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Archive for the ‘Products’ Category

Balloon Safety and Myths

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

 

Colorful balloons floating on the ceiling of a party

Balloons are synonymous with fun. From birthdays to graduation to the 4th of July, they always add the right touch of joy to the occasion.

Well, we hate to burst your balloon, but our favorite floating celebration decoration has also caused a big debate about balloon safety, toxicity, and environmental impact. While this issue has been inflated by a few misconceptions about proper use and disposal of balloons, a quick study of best practices can help keep balloons available in California for safe and responsible fun!

Let’s take a look at some balloon safety myths and good balloon practices.

 

berkeley school color balloons red yellow

MYTH #1: All balloons are toxic for humans and the environment.

False. Latex balloons are made from the rubber tree and are completely environmentally friendly. The latex is as biodegradable as an oak leaf, which means animals have an extremely small chance of choking on them. This does not mean that we should toss our deflated balloons on the ground and pretend they are leaves (even oak leaves take a few years to fully decompose). If your latex balloons end up in the ocean, they can take a year to decompose. Plus, the ribbon is NOT biodegradable, and this is the part that often harms animals. In general, don’t release balloons – reuse the material for other crafts and decoration

 

MYTH #2 Releasing of a Mylar balloon has the same effects as releasing a latex balloon.

False. You might have noticed all Mylar balloons come weighted down. This is meant for more than your convenience and extra decoration. It’s a law. Unlike a released latex balloon that falls back to earth in shards, when you release a Mylar balloon, it goes up, up and up until it hardens and breaks into a flat piece of metal before falling toward earth. If it lands on power lines it could compromise power for whole blocks.

 

MYTH #3 Balloons are dangerous for all children.

False. Balloons are not toxic to touch and are safe to play with, as long as children have supervision. However, this is true for children 3 and under, just like most objects at that age. If a child is biting on a balloon and it pops, the release of pressure can lodge the balloon into their little throats, causing them to choke. For children old enough to know better, balloons are completely safe.

 

MYTH #4 Balloons are bad because releasing helium is a non-renewable resource.

This one has some truth to it. While helium isn’t technically pollution, it’s unsustainable. There is a limited supply of helium, and it would be bad news if we ran out. Helium is needed to operate MRI scanners and LCD screens, so we should be mindful about how many balloons we use.

The more we learn about our favorite things, the more mindful we can be. Celebrate responsibly!

Love balloons? You’ll love our blog post on the history of balloons too!

Ready to order balloons? Check out our balloon ordering guide, and then come on into the store or give us a call at 510-525-1799.

5 Facts About the History of Balloons

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Why do we use balloons for celebration? What is it about balloons that makes us smile? If movies like Pixar’s Up have any sway in the matter, it’s probably because we just really love watching pretty things float. But there’s so much more to balloons than simple decoration. Here are 5 historical facts about balloons that you didn’t know you needed to know.

 

Valentines-day-red-balloon-heart-arrangementThe History of Balloons

While we couldn’t possibly imagine a kid’s birthday party without colorful balloons or Valentine’s Day without floating hearts that say “Be Mine”, balloons haven’t been around for very long. The concept for balloons was initially invented for transportation (like the hot air balloon) and military communication, not celebration.

 

The Invention of Latex Balloons

So when did balloons become a staple party decoration? In the 1840’s a couple of scientists, first Michael Faraday and then Thomas Hancock started playing with rubber, glued two sides together and inflated it–little did they know they had paved the way for a cultural phenomenon! The first commercialized rubber balloon came onto the U.S. market around the turn of the century. In 1912 those long noodle or “sausage” balloons popularized and people began twisting them into different shapes to look like animals.

multi colored balloon animals

Movie Magic Balloon Facts

The Red Balloon, the 1956 short film directed by Albert Lamorisse, played off the simple pleasure a balloon provides. The 34-minute film is simple, whimsical, and has a way of awakening the child in all of us. The film’s only special effect is the mechanism used to get the balloon to follow the boy. The Red Balloon also spurred a deep love for floating balloons in the US. Before that, balloons were manufactured on sticks. While you can still buy stick balloons today, floating balloons are still the more popular choice.

 

Environmental Facts About Balloons

Colorful balloonsToday, there are some misunderstandings about the environmental safety of balloons and how we should dispose of them. While the string of the balloon is not biodegradable, the latex balloon is. Mylar balloons, on the other hand, are not biodegradable. When these types of balloons get high up in the atmosphere they harden into a solid plate and fall back to earth, occasionally taking out whole power lines. That’s why Mylar balloons come weighted down. To properly dispose of a Mylar balloon, cut it into strips and recycle them. You can also re-use them for art projects. Whether your balloons are Mylar or latex, be sure both the balloon and the string are disposed of properly.

