(first two photos by Justin Hackworth, third photo by Becky Kimball)
Typically when I do parties I don’t like to create a ton of waste, more specifically meaning I don’t like to spend a lot of time and money on things that will just be thrown away after the party, or serve no real purpose at the event (other than to look cool).
However there are totally some exceptions to this rule. Especially when I feel like the decor will add to the overall experience and objectives of the event in a major way. But I do mean MAJOR way.
I talk more about choosing objectives for your events and how to prioritize in this video if you’re interested.
But for Alison’s Candy Shoppe I knew I wanted a ballon ceiling because I wanted the event to be very layered and textured with LOTS of colors, and balloons are a relatively inexpensive way to do that. I wanted people to walk in the room and have their jaw drop. And the only way to do that is to go ALL OUT. So I didn’t want just any balloon ceiling, I wanted one that looked different that anything I’d ever seen. I also didn’t want to use helium because I just because obsessed with the idea of the upside-down balloons. And I could not be happier with the result!
As I grow and expand I’ve needed to bring on people to help me out. And the very first employee of The Alison Show is my amazing assistant Carla. Carla has helped with lots of events as well as Alison’s Cookie Party, and I knew that if I gave her some loose directions about what I wanted, she’d be just the woman to figure the logistics of the ballon ceiling out! Carla is the best!
So Carla is here today guest posting for us, and she’s broken down just how we did the balloon celling so that you can replicate it for an event of your own! I think this is pretty enough to work for a wedding. I do! But you could also scale it down to transform your living room for your lil one’s birthday party.
So here’s the amazing Carla!
As we were planning Alison’s Candy Shoppe, Alison continually mentioned her vision of the balloon ceiling that would go above the dance floor and I just found myself saying stuff like… Sure! Sounds awesome! It’ll be great! without thinking much about the logistics of it. Of course, Alison was thinking about it because she asked for extra volunteers to come specifically to blow up & tie balloons, and thank goodness she had the foresight! This project is a big one and you’ll need a lot of helping hands, but it’ll be worth it if you want to make a huge statement at your event!
To make a balloon ceiling you’ll need:
- latex balloons (couple hundred depending on ceiling area size)
- electric balloon air pump
- clear fishing twine
- clear scotch tape
The electric pump will save your life, so don’t try to do one with a hand pump or just using your own breath. That’d be crazy. The fishing twine thickness doesn’t matter too much, but ours was thick enough that it still had some curl to it when the balloon hung down and it worked well. The balloons we used were from Zurchers (11″) and they had any color or sheen we wanted, so get creative with colors or patterns! I think it turned out especially nice with the addition of clear balloons.
Now first things first, you’ll need to gather the troops! It takes a lot of time to blow up & tie the balloons, so helpers are crucial. We ended up using around 360-400 balloons for this 16×25 ft area and it took just under 4 hours to complete with 4-5 people. Assign some of the people to start blowing up balloons while another person cuts a bunch of 2 ft pieces of fishing line. We wanted the balloons to hang down around the light fixtures, but you can make whatever height works for your space.
Each balloon got a piece of 2ft fishing line tied to it, and then it was tied to a long piece of fishing line that was strung across the room. Each long strand had 36-40 individual balloons tied to it before it was ready to be taped to the ceiling. The benefit of doing it this way is that the balloons can slide around on the main string & move if necessary, and also you’re only having to tape the one strand to the ceiling instead of each individual balloon. (We actually had some practice with this when we did the balloon backdrop for Cookie Party, but those were taped to a wall instead of hanging from a ceiling.) We just used regular clear scotch tape and it held just fine, and some of the ends I reinforced with packaging tape.
So to clarify:
1. String one long piece of fishing line across the room, but don’t tape it up yet (it’s easier to tie the balloons on down low!) We tied it low on a post (as you can see in the picture below) to make it easier to tie balloons to.
2. Tie single balloons to 2ft of fishing line, then tie the tail of the balloon to the long piece of fishing line.
3. Once your long piece has all the balloons you want on it, raise it up to the ceiling. Secure the long piece of fishing line with scotch tape every 2 feet or so and on the ends as well.
We started with the first strand in the middle of the room* & then worked our way out to each side of the dance floor until we had covered the space. We were mindful of balloon colors while tying to the strand, but not obsessively since it was supposed to look random.
(*Alison’s Note: I asked them to start over the middle of the dance floor because we weren’t sure how much time we’d have/how much space we could cover. So we worked our way out from the middle so no matter how many strands we got done, it would at least be centered over the dance floor and not lopsided!)
And then you repeat it a bunch of times until your fingers hurt from tying balloons and your arms hurt from taping to the ceiling! It’ll take some time to clean it up (especially removing the tape pieces), but it’s better to have a bit more clean up time afterward than to have it fall during the party!
I stared at the finished ceiling almost the whole party because it just looked so beautiful. I mean, it was hard to miss! And Alison was pumped because it was just like she had envisioned, which makes it a bigger success when the boss is happy with it, too. Plus, the picture opportunities it created were choice!
(Big shout out to Claire White for her incredible design capabilities! And a big THANK YOU to our helpers Daniela, Steffanie, Kelsey, Hailey, Kate, Ashley, Megan, Chanler, and Evelyn! And Susan and Kimmy too!! )
Thank you Carla! How great is she? I kind of want to make another balloon ceiling in my living room. Right now? Ok, let’s do it!
To see the whole party: Alison’s Candy Shoppe
To see so many more party ideas: Go here!
And another special thanks to Zurcher’s for making my balloon dreams come true!