Best of LA, you say?

Los Angeles Magazine, August 2019

Los Angeles Magazine, August 2019

Nifty Balloons wants to say thank you thank you thank you to Los Angeles Magazine for including us in their most recent “Best of LA” issue! This was especially humbling given that we know how many other great balloon artists in LA there are that could easily share this honor.

The photo shoot was a blast (especially thanks to Scout Raskin and her Party Goats!) and the photos came out looking very cool. Check out the LA Mag Instagram for a cool time-lapse version of Shana setting up the “Best of LA” balloon display!

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes shot from the photo session:

First time I’ve ever seen a model defecate on set! Party animals…

First time I’ve ever seen a model defecate on set! Party animals…

This is just another reminder that living in LA can be pretty cool. Now to go try out one of these brown butter chocolate chip cookies we just read about…

The Rising Cost of Helium

Helium-filled balloons are a popular request here at Nifty Balloons - and we get it! A floating balloon is simple and iconic, colorfully defying gravity!

But people are often surprised at the cost of helium balloons nowadays. We are currently in the midst of a global helium shortage that has driven the price of this once-common element through the roof!

The price of refined helium has quadrupled, and it’s only rising (no pun intended). This shocking price increase reflects the growing scarcity of a resource that is needed for a variety of medical and industrial purposes beyond party decoration.

Helium prices are… dare we say… inflated?

Helium prices are… dare we say… inflated?

Helium is used in MRI machines, breathing mixtures for divers, detecting microscopic leaks, welding certain types of metals and creating pressurized controlled atmospheres. These other uses simply have higher priority than our small business… and so balloon supply companies are not only charging much more, they often simply don’t have it in stock!

For all intents and purposes, helium is a non-renewable resource. It can be captured as a byproduct of drilling for natural gas, however the process is slow and returns are ever diminishing. There are currently attempts being made to synthesize helium, but that’s still a long way off.

The good news is there are a variety of alternatives to floating balloons with helium! Balloons can be suspended from above, affixed to supports, or twisted together in sculptures that are every bit as awe-inspiring as their helium counterparts - if not more so! Talk to Shana about the effect you’re looking to create and she will work with you to design something totally unique and Instagram-worthy, without the added cost of using a rare element in the design!

Balloon fun for Sadie’s 1st BEE-day… completely helium-free!

Balloon fun for Sadie’s 1st BEE-day… completely helium-free!

Balloons and the Environment

Balloons and greenery: a natural combination!

Balloons and greenery: a natural combination!

One of the questions we get here at Nifty Balloons is, “are balloons bad for the environment?” While the full answer to this is somewhat complicated, if used responsibly balloons decorations are one of the more environmentally ethical party supplies available.

A common misconception about balloons is that they are made out of plastic or some other synthetic material. In reality, the vast majority of balloons are made out of latex, which is 100% natural. Once popped, they take up very little space in the trash and decompose rapidly.

Proper disposal depends on the type of balloons that you’re using, as well as how you’re using them. Read on to learn more about what balloons are made of, how to care for them, and how to clean up after your event.

Latex Balloons

Latex can be harvested from over 200 different species of plant, which reduces its overall impact on the planet. This diversity of sources means that there is no need to overplant or overharvest latex, and there is little chance that there could ever be a global shortage.

Latex harvesting doesn’t harm the tree - it’s like tapping Maple syrup!

Latex harvesting doesn’t harm the tree - it’s like tapping Maple syrup!

Even though it cannot be recycled, latex is a renewable resource that takes up very little space in any landfill. Latex balloons are also biodegradable and take less than four years to decompose entirely. This is exceptionally fast when compared to the centuries that it takes most synthetic materials to break down.

Foil Balloons


Foil balloons (Mylar is a specific brand name) are made of a metalized polyester film. These aren’t as flexible and don’t tend to expand in the same way that latex can. Because of this, however, they also hold shapes better, so foil is often used to make balloon letters, numbers, or other specific shapes.

Entire walls can be made with foil balloons!

Entire walls can be made with foil balloons!

Unfortunately, foil doesn’t biodegrade like latex. However, because of this - they hold helium much longer than latex balloons (by several weeks), and if cared for can be refilled and used multiple times!

Environmentally Responsible Balloon Use

It is important that when you use balloon decorations that you remember that even though latex is biodegradable it is still trash.

Never simply release balloons into the air, even latex ones, as what goes up must inevitably come down. Releasing balloons simply make them someone else’s problem. Pop all balloons that you aren’t taking with you and put the scraps in the trash before you leave the venue. You can even turn this into a game for the kids by throwing a quick “popping party” once the regular party’s over!