 

Helium Balloon Facts

A series of issues over the last 15 years have also led to a fear of a helium shortage since helium is needed to run MRI scanners and other important devices. Because of this, air-filled balloons have come back into popularity, replacing some helium sales (though the switch isn’t very significant). The balloon industry changes rapidly, and it’s possible the rules and expectations around helium will change again, and again.

While governments and environmental groups are discouraging people from buying helium-based balloons, the use of balloon material for other projects is completely fine. In fact, some of the most incredible artwork can be created using balloon material.

There you have it! The life and history of the balloon is an interesting one. Where will balloons take us next?

Come by our store in Berkeley at 1629 San Pablo Ave (510-525-1799) to purchase balloons for your next party! And check out our helpful balloon ordering guide first!

 

Candle Decorating Ideas for Every Room to Keep You Cozy All Winter

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

pink and whtite candles

So, you’ve already decked out your house for fall, now it’s time to warm it up for winter.

What is it about candles that bring us such joy?

Their soft light warms our hearts while making even the coldest winter evening cozy and calm. The rhythmic cadence of their burning provides a whimsical note to the atmosphere, providing an ambiance so intimate and familiar.

 

Whether you prefer scented candles for the ambiance…

…beeswax candles for their air purifying qualities or tea lights for decorative luminescence, there’s nothing quite like the flickering of a candle. They are versatile and can add a warm touch for both home and event decorating.

With quite a bit of winter left, let’s take a look at some simple ways to add that lovely touch to your winter decorating that only candles can provide.

 

Lighten up the Short Winter Days

Adding scented candles to any room is a simple way to lighten up these short winter days and set a soothing mood. When decorating with scented ones, look for containers that match the colors and theme of the room you’re decorating. (Plus, you can re-use the containers for planters, pen holders or your own DIY candles once they’ve burnt out).

 

Best Places to Display Candles

Start by displaying candles in areas that get the least natural light, like reading nooks or the study. Complement scented candles with flowers, candy bowls featuring seasonal snacks or other sensory elements. Together they create a decorative delight to the senses.

 

candles as bathroom decoration with towelsIn The Bathroom

During the winter months, finding soothing ways to warm up takes precedence. We curl up by the fire, bundle up in soft blankets, and we definitely take more baths to heat up those bones after cold days in the rain or snow.

Decorating the bathroom with scented candles can transform your ordinary bathroom into an intimate space for relaxing in a hot bubble bath. Choose a neutralizing scented candle for the bathroom, like ocean, linen or citrus.

Line your bath tub with scented candles or tea lights to create a soothing place to wind down in the evenings. You can also use floating tea lights in the bath tub to create a soft, intimate mood.

 

In The Dining Room

 As your warm your spirit with seasonal comfort foods, enhance the dining room center pieces and decorative spreads with candles too. The subtle lighting offers a relaxing mood for dining and entertaining.

Coordinate the scent of the candles with the flavors of the dinner menu. Taper candles also look formal yet comforting when arranged into floral centerpieces. You can use flameless candles if you’re creating centerpieces with flammable elements.

 

outdoor lantern with tea lightIn The Bedroom

Nothing says romance quite like candles in the bedroom. Turn off those harsh fluorescent lights and swap them for decorative pillar candles on the dresser.

Line tea lights on the bed side table and complement them with scented lotions or perfumes for added sensual notes and intimacy.

Lanterns are another neat way to surround yourself in candlelight. Hang one on both sides of the bed for an extra touch of romance.

 

In The Living Room

The main gathering area for entertaining friends and family should be the warmest room in the home. Get a little liberal with candles in this area, placing one or many on the coffee table, tea lights or a row of taper candles on the mantle, and some decorative pillar candles on end tables or on the entertainment center.

One unique way to use pillar candles is to arrange them in the fireplace during the winter. This is perfect if you have a fireplace that doesn’t work but you still want to create that feeling of warmth you can only get by sitting around a fire with friends and family.

 

led candles in paper bags outdoorsIn The Entryway or Outside Walkway

The entrance of your home is a brilliant place to decorate, as it creates a more welcoming atmosphere.

In the walkway just outside your door, use flameless candles, luminaries or LEDs, since all these options give a welcoming feel to the front of your home. Placing flameless candles in paper bags can also enhance the warmth of the light.

