Balloons + Fringe = Love. A tutorial / by Kelly Allison

I have been in love with the great and mighty Geronimo! Balloon ever since Jihan Zencirli's amazing creations started gracing blogland and flooding my Pinterest feed. The simplicity of her designs are brilliant. The execution is perfection. Like peanut butter + chocolate, balloons and fringe are a match made in heaven. jumbo round balloonWhen dreaming up decor for the Forth Chicago winter salon / cocktail party, we three were all drawn to the same theme: we dreamed of sparkle, we wanted shimmer, we needed fun. Julie mentioned fringe, and I immediately envisioned a roomful of giant, festively adorned balloons. It was time to teach myself the ways of the master balloonist herself.

tissue fringe diy

Inevitably, the logistics of building, filling, and transporting 30 3-foot balloons was beyond measure, so I had to settle for what I could create in a handful of hours and transport in the back of my semi-spacious car. Five seemed doable and still statement creating. So I got right to work.

There are loads of tutuorials online for these delightful decorations, but here's one more to throw into the mix.

suppliesWhat you'll need

To begin, lay a stack of tissue paper (packs typically come with 10 - 20 sheets) atop your cutting mat, and trim the stack to your desired fringe length. I like multiple fringe lengths, so I cut my paper to 18", 10" and 6" sections.

Using a steady hand & your trusty ruler, make 1/2″ cuts with a ruler and craft knife through all layers, stopping about 1″ short of the edge. To avoid tearing the tissue, cut in short, repetitive strokes starting at the bottom of the sheet. Once your knife meets the mat, move up the strip and repeat. Change your blades as needed—tissue tearing easily usually indicates a dull blade.

When the whole stack of tissue is cut, rotate sheet & carefully roll tissue tightly from bottom to top, making sure the fringe does not become tangled as you roll. Pinch & twist the bundle 1" from the top. Using your gold or silver cord, tie a knot at the pinch, and wrap the cord around several times to secure the bundle. Leave enough cord to attach your fringe to the balloon string. Repeat with additional tissue colors. The mylar strands can either be tied into their own fringe bundles, or can be incorporated into your tissue bundles. The choice is yours!

tissue fringe

Take your balloons to the nearest party store to be inflated. Replace their curling ribbon with sturdy twine or cord to match your color scheme (this will be your tether cord). Use the same, or complimentary, cord for creating your fringed look, and attach to the balloon (your fringe cord).

Starting at the top, attach fringe bundles by tying the bundle's cord in a tight & secure knot around the fringe cord. Continue every 6" to 10", or to your taste & design, alternating fringe colors as you go. If you want the balloon to stay in place, tie the tether cord to a small weight, and let the fringe cord pool on the ground to hide the weight. Omit the weight if you prefer the floaty look.

How much fringe per balloon? This question is entirely dependent on the size of your balloon, and how much helium you put inside of it. I used 20 - 30" balloons, and inadvertently over-fringed them, so they barely floated above the floor (which can work in a photobooth). Much fringe was removed and used as decor elsewhere.

Round latex balloons can be purchased in a variety of sizes from 17" diameter to 96" (yikes!!). When considering your size, keep in mind a few things: How will you get these puppies, once filled, to your final destination? If an indoor location, how wide are the doors you'll need to fit through? How much do you want to spend on the helium? (Most party supply stores will fill your balloons for you, charging based on total helium used. I found that a 24" balloon was around $1.75 to fill, while a 36" was $8.00+)

photobooth balloonsThe balloons at the Forth party were intended for use in a photobooth, so I wanted them to hover between 3 - 6 feet. At their desired height, each held around 10 fringe bundles. The balloons that Jihan sells through BHLDN appear to come equipped with around 18 bundles of fringe, and by the photo it looks like a fully inflated 36" balloon should hover around 6'. My suggestion is to either test a balloon prior to finalizing your fringe count, or fringe on site until your balloons float at their desired height.

forth chicago founders

We the three Forth gals wish you good luck, and great fun!