What to Know About Foil and Latex Balloons


What’s an easy, fun, and affordable way to decorate a room or house for a party? Turn on some music, hang up streamers, put colorful tablecloths on the tables, and most of all, get some balloons. Balloons come in a variety of shapes and materials, from foil balloons to latex balloons, and even heart shaped balloons, too. Many of these can be found at any party supply store, and a foil balloon (already inflated) can be found at a grocery store, complete with a string and a weight. The very concept of a balloon is in fact quite old, and even today, these things are a beloved way to give a gift or decorate a room or party. What else should we know about them?

All About Latex Balloons

The idea of balloons as we know them dates back to 1824, when a certain professor Michael Faraday invented them by fusing together the edges of two rubber sheets and filling them with air. Balloons have been used ever since, but more often today, they are made of latex rather than helium. After all, harvesting that much rubber for balloons would put serious strain on today’s rubber trees, and that could spell trouble. Instead, latex is the default material for these balloons, since it’s possible to harvest a lot of latex from a tree without killing it. A single latex tree may provide material for 40 years or so, which makes latex a much more environmentally friendly option.

Latex balloons are often shaped like tear drops, though heart shaped latex balloons are out there too, ideal for Valentine’s Day or a wedding anniversary. Latex balloons can be bought already inflated with helium, but they are also commonly found in packets of many at once, such as a packet of 50. Latex balloons can be filled with helium, which will make them float, and they should be attached to a string and weight so they don’t get lost. Helium balloons can be bought one at a time, though a buyer can get a packet of latex balloons and use a helium pump, if they have one. A balloon filled with helium will probably last for a day or two.

Air filled balloons are also common, and it is easy to fill a latex balloon with ordinary air from a pump or even a person’s own breath. An air filled balloon will not float, but it will last longer, and it will not drift off and get lost.

Foil Balloons

A more recent innovation is foil balloons, and indeed, a foil balloon is made when the edges of two foil sheets are fused together and the balloon is filled with helium. A foil balloon, unlike latex ones, can be cut into a wider variety of shapes during manufacture, such as circles, squares, and even numbers and letters. What is more, a foil balloon (before being inflated) can have images printed onto it, such as “happy birthday” or pop culture pictures for making them more festive. It is typical to find these foil balloon already inflated at a grocery store, ready for purchase, since it’s more convenient that way. It’s also a good way to show off what the balloon’s image is. Still, these foil balloons can also be bought in packets and then inflated later.

The Right Time for Balloon

These things can be given as gifts and used to decorate a room or a house for a party. For example, a foil balloon with a “get well soon” message on it is a fine gift for a recovering hospital patient, or a cluster of latex ones. Meanwhile, a heart shaped balloon, among other things, can make for a lovely Valentine’s Day gift. Don’t forget birthday parties for children, where many air filled or helium filled latex balloons can be used. One or two foil balloons shaped like numbers can be used to show the birthday boy or girl’s new age. Finally, a huge number of air filled latex balloons can be held in a cage on a dance floor’s ceiling, then released during a party. This is common for high school proms, and the dancers will certainly look forward to it.

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