More than a month has passed since Mila’s first birthday party – and the balloon garland I created for her special day is still holding strong.
Granted, the balloons have long been hidden out of sight, piled away inside the master clawfoot tub. Frankly, not everyone gets as excited about a house-full of balloons as I do – our one-year-old included. But I didn’t have the heart to pop them, so into the tub they went.
The clawfoot tub is rarely put to use anyway – a surprise to no one.
The upside of this balloon predicament is that our bathroom now looks quite festive. There’s nothing quite as uplifting as a tub-full of balloons to greet you every morning.
When I first shared the balloon garland on Instagram, I received lots of questions. So today I’m showing you just how easy it is to create one of these masterpieces – in case, you know, you too want a tub-full of balloons to greet you every morning, too. Or maybe you’re planning a party, in which case a balloon garland would make more sense. But who am I to judge, ha!
Let’s get to it. Here are the only supplies you’ll need to buy:
- Balloon arch tape
Really, that is it. I told you it was the easiest DIY ever!
I’m sure you’ve seeing a plethora of DIY balloon arch tutorials floating (no pun intended) around Pinterest, but I promise you my version is the easiest. It involves no chicken wire, no low-heat glue gun, no special balloon glue dots, and no PVC pipes.
Step 1: Blow up the balloons in various sizes.
Sure, it feels wasteful not to blow them up as big as possible, but your garland will look more dimensional and interesting if the balloons vary in size.
Also, if using multiple colors, make sure you’re alternating which colors as you alternate sizes. For example, you don’t want all the pink balloons to be tiny, while all the white balloons are massive.
As far as the actual blowing-up part, you have a couple options: you can, obviously, use your mouth (most time-consuming but still doable – take it from this pregnant lady!), or an air compressor (we happen to own one from the many, many renovation projects we’ve done), or a hand-held air pump (I used a pump meant for blowing up a yoga ball – and it worked like a charm).
Whichever method you use, there’s really no reason to go out and buy a special balloon pump – unless you just really, really want to. There’s also no need to pump them with helium.
A handy tip for blowing up the confetti balloons: add a drop of water inside the balloon and separate as many confetti pieces as you can before you start blowing it up. This’ll help the confetti stick to the sides of the balloon rather than congregate in a pile in the middle. If you’re blowing these up days in advance, though, know that the water will likely dry up in a few days, resulting in confetti falling to the bottom of the balloon.
Below is a full list of all the different balloons I purchased for this project. I ended up using only about 60 percent, so keep that in mind. The jumbo balloons – although they have the highest cost per item – are a great way to add visual interest. You’ll only need a couple for major impact.
- 36-Inch Giant Latex Balloons in Light Pink (6-Pack)
- 12-Inch Latex Balloons in White and Light Pink and Rose Red (100 Pieces)
- 12-Inch Gold Confetti Balloons (2 Packs with 20 Pieces in Each Pack)
- 10-Inch Latex Balloons in Blush (24-Pack)
Step 2: Unroll a bit of the balloon arch tape, and start attaching the balloons, making sure to alternate the colors and sizes.
Contrary to what the name may lead you to believe, balloon arch tape is not actually sticky. It’s just a clear plastic strip with perforated holes. I ordered the 50-foot roll, because it was a better deal. I only used about half of it, though.
To attach the balloons, all you have to do is pull the knot through each perforated hole in the tape. I alternated sides in hopes of fitting more, but I don’t think it made much difference. The closer-together you attach the balloons, the fuller your garland will be. As you add more balloons, the tape tends to twist around a bit; don’t fret, it just adds a more interesting shape to the end result.
Step 3: Attach the balloon garland wherever you see fit.
I’ve seen tutorials that instruct you on building stands out of PVC pipes in order to attach the garland; all I have to say about that is: who has the time?!
