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Messages - MisterShuffles

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Balloon Chit Chat / Marvel Superhero Balloons and Pricings
« on: September 09, 2016, 04:06:11 PM »
Yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone asking if I could build
ironman, hulk and captain america out of balloons.

But not only that, this person wanted 10 of them, in a mix.. did not
matter which one was 4, and the other two 3..

Anyone have decent design links where I could go to find a good
face for hulk?  I suppose I could just use a green round and some
markers but wanted an idea for some options.

Also I also generally have a devil of a time making a captain america shield where
the colors of the shield stays put and does not spring apart.  I'd prefer to not have
to resort to double sided sticky tape, but I may well need to if I make it.

This is the first time in almost 25 years doing this, that someone requested
that many superhero creations at once, and to be honest I have not a clue
what to charge them to be fair, except that given just one of those would be
the average superhero balloon given to the birthday child, 10 seems a lot.

Opinions are greatly appreciated.  But I'll have to have some sort of answer
for them soon, regardless.


Balloon Chit Chat / Restaurant Work
« on: August 24, 2016, 02:42:01 PM »
While I've been a hobby balloon twister for longer than I care to think about, I would like to branch out and do some steady
restaurant bookings, like 'Kids Nights' or somewhere that is kid friendly in Canada.  (I do not believe we have a Chucky Cheeze)

Any suggestions, guides, tips and what not about how best to prepare for doing this, and how to go about it?  Also, if I'd need
to have any form of liability insurance, before a restaurant would touch me?

Mister Shuffles

Picture Gallery / Re: Pokemon Go
« on: August 18, 2016, 11:27:26 AM »
I must admit... nicely done!

I might just have to consider printing that one and taking it with me today and showing
some folks that someone 'caught' balloon pokemon.  It should be good for a few giggles.


Picture Gallery / Re: Pokemon Go
« on: August 18, 2016, 10:00:06 AM »
Here are a few pictures of pokemon I have created in the last while too.

Some of them are a bit too elaborate, but I mainly use them for 'draws'
in the hopes of getting interest, and for photo opportunities, with a 'digital business card' in the background.

The overall photos from the camera were on average 4 and a half megs each for some reason, so I had
to have them re-sized with an online compressor.  The quality has suffered a little bit, but atleast they
are uploadable this way.

Comments and critiques welcome!


Picture Gallery / Re: Pokemon Go Pikachu Variation
« on: August 13, 2016, 04:59:51 AM »
There is one fairly quick way to do a pikachu that you folks might find of use, though it might be a wee bit more expensive too.

What I found makes for an effective Pikachu is a max of 3-4 balloons.  2 yellow 321(?) Bee Body Balloons, and the same shade of yellow 260Q to go with them.  I havn't any photos of them to upload at the present time, but I think description will suffice.

You take a yellow beebody.  The type with the black tip.  Inflate it half way, then pinch the nozzle closed.  I usually do this while seated or on bent knee.. and using my knee for support I force the air right to the very end of the black part.  They are almost always tough enough to accept it.  Tie it about an inch or two past the black, then re-inflate it again, far as you can for the trunk of the body.

Repeat for the other ear, but blow up the remainder after the knot, so its comfortably round, perhaps half the body length.

Simply twirl the ears around each other and around the head and body piece a few times so that it would be rather tricky to undo them, then take the yellow 260q and inflate it near all the way, and knot it.
Figure eight the first half, with a bubble in the middle of the 8 to form two curved 'feet'.  Then zig-zag the leftover into its trademark tail.

The build can be modified further to have two bubbles in the trunk, so you can attach arms, or you could do as I generally do, and use a marker to draw a pair of paws on its belly.

Then a brown marker for its back and the tail base, a black marker for its eyes, and facial expressions, and of course either a red marker for the cheeks, or like I sometimes do for a nicer coloring, though its sort of a quick cheat, is I buy stickers from the local dollar store under stationary.  I can obtain them in colorized packs of rows of red, blue yellow and green on each sheet.  Two red ones, on the sides, and a black marker drawn around the very edge.  Of course the marker can be peeled off, but some kids like it since it looks more uniform and brightly colored.

