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Posts Tagged ‘balloons’

No Helium, No Problem! Decorating with Non-Helium Balloons

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

non helium balloons heart wedding decoration

For a long time, helium has been the essential element that makes balloons so magical. From the 1956 French film The Red Balloon to childhood birthday parties, it’s hard to imagine decorating without helium balloons.

 

But with the recent helium shortage, artists and designers have been doing just that … and their creations are mesmerizing. Even before the helium shortage, creative and crafty types have put no helium balloons (i.e. air-filled balloons) to great use.

 

You can find the most impressive air-filled balloon designs at the World Balloon Convention–no, we’re not making this up! This international balloon design convention and competition has an air-only balloon event where contestants from all over the world come to showcase furniture, mythical creatures, fictional characters, massive archways, fashion and hundreds of other clever pieces made entirely of balloons without helium. The convention shows first-hand that the design possibilities with no helium balloons are un-ending.

While your no helium balloon needs probably aren’t as extravagant as the designs at the World Balloon Convention, no helium balloons can be used on a smaller scale for many of your traditional party decorations.

 

The Benefits of No Helium Balloon Designs

Even though it’s nice to have party decorations that float, choosing air-filled balloons slows the demand for helium without compromising the look of your decorations.

non helium balloons table decoration

  • In general, helium balloons are more sensitive to temperature changes (they deflate in cold temperatures and expand in hot temperatures) which can affect your decorations. Helium is a smaller molecule than oxygen, so helium balloons deflate quicker than air-filled balloons.
  • If you are hosting a party outdoors, air-filled balloons are a stronger choice. Since air-filled balloons are held together with sturdy materials like poles, vases, and string, you can keep balloon decorations from floating around and tearing apart if the wind picks up.
  • Helium centerpieces are typically less innovative because the main attractiveness is the floating part. With air-filled balloons, your centerpiece can be as elaborate as you want.
  • Helium balloons tend to be more expensive because helium is a more expensive commodity than air. If you have big ideas for balloon decorations but you need to stay on budget, air-filled balloons are much more economical.
  • You certainly aren’t limited to latex balloons either. Air-filled Mylar balloons of all shapes and sizes are available for balloon bouquets, cake toppers, photo booth decorations, and centerpieces. Whether you use Mylar or latex, you never have to worry about your balloons floating away with this type of centerpiece.

 

Big No Helium Balloon Designs

Air-filled balloons are perfect for big decorative columns and arches because they are suspended with poles, vases, and frames. This makes outdoor balloon decoration much more dependable. Even if you are hosting a party indoors, big air-filled balloon structures don’t move around as much, so they can be incorporated into more complex designs. We’ve seen “columns” that look like Mickey and Minnie Mouse and archways that look like portals to new dimensions. You can make your vision come to life with air-filled balloons; all you need is a strong, flexible frame to keep it in place.

 

Small No Helium Balloon Designs

non helium balloons on a stick

Air-filled balloons can also be used for smaller decorations, props, cake toppers, party favors, and centerpieces. Small balloons suspended on short poles create lovely multi-tiered designs that can be customized by theme or type of occasion. We’ve seen elaborate centerpieces that touch the ceiling, centerpieces that look like flower bouquets, and others that include candles or lights. A classic air-filled balloon design features a single latex balloon on top with little latex balloons attached around the bottom. You can also create small topiary trees and structures with air-filled balloons.

Air-filled balloons are also used to make inflatable props like balloon animals. Balloon animals are traditionally made with long or “tube” air-filled balloons and add a little magic to children’s birthday parties, festivals, and other occasions. Another popular prop is the air-filled balloon on a hand-held stick. This party prop dates back to before the popularization of helium balloons, and now they are making a comeback!

multi colored balloon animals

Reimagining balloons can lead to some magnificent designs while also reducing the demand for helium. We thank you for considering air-filled balloons for your next event. If air-filled balloons sound like the perfect option for you but you don’t know where to start, stop into Paper Plus at 629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley and chat with our balloon-loving staff. Or, give us a call! 510-525-1799

We love balloons, so we write about them a lot!

 

 

12 Big and Small Birthday Party Ideas for Adults

Monday, October 1st, 2018

big or small birthday party ideas for decorations

 

It’s Not One Size Fits All – Big and Small Birthday Party Ideas

In the billions of birthdays that happen each year, it’s lovely to think each birthday celebration can be as unique as the person being celebrated. From the decorations to the guest list to the venue, there are so many details that make a birthday party yours.

 

Big birthday parties set a gigantic stage for all the you-centered festivities, while minimalistic and small birthday parties can say a lot about what’s truly important to you. Whether you plan on inviting a few of your closest friends over for a low-key dinner party or you’re designing an elaborate murder mystery dinner, we’re wishing you the best birthday of your life with the help of these big and small birthday party ideas for adults.

 

Small Birthday Party Ideas for Decorations

Sometimes simple is the best way to go. Minimalistic birthday parties for a guest list of 10 or fewer keep the flash and flare on the low and the limelight on you.

 

small birthday party ideas for party hats and decorations

For this size party, you might decide to host at home and the timeframe will likely be under two hours. Guests won’t be expecting a full meal (especially if the party is set for mid-afternoon) and they might even be planning on bringing their own beverage. No matter how minimalistic you choose to go, a birthday doesn’t feel quite like a birthday without a few key decorations and essentials.

 

1. Cake and Ice Cream

The first essential that distinguishes a birthday party from any other party is (of course!) the cake and ice cream. If you don’t like cake, that’s OK too! Serve up a delicious treat that you do love, like brownies, a seasonal tart, or even a signature cocktail.

