Birthday Parties, Crafts

How to Not Make a Balloon Path

I attempted to create a balloon path along our front walkway for a party at our home. I made one big mistake and it ended up being a Pinterest-inspired failure. Find out what I did wrong and how I think it could be corrected! 

For my sister’s graduation party at our home, I decided to make a balloon path leading into our house. I wanted to line the walkway leading to the front door, and one side of the driveway, with pink, orange, and yellow balloons. This image that I found on Kid’s Kubby was my inspiration.

balloon path

But this is what I ended up with. Major fail. I later realized that I made several mistakes when creating my balloon path. If I hadn’t made those mistakes, this probably could have been pretty cute!

balloon path

How To Create a Balloon Path

The first thing you need for a balloon path is balloons inflated with helium. I was not quite prepared for how much most places charge for helium inflation. Most places charge you $1 per balloon!ย  That was the price at the Dollar Tree (where everything’s a dollar) and at Kroger.

Wal-Mart ended up being the cheapest option at $.50 per balloon.

balloon path

We considered buying a one time use helium tank, but the total cost to have Wal-Mart inflate the balloons was a little cheaper. Plus, less time consuming. It was super fun carrying over 40 balloons through Wal-Mart at 10 pm on a Friday night, especially since I had them all tied to my purse so they wouldn’t fly away.

balloon path

I had the balloons inflated the night before the party because I didn’t want to be rushed trying to pick them up the morning of. Setting up the balloon path ended up being very simple. I just tied my husband’s golf tees to the end of each balloon. Then I pushed the tees into the ground until they were flush in the ground. It didn’t take very long and was super easy.

The Mistakes I Made When Creating The Balloon Path

Now, let’s get into my mistakes. These resulted in the balloon path being a fail.

Mistake 1 – Inflated the Balloons the Day Before

The first mistake was inflating the balloons the night before instead of the day of the party. I didn’t think I would have enough time the morning of the party to go to Wal-Mart, wait to have the balloons inflated, tie the balloons to the golf tees and get them in ground. Setting up for a party and preparing food is already so time consuming, so the balloons would have been a lot to add to my day.

I thought inflating them the night before was the best way to manage my time. Nope. Helium doesn’t last as long in latex balloons, so by the next morning the balloons were already sagging. I lined them along the front walkway and driveway anyway, but they were on the ground by the time the party started.

balloon path

Mistake 2 – Too Close Together for a Windy Day

My second balloon path mistake was that it was very windy outside and the balloons were too close together for all that wind. It was over 90 degrees the day of the party, so the strong breeze was lovely for the party guests. Not so much for the balloons.

Within an hour of setting up the balloon path all of the balloons were a tangled mess from the wind. Plus, blowing around caused them to deflate faster or pop. Double fail.

If you want to set up a balloon path, but the weather is windy I would suggest either rethinking the balloon placement. You could either cluster balloons together every few feet, so it doesn’t matter if they tangle any more. Or shorten the balloon strings and be sure to space the balloons to be further apart than the strings.

This ensures that even if the balloons blow around, they won’t tangle up. However, neither of those options will prevent the wind from blowing the balloons around and messing with the visual appearance or popping some of the balloons.

balloon path

If you ever want to make a balloon path, don’t do what I did. Be sure to have your balloons inflated the day of the party! Also, check the weather. If it’s too windy, either rethink your balloon placement or save yourself some money and skip it.

If you’re interested in seeing more decorations from my sister’s graduation party, check out the full recap post. I also have a tutorial for how I made the tissue paper pom poms and the invitations that I designed.

26 Comments

  1. Kristen | Popcorn on the Stove

    I’m sorry the balloon path didn’t work out, but I still think they were a fun pop of color for the front of your house!

    PS – Congrats on being interviewed and published! That’s so cool!

  2. So how many looks did you get leaving Walmart with that many balloons?

  3. ValenzMom a/k/a Helen

    Ashley,
    My party fail doesn’t involve a decoration, but a food. For my son’s kinder school birthday party I was supposed to bring cupcakes for the class. I found a new recipe for PUDDING CUPCAKES that I thought sounded so great – two things in one! So I made white cupcakes, poked the holes in the top and poured the chocolate pudding on top. The kids had them right after lunch and loved them – of course. BUT – then 20 kids were covered with chocolate pudding and white cake crumbs – and the day wasn’t over yet! You should have seen the looks I was getting from my son’s teacher and her assistant for the next hour while I helped them clean up each and every child. Needless to say that was the last time I made pudding cupcakes!

  4. Oh my gosh, this is so something that I would do. Thanks for being so honest about this! Life happens and Pinterest isn’t always truthful. Darn Pinterest.

