How to Inflate Foil Balloons
Foil balloons can make any event look festive. But you’re also likely looking for a guide on how to inflate foil balloons because there are several options, each providing a different effect.
Learn more about the three ways to inflate these balloons, the tools you’ll need and how easy each option is.
What Are Foil Balloons?
Foil balloons are not as porous as latex balloons, which means they will stay inflated for longer. They feature a nylon material with several thin sheets of metal material over top.
Foil balloons come in a variety of colors, shapes and styles. The ability to get a specific shape, number or character is one reason why people choose these balloons.
Whether you’re looking for your child’s favorite movie character or a numbered balloon to celebrate your anniversary, you’ll find it in foil balloons.
When inflated well, these balloons often last approximately one month.
How to Inflate Foil Balloons
You have three options for inflating foil balloons. Here’s a look at each method.
Option 1: Blow Up the Balloon Manually
This is probably the most challenging option for inflating your balloons. You’ll want to allow yourself plenty of time to inflate the balloons to avoid lightheadedness from going too fast.
Here’s a look at how to blow up your balloon manually.
- Locate the filling tab. This is generally at the bottom of your balloon’s design. The opening will be about 1-2 inches near where you attach the string to the balloon.
- Place a drinking straw inside the tab for easier inflation. This will make filling the balloon easier than trying to simply blow air into the small hole at an awkward angle. You’ll need to break the inner seal by placing your straw inside the inflation hole about 1-2 inches. Some balloon kits even come with a straw to make this step simple.
- Pinch the balloon material on either side of the straw to ensure the air goes inside the balloon. Otherwise, it might come back out of the hole. Hold this area the entire time you are inflating the balloon.
- Blow into the end of the straw. Try to ensure you are taking steady breaths and blowing slowly into the balloon to avoid feeling unwell during the process. Your work is done once the balloon is firm to the touch. Be careful that you don’t overinflate the balloon, leading to it popping.
- Remove the straw and pinch the seal closed. This will secure your balloon since it is self-sealing. If you’d like, you can attach your string now or hang it on a wall.
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Option 2: Inflate Using an Air Pump
Perhaps you’re feeling a little lightheaded just at the idea of filling the balloon by blowing it up. That’s OK, you have other options. Using an air pump can make the process go faster and save your breath. Here are the step-by-step instructions for this inflation option.
- Look for an air pump that has a narrow tip. This will provide the best results for inflating balloons. Smaller tips will go inside the balloon more easily. Ideally, you also want the tip to be 1-2 inches long so it extends beyond the balloon’s seal.
- Place the pump’s nozzle between the plastic seal at the filling tab. This is the same section that you found in step 1 of the step-by-step for blowing up your foil balloon manually. You should hear the seal break when placing the pump inside if you have the nozzle in far enough.
- Hold the balloon’s tab to seal it so air doesn’t come out while pumping. Pinch the sections on either side of the tab and hold firmly with one hand. For most people, this feels most comfortable using their dominant hand, but do what feels right to you.
- Begin pumping air into your balloon. Crank the pump with the hand that is not holding the balloon, or get a second person to help you with this process to make it a little easier. Pump slowly to avoid overinflating or damaging the balloon. You want to pump until the balloon is firm and bouncy. It’s very easy to over-pump using this method, so watch out.
- Remove the pump’s tip from the balloon and pinch the inflation tab closed. The balloon has a self-sealing adhesive.
Option 3: Using a Helium Tank
If you want your balloons to float during your party, you’ll need helium. The best way to get helium-inflated balloons is to go to a party supply store and get them to inflate the balloons safely using a tank. Tanks are under pressure, which means you’ll need to handle them carefully to avoid hazards.
But if you take some time to learn about handling helium tanks, you can inflate balloons at home using this method. Party planners frequently have their own helium tanks to support large celebrations where they’ll be inflating dozens of balloons to create a fun atmosphere.
The process is not any harder than inflating the balloons by blowing them up manually or using an air pump. You’ll just want to be aware of the risks. Here are the step-by-step instructions for using this method.
- Insert the helium tank’s nozzle into the balloon’s filling tab. You’ll need to place the nozzle in far enough to break the seal on the balloon to allow air to pass through it. Hold the sides of the tab tightly to avoid allowing helium to leak out of the tab while filling.
- While holding the balloon tab, press down on the nozzle of the tank gently. You don’t want to apply the helium too fast so go gently until you see the balloon begin to inflate with air. Continue releasing the helium until the balloon is filled to your liking.
- Remove the helium tank nozzle from the balloon tab. The balloon will seal itself thanks to the adhesive strip inside. So you don’t have to worry about holding the tab once you’ve removed the tank. But you do want to hold the tab so long as the nozzle is in the tab because helium can leak out until that adhesive seal is secured.
Helium balloons generally last 3-7 days. But they can last far longer as well depending on their environment.
Foil Balloon Inflation FAQs
For the most part, the process of inflating foil balloons is pretty straightforward. But you might encounter some questions along the way. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions related to inflating these balloons.
Why Are My Foil Balloons Not Floating?
If you have filled your balloons with helium but they are not floating well, the problem is likely that you underinflated the balloon. You can place the tab back on the helium tank nozzle and add some more air to get the foil balloon to float the height you want.
Do You Need Helium for Foil Balloons?
No, you don’t need helium for foil balloons if you don’t plan for the balloons to float. Sometimes balloons are a prop for a photo booth or other location where they will not be floating, which means you can inflate them with regular air.
How Long Do Foil Balloons Last?
In most environments, foil balloons last 3-7 days. In hotter conditions, you likely won’t get as long from your balloons.