 

2.Basic Decoration

Even for minimalistic parties, it feels good to add a little decoration to amp up the celebration. For smaller birthday parties, choose the decorative-but-functional route with party necessities like paper plates, utensils, and maybe some streamers or a centerpiece for the table. You can also order a decorated cake that acts as a centerpiece.

 

3. Activities

If you’re inviting friends from different friend circles, include a simple game to help break the ice.

 

Activity-Oriented Birthdays for Small to Midsize Parties

If you have a slightly larger guest list (20-25 people), you may be hosting a party at a venue where the activity is provided. This could be at a brewery, an art studio, a teahouse or anywhere that offers an activity that you enjoy.

Because these parties tend to take longer, there are some additional essentials that will improve the experience for your guests.

 

4. Pizza

Ordering a few pizzas or another quick, universally enjoyed food makes feeding guests simple. However, you will need

young adults at small birthday party with friends

to check with the venue to make sure bringing your own food is OK. You can also plan to grab pizza after the activity. For breweries or other venues that provide food, call ahead of time so they can best serve your food and beverage needs.

 

5. Reserve a Room

Reserving a party room can give you more liberties with basic decorations (though you still have to ask!), and it can also help distinguish your party from the rest of the guests at the venue. Think balloons and banners.

 

6. Basic Theme

An activity-oriented birthday party will likely have some sort of theme, whether that is age-related or activity-related. If you’re engaging in a sport, buy sweatbands or team jerseys to spark the competitive spirit!

 

Family-Friendly Birthdays with All the Frills

If you plan on having a family-friendly birthday party, then more activities, decorations, and snacks are a must. Depending on the size of the guest list, it might be helpful to rent a large space or have your party at a park so the kids can run around. Some additional essentials for a family-friendly outdoor party include:

 

7. Bouncy House

children playing in bouncy house Bring the activity to you! Having a family-friendly activity keeps the kids occupied and the parents available to mingle.

 

8. Balloons

Don’t skimp on the balloons! Decorate tables, chairs, and archways with balloons to add classic birthday fun to your theme. Balloons are extremely versatile nowadays. You can order name arches, balloons that spell your name or age, and arrangements with stunning balloon colors like chrome. If any of your guests have never been to your home–or you’re hosting the party at a venue–use balloons on the street to show where the party is located. In addition, air-filled balloons have recently become a popular alternative to helium balloons. While they don’t float, air-filled balloons are often used as accents in centerpieces, cake decorations, and party favors. Air-filled balloons can also be purchased on a stick and make a fun addition to bouquets or photo booth props.

 

9. Elaborate Decorations

Take advantage of a simple theme (monochrome, age, etc.) to inspire more elaborate decorations like centerpieces, lighting, entryway guest books or interactive decorations, tabletop decorations, decorative appetizer trays, streamers, and more.

 

10. Favors

old fashioned popcorn cart concession rental

Thank your guests for celebrating with you by preparing party favors. Give away succulents, bake and wrap cookies with decorative packaging, or whip up some seasonal lotions or scrubs.

11. Concessions

In addition to a meal, provide party snacks like cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn or any other treats that fit your birthday theme. (Remember: if you’re hosting a party outdoors you will need a generator or access to electricity for concession machines).

 

12. Seating and Other Amenities

Depending on the seating availability, you may need to rent tables, chairs, linen, and chair covers. You could also rent plates and cloth napkins for a more elegant birthday.

Whether you’re hosting your own birthday or you’re planning an elegant surprise party for a loved one, we hope this birthday essential checklist is helpful! For additional assistance with decorating, give us a call at 510-525-1799 or stop by Paper Plus at 629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley today!

 

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!

 

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.

4 Items to COMPLETE Your Super Bowl Party

Friday, January 29th, 2016

As the San Francisco Bay Area prepares to host Super Bowl 50, party people across the land are gearing up for their February 7 viewing parties. It’s time to buy that gallon-tub of nacho cheese, dust off the flatscreen TV and pull the spare chairs out of the closet. It’s also time to visit Paper Plus Outlet, where you can find Super Bowl party goods to delight your guests and kick up the charm.

Here are a few ideas to take your Super Bowl party to the next level of NFL fan-dom:

1. Balloons

BALLOONS are perfect for sports events! The balloon artists at Paper Plus have come up with some awesome balloon designs for Super Bowl 50, including the “50” logo, doorway arches with team colors, pom poms, and so many more. Have an idea? Pitch it to one of our talented balloon artists, or browse the catalog. There is no party without balloons – they’re fun for the whole family!

 

2. Serving Ware

superbowl balloonsNo Super Bowl party is complete without a spread of delicious food, and our Super Bowl-themed SERVING WARE provides the finishing touch to any table or countertop. We have plates, cups and napkins in the competing teams’ colors and logos. We also carry a great selection of utensils, including sturdy/reusable, compostable, bamboo/sustainable and standard plastic. Need frill picks (those tufted toothpicks) for your finger foods? We have them in an assortment of colors and sizes!

3. Flags

Show your guests (and everyone else) who you’re rooting for with our assortment of FLAGS! We have colorful pennant flags in various sizes and colors. Decorate the table, tack them to the wall, display them in your car, or wave them around while your team scores a touchdown! These flags make great gifts for the football fan in your life.

4. Party Supplies

Paper Plus also carries PARTY SUPPLIES  like platters, including sectional platters, disposable chafing dishes with sterno for keeping foods warm, ice buckets and much more. These reasonably priced party goods are high quality items that will serve you and your guests well!

 

The Super Bowl 50 festivities all start with a visit to Paper Plus Outlet, conveniently located on San Pablo Avenue in North Berkeley.

Looking for something special or out of the ordinary? Call our friendly staff at (510) 525-1799.

 

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