  5. Krystle @ Color Transformed Family

    I would have done the same thing as you and ended up with a major fail also. Seems like it would be hard to have perfect conditions for a balloon path.

  6. I would’ve gone the previous day as well… too bad it was too windy though, bummer. They still look fun though!

  7. What a bummer that it didn’t work out perfectly! ๐Ÿ™ The balloons still look fun and festive, though!!

    I think most people would have done the same thing as you and done it the day before.

  8. Bummer about the balloons. Congrats on the interview!

  9. Oh that sucks! Totally sounds like something I would do. I threw a baby shower once and used toys we were gifting as center pieces. The kids that happened to attend the shower played with them and got them all dirty and destroyed the packaging. I felt terrible to give them to my friend after. I guess it was kids being kids but it was totally frustrating.
    Sounds like your party was an otherwise great success. Everything looked great!

  10. awww, I really feel for you Ashley! You know, even though the balloons didn’t pan out like you’d hope, everything else was super awesome, so I wouldn’t worry about it. And now you know what you’d need to do next time. And yeah, wind and balloons never work well together, and you can’t control the weather! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I learned for our anniversary party that balloons are good for 4-8 hours, tops. But your heart was int eh right place!

  12. lol it is kind of funny but i understand how crab you could be from the outcome! it still added some fun bright colors to the front of the house though!

  13. awww that’s too bad. I probably would’ve tried to blow up all the balloons myself and then hyperventilated and ended up at the hospital. Where someone else could send me the balloons I’d almost died trying to blow up. Good plan? ๐Ÿ˜›

    Congrats on the interview!!

  14. Love that you kept it real and showed an idea that didn’t work out how you planned…and a big ‘ol congrats on the interview!!

  15. Jess @ Little House. Big Heart.

    What a bummer! For what it’s worth, it still looks festive with all the balloons in your flower beds!

  16. anne @ wit wisdom and food

    I loved how the rest of the party turned out. Big kudos on a very clever way of moving that many balloons. I have had to buy some for work and attaching them too a bag never crossed my mind. Now I know what to do next time!

  17. Oh my goodness, that is hilarious. I love that you did all your research, found the best price per balloon…were proactive and set it all up ahead of time…and then woke up to a fail. You poor thing. At least it made for a funny blogging story! I’ve given up on balloons and have dived into the equally as horrendous tissue paper poms.

  18. Kelly @ Corner of Main

    What a bummer!! It was such a great idea, and had so much potential! I love the inspiration pic. And now I want to try it for Kevin’s birthday…Now I know what not to do, lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Oh no! What a bummer. It’s such a good idea though! ๐Ÿ™‚ At least next time you’ll have your lessons learned!

  20. A for effort! I’m sure your sister appreciated the trouble you went through. Pinterest can be such a liar.

    Congrats on the magazine interview!

  21. Ugh I hate it when projects don’t turn out the way you think they will. I’m sure your sister appreciated all your hard work though

  22. Awwww what a bummer! I hope you at least got a good laugh out of it when all was said and done! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Great article btw! Congrats!

  23. I’m sorry the balloons didn’t work out but I’m sure your sister got what you were trying to do and apreciated it just as much! Funny they are just recognizing that women like to shop in hardware stores. It has always been my favorite place to shop my mom too and I’m in my 50’s so it’s been going on a while! lol

  24. Sounds so very disappointing!
    With the drastic increase in helium costs the past few years, helium balloons are much more expensive these days. Due to high capacity sales, a few of the “chain stores” are able to get helium at a lower rate than smaller businesses, but most of them are using what is referred to as “balloon gas” – a lower grade helium that doesn’t float as long…about 4-5 hours indoors. This is how some stores can provide helium-filled balloons at a low cost. A quality balloon filled with a high-grade helium should float great indoors for about 16 hours (much longer if treated with Ultra HiFloat…up to a few weeks).

  25. So Iโ€™m a recent Grandma, and have done a lot of entertaining and parties over the years. I am also an interior designer, so creativity might be in my bloodโ€ฆ. I would probably have tried to make the path with balloons that were not helium inflated on balloon sticks or on wooden dowel rods that you get at the hobby store. You could cut a slit in the top of the dowel to pull the string through and tie it off or use plastic balloons sticks. Maybe even just tack them to the top of the stick under the tied part. They might not be sturdy enough to stand up outside or poke into the ground, but you could also put a thin dowel rod through the plastic tube for stability. You might ultimately need helium filled but I would test them without first, as helium is very expensive and in short supply in so price has really gone up.

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