Printed balloons can be one of the most interesting and impactful ways to customize an event. They make a powerful and memorable marketing tool at corporate events and exhibitions and add a personal touch to important moments like baby showers and weddings.
The versatility of printed balloons means that they will remain a timeless party staple and continue to be a regular addition to every party for many years to come. As techniques for customization continue to advance it is likely that they will only continue to grow in popularity, companies continue to find new and fun ways to use them every year!
If you’re thinking about purchasing some for your next event you might have stopped to wonder what exactly goes into making them, especially because the lead times can sometimes be long. So what exactly is involved in the process of creating custom party decorations?
Read on below to find out more about how they’re made.
Latex vs. Foil manufacturing process
The process of making your favorite inflatable party decorations is actually really interesting, and kind of mesmerizing to watch.
Once upon a time they used to be made from dried animal intestines and bladders, until the latex kind came along – thank god for technical advancements right?
The process for making the latex style of inflatables is lengthy. First the latex has to be dyed, this takes about 16 hours. The moulds to make the balloon shape during this time are soaked in a chemical that attracts latex, before being dipped into the dyed latex.
They go through a number of other chemical processes to ensure that the latex is even and cured correctly before being inflated and tested. If they’re being customized in any way then this is usually the point at which it will happen.
You can thank NASA for your foil party decorations; the technology was created by them. Creating foil inflatables involves coating nylon sheets with polyethylene and metalizing on the other side. This are usually produced on a flat surface unlike the latex versions.
Offset production is a popular technique that involves transferring images onto an item from a rubber sheet. When latex is produced in this way the product is partially inflated and then shrunk back down with industrial shrinkers.
With this method a stencil is created and the image is then transferred through a mesh to the item.
Printed balloons required highly specialized inks to ensure that the ink attaches correctly to the rubbery latex surface or metalized surfaced without sliding off or going through the materials. The methods for customization are time consuming and require highly skilled professionals.
Creating and transferring the images is a mostly manual process that requires care and skills, whilst it can take many hours for the ink to dry correctly.
This is why printed balloons can sometimes require longer lead times. Whilst industrial equipment can make fast work of printing bulk quantities, there will always be a minimum wait time to ensure that the ink has dried and that you are receiving a quality product.
One of the best things about printed balloons is that because the production process usually requires partial inflation for printing or testing, you will rarely receive any defective items as the customization method weeds out any problem inflatables.
When going through this process with a professional company all items are carefully inspected because of the nature of the method, ensuring you get the best quality items.
So there you have it, there is actually quite a lot that goes into producing the humble printed balloon!