In the entryway, scented candles are great for lighting the area up. Candelabras add a neat touch to entry tables also!

Stay warm this winter, and come on down to Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley with your decorating ideas.

We have lots to choose from to keep you cozy this winter! Open Monday – Saturday 9am – 7pm and
Sunday 10am – 5pm.

Give the Gift of Organization: 2017 Calendars 50% Off!

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Wall calendars, day planners, inspirational calendars 50% off on display

In our increasingly chaotic world staying organized is more important than ever. We know a calendar isn’t just the days in the month or year, it’s an opportunity to enjoy photography, recipes, art, daily inspiration or historical dates each month. While clearly being functional, calendars also offer pleasant reminder of hobbies, favorite locales or humorous characters. Come on in and one of our knowledgeable associates will help you pick out the right calendar for everyone in your family.

All 2017 Calendars are 50% Off as show in rotating rack

Wall Calendars for Family Memories

From birthdays to anniversaries, keep careful track with an inspirational wall calendar. When each month rolls around, you’ll see clearly which events are coming and have enough time to do something special. Thanks to digital photography, these calendars explode with awesome images that make keeping a schedule a pleasant activity.

Pocket Calendars for Easy Use

These mini planners are perfect for anyone on the go. With this handy calendar at your fingertips, you’ll never forget another appointment!

Page-a-Day Calendars for Inspiration

These inspiring gems sit happily on a desktop or counter and offer tidbits of wisdom alongside the date. Each day as you flip to the next page, an inspirational quote, funny quip or heart-warming recipe await. There’s a theme to fit everyone. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Engagement Calendars for Daily Organization

Keep track of your daily appointments with a portable spiral bound or hardcover calendar.

Monthly Planners for Goal Setting

Planners are wonderful for looking at the entire month or week. Great for people with a busy schedule or a family with lots of activities.

Big Letters/Big Numbers Planners for Easy Viewing

These best-selling calendars are great for seniors or anyone visually challenged. While they don’t have photographs, their large fonts make them a wonderful asset to your organized life.

Your Guide to Ordering Balloons

Monday, October 31st, 2016

dreamballoon

At Paper Plus we take pride in delivering festive and creative balloon solutions for any and all celebrations under the sun. Our balloon artists are here to help make sure your occasion is one to remember! We’ve compiled a few helpful tips to help you plan your next shindig!

Things to Consider Before You Order

 

  1. Budget – We are happy to work with any budget! From a few large statement balloons to arches and numbers and rainbows, oh my! We strive to make every experience with us special for you. Let us know what works within your budget and we’ll do our best to get creative.
  2. Theme – What’s the occasion? From a 25th wedding anniversary to a 1st birthday, we can find the perfect personalized décor from our stock or customize a bouquet especially for the big day.
  3. Color Scheme – We can create pretty much anything you have your heart set on.
    Bring in a few photos of ideas you love and we’ll brainstorm together how we can make it work for you!
  4. Weather – This is an important factor that’s easy to overlook. Balloons don’t do well in the rain or the heat, so consider their fragility when placing your order. For balloons that will be displayed indoors, make sure they are kept away from heating vents and properly weighted down so they don’t bump against the ceiling.
  5. Delivery – If you won’t have time to pick up your balloons before the festivities, we offer delivery for an extra charge. We recommend ordering at least a week in advance.

  

3 Ways to Order

 

  1. In person (Day Of) – We’d always prefer that you come into the store! One of our experts will guide you through your decorating needs, help you plan a color scheme and theme that are just right for your high-flying needs. Please allow a couple of hours for larger orders.
  2. In person (Advance Order) – Great for those busy times, especially the holidays or for those who may not have time right before an event to go through the process of choosing balloons. Come on in a few days before you need your balloons, assuring one of our associates has plenty of time to spend with you to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
  3. On the Phone – This is a time saving option for customers who know exactly what they want and are familiar with our inventory of balloons and our custom options. For those who are new to ordering balloons, we’d prefer you come into the store and let us help you get creative. Plus, we always love to see your faces!

  

Our Selection*

 

  1. Latex – We offer the highest quality, eco-friendly latex balloons available. dscn0119All of our latex balloons are completely biodegradable – meaning they cause absolutely no harm to the environment. We offer 64 basic colors and hundreds of novelty designs for you to choose from. These balloons float for 8-10 hours and should be picked up the day of your event.**
  2. Mylar – Mylars are a crowd pleaser because of their festive, shiny designs and their long-lasting properties. Mylar balloons will float for up to 10 days making them a great solution for customers that need to pick them up a couple of days before a big event and have them still look great. We have hundreds of styles to choose from including letters and numbers.
  3. Bubble Balloons – These exciting see-through, plastic balloons are the newest and hottest product in the balloon market today. They offer increased float time and an ability to get super creative and custom. Lasting for weeks, these balloons can be inflated ahead of time for displays as well as bouquets.