Foil balloons especially should never be left behind or released into the environment. Given how long it takes them to biodegrade any Mylar balloon that you leave behind will remain indefinitely.

There are some specific laws that regulate foil balloons in California. For example, they must be attached to weights in order to avoid accidentally releasing them into the air. They pose a particular hazard to power lines and should always be well secured to avoid causing shorts, blackouts, or sparks.

Planned balloon releases, regardless of the balloon material, are both illegal and damaging to the environment.

So Remember…

Balloons are no more harmful to the environment than food waste or paper trash. You still have to remember to pick up after yourself when you’re done – but hopefully you were planning on doing that anyway! Pop all the balloons you aren’t taking with you, don’t randomly release balloons, and remember to pick up after yourself – the environment will thank you!

Feel free to contact us here at Nifty Balloons you have other questions about responsible balloon use, or if you would like to book balloon entertainment or decorations for your next event. We’re happy to discuss your party plans with you to ensure that you have an Instagram-worthy event that doesn’t put any excess pressure on the planet.

Can You Make That?

Whether it’s balloon decorations or balloon entertainment, the most common question we get from our customers is “Can you make _____?” Maybe it's your spirit animal, a favorite cartoon character, or historical president. Maybe you’re wondering if we can make a balloon arch, balloon photo backdrop, or balloon representation of the solar system.

However you fill in the blank: yes, we can make it! Balloons are just another artistic medium, just like Legos or oil paints. We can use our years of experience with the material to design you a unique, on-theme artistic creation.

Balloon Entertainment

If you’re looking for a balloon entertainer for your party, we can work with your guests to design unique, personalized pieces that fit their personalities. Batman fans love our “Batman Jetpack”. And if the princess wants a unicorn, she shall have her unicorn!

Why not a whole herd of unicorns?

Why not a whole herd of unicorns?

Bear in mind that the more complicated the creation, the longer it will take. We can schedule multiple artists and adjust the complexity and detail of our pieces in order to make sure that every party goer that wants one goes home with their very own balloon creation.

Balloon Decorations

Our team can also create personalized pieces of balloon décor for any party or theme. Some occasions have an obvious theme: a team mascot, seasonal decorations, or a royal castle. Does your party have a specific color palette? We understand the importance of matching your shades, and can replicate most Pantone shades.  Organic balloon garlands or balloon photo backdrops can really help capture the colors of your event.

We can make balloon centerpieces, sculptures, vines and bouquets. Your imagination is the only limit to what we can do. Maybe you want a balloon arch, but themed to your favorite football team, a balloon photo backdrop for those party selfies, or a balloon canopy that transforms your space entirely.

This balloon arch is pretty as a peacock.

This balloon arch is pretty as a peacock.

We’ve made floating B-2 bombers and a sculpture of the B-52’s. We’ve made balloon caricatures of Drake, The Rock, and a turkey dinner!

So can we make ___?

Yep, we can do that.

So tough, he needs TWO rescue bouys.

So tough, he needs TWO rescue bouys.

(Balloon) Dog Days! In theaters August 10th

Our balloon creations can be seen in the upcoming summer film Dog Days! Set for a release of August 10, 2018, this film features an all-star ensemble cast including Vanessa Hudgens, Eva Longoria, Tig Notaro, and Finn Wolfhard from the Stranger Things series!

Sharp-eyed viewers can even catch a glimpse of our giant balloon doggies in the newly released trailer for the film!

Jon Bass is clearly thrilled to be sharing the screen with a Nifty Balloon!

Jon Bass is clearly thrilled to be sharing the screen with a Nifty Balloon!

This was one of our favorite productions we've had the pleasure to work on! We're huge fans of Ken Marino's comedy acting, and he seemed to really relish the role of director for this new project - we can't wait to see how it turns out!

For your consideration... best balloons in a motion picture ;)

For your consideration... best balloons in a motion picture ;)

Celebrity Party Decór!

'S' is for Scarlett Sims! Photo by Gia Canali.

'S' is for Scarlett Sims! Photo by Gia Canali.

We could spend some time crafting a clever and adorable blog post explaining this lovely March party for model/actress/supermom Molly Sims, but Jen Juneau and Sarah Michaud of People Magazine have already done that for us!

We love creating custom letters and numbers to fit any party's theme or color palette... contact us today for a quote to bringing a little celebrity glam to your next event!
 

World Record Balloon Zoo

There’s one question that burns in the minds of kids and parents alike as they watch a balloon artist work: “What’s the biggest thing you can make with balloons?”

Now we have a very satisfying answer.

