When people think of party decorations, they’re going to think of colorful paper plates, streamers, and of course, balloons. The idea of balloons is in fact older than some people realize, and modern balloons come in all kinds of materials and shapes for any event. Some are heart shaped latex balloons for Valentine’s Day, for example, and foil balloons can be cut into different shapes and can have images printed on them. These heart shaped latex balloons and regular latex balloons can be filled with either helium or air, and for different reasons. What should a customer keep in mind when they buy some heart shaped latex balloons or foil balloons from a party supply store?
All About Latex Balloons
These are often what people think of as “regular” balloons, being teardrop shaped and easy to afford. The idea of these balloons dates back nearly 200 years to 1824, when professor Michael Faraday invented them by fusing together the edges of two rubber sheets and filling them up with air. Balloons today are more often made of latex, though, since this is better for the environment. The Amazon Rain Forest is already being pressured for rubber harvesting from trees, and getting more rubber for balloons might be too much strain. So, manufacturers instead harvest latex from different trees, and this is preferable since a latex tree can provide materials for 40 years without dying in the process.
So, what about buying some latex balloons? These can be classic teardrop shaped balloons or heart shaped latex balloons, and they are often very cheap and easy to buy. A packet may have dozens of such balloons, and they can be filled with either helium or air. A party supply store might not actually have a helium pump on hand, but some customers might have their own pump or visit a different shop to get their balloons filled. Some balloons can be bought, already filled with helium for convenience. A helium balloon will be tethered with a string and a weight so it doesn’t float off.
Another option is to fill these teardrop or heart shaped latex balloons with air, and this can be done with a person’s breath in many cases. These balloons will not actually float, of course, but they may last up to a week or two without deflating and not everyone has a helium pump on hand. Basic care should be taken with latex balloons, and until they are inflated, no babies, children, or pets should be allowed near them since they are a potential choking hazard. And a filled balloon should not be allowed near a heat source such as a fire or hot light bulb, since that will heat up (and therefore expand) the air inside the balloon until they burst.
Some balloons are made of two thin foil sheets fused at the edges, and these are nearly always filled with helium. Often, a customer can find these already filled and attached to a string or weight, and many grocery stores may stock them. Unlike latex balloons, foil balloons can be cut into all sorts of shapes, such as squares or even numbers. It depends on how the factory cuts the foil sheets before fusing them. These foil sheets can have graphics printed on them, such as colors or messages or even pop culture images that customers will like. Often, these foil balloons may have a message such as “happy birthday!” or “get well soon” on them. These balloons may last a few days before they deflate and go limp.
A child’s birthday party is a fine place to use balloons, and air filled balloons can be taped onto a table, chair backs, or even on the walls, not to mention scattered on the floor to form a ball pit. Helium filled balloons can be indoor or outdoor, as long as they are tethered with strings and weights. A bridal shower or baby shower may also call for decorations that include balloons, and even a high school prom can use balloons. A cage on the ceiling may hold thousands of balloons, and at some point the cage door will open to allow all the balloons to scatter everywhere on the dance floor.