Call Us Now:
510-525-1799

LOCATION:
1629 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702

STORE HOURS:
Monday – Thursday
10am – 5pm
Friday – Saturday
10am – 6pm
Sunday
10am – 3pm

Posts Tagged ‘latex balloons’

What to Do When Your Favorite Party Goods Aren’t in Stock

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

rainbow balloon arch

You had your heart set on the perfect supplies for your carefully orchestrated party plan. Yet when you get to your favorite party store, some of the items you really wanted weren’t in stock. What gives?

More importantly, what are you going to do now?

Don’t worry! We’ve got solutions for all your party planning challenges, and items being out of stock is a party challenge just like any other.

Where are we seeing shortages?

Latex, helium, and certain balloon colors have been hard to get ahold of lately. We’ve also struggled to keep posterboards, signs, and banners in stock. We’ve also had trouble keeping pinatas in stock.

Banners have been really hard to find too. That’s because demand was quite great when everyone was doing everything outside, and suppliers struggled to keep up.

The Reasons

Some of our customers really want to know why we’d ever experience a shortage, so we thought we’d devote a little time to explaining. There are quite a few things that could be going on behind the scenes.

First, there are times when the item is being made at a higher cost and so we have to sell it at a higher cost and don’t order as much.

Another reason is that some of our goods are shipped from China, and right now shipping and trucking costs have gone through the roof. That means we are bringing in fewer shipments. The items will be here, but you may have to wait!

Sometimes there are shortages because the supplies are needed in other industries. For example, latex is used to make medical gloves.

Sometimes the problem is that we’ve lost our manufacturer. Some of them went out of business during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ones we were working with aren’t making those goods anymore. Some companies have also let their representatives go or the company has moved to another state, which can slow down the process of reordering.

Unfortunately, going to another shop won’t always even help when these problems rear their heads. If your favorite store is dealing with these issues then chances are your second choice will be dealing with them, too.

Fortunately, there are workarounds. Read on!

The Solutions

birthday spelled in balloonsIf you’re having trouble finding latex balloons, don’t worry. There are lots of other balloon types to choose from!

Can’t find helium? All sorts of stores are having trouble getting it, which is why there’s been a huge surge in organics. Create columns, pillars, arches, and strands of multi-colored, multi-sized balloons. They are light, portable, and can replace other things that are getting hard to find, like banners.

Can’t find the balloon colors you want? Did you know we can make balloon colors? It’s just a matter of slipping one balloon inside the other.

birthday girl with non helium balloons

For example, purple and green are the hardest balloons to find right now. So we just take a blue one and put it inside the red one. We blow them both up and voila! Purple.

As for a lack of posterboard, signs, or banners, we have a couple of solutions. One is to use rolls of paper in solid color to create the banners yourselves. Another is to use mylar balloons with the messages pre-written on them. Another way would be to find the individual letters, which we often have as big individual items, and then linking them together with brads.

Can’t find piñatas? It’s easy enough to make your own. By the way, piñatas can hold a lot more than candy. You can stuff them with all sorts of favors. They can be an adult-friendly party game, too!

homemade-heart-shaped-balloon-pinataWhen all else fails, you can become a maker! Create things instead of buying them. Use the raw resources you have at your disposal. Get creative! You’d be surprised what you can upcycle into incredible party decorations.

Looking Ahead

Nobody can predict how supply shortages will continue to play out as America recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet Americans are ingenious. We’ll come up with other avenues.

As a consumer, it’s important to hold on to your patience and your sense of humor. Unfortunately, these shortages aren’t anybody’s “fault.” They’re just conditions we’re all facing as we all try to get back to normal.

Here at Paper Plus we are devoted to helping you solve all your toughest party challenges. Can’t figure out what to do? Come on out and see us!

The Best Earth Day Activities for Kids and Adults

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

earth day letters around earth

Earth Day is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to do your part as a steward of the planet. If you have kids, this is a wonderful opportunity to empower them with the tools and knowledge to create less waste, more plants, and a cleaner future. Here are five Earth Day activities for a fun, informative, and helpful celebration that takes into account our current social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19.

Plant a Vegetable Garden

Nothing tastes better than vegetables, herbs, and fruits that you planted yourself. Not only is gardening meditative, but it’s also fun for kids. Children love getting dirty and then watching their hard work grow to fruition. Having a garden helps reduce your carbon footprint while creating an aesthetically pleasing landscape. Include your community by sharing the

children planting garden earth day

bounty at harvest (be sure to socially distance while sharing). It’s also a great way to teach kids that our food doesn’t just come from the grocery store.

If you live in an area or home that isn’t conducive to having a garden, or you just don’t have time, purchase your produce from local farmers. Find the schedule for your local farmers’ market or sign up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, and get fresh, local, and seasonal produce every week.

 

Earth Day Crafts and Activities for Kids

child finished artwork for earth day activityGather your kids and recycled and reusable materials to create fun, practical, and decorative crafts. Look for items around the house that you aren’t using anymore and find creative ways to upcycle them.