Entire build time once you get it down pat?  Under 2 minutes easy.  

I also found adding a basic helmet hat to the mix is handy too.  Simply attach 160's or 260's at the neck and tail, for hands and 'feet'.  Wrap it around a hat.  Adjust the head to look forwards and up accordingly, and it looks like a Pikachu riding around on one's head.  Could liven the hat up a bit too.  Baseball cap ala Ash Ketchem perhaps.  For doing linework, it makes for a great 'kid magnet' at times.

If you shorten the part where its black at the tips, since all the way to the end is excessively long, and then trim the remainder,  you wind up with a better looking ear at the expense of a bit of head and body size, but not so big a problem.  A little bubble right behind the ears on each of them or even two, will also allow you greater control of them, and be able to position them around or effect.  One ear up and one down, slanted forwards, or behind the head pointing towards the tail as if its running.

I've been trying some other pokemon too, though sometimes it feels like I am making a wasted effort.

I built a fantastic (I thought) dragonite that was fairly sizeable.  Yet people either said 'Oh, look.  A Charlizard' or 'Huh.. cool I suppose' and just paid it almost no attention.  Though I did get a few comments yesterday when I made a 'DeadPool' character.

But I'll keep plugging away at it.

I'd be curious to see if we ever get a pokemon go contest running, for to see who can come up with variations of the various pokemon, and score them, for detail, speed and content.  

Let me know if you lot think my version of Pikachu is viable, or if it is a waste of expensive balloon.

I find the 321 BeeBody yellow also makes an excellent Minion head.  Even has its own 'hair' sticking up.

Then its just overhaul's, gloves, boots and mask.


Balloon Tutorial & Help / Balloon Recycling: A really Crafty Idea
« on: August 07, 2016, 04:10:17 AM »
Now If there is anything I utterly *KNOW* about twisters, is that we all wind up with
little popped bits all over the place that we often pick up and re-use, as flower centres
or eyeballs, or noses, or whatever of the 1,000,001 ways to use a scrap.

But did you realize that you could make something else useful and clever out of it too
I9 didn't until I ran into a fellow twister at a weekly balloon jam at a local mall, when I was
visiting there in Florida, last year on vacation.  He had a very simple yet effective way
for dealing with the over-abundance of balloon bits.

Scrunchie Bracelets/hair bands.

What he does, and its sooo simple.  I now do it too on occassion and can sometimes
make a great 'craft idea' for to finish up a party after the balloons are done, if there is
still time left and you want them to have something more lasting and memorable.

Take a 160.  Any color.  Doesn't matter.  Then a pair of safety scissors and a big handful
of the colorful of the scraps.

Use the scissors to snip off the round ends if any, and the knots, then trim all the pieces
into lengths, of about call it '3 fingers wide', or 4.  Depending on how much color you wish.
There's no real rules.

Then simply put a pea sized puff of air into the end of the 160 and seal it with a knot.

Take whatever colors of your choice, or you could do alternating patterns, and slip them on
the 160.  Its stiff with air, but un-inflated, sort of like a sewing thread that has gone rigid.

Simply slide your colors on, and bunch them up a bit at the knot.  Not too tight, since you
want a little bit of give.  Pink, red, blue, orange, yellow, green, whatever you like.  Or you
could alternate between two colors, or well, there is so many choices.

Once you have it large enough, since if it goes on wrists you do not want it to cut off
any circulation, simply make sure the last piece on has a nozzle tip that is facing out.

Scrunch it up, tie a good solid granny knot, then for good measure carefully tug the
nozzel knot back over the point where you tied the granny knot.

End result?  Rainbow Bracelet that kids love, and which also if you have enough spare
makes a not bad little attachment for to fasten toy dogs to, for those kids who will
lose it in the breeze.  

Perhaps even alternate it with letter beads spelling out a name or phone number.

Just make sure to use a decent 160.  I have a pack of red balloons someone sold me
last year, that I thought looked good, but they were so old they were no longer able to
hold air properly.  They make do for those bracelets however, since I do not have to
worry about using up good stock.  Though they do tend to break easier.  Might have to
double up on them.

