With outdoor celebrations more popular than ever, lots of balloon businesses are currently getting requests for outdoor balloon decor installs. In this blog post, we are going to look at the challenges of creating balloon decorations outdoors in warm or hot weather and share some top tips for making life easier.

There is no doubt that outdoor balloon installs are not for the faint-hearted… there are so many additional elements you have to account for and so many things that can go wrong compared to setting up indoors. You shouldn’t be afraid of doing outdoor balloon decoration, though, because with a good understanding of the challenges and the best way to work within them you can build a profitable business from doing outdoor balloon décor! As with all balloon décor preparation is key and that’s what we are going to look at now!

Stunning elegant outdoor Bell Tent design by Poppy Greenhalgh of the Glitzy Balloon Company

Common issues with outdoor balloon décor.

So what are the common issues that you will encounter when creating balloon displays outdoors? Well, unsurprisingly it mainly comes down to the weather…

Heat – Whether you are using air or helium the gas, within, is susceptible to heat. The molecules expand and move faster as they warm and this results in the balloons swelling and popping as the gas volume inside exceeds its latex or foil housing.

Heat and direct sunlight will also cause the surface of the balloons to oxidise far quicker than normal. Whilst you can use commercial sprays to try and prevent this, often they do not hold up to really hot days and can also cause adhesion of the balloons in the sun due to the moisture drying – this, in turn, increases the risk of them popping. I usually just explain to the customers that the balloons will take on a matt velvety look in the sun.

Surfaces are also susceptible to heat. Pavements, walls and even your balloon bases and framework can become super hot, in the midday sun, and act like red hot pokers to your balloons. It is important that you protect the balloons from contact with them.
Wind – Even the slightest breeze can whip up a frenzy with balloons. They can strip your framework of balloons if not secured correctly and can cause arches, columns, and framework to take off in the wind if not secure.

Helium balloons will be blown around in the tiniest of breezes and can blow into nearby objects or plants and cause them to pop. Even a blade of grass can pop a balloon in the breeze!

Balloon garlands, walls, and structures can also act like sails in the wind so they need to be super secure because if they take off they can cause significant injury and damage.
Rain – Wet or damp weather is definitely not your friend when it comes to outdoor balloons. Rain will weigh down helium balloons so they cannot float and any moisture on balloons (such as rain or overnight dew) can result in them sticking together as they dry. Combine this with swelling due to heat and then you will start to hear pop pop pop as the connection points pull apart and burst the balloons!

Eye-catching commercial garland install by the Mum & Daughter team at Bloom and Balloon

Tip 1 – Prepare Your Customers

The first tip when it comes to undertaking outdoor balloon décor is to prepare your customer’s expectations… Customers really have no understanding of balloons and the factors which can affect them. They definitely don’t understand the logistics of hosting balloons outdoors! They will ask for all sorts of designs, colours, and requests – many of which may not be at all suitable for outdoor decor!

To avert disaster and guarantee happy customers without the stress, you definitely must take the lead: prepare their expectations in terms of how long the balloons are likely to last; oxidisation; colours, and what can actually be achieved outdoors with air or helium. Remember, when it comes to balloons you are the expert! It is your job to advise them on the best route to getting as close a design as they would like but equally, that can perform well in the elements. There is also a need to discuss, upfront, a contingency plan should the weather decide to be totally against them on the day and the event needs to be moved indoors.

The golden rule for me for any outdoor balloon work is definitely to under-promise, never guarantee anything, and always have a plan B as that way you never have disappointed customers!

Tip 2 – Choose Your Balloon Décor Supplies Carefully

With so many of the elements causing issues with outdoor balloon designs it’s probably not surprising that my top tip is to choose your supplies carefully.

Latex Balloons – With so many challenges from the elements it is extremely important that you choose a high-quality balloon for outdoor decor. We will talk about inflation shortly but it is also recommended that you purchase balloons in a larger size than you need eg. If you need 11″ you purchase 16″ and undersize the balloons. This gives the balloons more room to expand and the surface is not stretched so thin.

