The secret behind balloon yard art: Poles
Balloon yard art is nothing new, as balloon decorators have been creating arches, columns, and pool decor for decades. With Covid-19 canceling many parties and entertainers seeking work, the balloon yard art niche has grown this year.
A popular question is what pole do you recommend for balloon yard art? The followed up question is, “What are you making?”
Outside balloon decor is determined by design and size. Air-filled arches fall over in the wind and require a support structure. The bigger the balloon design, the greater the balloon surface to catch wind and fall over.
Sand, water, and lifting weights have been used to anchor balloon yard art, and some decorators have had to use a fishing line, aka—monofilament line, to tie down a display.
Balloon Yard Art Poles Types
EMT or Electric Metallic Tube (conduit) is the most popular used pole. Conduit is a lightweight, inexpensive, sturdy pole that can be easily bent into an arch. Along with multiple angle connectors, it lends itself to be the popular choice among decorators. Conduit is easy to cut and hammer into the ground and is rigid enough not to bend in the wind.
Multiple Conduit Poles.
Depending on the balloon design, hammering a conduit into the ground with a 3-foot balloon suspend from the tops is impossible. The solution is to use a 3/4 conduit pipe, 2-foot in length, and drive the 3/4 conduit pipe 6 to 8-inches into the ground. Use 1/2 inch conduit pipe for the balloon decor pole and slide the 1/2 conduit pipe into the 3/4 tube. Tape the 3/4 and 1/2 inch joins together, and you now have a rigid pole.
PVC pipe is very lightweight and easily bends when doing a sizeable horizontal span. Because of its flexibility, you can use it for making arches but require a stand to hold the PVC to the ground. Do not assume that half-inch PVC is comparable to 1/2 conduit. If you are looking to get as rigid as 1/2-conduit, you must upgrade to a 3/4 PVC pipe. PVC is suitable for indoors and only OK for outdoors
If you go to your local hardware store, you find 4 to 5-foot gardening poles. These poles are green plastic coded steel poles that have textured or bumpy ridges on the pole. Used for gardening, they are lightweight, inexpensive, and can be cut down if needed. Do not try to hammer these stakes into the ground as the pole’s top will spit, splinter, or worse yet, the pole will bend. Garden poles are useful for balloon box numbers or letters as they slide into the box easily. You can purchase green garden poles for under a dollar a pole.
Bamboo poles are lightweight, easily cut but come with some problems. Being an all-natural pole, the thickness is inconsistent, and sharp branch joints have to be removed. Bamboo is easy to cut with a coping saw, and sandpaper can smooth out any rough spots. The upside to bamboo poles is their natural resources and are sold in packs of 24, making them the cheapest of all the poles. The downside is bamboo rods can snap in strong winds or pushing into hard ground.
Driveway markers are fiberglass 1/8-inch rods painted orange and have reflective tape marking the top half of the rod. These are lightweight, strong, and bend easily in the wind. Cost-wise, driveway markers are the most expensive of the rod options.
PVC or EMT.
EMT (conduit) can be shaped and model to any configuration. PVC is flexible and can be a model when heated. However, when it comes to over rigidity and void of unwanted bends, conduit it the best option.
To bend the conduit, use this tool.
Let’s face it, anything that is under 1/2 in diameter, smooth, and has rigidity can be used for balloon decor pole. It boils down to the environment, the display is installed, and the balloon art’s design size.
I hope this article has made it easier for you to find the right pole to use for your balloon yard art display.
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