My mom is on a crew of volunteers at her church called The Glitter Team. They create all the decorations for special church events by reusing and repurposing donated items as well as combining new materials to make beautiful original decorations.
One thing they hadn’t done yet was build a balloon arch, so this year for the 4th of July concert I showed them how to make one using a balloon arch kit I purchased. It made a fantastic walk-through arch and a great photo spot for lots of people at the event!
How to Make a Balloon Arch?
Making a balloon arch is very similar to making a balloon garland. The big difference is that with a freestanding balloon arch you can place it pretty much anywhere indoors without having to tape it to anything to get it to stay in place, and outdoors you can use ropes & stakes to get secure it to the ground.
I’ll show you the specifics below of how I made this 10 foot wide arch that people could walk under.
Products Used for this Project
- Balloon arch kit (9 foot tall by 10 foot wide)
- Electric double balloon inflator
- 132 9-inch balloons total for the arch (the 99 Cents Only store had the best prices on balloons in my area)
- Bonus — one kit of 2 freestanding balloon columns to match the picture at the top of this post (those took 28 balloons each, so 56 more balloons total)
Disclaimer: These are affiliate links on Amazon, so if you purchase any I get a small commission and send you my thanks for helping create more content! :)
Balloon Garland Strip
If you’ve got a defined area, like a doorway, pergola, arbor, etc. you can definitely use a balloon garland strip to get your balloons lined up and tie or tape the strip up to make the arch. A balloon garland strip like this one from Amazon will do the trick just fine. At my mom’s church, the area was way too big to tape up strips so a freestanding balloon arch kit made a much better impact for the 4th of July celebration.
Balloon Arch Kit
While there are lots of DIY methods to create a balloon arch from scratch, with the cost materials today I opted for a commercially available balloon arch kit to use for this event. You know what? I was very happy I did and there’s a link to the product below in case you want to buy it from Amazon.
I chose the 9 foot by 10 foot balloon arch kit from seller “Chamvis” on Amazon. When I bought it this balloon arch kit was under $30 US and while it’s not some super-well-constructed amazing product, its simple design is actually welcome because it was super easy to use.
To assemble the kit just stick the tent-style collapsible pole together — but fair warning you need a lot of room when you do, it’s over 15 feet long when assembled! Then you fill up the square vinyl bags with water to weigh down the ends of the balloon arch (technically, you could also use sand but I’d think the grains would do damage to the inside of the bags over time).
I read some reviews where people complained about these bags leaking, but I left them filled at home for over a week to make sure they held the water well and the did not leak at all. I didn’t want to risk a water spill in the church with hundreds of people attending the event.
Once the water bags are filled you set them on top of the round plastic discs for stability and place the PVC style short pipes through the vinyl water bags and into the plastic discs.
Now that you’ve got the bottom stands ready, you simply take the super long tent pole you assembled and stick it in one bottom stand, then walk waaaaaaay over to the other stand and slip in the other side of the pole. Instant arch!
This kit also comes with these super handy plastic rings to hold the balloons. There are some close-up photos of the rings further down in the article. You slip the knotted ends of your balloons into the slots on the rings (up to 5 balloons per ring), then lift out one end of the arch pole and slide the rings with the balloons attached onto the pole. Easy peasy!
- 🎈【COMPLETE PARTY PACKAGE】: Balloons arch kit package includes 15 folded glass fiber pole, 2 PVC Base, 2 PVC pipe, 2 water(sand) fillable bag, 1 manual pump, 50 balloon clips, 2 balloon knotter, 2 ground secure ropes, 4 ground nails. It will enough for all party decoration you need.
- 🎉【HIGH QUALITY & STURDY】: Well-designed mesh base and water bag, stable PVC pipe.It will not shake sharply due to wind or object collision.The balloon pole is a folded integral accessory, with the single length is 17 inches high strength black glass fiber pole, bending is not easy to break,You can reuse it anywhere you want.
- 🎈【ADJUSTABLE SIZE&EASY ASSEMBLY】: The height and width of the arch can be adjusted at will by adjusting the distance between the bases. Install this balloon arch will no more than 2 minutes.
- 🎉【WIDE APPLICATIONS】: The bolloon arch kit is suitable for birthday party, family parties, Christmas and Halloween but also for catered presentations, wedding and baby showers and so on.Use your creativity to decorate your party with different balloons.
- 🎈【5-STAR CUSTOMER SERVIES】: We created with extra care and attention-to-detail to provide the best experience for you.
How to Store Your Balloon Arch Kit
The best part of this balloon arch kit is that it all fits in one reusable grocery bag once you’ve disassembled it! The pole breaks down to be only a couple feet long and you can hold it together with a couple rubber bands. Once you’ve emptied the water out of the vinyl base weights and let the dry, you can just stuff them in the bag along with the plastic base discs and small pipes, your balloon inflator, and slide the bag in the cabinet with your other decorations.