Colours also react differently to heat. Dark colours tend to absorb the heat and expand faster making them more likely to pop. Pale colours generally work best for outdoor work. White works especially well as its surface reflects the light rather than absorbing the suns rays. If you are going to be using darker colours you may wish to consider double stuffing them to give them more resilience to direct sunlight.
Foil Balloons – Foil balloons like latex also suffer from shrinkage and expansion with changing temperatures. As foils are metallic generally they also conduct heat and electricity. It is extremely important that they are very secure when used in outdoor work as if they are released into the air and become tangled in powerlines they can cause power outages.
Foil colours and patterns are also susceptible to sunlight and heat and can become faded. Rain can cause some foil colours to wash away.
Cord – Whilst you can get very strong fishing line it generally isn’t recommended for outdoor decor. Strong breeze and wind can cause the line to stretch making attached balloons less secure. Strong nylon cord will withstand the elements far better than fishing line. It is also advised that you have more than one line woven through the decor so should one line snap you have a second for security.
Framework – Heavy duty framework is required for outdoor balloons. You will need structures with a wide and heavy footprint at the base. Not lamps will not stand up to even the slightest breeze (although you can secure them to paving slabs if the weather is not too bad). PVC pipe is often used in framework but if temperatures are very high the PVC can become more supple and flexible losing the strength to hold up the design. Metalwork is generally best for outdoor work but it can become hot in the heat causing balloons to pop so should be covered in tape or wrapped in 260Qs to prevent this from happening.
Adhesives – Like balloons adhesives are very much affected by temperature (both hot and cold). I do recommend secure attachment points rather than glue dots in outdoor work. I also recommend buying a quality brand of gaffer tape but be mindful that even the best brands can become soft and pliable during the heat so many not give the strength you require at joints in your design.

Captivating romantic pastel hoop design by Amber-Rose Adkins of ARA Creations

Tip 3 – Make Your Design Outdoor Friendly

Planning your balloon design to work with the elements is going to save you so many headaches on the day!

Air versus helium– I generally prefer air to helium for outdoor balloon decor. My experience is that the increased permeability caused by the stretched surface and increased molecular energy within the balloon causes helium to be lost a lot faster than with indoor balloons. The result of this is hugely reduced float times. If you are going to use helium then generally you require a much bigger balloon and this impacts on the cost of the design. The other issue is that even the slightest breeze can tug at the tether for the balloon – if using helium outside normal ribbons will not withstand strong breeze or wind so you will need a security cord to prevent them from being lost into the air. As helium is more exposed to the slightest breeze it can bounce it around into objects increasing the risk of popping and the slightest moisture from rain or dew will make the balloons too heavy to float. Air-filled designs generally offer a much more stable and consistent result with outdoor balloons but they do need a secure base and framework to give them structure.
Framework – It is essential when doing outdoor balloons that they have sufficient support to withstand the elements. The framework generally offers this. There are a few things to bear in mind though. You need heavy-duty framework for outdoor balloons as the slightest breeze can lift a design but it also needs to be flexible enough to move in the wind so that the structure does not snap. The framework needs to have wide bases. Generally, 2 foot plus base plates made of heavy metal are the way to go but I have used paving slabs before with good success if the design isn’t too big.

You will also need to cover the bases with a material of some sort to protect the balloons as metal base plates get hot in the sun. Try to leave a gap at the base of your design to stop the balloons from coming into direct contact with the baseplates, hot pavements, or grass. If you are securing to brickwork, fences, etc bear in mind it is often course and gets hot in the midday sun so avoid balloons touching it at too many points along the design (whilst still ensuring it is secure).

If you are using fabric in your design you will need an even stronger framework as the fabric will act like a sail causing designs to topple if not well supported. Balloon designs covering a large surface area such as balloon walls can also act like a sail in strong breezes. Additional security lines coming from the framework and either pegged securely to the ground or tied of to stable objects can help prevent accidents and injury.

When constructing a framework for outdoor designs it is also worth bearing in mind that joints are the weak point of any structure. This becomes more of an issue in hot, windy weather, it is, therefore, better to reduce the number of joints you require and simplify the design where possible for outdoor balloons.
Random Patterns– Successful balloon design takes into account that some balloons are likely to pop. Therefore you need to ensure that your design is not impacted hugely by the odd missing balloon. This is best achieved by using random colour patterns. Spirals and traditional classic decor patterns are more likely to show where things have gone awry.

Impressive statement entrance arch by Mallory Robbins of Blown Out of Proportion

Tip 4 – Tricks for Setting Up Outdoor Balloon Décor

The actual setup outside on the day is often the hardest part, especially if it is a super hot or windy day but I have some tricks to get the best outcome from the install…

Look for the Shade – Placing your balloon decor undercover, such as a marquee, and protecting the balloons from direct sunlight will definitely give you the best results. If this is not an option then look for natural shaded areas. Make sure you understand how the sun will move around the space and try and get some natural shade for the balloon install.
Don’t set up too early but allow more time – To ensure your balloon decor lasts the duration of the event it is important to set up close to the time the event starts. You do need to allow more time to set up outdoors but you don’t want the balloons hanging around for too long before the guests arrive. You may also need additional help for installs so someone can hold on to your bag of balloons to prevent them from blowing away whilst you are installing.

