Make a Balloon Animal

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Tropical Fish

This fish is based on a design described on Balloon HQ by Kevin Sanderson of Tasmania. I have made a few modifications and am pleased to pass on this delightful design.


The design requires four balloons - three of one color and one of a lighter color. Inflate all of them leaving about a 3-inch tail.

In the first dark balloon make two eight-inch bubbles and loop twist them. These will become eye sockets.

In the light balloon make two four-inch bubbles and loop twist them. These will become eyes. Follow with a two-inch bubble.

Make two 12-16 inch bubbles and loop twist them for pectoral fins. Any remaining balloon may be popped and tied off.

Push each eye into one of the eye sockets, allowing the rest of the dark balloon to extend to the back.

In the second dark balloon twist a 3-inch, 1-inch, 3-inch, 1-inch series. Twist the knot into the last twist to make a loop. Now pinch twist the two one-inch bubbles. These will be "cheeks" with the 3-inch bubbles making the lips. Bring the nipple end around and tie it to the opposite side of the lips, making a large loop. Squeeze the loop to distribute the air evenly.

Squeeze the air in the third balloon toward the tail end to distribute it evenly, and then twist in the middle, making two equal bubbles. Place this twist through the large loop in dark balloon 2 behind the lips. Twist the ends of the large loop together, locking balloon 3 in place.

Slip the pectoral fins through the loop in balloon 2, arranging so that the knot end of balloon 3 is on the top. You should now have an ugly mess like the one in the picture at the left.

All the long, loose ends need to be twisted together behind the eye sockets in one big twist in the following manner:

  • The top bubble of balloon 3 should be divided in half. After making the big twist, bring the remaining bubble back over the dorsal (top) side and tie the knot behind the lips.
  • The end of balloon 1 should be below the dorsal balloon. Its long end will be used to stabilize the tail and complete the ventral (bottom) side of the fish.
  • The large loop will be pulled into the body to hold the pectoral fins in place. The loop remaining behind the big twist will be one part of the caudal (tail) fin.
  • The bottom bubble of balloon 3 goes between the pectoral fins to form part of the ventral side. Twist a 1.5-inch bubble at the end of the balloon, and loop twist the long bubble to make the other half of the caudal fin.
Arrange the two caudal fin halves one above the other. The upper one should rest between the two bubbles forming the dorsal side, and the 1.5-inch bubble at the end of balloon 3 should be on one side of the big twist. Using the long end of bubble 1, make a 2-inch pinch twist on the other side of the tail. Make another bubble the same length as the ventral bubble and bring it along side of it. Twist the end in place behind the lips and tuck any leftover balloon inside the body behind the lips.

(Balloons in the photo are arranged slightly differently for color symmetry)

Gospel Application

This figure has many parts that don't look like much until they all come together for the final figure. This can be used to illustrate the fact that events in our lives often don't make sense to us. We ask "Why is God allowing this to happen?" and can easily get discouraged or disillusioned. But God has a plan, and everything that happens in our lives fits into that plan (See Roman 8:28).

Another application from I Corinthians 12 is that the Church is the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part. No individual is insignificant in God's sight, and we all need each other to serve Him most effectively. The fish has been a symbol of Christ since the first century, and the Church is the body of Christ at work in the world today.

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