One easy and useful craft is creating masks out of old shirts and shoelaces. Or gather old sweaters and make fingerless gloves to keep your hands warm in cooler seasons.  Create a recycled wind chime with old mason jar screw tops, hardware, and anything else you might otherwise throw away.

Commit to Using Less Plastic

Virtually rally your neighbors, family members, and friends and ask them to commit to using less plastic. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store, keeping a stash in your trunk or by your door so you never forget them. Purchase reusable sandwich and snack bags from eco-friendly stores and discontinue your use of zipper storage bags.

Take things a step further and seek bath and body goods that are not packaged in plastic. Every tiny step counts. The trick is to not get overwhelmed; rid yourself of one type of plastic and when that becomes a new habit, move to another.

Celebrate With Compostable Earth Day Party Supplies

corn cup with starsWhen you have wrapped up your Earth Day activities, consider hosting a shelter-in-place Earth Day party, with healthy food and supplies you might have around the house.

Not sure if balloons are suitable for an Earth Day celebration? Latex balloons are compostable and have the biodegradability of a maple leaf. We busted the myth about balloons being harmful to the environment here.  So, go ahead and celebrate Earth day with balloons!

Your party won’t be complete without compostable Earth Day products if you have them on hand. These products have come a long way and you can now find compostable napkins, plates, cups, and utensils that are both stylish and Earth-friendly. So you can celebrate knowing that your Earth Day party won’t be bad for the environment.

While we’re all staying in for Earth Day 2020, for your next Earth Day celebration, call us at (510) 525-1799 or drop in at 1629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkley to browse our wide selection of stylish Earth-friendly decorations, utensils, and more.

Decorating and Entertaining with Compostable Products: A Growing Trend

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

If you walk into a party supply store, you will notice a growing selection of compostable plates, cups, utensils and even decorations. Compostable products have certainly grown in popularity, and as Berkeley residents, we have front row seats to this sustainable shift in an industry that is typically viewed as extravagant and–sometimes–wasteful.

 

Only a few short years ago the first attempt at compostable cutlery was a bit of a flop. Compostable spoons would disintegrate in hot tea, and party supplies hardly screamed fun.  Now that manufacturers have perfected their formulas, we’re seeing an impressive evolution from function to form.

recycled and compostable party napkins green wave recycled and compostable party napkins yellow hearts

As the demand for compostable plates, utensils, and decorations continues to increase, manufacturers are getting creative with textures, colors, and shape to make them more attractive. In a brief time, we’ve gone from brown, pulpy paper plates to single-use hot cup technology that looks and functions like plastic. We no longer have to compromise looks for sustainable products, which makes the appeal for compostable decorative products much stronger.

 

When You’re Done – Is It Recyclable or Compostable?

 

Composting and recycling are two different, though equally essential methods to keep unnecessary waste products out of the landfill. So, how do you tell the difference?

 

Recyclable Party Supplies

Recyclable means that the disposed waste is reused to produce new products. This doesn’t necessarily mean your kombucha bottle will come back as a kombucha bottle in a second life. Typical party recyclable items include glass containers, paper decorations, and plastic cups. Recyclables can certainly have prints and dyes in them, but they must be rinsed and cleaned before disposal, otherwise, they could be sent to the landfill.

 

Compostable Party Supplies

Compostable materials are biodegradable products that given the right conditions degrade to create

compostable corn and wood utensils

what is called humus (no, not the delicious chickpea dip!). Humus is a nutrient-rich, all-natural soil that can be returned to your garden, just as nature intended.

 

Food is typically compostable. Also, look for compostable party supplies like napkins, cups, plates, and utensils made from corn, recycled crushed paper, bamboo, and palm leaves. Longer-lasting compostable products are typically made from a type of wood.

Partially Compostable

In some cases, party products can be considered partially compostable or biodegradable. For example, latex balloons are compostable but the string is not, so you must dispose of each piece separately.

 

Exciting New Options

Take a look at a compostable plate versus a traditional paper plate now and you probably won’t notice a difference. Compostable decorative and single-use items (cutlery, plates, napkins) hold their own in the decorative department nowadays, and they also hold up better and have more longevity in terms of daily use.

compostable plates made of palm leaves

 

Manufacturers have recently come out with compostable decorations, including placemats, gift bags, banners and place cards. Compostable plates made with palm leaves look modern and are available in various textures and patterns.

 

For compostable decorations like crushed paper you might notice a little difference in texture, but now manufacturers are coming up with stylish shapes like squares with borders.

 

Compostable products are not made with paints, lacquers or chemical dyes. Instead, they use texturing, crushed paper, cuts, shapes and naturally derived dyes to create a diverse selection of attractive designs. Some designs even include prints!

 

compostable corn cup with stars

They have come a long way, and we are thrilled to see what they come up with next.

 

Looking to decorate your next occasion they ec0-friendly way? Call us 510-525-1799 or drop in at 1629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley to browse a wide selection of stylish earth-friendly decorations, utensils, and more.

 

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!

 

Our Reviews

Paper Plus Outlet