Three-Balloon Clown (with Twisting Instructions)

The event at the Y on Sunday night was great. We had a fantastic turnout.

For my part, the balloon animals were very popular, and I was able to satisfy all the first-requests from children (i.e., all the requests made by children who didn't already have a balloon animal) save one.

That one, of course, bothers me. Sure, eventually the mother talked the little girl into something I actually knew how to make, but you could tell she wasn't really happy with it. Also, it's not like what she asked for was bizarre (Can you make me a balloon of the invisible man?), an overly-specific licensed character (Dora the Explorer, please!) or inherently difficult (e.g., porcupine). No, all she wanted was a clown, and I didn't know how to do it. A clown. That should be easy, right?

If I'd had five minutes to figure it out, I probably could have come up with something, but I was on the spot in the middle of a crowd of about fifty balloon-seeking supplicants within a two-yard radius, so I didn't have the luxury of spending a lot of time doing custom design.

So it bothered me, and I came home and did some quick searching on the internet, but it turns out to be pretty hard to find twisting instructions for a clown, on account of the fact that every third twisting design for a dog or monkey or anything is "by so-and-so the clown". You get a lot of irrelevant hits.

However, I happened to be browsing around over at and ran into Michael Floyd's design for a balloon gingerbread man, and a light went on for me. A gingerbread man is at a very basic level a humanoid design. A clown is also a humanoid shape. The difference is mostly about color.

So, here we are, a three-balloon clown, using standard 260Q balloons.

The red and blue balloons are each inflated about three quarters of the way and have identical twists: pinch twist for the heel, petal twist for the foot (which you can make a little bigger than I have if you want floppy big-shoe feet), longer bubble for the leg, small pinch twist for holding things together, a bubble for the body, another pinch twist for holding things together, then the arm, petal for the hand, pinch twist for the thumb, cut off the rest and tie. Once you've done that with both colors, twist the two halves together via the small pinch twists at the top and bottom of the body. (All of this so far is basically just like the aforementioned gingerbread man, except in different colors, and if you follow the above link there's a video you can watch that shows exactly how to do it.) Arrange it so that the right arm is the same color as the left leg and the left arm the same color as the right leg. Then tie the white balloon in at the waist, make three small bubbles for the buttons, stretch them out a little and tie in at the neck, then do a small petal twist for the face and a larger petal twist for the hair. Cut and tie. Put the smaller white petal (face) inside the larger one (just like making the wheels on the two-balloon motorcycle; Floyd has a video for that too) and arrange it so the face faces forward and the outer petal (which will be the fro wig) is around the edge like a lion's mane. Draw the make-up and rainbow hair on with markers, and use standard shaping techniques to put bends in the knees and elbows.

Voila, a three-balloon clown.