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Helium Alternatives

Air Filled Bases

Solutions to the helium shortage

No Helium? No problem. With a little bit of creativity, you can achieve the desired effect with less helium, or even sometimes no helium at all. This article provides some helpful solutions to the helium shortage that use helium alternatives that allow you to create decorations without helium or less helium. 

Below is a short background on the helium shortage and two approaches to solutions to the helium shortage. Feel free to skip down a little further for ideas on how to create balloon decorations without helium 

The helium shortage

 While helium is one of the most abundant elements in all of the universe, it is particularly hard to come by on earth because it floats out of the atmosphere. Incidentally, most helium on earth is harvested from deposits in fossil fuels and every discovery of large helium deposit has come by accident. As fossil fuels become more difficult to extract, this is making it more difficult to find helium deposits. 

Effects of the helium shortage

This has caused a global helium shortage which has, in turn, lead to an increase in helium prices. Still, this isn't as big a deal as it seems in some reports, as the helium shortage has had its largest impact on specific areas of the world. Additionally, there have been multiple helium shortages in the past and, each time, more advanced extraction and refinement techniques have made helium cheaper and more abundant. For more specifics on this issue, you can check out this guide to the helium shortage.

Solutions to the helium shortage: two approaches

While having an understanding of long term helium supply cycles is helpful for perspective, it doesn't change the fact that the helium shortage can be felt by many in the global economy, from families hosting a celebratory event to businesses and scientific researches in sectors that depend heavily on helium.

When looking for solutions to the helium shortage, we have to be able to achieve the needed outcome that is acceptable for the specific outcome with less helium. Two ways of doing this are:

  • Helium alternatives: Other materials/methods that achieve the end goal with no helium
  • Helium efficiency/conservation: Materials/methods that enable us to achieve the desired effect while using less helium. 

Ultimately, whether you decide to use helium alternatives, an improved efficiency approach, or a mix of both may dependent on several factors that include your specific use-case for Below are some ideas that provide tips for solutions to the helium shortage that include ideas from both approaches.

Decorating ideas without helium

Decorative balloons are the number one consumer product that has been affected by the helium shortage. There are several ways to decorate with and without balloons that don't involve the use of helium. 

Balloon decorations without helium

Want to know how to make a balloon float without helium?  Below are some balloon decorating ideas without helium that use helium alternatives:

  • Baloon arches without helium: Balloon arches are becoming more and more popular these days, which is probably a direct result of the helium shortage. Instead of tying balloons to a structure to keep them from floating away, balloon arches are structures that non-helium balloons up, allowing them to "float" without helium. For more info on this topic, check out this guide to making a balloon arch
  • Balloon centerpieces with no helium: By placing balloons close together in a balloon arrangement, forming a "balloon bouquet", you can make balloons appear to float. As was the case with balloon arches, this approach uses a structure to suspend the balloons, except in this case, the balloons themselves are the structure. To create a non-helium balloon centerpiece, all you need to do is tie several balloons together, nestling the top layer of balloons between the lower layers so that the lower layers hold them up. 
  • Hang the balloons to the wall: This is a simple one, but if you don't have the time to create a balloon bouquet or balloon arch, you can simply hang tie balloons to the wall, using tape or other measures to make them seem to float. 
  • Build a balloon wall: Instead of using a balloon wall, you could just make a wall out of the balloons themselves. Similar to the balloon bouquet, you can tie many balloons together on the wall, making them appear to float by being suspended by other balloons, creating a new colorful balloon wall in the process! 
  • Hovering balloons: Another way to make balloons appear to float is to tie them to a string and hang them from the wall. If you use an extremely thin string and balloons with a shape that are more easily distributed, you can make balloons appear to float in mid-air, appearing as if they are floating without the support of an external structure anywhere near.   

Decorating ideas with less helium

 Creating impactful balloon décor with limited helium resources is easier than ever with burton + BURTON’s

expanding line of air-filled balloon base solutions.

Not only do air-filled bases solve any helium shortage issues you may have, they also provide the following exciting benefits:

  • Long-lasting! Latex and foil balloons filled with air are proven to last longer than balloons filled with helium because the mass of each particle of air is much larger than a particle of helium. This creates more value for your customers! For added longevity, add ULTRA HI-FLOAT® to latex balloons.
  • Cost savings! Air is free and readily available! Shop our wide variety of air-inflators to find the perfect match for your job. Click here for a handy air-inflator comparison chart.
  • Easy to use! Subscribe to our YouTube channel to learn how to use each one of our air-filled bases. With new instructional videos added each week, be a part of all of our complimentary educational content!
  • Venue friendly! Some event venues discourage helium-filled balloon use making air-filled balloon décor the perfect solution for customers still searching for a trendy and colorful look that only balloons can provide.

Standard Balloon Bouquets

Standard balloon bouquet arrangements are some of the most profitable, bread and butter offerings a balloon company can create, but when helium supplies are unpredictable, it can be challenging to commit to a customer. Enter the brand NEW, exclusive to burton + BURTON® air-filled balloon stands, available in 2 different sizes, 30-inches, and 36-inches! Each stand holds six balloons securely on a low-profile base and is the perfect substitute for a helium-filled balloon centerpiece. Both stands easily hold a range of balloon types from standard latex all the way to specialty shapes.

You can learn how to create the perfect arrangement using this innovative balloon stand by watching this video on our YouTube channel! 

Jumbo Balloons

Jumbo 3-foot balloons are all the rage for weddings, showers, and more! With approximately 14 cubic feet of helium needed to fill this type of balloon, it can be challenging to offer this décor when your helium supply is unpredictable. Don’t be discouraged, we have the perfect answer! Our exclusive 63-inch balloon stand fits an air-filled 3-ft balloon perfectly. Each column is weighted by a low-profile base that can be filled with 2.2-pounds of water. Worried the clear plastic column will show?

Disguise it with one of our pre-made tassels or layers of luxurious double-faced satin ribbon to add even more perceived value to your design. Added bonus: this trendy and high-end look is perfect for decorating venues that do not allow helium-filled balloons.

Learn how to create this high-end look by watching this video on our YouTube channel!

Simple Centerpieces

Sometimes simplicity is best and the perfect solution to table décor is a single air-filled balloon. Add a touch of holographic flair with our silver centerpiece base for more perceived value. It’s easy-to-use and with a height of 3 inches, it fits any standard sized balloon.
Learn how easy it is to use this centerpiece weight by watching this video on our YouTube channel!
Decoration solutions with burton + Burton

Remember, air-filled designs can be exciting and highly profitable! Be sure to visit our YouTube channel for plenty of instructional videos to ready your arsenal of inspiring balloon designs.