Learn more about our balloon types here.

 

*We follow all eco-friendly, balloon safety practices by making sure our balloons are properly weighted so as not to blow away into the atmosphere.

** For customers wanting to pick up latex balloons more than 8 hours in advance of an event, we recommend Hi-Float. Hi-Float is a non-toxic substance that coats the inside of the porous latex so the helium doesn’t escape as quickly. The balloons will now float for up to 4 days. Additional cost of $0.25 per balloon.

Five Ways to ACE Your Gift-giving This Year With Calendars!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Make someone happy this year and next with one of our unique 2016 calendars.

1. Save Money

All of our 2016 calendars are 50% off the marked price. That’s HALF off, just for coming into the store.

2. Be choosy.

We have literally thousands of calendar titles of high-quality print calendars with an extensive range of imagery, including:

  • calendars on display at Paper PlusDog breed calendars
  • Famous artist calendars
  • Celebrities, A- to C-list
  • Food photography calendars
  • Travel calendars
  • Countries, Cities calendars
  • Landmarks calendars
  • National Parks calendars
  • Animal calendars
  • Flowers calendars
  • Cars calendars
  • Motorcycles calendars
  • Vintage image calendars
  • and so many more!

3. Get them something they need.

Our calendar selection isn’t limited to large wall calendars. We also carry quick glance mini-wall calendars, engagement calendars for appointments, assignments and more, and pocket calendars for a purse, backpack or desk drawer.

4. Get them something that suits their tastes.

Whether it is a classic engagement book for the teacher in your life, or a sweet kids’ calendar for a new student, calendars are perfect end-of-year gifts. They make great stocking stuffers, and with Paper Plus’ 50% thousands of calendars on the shelves at paper plusoff pricing, you can afford to buy one for every friend and family member.

5. Start the tradition.

Calendar-giving is a friendly way to look forward to the new year together. Unlike digital calendars that stretch on into infinity, paper calendars can be individualized to the hobbies and interests of the receiver and mark the passage of time. Not only are they attractive, they’re actually useful! What better way to show someone you care?

Come to the Paper Plus 50% Off Calendar sale, while supplies last! These titles go fast!

Stroll through the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s at Paper Plus

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

The decades of the past are alive at Paper Plus!

MI0001745283With a section each dedicated to the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s (not to mention a fun Wigs section), Paper Plus is your go-to party supply store in the East Bay for decade-themed parties.

Rockabillies can rock around the clock with 50s party goods. Guys, get your facial hair tuned up with packs of assorted mustaches, record centerpieces, and other 50s wearables and accessories. Add some pomade and a pack of cards tucked in your sleeve, and you’re a dead ringer for Danny Zuko. Your Jello fruit salad will look great on our 50s-inspired servingware.70s

Party people, dress up your swinging 60s party with groovy buttons, psychedelic confetti, glasses and beads. Or put on your outrageously large collared shirt and find your disco beat with 70s photo props and 70s memorabilia.

Reaganites, find that old leotard and your Culture Club cassettes and kick back with food and drink served in our 80s serving ware. Or recreate your John Hughes Prom days with colorful balloons from Paper Plus’ balloon section and a ridiculously frilly dress. With our great prices, you can afford that extra scrunchy for your hair.

Whatever decade you’re in the mood for, Paper Plus Outlet in Berkeley is a wonderland of throwback party goods and accessories.

p840-lux-regular

Don’t forget one of these!

Looking for something specific for your blast from the past? Paper Plus probably has it. Call (510) 525-1799 to ask one of our staff members, or browse our Berkeley store.

Celebrate Mexican culture and heritage on Cinco de Mayo at Paper Plus

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Founded after an unlikely victory by Mexican troops against the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican and U.S. holiday honoring Mexican culture, food and heritage. It is often mistaken for the day of Mexican Independence, which is actually celebrated on September 16.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in all sorts of ways: parades, parties, nights out on the town, music festivals and folk dances, or bailes folkloricos.

Paper Plus loves the fiesta! Our permanent Fiesta section of Mexican party goods grows in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo.

