Hi Everyone! We thought it would be neat to show you a little sneak peek ‘how to’ on what we do.
Today the team at Balloons.net.au Sydney put together their new window display promoting for Mother’s Day with our crazy cool LED lit custom lettering for “Mum”.
So… how did we make it? Read on!
Step 1. We found a font of the proportions we wanted, typed it up in Illustrator (or you could use MS Word). Make the artwork fit a full A4 page. Landscape or Portrait as required. Note: The same technique is used for any logo or other shape
Step 2. Print out the design. Now measure the width on your A4 page with a ruler, ours came to 27.7cm. We measured the sculpture position (shop window) to 3.4m and decided for our default unit to be centimetres as this will be the most common unit going forward.
Step 3. (VERY IMPORTANT). Calculate a key to convert measurements from your sketch to measurements on your sculpture. Our key was calculated using this formula: Finished width of sculpture / finished width of A4 print out = key. So in this case 340 / 27.7 = 12.27. So now we know every 1cm on the A4 page equates to 12.27 on the real life sculpture.
Step 4. Draw an inner line inside your design. This is the line that the frame will follow. The balloons will be the thickness of the structure
Step 5. Measure the distance between each bend. We will need to write the distance between each bend on our frame later.
Once you have all your measurements. Convert the distances from your A4 print out to the life size sculpture size by multiplying every measurement by our key of 12.27. For instance, the measurement of the left hand upright of the large letter ‘M’ was 8.2cm on the print out… this calculates to 100.6cm in the sculpture. You can see from the below image I have written all our raw measurements AND the corresponding size it will be.
Step 6. Calculate the total distance of each segment. Our sculpture was built in two segments, the ‘M’ and the ‘um’, we will be cutting 12mm aluminium tubing to meet the required length of each segment. There are two techniques for calculating the finished length of each section. 1) Use thin cord to bend around the and follow the entire segment. First, mark the start and end, then pull the cord taunt and measure (see example below) OR 2) Calculate the distance by adding up each individual distance. If you are starting from scratch (just say its a simple shape or logo), I would suggest option 1.
So in the above example. The letter ‘M’ was 33cm, times that by our key of 12.27cm and we now know that a length of aluminium of 4.049m (404.9cm) can be cut to make that piece.
Step 7. Looking at your A4 print out, put an identifier (number) on each bend. Using your cut lengths of aluminium, mark each distance with the same identifier at the exact distances calculated.
Step 8. Bending. Lots of techniques here. Some people use pipe benders… they don’t work on all sizes of pipe. They do not offer wide bends (or super tight bends). We bend by hand, the aluminium is thin enough and malleable enough to work by hand. Bend at each marked point in the required up or down direction. Lots of advice to give here but I won’t flood the post. PM us if you need any more advice. Don’t worry about finished widths yet. Just get the rough shape from your whole length.
Note: We decided half way to cut the ‘um’ length (using adjustable tube cutters, a clean and burr free cut) and re-join the sections parallel to each other, this gave us a direct line to finish off at the tops of the small ‘u’ and ‘m’… instead of a tight bend. See below for how we cable tie and tape our joins.
You can see below our frames (segments) coming together. Note: Very important to measure some distances, segment widths and heights from your A4 map to use as references… for instance, the width of the first ‘M’ in this example.
Step 9. Layering. I won’t go into this too much, we use our conwin dual sizer (connection to an air compressor), drop the PSI so we have more control in the low numbers. We ranged from 0.2 to 0.6 size at 18psi. Use your creativity to merge from thick to thin to follow the natural flow of a pen. We consumed over 500 Qualatex 5″ standard white balloons!
Step 10. Accessorising! Don’t leave it at just that. Theme or accessorise your sculpture. We offered some simple flowers in pink.
Step 11. Lighting! The fun stuff. Now this is a trade secret & would require a whole new blog to detail!
We would love to hear your thoughts on the above. If you have a go, please email your own experiences with photos! If you don’t have time, why not let us do it for you! We just love working with balloons to create any theme, corporate branding or event experience.