The practice is more common than I thought, having just now looked it up.  They are
known as balloon scrap bracelets.  Not sure if all you lot know of them, but if a few
like I, had not until I was shown, then it should be a decent way to turn all those
hordes of leftovers into either a bit of profit, or as part of a show.

Little 160 already blown at the tip, pre-cut 260q 's in a bucket.. the children select
their colors, string them then you go and tie them.  They get to wear a bracelet that
they did all themselves.  Leaves for more a lasting memory than a balloon on its own
I would think.


Latex Laughs / Re: the things kids say
« on: August 07, 2016, 03:41:38 AM »
I was going to post a similar tag, but since its already here, I'll add my little story to here and liven
up the day a little bit more.

I am not vain, but I am fairly sure that as far as a true story goes and among balloon twisters,
it would not be impossible to top, but I am willing to wager that it would be difficult to.  One of
those tales that could be a made up joke, that actually happened, is moments to be cherished
and shared. :)

Fair warning:

If you are drinking anything while reading this?  Better finish before you get to the end, or you
may wind up baptising your monitor with more than just laughter. :)

About 16 years ago, I was coming home from having twisted balloons in the name of a charity at the
Penhorn Mall Sunday Flea Market in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  I forget which one it was now, Church
related.  I'd say the time of month was mid July or early August.

I often then (and often sometimes still do) take the bus, and was walking along home with my little toolkit
I used to carry my gear in.

Lo and behold, I heard this voice call out as I walked up the sidewalk.  "A..are you a Clown?!??!?"

There was a little 3 or 4 year old peeking at me from within his house, looking out through the screen door.

Now despite the whole 'dont talk to strangers' thing, being as I was on the sidewalk, I felt there would be no
harm in answering.  So I nodded and said that I was, saing "Uh huh!  Sure am!"

The little blond child giggled, and said that is neat.  He then pointed, and said "I.. is dat da suits you wears to
birfday parties?" (At the time, I was wearing a traditional sort of suit made from a pattern.  Ruffle, frills, colored
dots, wig, floppy shoes, and so on.) I turned around slow, and let him get a really good view of the suit.  Which
he decided was nice looking.  After a few moments, and he then pointed and said "Hey!?  Is dat makeups you
gots on?"

So I reached up and rubbed at my face with a finger and showed him a bit of white on it, (without ruining the
face) and nodded, saying it was.

So, by this time his mother who was in the kitchen, has started to wonder just who her youngster was talking to.

I heard her call out from the kitchen, saying "Tommy?  Who are you talking to, baby?"

Immediatly, the child's whole demeanor changed, and he grew extremely excited.  Going like this.

"MOOOOMMY!!!  Mom!Mommommom!!  Guess whats mom??  Guess what?  Der's dere's dis man, mom!  An, know

(Get ready for it..)  

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    /        /

He says.. "Dis man?  He's out in the street, mommy, an know what?  He's in his Birfday suit, an he's wearing makeups!!!"  :lol:

Needless to say, after the initial momentary shriek of disbelief, she came running.  Looking like she was ready to commit murder in defence of her child from whatever Unholy pervert was parading around, armed with a frying pin in one hand, and a phone in the other to be ready to call 911 if she had to.

Little fellow had no idea that she was upset, and said "See mommy?  He wears that suit to his birfday parties.  I think it looks nice!"

His mom's jaw dropped as she stared in disbelief, so wide that I thought it was going to hit the floor, then we both just simultaniously cracked up.  Her in the house, and I on the street, howling our heads off laughing till it hurt, I likely ruining half my make up from the stream of tears.  The little fellow never did figure out what was so funny about it.

My one regret was that I didnt have any business cards that day, and I was too thick to remember to offer a name on a sheet of paper or something.  That would have been a very fun house to return to, for a party.

Every word of it is true too.  Though I used the name Tommy, since I cant recall now for sure exactly what his name was, given how long ago.

Anyone else have similar tales to share?


Latex Laughs / Re: funny moment
« on: August 07, 2016, 03:07:42 AM »
I can often self inflate two at once, which I feel is not too bad, given Im just a shrimpy little fella
though more than not I just use my balloon bouy strap on belt pump for the sake of looking more
professional, and for sanitary concerns.

