Are these balloons really made by hand?
What a silly question! Didn’t you read the opening page? Yes, of course these are made by hand. Each balloon is made one at a time. Each former
is dipped in liquid latex for a certain length of time, depending on which balloon is being made. The former is withdrawn at a very, very slow rate to avoid drips. The latex coated formers are hung to dry and the lips of the balloons are rolled. When the balloon is totally dry, it is stripped off the former by hand and inspected again. It is a lengthy process, but it makes some wonderful balloons.
Why is everything Out of Stock?
If you come by when nothing is in stock, don’t worry! The Vault is not closed for good! It is either just on hold due to my full-time job responsibilities, or I am hard at work making more of these special hand-dipped balloons. They are made available for sale as they are made. Therefore, not all balloon shapes, sizes, and colors are available all the time. In between sales, I am busy getting a nice batch ready to go. Subscribe to the Newsletter to know when the next Sale is. These balloons go fast, so when they come back, be ready!
What do you mean by approximate size? How accurate are the sizes you list?
When I inflate balloons for measuring, I inflate them to a normal, proper size. I don’t try to inflate them to the breaking point to get the highest measurements. When you inflate them, you can easily expect to get the measurements that I have listed. If you want to keep going, you can get them to go a bigger, but I would not recommend it.
What is a former?
On this site I refer to formers a lot. A former is the piece that is used to make the balloon. The former is in the shape of an uninflated balloon and is what gets dipped into liquid latex. The former is usually made from ceramic or some other hard material. I use ceramic formers, and when I make my own formers, I use sheet PVC. The liquid latex coats the former, and when the coating dries, it is stripped off and becomes a balloon. On the home page you can see photos of formers that have been dipped in latex. Pretty cool eh?
How do these balloons compare with commercially made balloons?
I can truly say that the balloons I make are as good or better than commercially made balloons. I would not sell anything that I would not be proud to sell. There are some balloon designs that I made that are not very stable, so I will not sell them. But you can rest assured, these balloons are top quality. Are they perfect? No. No balloon is perfect. But they are some of the best balloons you can get.
Can I choose the colors?
Unfortunately, no. Because these balloons are not mass produced, I cannot make lots and lots of each color. When you place your order, please put your color preferences in the Order Notes box at Check Out. I will do my best to give you the colors you want. But if you ask for blue, and I don’t have any more blue in stock, you might get a different color.
Why are these balloons a little more expensive than other balloons?
All of the balloons that we sell are made one at a time, by hand. They are not mass produced in large numbers. The same care is taken with each one, no matter what size or shape. All of them are carefully hand dipped and inspected for the best quality. That takes a lot of time and work. But rest assured, you are getting something very special with these balloons. They are truly unique in all the world.
What do you mean by pre-inflate or pre-stretch?
There are some balloons that can be inflated with no problems. Others need special inflation instructions to get them to the proper size and shape. When the terms pre-inflate or pre-stretch are used, that means to inflate part of the balloon to stretch it out and then release the air. This makes it easier to inflate the whole balloon. For instance, when you try to inflate a multi chamber balloon like a mouse head, the ears are smaller than the head. If you tried to inflate the head first without pre-stretching the ears, the pressure in the head would be too great to inflate the ears and the balloon would pop. But if you pre-stretch the ears first, the ears would be stretched out and the pressure to inflate them would not be as great. This also works great for achieving long necks on balloons.
How long will these balloons last?
Stored properly, these balloons should last for a long time. They are not like some balloon brands that deteriorate after a short time. I have some balloons that I made years ago, and there is no sign of deterioration. You may notice that after a long period of time the color may start to shift. That is due to the fact that these are made with all natural rubber with no additives to prevent discoloration. The discoloration will not affect the balloon’s performance at all. It will still inflate as normal and when inflated, the color shift will not be noticeable.
How should I store the balloons?
The best way to store our balloons is the same way you would store other latex balloons. Keep them in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature or lower. Keep them out of direct sunlight. For best results, keep them in a dark place.
Why is there a powdery film on them?
When a balloon is made it is very sticky. To prevent the balloon from sticking to other balloons or from sticking to itself, you need to coat it with a powder. I use talc for coating the balloons both inside and out. I try to use as little as possible and try to clean it off as much as I can, but some might remain. The talc will keep the balloon from sticking and is good for the balloon.
Talc is a natural product that is widely used in many everyday products such as baby powder, cosmetics, paint, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, plastic, food, lubricants, rubber gloves, basketballs, etc. The US Food and Drug Administration considers talc generally recognized as safe to use in small quantities. We must note that in some studies, talc has been linked to some cancers. If you have any concerns, you may want to pass on our product.
How long will they remain inflated?
These balloons, when filled with air, will remain inflated for a good long time. About the same time as commercially made balloons. They are durable and may soften up over time. You may also notice that the scent of an inflated balloon gets stronger as it ages. The good thing is that the scent is pleasant.
What are those little round light thin spots on balloons?
Like all balloons, you may occasionally get a balloon with what some call a “church window”. These are small round spots that are made when an air bubble has attached to the former in the dipping process. Most times they are at the drip spot (the dark circle at the end of the balloon) where the balloon is thickest. These do not affect the durability or quality of the balloon. I watch out for these spots and will not sell a balloon if they will affect the balloons performance.
Can they be re-inflated?
Yes, they can be re-inflated like any other balloon. And, like any other latex balloon, they will stretch and will re-inflate bigger.
Do you take returns?
Due to the nature of the product, we cannot take any returns. If there is a defect in workmanship, please contact us for a review of the situation. We will only review balloons that have not been inflated. Once they have been inflated, the matter is closed.
How are they shipped?
We use USPS for shipping. It is fast and the most cost-effective way for shipping both in the United States and internationally.
We use a plain, white, bubble wrap, package. The outside of the packaging will only have your address on the outside. The return address label will say TBV.