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How to make balloon animals for beginners

Learn how to make 4 easy balloon animals from scratch with our step by step guide for the ultimate party pleasing activity

How to make balloon animals

Get to grips with simple balloon modelling with our complete guide to twisting, turning and locking sections of a balloon to create a menagerie of easy ballon animals!  In this article we’ll show you how to make 4 essential animals to hone your skills – a dog, giraffe, dinosaur and swan. We’ll also share our top 10 follow-on balloon modelling tutorials (from swords to monkeys) for you to try with links to find out how they’re done – so that by the end of this article you’ll be party ready to go!

I can always remember the pure magic of seeing balloon animals at parties as a child. It seemed like witchcraft that you could manipulate a balloon into an actual animal without it popping, and the prospect of ever actually being lucky enough to be given a balloon animal to take home was almost too much excitement. It was definitely not something I ever dreamed I’d be able to try at home myself when I grew up – it felt like the distant realm of magicians, party pros and TV presenters.

Luckily since then I’ve learnt a few skills – and got over my fear of the balloons popping! It really doesn’t happen that often and there are some simple ways to avoid it – we’ll share these below. I’m here to show you how to make balloon animals from scratch. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to make a balloon dog
  • How to make a balloon giraffe
  • How to make a balloon swan
  • How to make a balloon dinosaur

If you’re on the hunt for more fun children’s craft activities, you might also like our guide to the 50 craft ideas for kids or get messy with our easy play dough recipe and how to make salt dough tutorial.

Main image: © emregologlu

How to make a balloon swan step by step step 13

What do I need to make balloon animals?

All you need is a balloon pump and some balloons.

Balloon pump

You do really need a pump (as anyone who has tried blowing up modelling balloons without one can testify) but they’re inexpensive and if you get the right one they’ll last you ages. It’s definitely worth investing in a pump that’s not the cheapest out there. I’ve learnt this the hard way and broken two bargain pumps within minutes before I clocked that it might be a good investment to spend a bit more on hardware that would last. I should add, they’re still really not very expensive.

Balloons

There are various sizes of modelling balloons out there, and they come with a number which refers to the size of their diameter and length once inflated. The most common size for twisting is 260 – which means 2 x 60inches. Personally I’ve never used this measurement when buying balloons – either in person in a party shop or online – I just buy a pack of modelling balloons and hey presto they do the trick.

It’s always worth doing a practise run of any balloon animal tutorial to check how it works with the balloons you’re working with. After a dummy run you’ll soon see if the instructions may need adjusting slightly to suit the length of your balloon – you’ll spot pretty quickly if you end up with an extra long tail or run out of balloon to twist. If this happens, simply untwist or try again with a fresh balloon and adjust the length of the different sections of the balloon that you twist accordingly.

Get started with a balloon animal starter kit

If you want to combine, stock up on all the supplies you need to see you through parties for years with these kits which combine the pump and balloons…

How to make a balloon dog

How to make balloon animals for beginners

Here are 4 easy balloon animals to try to learn how it’s done…

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You Will Need

  • Modelling balloons
  • Balloon pump

How to make a balloon dog

Step 1

Blow up and tie a balloon, leaving a 3 inch tail that is un-inflated at the end. Leave this section at the tip so that as you make your twists, the air you force out will have somewhere to go (this is how you stop the balloon from popping as you work).

How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 1

Step 2

Make the first twist (A) 3inches from the tied end of the balloon. This will be your dog’s nose.

How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 2

Step 3

Make two more twists (B and C) to create two more 3inch sections of a similar length.

How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 3
Line up the points where you twisted A and C and then twist these together at the join to form a lock twist. This will form your dog’s ears.
How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 4

How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 5

Step 4

Make three twists (D, E and F) each 5 inches apart. The first of these sections (D) will be your dog’s neck.

How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 7
The second two sections will be your dog’s front legs. To secure them, line up the points where you twisted D and F and twist at the join a few times to lock the twist and secure the legs.
How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 11

Step 5

Leave a 6 inch section then make your next twist (G) – this will make your dog’s body.  Make two more twists (H and I) to make the dog’s back legs. Hold all three of these sections so they don’t unravel.

How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 16
Now line up the points where you twisted G and I and twist them together to lock the legs into place.
How to make a balloon dog for beginners step 18
This just leaves one last section – your dog’s tail. Adjust the different sections if you need to to get the right angles and perfect your finished dog.
How to make a balloon dog tutorial

Step 6

Optional: if you want to give your dog an extra detail, you can draw a face on to him with a marker pen or sharpie.

 

How to make a balloon giraffe

Step 1

Blow up and tie a balloon, leaving a 3 inch tail at the end. You need to leave this bit at the end un-inflated – just like with your dog, this means that as you make your twists, the air you force out will have somewhere to go. This is how you stop the balloon from popping as you work.

 

Step 2

Make the first twist (A) 3inches from the tied end of the balloon. This will be your giraffe’s nose.

How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 1

Step 3

Make two more twists (B and C) to create two 2in sections. Line up the points where you twisted A and C and twist them together at the join to lock this twist and form your dog’s ears.

How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 2

How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 3

How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 4

Step 4

Make your next twist (D) to leave a long 9in section – this will be the giraffe’s neck.

How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 5
Now make two more twists (E and F) each 5 inches apart. These will be your giraffe’s two front legs. Line up the points where you twisted D and F and twist the joins together several times to form a lock twist.
How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 6

Step 5

Leave a 7 inch section then make your next twist (G) to make your giraffe’s body. Make two more twists (H and I) – making two 5inch sections. To make the giraffe’s back legs, line up the points where you made twists G and I and twist the joins together to form a lock twist. This will be your giraffe’s back legs.