Though I admit when I do show off for someone, I sort of 'cheat' by giving them a little push of air
from my lips first into each one, then put them back to my lips before I start blowing though.  
Getting that teeeny bubble started first, especially if its hidden behind your hand is all the difference
in the world, and is great for making the jocks who think they can do it, bug their eyes out, when you
offer them one and allow them to find out for themselves how difficult it can be, and then casually blow
up two.  

It almost never fails to get a look of awe and grudging respect.  I used to think that I could get my lungs
strong enough to go for a Hotwater bottle, but I had the sense to not try.  There is a fairly big difference,
between the lung strength, and the lung capacity.  Im not entirely sure I have either, but Im not about to
risk an exploded lung to find out.  Be interesting though if I could have tests done to measure the strenght
of a twister's true lung potential.  I imagine it'd be not too far off par from a musician like a trumpet player.


I've tried lung testing machines like they give people for stomach operations to practice on.  I overpower
them all, though by the time I do, its over, since my lungs are so small.  (compatively.)


Latex Laughs / Re: What is the wierdest request you got?
« on: August 07, 2016, 02:57:56 AM »
I know I got asked for an odd one the other day, but I cant recall.. maybe a skyscraper or something.. but the oddest one from years ago I CAN remember, would be when a little 6 year old looked at me, and said "I wanna Hyena dancing onna mountain top!"
I'll wager it was something to do with the lion king.  It was big back then.


Balloon Chit Chat / Possible Latex Alternatives?
« on: August 06, 2016, 03:12:14 PM »
Looking online I've seen a few things about latex alternatives, and even saw one link (which I cant find again) where someone made a toy poodle out of some other form of plant rubber that had so they claimed no latex in it.  Or atleast none of the sort that allergy suffers appear to be prone to.

But in trying to find it again, I came across this.  Which I thought I'd share, though I imagine the time it'd take to set this up would be troublesome.  But if someone more skillful and knowledgeable might have some other input, who knows.. perhaps this might be something that could work out to the benefit of all of us?

In ... ideas.html  I found the following about half way down when it was speaking of latex alternatives, foils, mylar and the like, among other things, then I saw this.

BALLOON TWISTERS: A nice latex free balloon for twisting is available at  Basically, it’s a roll of 3" poly bags.  Cut off desired length, heat seal or tie off on one end and fill with air.  Then heat seal or tie off the other end.  While not perfect, they do work pretty good.

Sounds like it'd be more something we could prep and store depending on how long they keep, and have as latex alternatives when going to any party that we know might have folks who suffer it.  Being able to say that you are able to provide a basic latex alternative, even if say simple as making a non-latex sword might be useful.  Though that would mean all the swords would have to be that way for to be fair.  

Still, the idea seems intriguing.  Opinions?


Perhaps I am overdoing it then.

This time of year generally this far north of the border, I have a limited window in which to try and make much as I can.

May, and most of June this year up here was exceptionally wet and windy, so its only been the past two months which I have had any decent weather at all to go twist.  

I to be honest, am not really sure how to go about properly getting business, though I have tried to set up a facebook site (still figuring it out..) I have nominally created a website using, but for the life of me I cant figure out how to get it to list in any search engine so far, and I am on Kijijji, an advertising service for people to post things they wish to buy, sell, want ads and such.  Including services.

I used to be in the telephone book in the yellow pages, but doing so required my only telephone to be under the category of corporation, and I would have to pay almost 4 times what a residential did, and rarely got bookings from it, so eventually I dropped it.

These days, its largely word of mouth, or people who see me twisting on the halifax waterfront boardwalk, who gets a business card.

Point is, sadly that for all that I can do, once the fall begins interest drops drastically, other than a very few birthday parties, and often nothing till November to early December.  Then like last year, its often January to June with nada.

So, I've part by necessity, part by bad habit been trying to go down when Im not working around the house, every half decent day I can, just so I can padd the bank for when the winter times get lean.

Simply learning some good ways to advertise more effectively so I can spread it out more year around, would solve a lot of trouble.  Which I guess should go without saying.  Unfortunatly I havn't learned the key for how to do so yet.  

