Experienced balloon artist and owner of Balloon Artworks, Melanie Allen CBA gives her take on the difference behind the very popular aquas, Bubbles and Clearz balloons.
As with all art, balloon techniques can be subjective. With that in mind, Melanie – who also runs an online balloon training programme – has given her take on the important distinctions between the aqua balloons, the Qualatex Deco Bubbles and the Anagram Clearz.
“How do I decide which type of bubble balloon is the best one to use?” said Melanie. “Perhaps unhelpfully, the answer is any of them, depending on the circumstances! They each have their place, so it’s important to know how they differ and where to use them.”
“Over the last year, aquas have become my preferred bubble-type balloon for several reasons. Firstly, their unrivalled clarity and brilliance. They catch the light really well, so if you’ve got a beautifully lit room, they reflect the light and look absolutely magical.
Once you’ve mastered a few basic techniques, you’ll quickly find the aqua balloons are easy to inflate, simple to tie off and are incredibly versatile. They are also much more robust than you would imagine and are incredibly reliable. They are available in four different sizes, ranging from three inches to 31-inches (inflated sizes).
The aquas do have some downsides. People are not familiar with this new product and it’s not immediately apparent how to use them. because they can be inflated to any size within their recommended minimum and maximum ranges, it can be difficult to calculate the cost of helium, or know how long the balloon will float and how much weight it can carry.
Some may consider the price of the aqua balloons to be a downside, but I simply consider them to be a premium product and price accordingly.”
“Qualatex’s Deco Bubbles are by far the best known of the clear bubble-type balloons. They’re an excellent product and enjoy good float life, provided you don’t overload them. They’re easy to customise and stay looking good for quite some time. Certainly vinyl will stay looking good on an Deco for much longer than on an aqua balloon.
Decos can be tricky to tie-off using a 160 and are available in two sizes – 20 inches and 24 inches. The Deco has also been a victim of its own popularity, with stocks in the UK running low before the busy Christmas period.
I tend to use Decos for those customers who want their balloons to last for a few weeks after their event or who are looking for a balloon gift that the recipient can enjoy for a few weeks.”
“I was privileged enough to get a preview of the Clearz at Amscan’s Balloonin’ Marvellous event in October. We’re days away from the Clearz being made available here in the UK, so I’ve not yet had the opportunity to put them through their paces, but I’m very much looking forward to doing so.
The biggest advantage the Clearz have is that they have a valve, so they’re going to appeal to anyone who wants to inflate-and-go. They will also be available in a range of soft coloured tints. The Clearz also have the advantage that you can cut off the valve if you want to create special effects inside the balloon.
Having more options is always a good thing, so I think the Clearz will be a great addition to the bubble family.”
Melanie, who owns Balloon Artworks, also currently offers the only UK-based comprehensive online training resource available for aqua balloons. The ‘Aqua Balloon Techniques’ series comprises 17 video episodes totalling 100 minutes’ of step-by-step tutorials.
“I’ve tried to keep kept each episode fairly short – typically between three and eight minutes,” she explained. “I’m very aware of how time-pressured people are and these videos are perfect for anyone who wants to learn about Aqua balloons, but hasn’t got the time to attend face-to-face training.”
“The episode format means people can work through the course in short bursts. It’s clear which techniques are covered in each episode, so anyone who wants to recap on a particular technique at a later date can easily find what they’re looking for.”