How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 7
This just leaves the last section – your giraffe’s tail. Adjust its angle so it’s poking upwards and your balloon giraffe is finished!
How to make a balloon giraffe for beginners step 8

How to make balloon swans

Step 1

Blow up and tie a balloon, leaving a 3 inch tail at the end. You need to leave this bit at the end un-inflated so that as you make your twists, the air you force out will have somewhere to go (this is how you stop the balloon from popping as you work).

How to make a balloon swan step by step 1

Step 2

To start, make a twist (A) 1

How to make a balloon swan step by step 2
inch from the tied end of your balloon.

 

Step 3

Now make two twists (B and C), 9 inches apart (to create two sections which are the same size). These will form your swan’s body. Fold them together, lining up the points where you made twists A and C, and twist them together at the join to form a lock twist.

How to make a balloon swan step by step 3

How to make a balloon swan step by step 5

How to make a balloon swan step by step 6

How to make a balloon swan step by step 7

Step 4

Make your next twist (D) 9inches again (to create a section the same length as the past two you twisted.

Fold this back and poke the balloon through the swan’s body, so that your new twist is twisted around twist B from earlier. Secure it by twisting it around the twist B point. You’ve now made your swan’s body.

How to make a balloon swan step by step 8

How to make a balloon swan step by step 9

Step 5

The remaining part of your balloon should now have a short section un-inflated at the end (this will be your swan’s beak).

Our swan’s neck section is about 22inches. To finish your swan you need to curve the neck and tuck it into place inside the body a bit to create the angle.

To do this smooth and bend the neck backwards a little, so it curves back and then forwards – to look like a swan!

How to make a balloon swan step by step 10

How to make a balloon swan step by step step 11

How to make a balloon swan step by step step 13

How to make a balloon swan

How to make a balloon dinosaur

Step 1

Blow up and tie a balloon, leaving a 3 inch, un-inflated tail at the end when you tie it secure.

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 1

Step 2

Make your first twist (A) 6 inches from the  twisted end of the balloon.

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 2

Step 3

Make your next two twists (B and C) to create two 3inch sections.

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 3
These will be your dinosaur’s legs. Line up the points where you made twists A and C and twist them together at the twist points, then twist the two twists together to form the base of the dinosaur’s neck and his front legs.
How to make a balloon dinosaur step 4.

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 5

 

Step 4

Make your next two twists (D and E) 7in apart.

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 8
Fold them together and line up the points where you made twist E and the base of the neck from the last step. Twist them at the base of the neck and top of the front legs to lock the dinosaur’s body in place.
How to make a balloon dinosaur step 9

Step 5

Make a series of four x 2 inch twists (F, G, H and I).

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 11
Carefully holding them so they don’t untwist, secure them by poking the untwisted tail that’s left through the hole created in the last step between the dinosaur’s body.
How to make a balloon dinosaur step 12
Then move twist I so it sits at the point you made twist D. The pressure of the balloon should hold it in place or you could twist it around twist D for good measure.
How to make a balloon dinosaur step 13

 

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 14

Step 6

Now all that’s left is to make your dinosaur’s legs and tail. Let’s start with the legs.

Make two twists (F and G) to create two x 3inch sections.

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 15

Line up the point of twist G with twist I from the last step (this is at the back of the dinosaur’s body) and lock twist them together at the end of the body to create two legs. You’ll be left with the tail – twist it upwards to finish.

How to make a balloon dinosaur step 18
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Top tips for how to make balloon animals for beginners

  • Invest in a decent pump: you won’t regret it
  • Make sure you leave space at the end that’s uniflated – you need this as as you twist, the air will be pushed to the tip. By leaving a tail of about 3inches, you’ll stop the balloon popping as you work.
  • Get comfortable with the odd balloon popping as you practise. But do practise a few before you get your kit out at a children’s party as the more you model, the less you pop.
  • You may need to adjust the balloon instructions if you’re using different size balloons but the basic technique will be the same. It should just take you one or two goes to work out the best spacing of your twists for the balloons you’re working with.

5 more easy balloon animals and shapes to try

If you enjoyed trying these starter animals, now try a few of our other favourite balloon modelling projects for beginners

 

How to make balloon monkeys

Head over to AboutMagic’s YouTube channel for this fun DIY – it’s a bit trickier than the beginner tutorials in this article but it’s a good skills-builder and kids will love it.

How to make balloon monkeys

 

How to make a balloon parrot

Balloon parrots are one of the first balloon modelling animals we learnt, and AboutMagic also has a handy video guide for how to make a parrot sitting in a balloon perch for you to try. Watch it now.

How to make a balloon parrot

 

How to make a balloon mouse

This is a classic balloon animal that has a long, un-inflated mouse tail which kids will love as if you pull it back and release, the mouse also springs into the air. Head over to Traposo US YouTube to find out how to make a balloon animal mouse.

How to make a balloon mouse

 

How to make a balloon unicorn hat

Keep it Crafty have a great balloon animal tutorial over on their YouTube channel for a balloon unicorn crown that is a surefire party pleaser.

How to make a balloon unicorn

 

How to make a balloon sword

Ok so this one isn’t technically an animal but we find it’s a party favourite, plus it takes 2 minutes to make! Find it over on Youtube.

How to balloon model a sword