For all outdoor arches and columns concrete paving slabs are heavy and come in 2 different sizes.
In this blog you will learn what you need to consider when choosing a base plate design in terms of size and weight for your column or arch and we have included links to easy to follow videos on YouTube showing you exactly how to make them yourself.
When designing and creating amazing balloon art it is essential that you get your fundamental basic frame structure and base right before you start. Not only is it important from a health and safety point of view but there is nothing worse than getting on site (often with limited time to set up) and working out that as you build your design the frame and the base will not hold it up! If in doubt always opt for slightly bigger and heavier than you think you will need if it is your first time constructing a design.
What size and weight base does your balloon column or arch need?
When deciding what size and weight base you need for your balloon decor design you need to consider a few things to ensure your finished design is stable and does not pose a safety risk to anyone. If in doubt its always better to go with a bigger heavier base but here are the main considerations.
1. Are you going to be using the balloon column or arch indoors or outdoors. Those used out in the elements will need to be heavier and have a larger footprint than those used indoors. Even a gentle breeze can cause columns or arches to topple over.
2. How tall is your column going to be? The taller the design the heavier the base needs to be and the larger the dimensions to keep it stable and prevent it falling.
3. How big is your arch going to be. The larger the arch the bigger and heavier its bases need to be.
4. Are you attaching helium balloons/arches to it? If you plan to connect columns with helium balloon arches or create dance floors, canopies etc you will need larger heavier bases to stop the column being pulled in with lift of the arch.
5. Are you creating a demi arch? A demi arch is supported by one base only. As such it needs to have a very heavy large base to keep it upright.
Generally smaller indoor columns are fine with a Not Lamp from IKEA. Arches, larger columns and those with connecting helium balloon arches will need a minimum of a 12″x12″ medium heavy base. Dancefloors, demi arches, tall balloon sculptures, and outdoor arches and columns will need 14″ x 14″ heavy bases.
Waterbases do work well but are prone to leaking and could damage venue floors.
What should you make your base from?
There are a variety of options for making bases for arches and columns and I have used most of them over the years.
IKEA Not Lamps LIGHTWEIGHT
I use these a lot in my business for indoor columns. They are relatively inexpensive so I can cost them into the job and not even return to collect them. They work great for indoor columns and you can get away with connecting a few 11″ latex balloons between them but generally once you get over 10 they poles start to pull inwards. They are not suitable for larger work or outdoor columns.
Water parasol bases. MEDIUM WEIGHT
When I first started out making arches I often did so using the waterfilled bases for holding up parasols. You simply fill them with water and then insert your pvc tubing or aluminium rod into the hole. You need the heavy duty parasol bases not the little ones they sell on eBay for balloon columns as you need a bigger surface area to sit on the floor to keep them stable. These were fine in terms of stability but the biggest problem with them is they are prone to leaking especially when you lift them at an angle. With the worry of damaging venues floors we quickly decided they weren’t the answer and started making our own bases.
Demi Arches require heavy base plates to keep the structure from toppling over.
Plywood bases MEDIUM WEIGHT
These are great for the majority of indoor work and you can cut them to whatever size you need so you can create some large footprints to help with stability. They are cheap and easy to make and you can create several from a large sheet of plywood. The parts are relatively easy to get hold of at most DIY shops. If you need them to be heavier you can use two sheets to increase the thickness and the weight. You can also add latex balloons filled with water to make them heavier at the base. These are easy to assemble once you have the parts as you just screw them onto the board with an electric screwdriver or bang a pole directly into the hole. They can be easily covered in plastic table cloth or fabric to hide the structure.
Concrete paving slabs HEAVY WEIGHT
These are still my favourite today and what I use for the majority of my heavy work. They are cheap and you can get them for £2 from most DIY stores for the 12″ variety and £5 for the larger slabs. They are really heavy and very stable. They are trickier to assemble as you can’t just screw into them but you can either drill a hole (which is countersunk underneath) and either use a large coach bolt to slide your pvc over or hammer metal pipe into the hole using a latex balloon or hot glue to secure tightly. They can be easily covered in plastic table cloth or fabric to hide the structure.
Metal Base Plates HEAVY WEIGHT
Metal base plates are available from balloon wholesalers or you can have them made especially for you. They are generally larger plates and very heavy so perfect for providing a strong base for all needs. The only downfall to these is they are usually quite expensive and you would need to go back and collect them after the event. You would also need to charge the customers a deposit so that they do not go missing in the tidy up after the event.
Large dancefloor canopies require heavy bases to stop the columns being pulled in by the latex helium arches.
How to make your own bases.
There are lots of videos on Youtube showing you a variety of techniques in order to create your own bases. We have put together a playlist to make it easy for you to find them. Click on the image below to go to Youtube and watch. Be sure to go and subscribe to their Youtube channels and give the creators some love for sharing their knowledge in the amazing videos they have made! Finally if an ad pops up please watch it and don’t skip by, it’s how they create a small amount of revenue to keep producing the videos, and 30 seconds of your time is a small price to pay for the growth your business will gain from the knowledge they have shared.
Click on the image above to go to the playlist of videos on Youtube.
I hope you have found this blog post useful! I would love to hear how you get on making your own base plates and what you use them for.
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