I hear tell there is someone on the west coast opposite me, in Calgary, where the population is denser, (and the weather colder sometimes) yet she has about 20 people working for her that she trained, and gets about 15 bookings a day.  

At the age of just about 50, its either 'Learn how to turn this profitable' or else.  Since self employment, for someone who has little practical work experience seems like my best bet.    For too long, I've 'coasted' and just kept to the simple and the quick.  Which works for when there's tonnes of kids.  But its better to be always building ones repoitoire up too.

Just this morning on a whim, since Im going to a party soon, rather than look online at other peoples balloon designs, I just went right to pokemon images, and twisted a rather good looking Snivy, and Cincinno.  

Cant use those for line work of course, unless you have kids patient enough to wait 10-15 minutes or longer each.

Feels good to be getting innovative and creative again, but I have been in danger of over-doing it too, as you say.  Hands need rest.

It is difficult to wind down though, when its pretty much the only time of the year as things stand currently that I can make any practical money at all.

I also need to figure out what rates to be charging.  Improved skills, should warrant superior fees too, if done right and not extortionist.  For a long time I've been charging simply $75 per hour, since thats what another competitor in the same advert site was going for, and it was undercutting my rate of $100.  

So much I could be doing better, had I had the practical knowlege to go along with the inherent talent to twist.  20+ years of possibly doing it wrong.  LOL.  Though this last bit is getting off topic, and deserves a thread of its own.  

Thanks for the input, Kenny!

Oh, quick question:  Anyone going to The Florida SuperJam this January 4th to 7th 2017?  Thats part the reason I've been crunching the clock so much and numbing the fingers a bit.  To try and twist enough from tips and parties to afford to finally go to a decent jam, and really learn how to kick the business up a few levels of skill and profit!


Balloon Chit Chat / On the Serious Side of Twisting: About Health Issues
« on: August 06, 2016, 12:12:56 PM »
I have been twisting, informally and formally ever since perhaps early 1993 or 1994, and have never once regretted the decision.

However, I am starting to feel some of the effects from having done this for so long as well, and yes, its also just plain aging too.

But is there anything that people can recommend, for being among the older of the twisting community that can suggest steps to
take to aid this?  As much as I love doing balloon twisting, if there are things that should periodically be done that I am not, I would like to know, before I wind up doing something like neurological damage that cant be undone at some point.

The last 2 or so years, I've started to develop tingling in my fingers, whenever I twist too long, or even other things.  Using a computer mouse a certain way, holding items and what not.  I am fairly sure these are signs of carpal tunnel, but I would rather avoid the surgery route if possible.

Some folks I asked locally, suggested the possibility of massage therapy, and accupuncture.

Anyone able to shed light on the merits of that, or any insight at all on how to keep on twisting for a long time to come?  

To be honest, I sort of more fear that I may eventually lose the ability TO twist, over any eventual problems it may give.  Though I would rather find a way to avoid the former and latter if possible.  

Or if it is too late for I to really do too much about it, what of things those who are still more recently come into the twisting lifestyle that can do things now, to avoid what I am looking at, later?

Lets hear your thought please, people.


Welcome / Re: I'm so new!!
« on: August 05, 2016, 01:39:24 AM »
Far from brilliant?

If this is far from Brilliant, then we have a prodigy in our midst.

I've been doing balloons for over 2 decades, and I never once considered making
a toy story figure quite like yours, or nearly so successful and recognizable.

Sadly, I have no excuse for my lack of progress except that I got to the stage where
I made everyone the basics at flea markets for line twisting and what not, and then
I just stayed in that comfort zone.  

Poodle.  Parrot.  Bunny.  Blues Clues.  Dinosaur.  Snake.  Mostly stuff that I could twist
in under a minute or in as little as 3-5.  Though I do go more elaborate for birthdays.

But if this is what you can do after what is it, a few weeks?  Then the 'oldtimers' like me
are in trouble, because you've serious skills!

I have to get a working camera again other than my dinky celphone, so I havn't anything
truely recent to show, but I've had a few I twisted in the past, which while did not quite
turn out the way I intended, did turn out quite amusing.  Especially in just how it came out.