Our very own David Brenion was honored to be among the 50 world-class balloon artists recruited to the AEMI World Balloon Art Festival 2017 in Xiamen, China. Along with a huge team of assistants and crew, the record was achieved with 470,000 balloons used! Thanks to the modern wonder of editing and time-lapse, the entire 2-week build has been condensed to 6 amazing minutes.

 

In addition to the Official Guinness World-Record setting zoo, Dave also performed his stage show daily as part of the festivities! What an unforgettable opportunity, and undeniable proof that the love of balloons is cross-cultural.

A Commercial Success!

Being based in Los Angeles has a lot of perks!  We are frequently contacted by television and commercial production teams looking to include balloon art in their project.  Balloons add whimsy and nostalgia to any ad campaign, and we love the opportunity to work with some of the leading professionals in the media industry!  Sometimes the balloons themselves have only a fleeting moment of fame, as in this Samsung commercial

Of course, even that split second of screen time is the result of hours on set and the coordinated efforts of a HUGE team of amazingly talented (and patient) professionals.  And we'd be remiss if we didn't take the opportunity to snag one celebrity selfie with the voice behind the real protagonist of Disney's Frozen:  the effervescent Miss Kirsten Bell!

Miss Bell, unlike the rest of us mere mortals, does not   have "bad hair days"!

Miss Bell, unlike the rest of us mere mortals, does not have "bad hair days"!

We can't embed the video here... but check out this 2013 NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Year commercial for some more heavily featured balloons.  Watching NFL quarterbacks struggle to inflate a balloon was the real perk on this project!  Stick around for the blooper reel... sharp-eyed observes can catch Dave's plaid shirt (and hear his laugh) behind-the-scenes!

CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT: Put Your Best Mask Forward!

In addition to providing top notch entertainment at parties, David and Shana are also well known in the balloon industry for their best selling balloon instructional videos. And to promote the release of their latest video, Paradables, they are hosting a competition!

Go to our Facebook page NOW to enter the contest!

Nifty Balloons is looking for the best creation that utilizes the designs from our Masks tutorial. Show us your version of our Frankenstein, Santa, or Football Helmet – or better yet come up with your own unique sculpture based on our techniques.

 

Go to our Facebook page to enter the contest. Post your entry in the comments of the contest post on our page. Deadline for entry is Friday, September 2nd and the winner will be announced the following Tuesday in conjunction with the release of our brand new video:Paradables. The best mask will win its creator a free download of Paradables – valued at over $74.99! (Ooh! Aah!)

 

 

We here at Nifty Balloons believe in objectivity, so again we’re outsourcing the officiating to the pros. The judges for this contest are The Jumbo Shrimp Circus, who fittingly hired us for our first job making a Paradable in the real world at the premier of Disney's Planes movie.

 

If you still need a copy of Masks you can get it here: http://www.balloon-animals.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=57

And look for Paradables coming SOON! Enter as many sculptures as you like, and may the best twister win!

Mr. Dave Makes Balloon-kinis for a Good Cause

NB’s Dave Brenion was in Las Vegas last week contributing his talents to a charity balloon bikini build and calendar shoot.

The event was organized by longtime friend of Nifty Balloons Tawney Bubbles in order to help benefit Cure 4 the Kids, a charity that raises money to provide medical care for children in need. According to Bubbles – who was both one of the people that built bikinis and one of the people that modeled them – the goal of Cure 4 the Kids is to ensure that ”no child is denied treatment for financial reasons.”

In addition to balloon artists from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, twisters came in all the way from Arizona, Milwaukee, New York, Canada, and Australia to help create these one-of- a-kind pieces. The wearable art was fitted on to a member of the assembled team of professional models who posed for pictures and played around Tawney’s pool and studio throughout the day.

Photo by Richard faverty | Model mistie knight posing with a nifty balloons original balloon bikini

Make that mostly professional models; sharp-eyed viewers will notice that on the December page of the calendar one of Santa’s elves looks an awful lot like Mr. Dave…

Photo by richard faverty | The boys get festive

The calendar will be available for purchase within the coming months, however coverage of the event can be seen here, and you can donate to Cure 4 the Kids now at cure4thekids.org.

Welcome to The Nifty Balloon Blog!

We here at NB get asked tons of questions from our customers, friends, and even our family members (still) about this crazy, unique, and wonderful business we happen to find ourselves in.  People ask us who we are, how we got into this, and they often want to hear more about all the weird little details of life in the balloon world. We’re shocked and flattered by your curiosity, so we’re starting this blog to help answer those questions that we hear most often, as well as to share photos of our favorite creations, stories from our lives, and updates on our adventures performing across the globe. Thanks for looking in on us and enjoy all the fun stuff to come! Now: up, up, and away!