How-To: Spider Web Balloons

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2399 Articles

By Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

2399 Articles

spider_balloon_halloween.jpg

So, the stuff inside the balloon that makes the web is called HI-FLOAT, and it’s a commercial product actually sold for injecting into helium balloons to make them retain their helium longer. It forms a skin on the inside of the balloon and keeps the helium from diffusing out so quickly.

The “web” effect is created by applying the HI-FLOAT and letting it dry at one pressure, and then deflating the balloon, stressing it, and then re-inflating to a higher pressure, causing the film to detach from the walls (which, of course, means it’s not working as a sealant anymore, but whatevs).

I’m pretty sure this trick was developed in-house, by the company that makes it, to sell more HI-FLOAT. Still, it’s pretty cool.

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