All I did to attach mine was take down some artwork off a wall, thread a ribbon that I had on-hand through one of the perforated holes, and hang the ribbon on the nail on which the artwork previously hung. You could also attach the garland to curtain rods as another alternative, or make smaller bunches of the balloons and simply scatter them around the house – which I also did.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is it! Tell me this isn’t the easiest DIY tutorial you’ve seen yet?! And it makes for such pretty pictures! (Check out Mila’s birthday party post here.)
Balloons are a fun way to add major impact to a special event without necessarily having to stick to a specific theme – my plan all along. Below are a couple more super easy decor ideas from Mila’s party that you can easily incorporate into your next event.
Arrange bouquets of fresh flowers.
Flowers are an easily-accessible way to decorate for a special event. No need to hire a florist – just head to your local grocer and purchase several bouquets in the colors of your choice. If your event is of a bigger scale, I like to order flowers in bulk from sites like Sam’s Club or Costco.
Of course, floral availability and variety does depend on the season. If available, opt for large flowers like peonies, mums and gerber daisies. You’ll only need a few for a luscious bouquet, so don’t be alarmed by the price per stem.
Unfortunately, the idea of flower arranging flowers can be quite intimidating for some people. As a result, the natural tendency is to buy a bouquet, place it in a vase, and call it a day.
Please, for the love of flowers, never-ever do this. First of all, flower stems must be trimmed before you place them in the water. The fresh cut helps the stem absorb water, making the bouquet last longer. Also cut off all leaves that are below water level.
Speaking of trimming, if your vase is 6 inches tall, and your flowers are 12, do not be afraid to trim the stems much, much shorter. The rule of thumb is the flower head should be about half an inch above the vase rim. Combine and arrange the flowers at various height levels for maximum visual interest, and be sure to add some greenery (I typically just scavenge our yard).
I also like to add small groupings of flowers to the top of the cake and any other places that feel lacking in decor. Just make sure you do this no more than a few hours before the event, so the flowers don’t wilt.
Scatter gold confetti everywhere.
What’s a party without confetti – am I right?
Instead of going out and buying packs of confetti, I just cut open a couple of the gold confetti balloons and used the confetti from there. The pieces are quite large – about an inch in diameter – so you’ll only needed a handful to add a festive touch to every flat surface imaginable.
Because of their larger size, these confetti pieces aren’t as annoying as smaller alternatives when time comes to clean up.
Write a special message on a mirror.
Calligraphy on a mirror is a popular decorative prop for weddings, but there’s no reason you can’t add that touch of grandeur to your own special occasion. A calligrapher may not be in the budget for you, and maybe your own handwriting isn’t the greatest – but simply hand-lettering a message on a mirror is special enough and adds that personalized aspect to your party decor.
I use liquid chalk markers in white and will typically have some on-hand from previous projects. You can easily find them on Amazon in singles as well as in bulk, and some even come in metallic colors! To erase, simply spray with Windex and wipe away.
As for the mirror, I just used one that was already hanging in our home. No need to buy anything extra.
Create an easy “My First Year” photo collage.
When decorating for a special event, as you can see I am all about using items I already own. For “Mila’s First Year” photo compilation, I used yet another round mirror we had hanging on the fireplace. Another plus of using items you already have hanging is that they’re likely already in a prominent place in your home, so there’s no need to drill additional nail holes.
Walgreens offers same-day photo printing, so I sent over my 12 chosen pictures and picked them up later that day. The 4×6″ option is the least expensive at $0.23 per photo, and oftentimes the website runs special promotions where you can order 70+ photos for as low as $0.10 each. If you’re like me and you put off developing photos throughout the year, it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up!
I used good ol’ double-sided tape to attach the photos to the mirror in a somewhat straight fashion. You’re more than welcome to use a ruler; I just relied on my OCD, ha!
Shop the post, by category:
PARTY DECOR + SUPPLIES: Jumbo light pink balloons | Blush balloons | Gold confetti balloons | Gold confetti | Balloon arch tape | White, light pink and rose red balloons | Fuchsia roses | Peach carnations | Light pink Peruvian lilies | Double-sided tape | White liquid chalk marker