How To Make a Bubble Arch: With Mark Drury from Qualatex – BMTV 94

Welcome to BMTV! This week we are joined once again by Mark Drury from Qualatex who is getting into the spirit of Christmas with the fantastic penguin-themed bubble arch. He going to show us how to make it! Mark gained his inspiration for the design from the Qualatex Christmas catalogue which features the Popular Elfin Penguin (which a balloon that is very easy to miss-pronounce!). The balloon sits on a present made from a short column of clusters and Mark is going to use two of these as base weights.

So to start with, let’s make the columns. They start life out as duplets and clusters, which are then arranged in an alternate, square-pack design in a short column of 12 balloons. If you are unfamiliar with clusters and columns check out or video on each! Once the column is made, mark clusters together four 260Q balloons and wraps these around the design to mimic ribbon. He has left the ends of the 260Q balloons uninflated to allow for the gas to move up the balloon and as tying points. He wraps these together at the top and creates a pinch twist as a centre point. He then ties the ends of the 260Qs together and pushes them down to the base, twisting one of these will secure the loops in place and creates a bow design! Do this for the other two and your present is complete. To attach the penguin topper, roll tie a 260Q into the neck and wrap the modelling balloon around the clusters and tie off. Make sure to add a weight of some kind, such as a water weight, to the bottom of the cluster to stop your base from being carried away!


Mark has made two of the structures for the bases of the arch, he ties nylon line securely through the base weight of one cluster but loosely through the other. This will allow the length of the arch to be altered when the balloons are added later. He has also secured the line to the penguin so it looks like the penguin is holding the arch! Neat!


Now to add the bubbles. You don’t need the ribbon on the neck and roll tie a 260Q into the neck on the bubble and tie the 260 onto the line. You will be able to move the bubbles up and down the line as you need later so don’t worry about being exact. Tie all the balloons onto the line and add the collars, again made from a four-balloon cluster. Wrap the clusters around each other to secure but be careful to not wrap the clusters around the nylon line. You can now pull the nylon line through the cluster to the length you need and tie off securely. Mark uses stretchy balloon tape to secure the nylon line to the other penguin so it is holding the line. Position the bubbles up and down the line so they are even, you can also rotate the bubbles at this point if they are not sitting straight on.


That is the arch pretty much done! Mark adds a few finishing touches like an air-filled star, penguin and a smaller present. This is a great design for Christmas and has a few matching themes running throughout the decoration. You could adapt this technique for any design and can use it all year round!


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