We love a great big metallic-letter balloon display as much as the next gal (okay, probably more), but they do call for a certain amount of advance planning. And when you’re running around hunting down the very best personalized peg doll set or superhero cape and perfecting your from-scratch confetti ice-cream cake technique, sometimes the best-laid birthday party decor plans can fall by the wayside.
Not to worry! Using regular balloons and ordinary craft supplies you may already have at home (time to raid the pom-pom stash!), it’s easy to take your last-minute decorations to the next level. Here are five creative ways to dress up balloons for your next celebration. Which one is your favorite?
1. Add pom-poms
Use hot glue—yes, really!—to carefully attach pom-poms to inflated balloons of a solid hue. (Tip: Apply the glue to the pom-poms themselves, rather than the balloon’s surface, then position them as desired.) For helium balloons, select smaller pom-poms so they won’t add too much weight.
2. Fill with confetti
Before inflating, use a funnel to pour confetti inside translucent balloons. Inflate, then rub each balloon against some carpet or upholstery to generate static electricity; this will encourage the confetti to stick to its sides, rather than sinking to the bottom.
3. Add stickers
Apply stickers in the birthday boy or girl’s favorite shape, color, or animal motif to inflated balloons—or set up a DIY sticker decorating station and let party guests customize them to their hearts’ content.
4. Tie on tassels
Think balloons can’t be boho? Think again. All it takes is tying a few tassels (in a trendy color palette) onto an extra-large balloon and you’re good to go. (You can even create your own custom tassels by following the instructions in our beginner-friendly tassel-making tutorial.)
5. Make your marks
Use permanent markers to draw abstract patterns or simple repeating designs onto inflated balloons. Try black markers against brightly colored balloons for a modern, graphic look, or choose neon or primary-colored markers to give white or clear balloons a boost.
Projects and photos by Julie O’Boyle, Aleksa Brown, and Clare McGibbon.