If you’ve been reading the news recently, you’ve most likely heard about the worldwide helium shortage that is affecting the balloon industry (and other industries, as well).
While party balloons have generally required helium, there are alternatives to using helium balloons. As a matter of fact, using air-filled balloons not only is a simple solution (if you’re unable to obtain helium gas), but it also reduces your cost (since helium has recently become very expensive).
Why is there a Helium Shortage in 2019?
While helium gas is considered a naturally abundant resource in the universe, the problem is the refining process.
As reported by CNBC, “Helium is the second-most abundant element in the known universe, but it’s hard to capture on Earth because of how easily it floats out of the atmosphere and into space.
Oil companies harvest helium trapped deep beneath the Earth’s surface, in natural gas chambers. Radioactive decay causes uranium rock to disperse helium into natural gas chambers over millions of years. It’s a slow process, and finding the helium can be even more challenging.”
Currently there are only a few production plants in the world that provide helium. Since helium gas is used for other purposes aside from balloons (such as MRI machines, scientific research, and space exploration), the demand from companies and individuals has grown considerably. A few major contributing factors (such as plant shut-downs and helium supply reserves being auctioned off by the US government) have also led to the current helium shortage we’re facing.
Because of the helium shortage, the BBC reported recently that helium costs have increased from 50% – 100%, depending on where you fall in the supply chain. That means it’s more expensive to get helium for balloons, whether you’re a business or a consumer.
Helium Shortage Solutions
Although the helium shortage problem can’t be solved overnight (and helium distribution companies say that hopefully it will improve by December 2019), there are a few simple solutions we can suggest if you want to use balloons but can’t find (or afford) helium.
One product, as an example, is the E-Z Balloon Cup™ ‘n Stick that we carry on BalloonsandWeights.com. This easy-to-use balloon holder makes it simple to attach an air-filled latex balloon or air-filled small foil balloon.
These 100% recyclable balloon cups and sticks are available in a range of colors and are designed to work with 9”-12” latex balloons, or 9”-14” foil balloons. These sticks can be inserted into plants (for gifts) or can be put into a vase (for tabletop party décor). The best part is – these were designed to work with air-filled balloons, which means no helium is required for inflation.
Inspiring Ideas for How To Decorate with Air-Filled Balloons
Here are a few inspiring ideas on how to decorate with air-filled balloons:
- Create a DIY Balloon Garland
- Using a variety of latex balloons in different colors and sizes (ranging from 5”-36”), a festive way to create eye-catching décor at your event is a DIY Balloon Garland.
- This type of decoration only requires you to fill the balloons with air (using an electric air inflator or hand pump inflator).
- Then just string the balloons together using fishing wire. Hook onto the wall with a removable hook or double-sided tape.
- And using a low-temp hot glue gun, fill-in sparse areas with air-filled 5” mini balloons.
- Create a Tabletop Display
- Using air-filled latex and foil balloons (attached to the E-Z Balloon Cup™ ‘n Stick), place the balloons on sticks in vases or other containers to create a festive tabletop display.
- Hang Letter-Shaped Balloons on the Wall
- Create a fun sign or background by filling letter or number-shaped foil balloons with air.
- Tape the balloons to the wall using double-sided tape (which is easy to remove).
While you might be feeling down about the helium shortage, one way to uplift your spirits is to remember that air-filled balloons stay inflated much longer than helium-filled balloons.
As an example, an air-filled latex balloon can stay inflated for up to 10-days (or more). Whereas, an air-filled foil balloon can stay inflated for months. Another fun way to turn your party décor into modern artwork is to display the air-filled balloon long after the party ends. You can simply perch the balloon on a shelf or attach it to the wall.
While we’re currently facing a global helium shortage, the good news is there are simple solutions that don’t require helium usage. If you enjoyed this article, share it on social media!