How to Print Onto a Balloon

    by Tasos Vossos

    About the Author

    Tasos Vossos has been a professional journalist since 2008. He has previously worked as a staff writer for "Eleftheros Tipos," a leading newspaper of Greece, and is currently a London-based sports reporter for Perform Sports Media in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media from the University of Athens.


    Printing words or images on balloons is possible through the screen printing and offset methods, both of which which require the use of specialized equipment. However, if you are planning to print a simple design on just a handful of balloons, you can emulate the screen printing method using thick sheets of cardboard and airbrush pens for latex balloons or acrylic paints for foil balloons. This way, you can personalize the balloons you use for special occasions, such as birthday or wedding parties.

    Things You'll Need

    • Thick cardboard sheets
    • Coloring pens
    • Utility knife
    • Latex or foil balloon
    • Sticky tape
    • Ruler
    • Airbrush pen kit
    • Acrylic paint
    • Clear lacquer

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    Draw the design you want to print on a sheet of cardboard and paint with coloring pens. Determine the number of different colors you used for the drawing; for example, if you drew a rainbow, you have used seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

    Copy the exact same design on as many thick cardboard sheets as the colors you have used. There is no need to color subsequent drawings. On each thick cardboard sheet, cut out a section with a utility knife corresponding to a specific color; for example, on the first cardboard, cut out the red ray of the rainbow only, on the second cardboard cut out the orange ray only and so forth.

    Write down the color you will use with each template on the respective thick cardboard sheet. This will help you avoid confusion when you print the design on the balloon later.

    Half inflate your latex balloon and keep its neck constricted with sticky tape -- do not tie it yet. If you are using a foil balloon, do not inflate it at all, but place it on a flat surface.

    Draw a right angle on the balloon, with one of its rays facing downwards and the other one to the right. The right angle must be on the top-left of a flat foil balloon or opposite the latex balloon's neck. This angle will help you align the screen templates.

    Place one screen template at a time on the balloon. If you are using a latex balloon, gently squeeze the thick cardboard sheet onto it, to flatten the side you will print on. Ensure the top-left corner of the cardboard template matches the right angle you designed on the balloon surface.

    Use acrylic paints on a foil balloon or an airbrush pen kit on a latex balloon to transfer the template's specific color on the balloon. When you are done with one color, replace the template and continue with another color. Transfer all colors on the balloon and allow the paint to dry to complete the printing process.

    • To print a text, you only need one template, even if you want to use a different color for each letter.
    • Use latex gloves to avoid spraying or brushing paint on your fingers.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images