# Other

## Gift bow

Dec 31st

Last week, when I was wrapping presents and couldn’t find any ribbon, I ended up using a 160 balloon to add this gift bow to a small boxed gift. It was pretty simple and turned out pretty well! I should try making larger gift bows sometime.

## Heart balloon

Feb 13th

Happy almost Valentine’s Day! According to Wikipedia, Valentine’s Day is the second most celebrated holiday around the world.

Here’s a heart to make for Valentine’s Day, or for any day!

I saw this balloon on Michael Langerman’s YouTube video. It’s not too hard, but requires you to twist 79 bubbles.

**To make this balloon**, I used 1 red balloon and 3.5 pink balloons. You of course could use all the same color or any combination of colors. You’ll basically start by twisting loops of bubbles, just the same way you would make a necklace. The red outline requires a 15 bubble loop; you’ll also need two 20-bubble loops, a 12-bubble loop, and two 6-bubble loops. I used one balloon to make both the 12-bubble and 6-bubble loops, and used half a balloon to make one of the 6-bubble loops.

Try to make all the bubbles the same size. The more consistent the size, the better. And make sure to twist each bubble a good number of times so it won’t come undone easily.

After you finish making the loops, you’ll make a couple more simple twists and then put all the chains together carefully to make the heart balloon. (Check out the video!) This balloon is pretty cool. It’s 3D and the back is the same as the front.

## Orderly Tangle

Jan 26th

This is called an “orderly tangle” (or also “regular polylink.”) This particular tangle is made up of four triangles, which when woven together in a certain symmetric fashion form a stable structure. You may have seen tangles in the form of puzzles before. My college roommate was really into puzzles and had a bunch of wooden ones. I first saw tangles that were made from balloons on Vi Hart’s web site.

**To make this balloon**, I used four 260 balloons. I used my neon colors for a cool color combination. I left around a 3-4 inch tail (instead of inflating the entire balloon) as I didn’t want the final structure to be too big/loose. There are no tricky twists – it’s just four triangles. But it is a geometric exercise to figure out how to put it together. You’ll have to make each triangle one at a time as you figure out how to weave them. I added a 5″ round balloon in the middle for fun.

To learn more about these cool geometric structures, check out this video below by George Hart, who has lots of photos and videos of really cool mathematical sculptures at his web site and YouTube channel.

Fin RegPolylinks from Simons Foundation on Vimeo.

## Christmas Tree

Dec 15th

Merry [almost] Christmas!

I’ve been meaning to make something Christmas-related, and finally made this tree! I didn’t want to make a very big tree, and so I used 160 balloons and not 260 balloons. This tree is about 8-10 inches tall.

I’ve seen Christmas trees made in different ways – by making each layer separately and then joining them, or by using all round balloons.

**To make this balloon**, I used 3 green 160 balloons, a gold 160 balloon to decorate the tree, and some scrap 160 and 260 balloons for the ball ornaments.

I started by making a pinch twist, and then 3 small loop twists (connected at the same spot), followed by a small bubble and then another set of loop twists, followed by a small bubble and then another set of loop twists, and so on…, and ending with a small bubble at the bottom. The lower the level of branches, the more the loop twists, and the larger the loop twists. Whenever you’re about to run out of the green balloon, just pop the remaining balloon, tie a knot, and wrap it around the balloon; then attach another green balloon and start again where you left off. Lastly, I twisted a series of bubbles (using the gold 160), and used different colors of balloon scraps to make ball ornaments to decorate the tree.

## Balloon ball (icosahedron)

Oct 1st

Here’s a balloon ball. Sure, you could just inflate a round balloon, but this is cooler.

In mathematical terms, it’s actually an icosahedron – a polyhedron with 20 triangular sides. It may look complicated, but because of its symmetry and basic units, it’s actually quite easy to put together. I first saw this on Vi Hart’s web site, where she has posted great instructions for this icosahedron, as well as many other mathematical shapes, such as fractals, tangles, and other polyhedra! Check it out!

**To make this balloon**, I took three 160 balloons and cut each in half. Each section was then used to make one of the six units. (I wanted to make an icosahedron that wasn’t too big.)

If you’d like to read a mathematical paper written about balloon twisting, check out: Computational Balloon Twisting Theory: The Theory of Twisting Polyhedra, co-authored by Hart, Martin Dermaine, and Erik Dermaine (who was one of my college professors!)