You’ll find beautiful paper cutout strands, or papel picado, which come in a variety of colors and designs, including fruit, birthday, flower and traditional. These colorful strands of paper make beautiful decorations in windows, doorways, and as frieze borders.

Throwing a Cinco de Mayo party? We have plates and napkins in bright Mexican designs. Serve that delicious Mexican food and drink in style! Or choose serving ware by color; we have every color in the rainbow, plus silver and gold. Mix and match green, white and red to honor the Mexican flag!

We also carry props for photo booths, like mustaches on sticks, hats, and more gear to dress up your photos. Our huge selection of pinatas is also available year-round.

Cinco de Mayo is a time for bright colors and music-filled celebrations honoring Mexican culture and the historical battle that took place on that day. Some cities go so far as to reenact the Battle of Puebla in full Mexican and French soldier regalia. Others just want to have fun – in Vancouver, Canada, it’s celebrated with an annual Cinco de Mayo skydiving event; people in the Cayman Islands gather to celebrate the holiday with an air guitar competition.

Visit the store in Berkeley to check out our Fiesta section and get in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo.

Hop over to Paper Plus for Easter Supplies

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

For Christians and secular communities alike, Easter is a joyous celebration of new life. It is celebrated by attending Church services, gathering for a special meal, and hunting for Easter eggs. On the calendar, Easter marks the beginnings of warmer weather, the blossoming of bulb flowers, and longer days.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Easter, Paper Plus has your Easter supplies ready.

Easter Egg Hunts

For egg hunts, we carry plastic eggs, chicks, wearable headboppers with eggs, egg bags and baskets, fuzzy bunnies — all the materials you may need for creating Easter egg baskets and putting on the perfect Easter egg hunt. The children will love searching for brightly colored eggs filled with candy, coins, stickers or toys!

Make Easter Dinner Special

easter-eggs

For Easter dinner feasts and lunch gatherings after church services, Paper Plus carries a huge selection of beautiful dishware, including paper plates, napkins, utensils and serving ware. Our Easter dishware comes in religious and secular Easter patterns. We also have an entire aisle devoted to solid-color dishwares to fit any color scheme. Mix and match for a beautiful pastel table.

Decorate Your Home for Easter

Looking for Easter decorations for your home? Paper Plus has a huge selection of window hangings, Easter bunny balloons, streamers and other party decorations for your Easter party. We also carry Spring-themed centerpieces, cookie tins, and other festive decor items for annual use.

*Cotton Candy Machines* and More!

If you really want to sweeten your Easter party, rent a cotton candy machine from Paper Plus Rentals! Our quality machines are easy to operate and carry reasonable rates. We also have popcorn carts, nacho cheese dispensers, and sno cone makers! Just give us a call (510) 525-1799!

Paper Plus is proud to serve the East Bay and San Francisco Bay Area communities in making their Easter celebrations colorful and fun. For Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, and Berkeley Hills residents, Paper Plus offers the best party supplies at discount prices.

Visit us at our store on San Pablo Avenue, or call (510) 525-1799 to speak with one of our staff members.

Celebrate Passover with stories, games and seder dinner

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Passover is a special time for many in the Bay Area Jewish community. A celebration of the story of Exodus, Passover is a time to gather, eat seder dinner, tell stories and play games.

Passover dinner, or Seder, usually involves a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Friends and family gather together to read from the Haggadah, the narrative of the exodus from Egypt which includes special blessings and rituals and Passover songs. Eating matza, drinking wine, and partaking of the Passover Seder plate’s symbolic foods are all part of this special holiday celebrating freedom. In some families, children are offered prizes for finding the afikoman, a piece of matzo set aside to be eaten as dessert, which is hidden somewhere in the house.

PesahplateFor those hosting a seder, or for those who wish to contribute to the festivities, Paper Plus now carries a wide selection of Passover party supplies, including Passover decorations, festive Seder plates, Passover placemats and Seder dishware. We also carry a Design Your Own seder plate, to help children understand the meaning of those symbolic foods.

Paper Plus also offers Haggadah storybooks, afikoman matza covers, and kits which represent the Plagues as told in the Exodus story. Guide the children through the story with frogs, locusts and other props!

And of course, we have plenty of fun Passover games for after the meal, including Passover stickers, Matza playing cards, and jumping matzo balls.

So whether it’s your first Passover or your fiftieth, Paper Plus is your Bay Area party store for Passover party supplies.

Looking for something specific? Ask one of our helpful staff members at (510) 525-1799. Or visit our store, conveniently located on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Paper Plus is proud to help East Bay communities celebrate the holidays with style and fun!

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