Easy Way to Inflate Balloons
OMG I wish I had one of these electric double balloon inflators years ago! I knew for this project I’d be blowing up tons of balloons, so I paid about $20 for one of these electric balloon pumps and boy was it an easy way to inflate balloons!
The best thing about this electric balloon pump is that you can inflate two balloons at the same time. You simply slide the balloons over the two plastic tubes, then push down on the tube on the right-hand side to start the inflator. That right side tube acts like the “on” button.
It only takes a few seconds for the balloons to fill up all the way. Then you can tuck one of the balloons between your fingers on your dominant hand, and tie off the other balloon using the two-finger technique on your non-dominant hand as shown in this YouTube video.
If you’d like to see more detail on the two balloon technique, let me know in the comments and I can record a quick demo of how I do that. It goes really fast once you get the hang of inflating two balloons at once then tying them.
Easy Way to Tie Balloons to a Balloon Arch
As I mentioned above, I use the traditional two-finger technique to tie balloons, as shown in this YouTube video. Once you have the balloons tied, getting them on the balloon arch is really simple with the included plastic balloon clips that came with my balloon arch kit.
The balloon tying clips allow for five balloon to fit comfortably on the plastic ring, but I tend to only use four balloon per ring when making a balloon arch with 9-inch or larger balloons. Using only four balloons tied and inserted into the ring slots makes a really full balloon arch, and you can always tie additional balloons and easily slip them onto the extra slot in the rings.
If you look closely at the balloon tie rings you’ll see that there slots on both the inside and outside of the ring. If your balloons are slipping out of the rings once you start adding them to the balloon arch, switch from the outside slots to the inside slots. The inner slots are just a bit tighter with the L-shape, but the trade-off is the balloons are a smidge tighter together on the ring.
How to Make a Balloon Arch DIY Video
Morgan over on the Event Answer YouTube channel is the balloon master! I’ve picked up a ton of tips from her balloon decoration tutorials. In this video, she ties balloons to her balloon arch using a twist technique instead of using plastic rings like the ones that came in our balloon arch kit. I don’t make enough balloon decorations to be comfortable with that technique yet, but I definitely recommend checking out Morgan’s videos for some balloon decoration inspiration! She also uses the double-balloon tying method when inflating two balloons at once I mentioned earlier.
A couple other videos of Morgan’s I recommend are her Fancy balloon columns video and the Balloon sizer box video for when you want to get really professional and keep all your balloons at a specific dimension (like when you’re using multiple sizes of balloons for super fancy designs).
Best Balloons for Balloon Arch
For the main balloons in any balloon arch I typically use either 9-inch or 12-inch balloons. In the arch for this article I used exclusively 9-inch balloons.
As far as which kind of balloons, I typically get them from the 99 Cents Only store, since the quality is good and the price is pretty affordable. When I made this balloon arch I was able to get packs of 100 balloons for about $4 each.
I do find that the “helium quality” balloons tend to have a bit more vibrant color, but they can also be double the price of those from the discount stores. So, I tend to stick with the less expensive balloons since you get a lot more bang for your buck.
How Many Balloons do you Need for a Balloon Arch?
For our 9 foot high by 10 foot wide balloon arch, we used 9-inch balloons. We made 33 rows with 4 balloons per row, so 132 balloons total. The three colors of balloons each had 11 rows total, so we used 44 balloons from each color: red, white, and blue.
The end result was great, but if you wanted to make your balloon arch a bit fuller you could ad a fifth balloon to each row’s plastic ring. That would bring you up to 165 total balloons.
How Far in Advance can you Make a Balloon Arch?
In our test, we found that our balloons from the 99 Cents Only store held air indoors for 5 full days without any visible loss of size or shape. After 5 days, some deflation started to occur.
Other balloon brands and sizes, along with temperature and other factors may impact how long far in advance you make your balloon arch. Typically, I’d recommend only making your one or two days in advance at the most. That way you limit the time they have to deflate or accidentally get popped.
How Long Does it Take to Make a Balloon Arch?
Using the double-balloon inflator to tie two balloons at once, along with the plastic balloon holder rings that came with our balloon arch kit, it took a little over an hour to inflate, tie, and assemble the 9 foot by 10 foot balloon arch.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to buy your own balloon arch kit and spend the time making your own balloon decoration, I’d say it’s definitely worth it! It only takes an hour or two of your time to make, and our initial investment was under $75. Now we’ve got a fun decoration that makes a huge impact and a great photo spot for all our events!