P’s : practice, patience, and persistence. 🙂

  5. Getting things down fast is based on 25+ years of preforming. I typically can spend close to 20 hours a week twisting balloon at restaurants, private parties, and corporate events. The designs I work on require multiple balloons which typically require fewer twists or should I say less smaller twist. This allows me to increase my speed.

    I personally stride to take basic design and keep working on them until the look really cool. However, in doing this I remove detail which does increase speed. Typically I’ll focus on one design which increase twisting speed. This is one reason you can see some really cool balloon design on the internet, they may use multiple balloons size which can slow down a design. Plus, I’m old school and don’t like carrying more balloons then needed.

    And Yes, Kat… practice, practice, and more particle, but focus on only a few design – 10-15. Make the goal to be able to complete them in under 4 minutes, better yet 3. You’ll be surprise that in just a couple months you be able to do it too.

    Plus, Keep it simple, forget about stuffing balloons, marriage joints, rains twists, and all those specially twists. Stick to the basics and you will increase your speed. Unless your selling videos, then you need to use them. 😉

  6. I think they are both great Dale! I really like how you did the fire, so unique. I haven’t seen very many werewolves that are relatively quick, this one works.(but where are the fangs? Very nice work 🙂

  7. I’m not a big fan of the fangs. I did them on the Dragon, because I had the time. Typically, this is one of those details I would drop, if I was working a larger crowd.

  8. Thanks Donna, Armida and Ruben for the nice words – appreciate it! Luckily for me the balloon business is going good. I did some marketing early in the year which helped for most of the late spring and summer. Now I getting ready to do some marketing again for Nov and Dec and thinking of some new projects to promote for Jan-Mar. Hopefully the economy will improve and so will the booking for early 2010.

  9. Hi Dale…Have had problems with computer, but my lady sent your post to me… WOW.. love them… Also great to see your son, both look great… May the great spirit keep your hands twisting… Rickiddie Rick

  10. i don’t know if anyone mentioned it but by giving him a mane and some horns he could look like disney’s beast..and you could place him next to belle… were one of my first inspirational may see the frog and the monkeys….i hope to catch one of your performances if you are ever in jersey!

    if you visit my website visit the page marked ” other goodies ” that is where the balloons are.

  11. Outstanding work Dale! I am not a balloon artist, however, I have recently developed and interest in balloon art. Where do you get your balloon supplies? I live in the Caribbean.

  12. Amazing! I love it. Do you mind sharing a step by step method on making these two? I’m not good at reverse engineering and would love to make these.

  13. I really like your balloons I will work with a balloon and if it turns out to be something else the kids just think thats what I am doing. I con’t do alot with that much detail it seems to take me too long.
    I am not very fast escept with the ones I have done alot. so I guess i need to practice huh? good job though love looking at your work I have only been twisting for a yr.

  14. Texas Rose, In the beginning nobody’s fast. I just picked a design and stuck with it. Over time I became faster and more efficient. Once you made the same design for 5-10 years and know 5-7 different versions it’s easy.

    I am going on 28-years of entertaining and I’m still learning. Welcome to the world of balloon twisting.

  15. The “werewolf” does me think of “Coyote” from Road Runner.

    Both designs are very nice, and as stated by all the others, HOT fire !!

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