This one was way back when I was trying to figure out how to twist a hulk with moderate

At the end of a long hot day of balloon busking, I put my own hat on my creation, gave 'em
a sword and used my coke bottle to keep it weighted and in place.  But the end result in the
picture was I thought just so neat, when the wind blew it in just the right way, for it to give
my creation a sort of 'Back off man.  This is MY Coke now!' glare.

Keep up the good work.  You'll surpass a lot of us at this rate before long.  I am reasonably sure
you've surpassed me, or atleast caught up.


Welcome / Re: I'm so new!!
« on: August 04, 2016, 04:40:08 PM »
Well Zozoo, I must say you are progressing very well so far. When I taught myself by trial and error so many years ago I would rather not think on it,it took me ages to master what you have learned there so quickly.

Given the age of your children though, I'd like to offer this little bit of hopefully sage advice that I picked up long ago when at a Buskers Festival from a veteran twister.  

Always be aware of the potential dangers of RED, White, Pink and clear.

Some children, will always take a balloon and immediatly want to taste it.  That is no revelation of course.  As twisters, both new and veteran we all find that out fast.  But consider this:

Since Balloons are so thin they cannot be discerned on an x-ray I have been told.  Thus, the color becomes an issue too, as the colors I mentioned will more likely, blend into the back of the throat and lungs.

I am not saying to NOT make those color balloons.  Far far from it!!

Just that when you do make them, and hand them out, and you may consider having a little sign up or verbally even and politely warn adults if they wish that color for their children.

I suggest saying something like while you can indeed make them this or that color, would they mind if you suggest another shade, and then tell them your reasonings behind the request.

That way the adults can make a more informed choice. They appreciate that you more are looking out for the welfare and safety of the child above other concerns.  It almost never fails to be appreciated when I take the time to tell a parent this, or even a group of people who are standing around, watching me twist.

Oh, and when and if you do make a balloon for a young child?  Especially for the 4 and under crowd, always politely try to hand the balloon to the parent.  That way, the onus is more on them for handing it to the child, and not so much us twisters who produce them.  That and it reinforces the whole 'dont take things from strangers' lesson..

Here's a quick but effective balloon twist for you and the others.  One your daughter might well love a lot!

Just get a purple lavender round balloon, or perhaps a  of a 350Q,  a piece of a 260Q the same color, and one of lime green.

Under-inflate the purple balloon if the round one, or just use a few inches of the fat 350Q and tie it off, then use the scrap purple one to make a pair of little feet and attach it to the bottom.

Inflate a 260Q or 160Q Green, perferrably of the lighter shade, and make three or four loops for leaves like in the photo I posted below and fasten it to the top.  All thats left is to draw the face and you are done.

Quick.  Simple.. and hey, its Poke'mon!  There are other simple figure designs too that wont slow up things too much if you are trying to twist a lot in a short time.

Btw, that particular oddish photo is one I pulled from the web, made by a skilled twister by the name of Inëz Czymbor.

Take care and have a fantastic time doing the twist!

G. Manson
Mister Shuffles

Welcome / Greetings from Nova Scotia!
« on: August 04, 2016, 04:23:49 PM »
Hi, everyone!

This is something that I should have done many many years ago.  

Having taught myself the fun art of folding air back in the early 90's with nothing but a scratchy snowy video from the children's section of the library, called Balloonacy II by Dennis Weaver(?) or something like that, I've been at it ever since, more so in the Summer than anything.

I've lots of stories to share, lots of ideas to bounce around.  Hopefully, I will be able to add a little more fun to the mix in here, and get some back!

Here's a quick few balloons I have twisted in the past.  Though I admit, having seen what some other artists have done at learning it for a few years, for having been doing so for over 20 I should be far further along than I am.  Though I am once again improving and learning new figures.

Hope to hear from all of you and who knows?  Perhaps meet some of those doing this close enough we could arrange some Balloon Jam, sometime.  Love to meet others as interested as I, with similar or superior skills.

G. Manson
aka Mister Shuffles
(I soo wanted to try and lay claim to the name 'Oliver Twist' but I do believe that one is spoken for already.)

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