Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pop Art! Extreme Balloon Tying by Shar Levine and Michael Ouchi

If you or someone you know has always yearned to thrill and delight your friends and family with your prestidigitational skills, here's a book worth a look!

Extreme Balloon Tying: More Than 40 Over-the-Top Projects is the most complete guide around for the novice in the skills of creating a variety of objects, animals, and human figures through the craft of balloon tying. Beginning with a simple but irresistibly cute octopus and increasing in difficulty through the human skeleton, Christmas trees and wreaths, and a skateboard figure, to a glow-in-the-dark Star Wars-type light saber, this well-bound paperback includes a list of the modest materials needed and extremely clear and well illustrated step-by-step directions for forty fancy creations.

Some of the projects included are lobsters, crabs, and dolphins, personalized by the addition of marker-drawn eyes, starfish, a very easy but nifty worm, flowers and vases, a menorah and dreidel, balloon sculptures with things inside, and an amazing Christmas tree. Each project is labeled for level of difficulty from 1 to 5+. Although there are no kits of materials recommended by the authors in this volume, there is a kit which includes the authors' previous book. Balloon crafting supplies are also widely available online and in craft and party shops. A simple, inexpensive balloon inflator is recommended but not required, according to the authors.

Some of the projects are suitable for group crafting sessions for holiday or birthday parties with each person taking home their own product. A few, such as the fruit basket, allow for participants of different abilities to work on a group project together. For 'tween or young teens with a flair for showmanship, this book and some dedicated practice could be the beginning of a lucrative part-time job working birthday or special occasion parties for younger kids, entertaining at street fairs, in family restaurants, or putting on performances for hospitals or nursing homes as a community service project.

Other sources include the authors' first book The Ultimate Balloon Book: 46 Projects to Blow Up, Bend & Twist and The Ultimate Balloon Book & Kit, which does provide all materials cited in the included book.

Now--take a deep breath and do the twist!

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