Jan Iiams, CBA
The simple design of the love heart is perhaps the most identifiable of all traditional icons. Most commonly built on a rigid frame and wrapped with clusters of 4 x 12cm (5in) or 30cm(11in) balloons. Easy to construct, transport and install it can be increased or decreased in size without compromising the shape.
• 2 x 6mm (1/4in) Aluminium Rod or Tube each 1.90 metres in length. For ease of ‘hand-bending’ anything greater than 6mm (1/4in) diameter is not recommended. The frame is constructed in two halves to help with symmetry.
• 100 x 12cm (5in) balloons Gold
• 100 x 12cm (5in) balloons White
• Duct Tape (Silver or colour match to balloons)
Building the Frame
Working on a flat surface, eg large bench or floor make your first bend on a 45º angle at the 10cm point on the rod.
Working along the rod, a further 80cm (31.5in) make another bend of 45º in the same direction. Ensure that the rod still remains as a flat piece.
Working along the rod, at 20cm (8in) intervals make three more bends of 45º all in the same direction.
The 6th bend at the 4th 20cm (8in) mark is again at 45º in the opposite direction, leaving a length of 15cm (6in).
Repeat the entire process with the second rod.
Overlap the two halves to form a heart shape and secure together with duct tape.
After the frame is taped it may seem alarmingly “tight”. Slight errors in shape can usually be corrected before or after balloons are wrapped.
The same design can be expanded by lengthening the respective sections to form large sized hanging and walk through hearts
Inflate 2 x 12cm (5in) Metallic Gold balloons [sized to 10cm wide] and join together at the neck to form a duplet. [Figure 1]
Repeat the process with a pair of 12cm (5in) Pearl White balloons.
Wrap the two duplets together [at the knot] to form a cluster of 4. The cluster will have 2 of each colour. [Figure 2]
Repeat the entire process until you have made 50 clusters of 4.
Starting at the top centre [15cm (6in) section], wrap 2 balloons from the first cluster around the rod so it now ‘hugs’ the frame. Position 2 balloons of the same colour next to each other.
Repeat the process with two more clusters, placing them on either side of the first. Ensure that each new cluster ‘snugly’ interlocks with the cluster next to it. [Figure 3]
Wrap the clusters along the frame as shown in [Figure 4] allowing the spiral to spread away from the centre in an even pattern.
Continue to wrap the remaining clusters along the rod they meet at the bottom ‘V’ intersection. Ensure that the tightness of the packing and the spiral pattern is consistent. [Figure 5]
Wrapping Up Notes
- Depending on your ‘packing pressure’ along the rod, more or fewer clusters may be used.
- The style of the heart can be altered by adjusting the shape of the frame. Once you are experienced with the method you can begin to stylise your own shapes.
- Further adjustments can be made by altering the size and/or type of particular balloons along the frame. For example, replace some or all of the balloons with foil or latex heart-shaped balloons.
- Experiment with the placement of coloured balloons in each cluster for a wide variety of patterns. Please find some templates for your experimentation.
The method of producing an Interlocking Love Hearts exactly the same as the making of two single Love Hearts except that one heart uses fewer balloons where the two interlock.
It is recommended that for interlocking hearts, you use a single colour for each heart, as the spiral can get lost when overlapping the second heart.