Never install overnight if you can help it because the dew that can settle on the balloons will cause the balloons to adhere and then as the balloons swell in the heat they are likely to pop. It is also important to inflate and assemble quickly. Too much handling of the balloons can leave them covered in sweaty fingerprints which look worse as they oxidise.
Inflate at a similar temperature – Whilst it might be tempting in the middle of summer to inflate the balloons indoors with the aircon switched on or standing outside under shade, this is definitely a recipe for disaster! It’s important to inflate the balloons in the conditions they will be exposed to, or when moved to their final position they will expand in the heat and likely pop. You might want to also consider your and your teams comfort if you are going to be outside for a long time in the direct sunlight. Lighter coloured clothing, fabrics, hats and lots of water on hand are definitely recommended.
Prestretch and underinflate balloons – It’s really important that balloons can easily expand as temperatures rise. It is recommended that balloons are only inflated to 3/4 of their capacity so 11″ no more than 7.5″ and 16″ no more than 11″. It isn’t sufficient though just to underinflate the balloons on the day. The latex should be inflated to its full capacity so pre-stretching the latex before inflating to the desired size. As stretched latex will not return to its pre-stretched state it is fine to do this days in advance. If you have transport you may want to consider inflating your air-filled balloons several days in advance to allow them to soften. I have done this many times but you do still need to inflate them at similar temperatures to those they will find themselves in at the event. You also need to cover them in plastic to prevent premature oxidisation.
Framework – Often framework will surprise us when it comes to install outside. I definitely recommend you try it outdoors ahead of the event loaded with balloons because only then can you predict what will happen. You should also make sure all sharp edges and ends are securely taped. If extreme heat is anticipated then taping all of the metalwork may be required to prevent it become hot and bursting the balloons. It is advisable that all framework should have security lines attached to prevent damage or injury if it is taken by the wind. If pounding anything into the ground to secure your framework please check first there are no cables running underneath. They are more likely to be running close to the surface in private residences. Some venues may also have underground sprinkler systems fairly close to the surface so make sure you check in advance!

Beautiful and decadent gold chrome & floral design by Sueli Saponara of Balloonwallsuk

Tip 5 – Insurance/Contracts & Pricing

If you are going to be undertaking outdoor balloon work in your balloon business I strongly suggest you make sure you have good public liability insurance – you should have this in your business anyway but it is essential with outdoor balloon decor as there is more risk and more can go wrong. You should also ensure your terms and conditions cover all of the eventualities associated with outdoor decor including your and the client’s responsibilities. I encourage you to consider what you are prepared and not prepared to do in all eventualities and write them into your terms and conditions. Be sure to give your clients these early in the discussions regarding their event to prevent disappointment and stress further down the road.

Finally, I do recommend you consider carefully your pricing. You generally require more supplies, larger more expensive balloons and it takes considerably longer to set up outdoor balloon decor. Your pricing needs to reflect this in order to ensure you are earning a profit.

Exquisite table-top cake hoop design by Sophie & Phoebe of The Gold Events

Tip 6 – Don’t be afraid

I am aware that we have covered an awful lot in this blog and it can appear a little overwhelming but I want to encourage you not to be afraid. With any job there will be challenges you need to overcome and the best way to do this is to be fully informed and prepared as much as you can be. Outdoor jobs are challenging but experienced balloon companies can build a good reputation as a result of them. You definitely get more confident with experience and challenges along the way allow you to find solutions to common problems.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and your experiences good and bad of doing outdoor balloon decor – please feel free to share them in the comments!

🎈 Until next time.. stay amazing! 🎈


Thank you for our featured balloon artists today – they truly demonstrate that whilst outdoor balloons are not without their challenges, with their level of expertise you can create amazing backdrops to people’s events. We value their kindness for sharing such amazing inspiration with us! If you would like to see more of the amazing work of today’s featured artists you can check them out on their links below.

Poppy Greenhalgh ~ https://www.instagram.com/theglitzyballooncompany/
Bloom and Balloon ~ https://www.instagram.com/bloom_and_balloon/
Amber Rose ~ https://www.instagram.com/ara_occasions/
Mallory Robbins ~ https://www.instagram.com/blown.outof.proportion/
Sueli Saponara ~ https://www.instagram.com/balloonwallsuk/
Sophie & Phoebe ~ https://www.instagram.com/_thegoldevents/

Access our FREE Resource Library for Balloon Business Owners

Filled with FREE resources you need to help you build a profitable business:

How to calculate your prices | Helium Calculators | Marketing How tos |

Yay! Go check your email inbox (or spam if its not there) now!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This