For the twins first birthday I wanted to have something different in our house to greet guests that would not be the typical bundle of balloons just floating around with streamers. I also wanted something to be in line with the party theme. So where does one go to look for such an idea? Well if you are a crafty one like me – you use Pinterest now as your main tool for searching for something to make. And if that doesn’t return the results you hope, you try Google! So of course, there is a million things out there for a twins first birthday party and there is another million things out there on Mickey and Minnie, which was our theme. And then thats where I came across the 8 foot plus tall Balloon Mickey and Minnie column decor! Perfect!
Soo… I originally had these cuties pinned in my party ideas – with a link or two to where you could buy a kit to make these for somewhere between $65 – $91 each. Sheesh! And at that price you still have to blow up your balloons – that price didn’t include any labor. My local party store gave me a referral to a “balloon guy” who would also “possibly” be able to create these and deliver them for an additional fee plus the same price as the kits. That is just too crazy expensive for a bunch of latex and hot air!!! But I still wanted them for the party.
I had this on my party list of things to eventually get… but I stalled and stalled, I didn’t want to spend the money, and it seemed fairly easy to make – right? Well, truth is, by the time I was ready to fork over the dough to buy these kits, it was too late to get the kits delivered in time for our party. Believe me I checked, and I was not about to pay any extra for rushed shipping! However, my heart was still set on having these bad boys as part of our main decor for the party. I mean who doesn’t want a giant Mickey and Minnie balloon duo to greet their guests when they show up for a twins first birthday party, right?? C’mon look at them!! They are so cute!!!! I know all of our guests did! (winking face) So, with barely enough time to even consider getting these done – I had really procrastinated to the last minute, and decided – what the heck – I’m going to give it a go and make these things myself. I’m crafty, how hard could it be??? And how expensive could it really be? Certainly not $90-$100 EACH!!! Turns out… I was right, it was fairly inexpensive cost wise and fairly very easy to create!!
Here is How I made the balloon Mickey and Minnie:
I started out by thinking of the supplies I needed to create this masterpiece. Balloons of course! I went to my local party store, and bought the balloons in different packages based off what I thought I needed by my calculations.Aafter staring at the pictures on Pinterest and Etsy, it began to feel like that game of Guess How Many jelly beans are in the jar! Therefore, I determined the following quantities:
8 pink polka dot
1 minnie head
1 Mickey head
My local card and party store sold bags of balloons of 30 for $6.99 in any color, and bags of 6 in any color for $1.29. So for both sets Mickey and Minnie it cost me approximately $22 before I purchased the Mickey and Minnie foil balloon heads. I ordered those separate from the party store at $6 each with helium in them and picked them up the morning of the party to attach to my balloon stand bodies. I figured if my plan failed the night before in my attempts to create these – I would at least have the heads!!!!
My total cost for the set of Mickey and Minnie was approximately $34. Not bad compared to the other price online or what I was quoted by the local store!!!! Everything else I had on hand, improvised and just used what we had in the house. And I did not use helium in the balloons that made up the body – I blew them up with a plastic hand pump I had in my craft stash. I think the pumps cost somewhere between $2-$3 if you don’t have one. I think you can even get one from the Dollar Tree.
For the stand, I asked my hubby to make something that was approximately 15 X 15 square inches wide as the base. We searched you-tube videos with several different examples of this stand base- and I will tell you ours didn’t look anything like any of the ones on you-tube, and yet it worked out just fine. Again, we used what we had in our garage.
He took two boards – thin almost pallet size and cut them to the same size length and then formed them into a cross shape and secured with a few nails in the center. He then cut an extra small piece to shim up the board that was now a little taller so that it would properly balance all four edges of the boards to the floor.
Then he took a thin 1/2 inch diameter of PVC pipe and cut it to about 7 feet tall. Because we didn’t have exactly enough to make two solid 7ft pieces, for two stands at the same height, he took two shorter pieces of pipe and joined them with a PVC joint connector to make the 2nd stand.
Next inserted out 7 foot piece of PVC into the coupling, and then took duct tape and wrapped the bracket and the PVC pipe so that any rough edges would not poke the first layer of clustered balloons and pop them.
Then we got to work on blowing up the balloons! I enlisted my in-laws to help blow them up and tie them off. We blew up all the ones according to my calculations and had them laying out on the floor of my living room. Then I went back to you-tube again and Google for videos to see how the pros make quads or also known as clusters. Quads are 4 balloons tied together. First you take two tails or knots of a ballon and tie those two ends together. Then you add that pair to another pair of balloons by twisting the two sets of pairs together at the knots, thus making a quad. It is very simple.
You will end up with something looking like this.
To build the bodies of your Mickey and Minnie you can see that each layer is made up by quads that are stacked on top of each with the next layer turned slightly to fit in-between the spaces of the quad below it. Just count how many quads there are In your design or that you think you will need for your design. And pay attention to the size of the balloons as you blow them up. For Minnie, she had 2 quads pink, 2 quads of black, 2 quads of extra large polka dot (this was to represent the skirt) then 5 quads of pink again. And on top was the Minnie head.
Now, the fun, easy part….. getting your balloons on the stands. It looks like in the picture that you would be able to just slide them down the pole – but that is not the case.
You want it to be like this… but the only way to do it, is to wrap the balloon quad together to the pole just as if you were adding a fifth balloon to the quad, except instead of a balloon it is your pole. Just be careful not to pop any by being rough. While I was doing this part, I managed to not pop any. And this was my first ever balloon art decor attempt. So it is fairly easy to do.
Here’s a you tube video I found that was very helpful to demonstrate this…. here.
You should have a small space at the top to tie on your head ballon like this.
Once you get all of your quads in place and pushed down on your pole, you are ready to add your arms!
The kits online shows 2 of those long skinny balloons to act as the arms with 2 white balloons as the “mickey hands”. Well, my local party store only sold those long skinny balloons in bags of 100 for like $30! And that was not happening. I only need 4 long skinny balloons. The owner was not willing to open a bag to sell them individually or really offer any suggestions. I then thought I might could snag a few from a local balloon artist guy that sometimes walks around restaurants making balloon art for kids. The only problem is that I didn’t know any balloon artist guys, and didn’t have the time to hunt one down either. So It was go armless, or improvise. I improvised.
Hubby found two old pool noodles in our stash of water toy goodies in the garage that were faded and appeared to be fairly old compared to some others we had. So he gathered them up, found some black spray paint, and painted them. They were dry in no time. Each pool noodle represented two arms. And once my bodies were complete on the stands. I just slipped them through the balloons in what I thought the right spot would be for the arms. And wallah!
The balloons were pretty close together so it was tight enough that it just held the noodle arms in place nice and snug. The above is a picture after I was taking these apart so you can see how 1 noodle made the two arms.
And here it is again, the finished product! We got lots of compliments on them from our guests, and they even acted as a nice backdrop for pictures.
All in all it was a great fun little project to do. And I am so glad I did it my self versus the buying the kits or hiring someone to do them. It looked great, my party guests were impressed by the giant Mickey and Minnie and it cost me less than half the actual price to have them done professionally. Plus, it was something unique and fun for my twins first party! I just may try this again in the future in a different character!