Balloon advice |

Balloon advice

Dear Balloon Animal Maker Advice Guy,

I’ve been working on perfecting an octopus balloon for a while, and this (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka, squeeka-squeeka) is what I have so far. What do you think?



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Dear Dabne,

Well, it’s pretty good, but I wouldn’t bother with the full eight legs — kids won’t know the difference. I’d just do five or six. Here, like this (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka), lock twist (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka), reverse apple twist and (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka) done. See? This is the easiest way. There’s also a version I make that squirts ink, but that’s more of a competition-level design.

Keep twisting!

Dear Balloon Animal Maker Advice Guy,

I’ve recently been given a promotion where I’ll be managing a team of about 20 people. Management is new to me, and I want to make a good first impression. Can you recommend a balloon animal that says, “I’m cool,” but also “I’m the boss”? Also, you’ll probably need to show me how to make it. I’ve only ever really made a snake before.



Dear Alison,

I think the shoulder-clinging monkey is what you’re looking for. It’s a piece of balloon art that makes one simultaneously authoritarian and approachable. You start with a long one and just (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka), tulip lock (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka), double twist (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka) — now for the banana — (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka), and there you go.

Practice this a few times at home, and you should be able to throw it down in time for your first meeting as manager. If you get any pops, you’ll need to make sure to pretend that they’re on purpose. Getting flustered by pops is the sign of a poor leader and could cause you to lose the respect of your team, and it’ll take more than a shoulder-clinging monkey made of colorful balloons to gain that back.

Keep twisting!

Dear Balloon Animal Maker Advice Guy,

What is it about a Sunday that makes me feel so melancholy? I’m self-employed, and I love my job, so it’s not like I dread Mondays, yet there’s this mild depression that overtakes me every Sunday right around dusk. Help!



Dear Courtney,

Hey there! Feeling down? Awwww. How about if I make you a cute little (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka, squeeka-squeeka) wiener dog?

No? OK. It was worth a try.

As a professional balloon-animal maker who works for tips, I’ve trained myself to observe the weekly cycle of moods. Better moods means more money gets dropped into my big old floppy top hat, so I have to pay attention to such things. And in my experience, Sunday late afternoons really are a low point for most people. For example, generally a “Hunger Games” bow-and-arrow balloon will get me at least a $10 tip from a parent, but on a Sunday afternoon it’s $2, tops. Hardly worth the overhead, which is primarily balloons.

I think there’s something from our childhood that got ingrained into our psyche about Sunday being the day before we have to go back to school and revisit the living hell that is public education. Maybe school wasn’t that bad for you, but I was a teenager who liked making balloon animals, so try to imagine how much fun I had in school. Being president of the Balloon Animal Club (aka “The Balloonies”) certainly didn’t help.

So I’m afraid you’ll just have to suck it up once a week. Here, give me that wiener-dog balloon back so I can give it a quick … (squeeka-squeeka-squeeka) … there you go. Now you can wear it on your head.

Keep twisting!

Dear Balloon Animal Maker Advice Guy,

I’ve been working on an elaborate balloon-sculpture installation that illustrates the theory of evolution, but certain people in town keep coming along with pins and popping the parts they don’t agree with. How can I get them to leave me alone?



Dear Willis,

No matter what you’re creating, you’ll always encounter people who think popping your balloon is hilarious and/or justified. This is true even if you aren’t working in the field of balloon twisting. You just have to think of “popping your balloon” as a metaphor, which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. In fact, it actually works better as a metaphor.

Haters gonna hate, poppers gonna pop. You just need to keep on doing what you love doing. Even if that means sculpting with balloons.

That said, try introducing a little bit of bleach into some of your balloons. Nothing like a surprise faceful of Clorox to encourage would-be poppers not to f— with balloon artists.

Keep twisting!

(Balloon Animal Maker Advice Guy is not a licensed therapist, and all answers are for entertainment purposes only. Except the ones about making balloon animals. Those are real.)

Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays.

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