Monday, 21 March 2016

Disposable Helium Tanks or Hired Helium Tanks?

Need helium for a party? What is the best option?

Both types of tanks or cylinders come in a size that does 50 balloons but there is a pretty big difference between the two options. We have compared a disposable tank for 50 balloons to a DIY 50 balloon kit from a balloon store. Take a look through our comparison chart to find out just what the differences are.

                                                 Disposable Cylinders            Hired Helium Cylinders

Amount  of Helium in Tank          .42 cubic meters                   .6 cubic meters  
                                                                                                  over 42% more

Choice of balloon colours                      No                                          Yes 

Matching coloured ribbons                    No                                          Yes 

Recyclable                                   Not in Australia at              Cylinders are returned
                                                   time of comparison               to store to be refilled 
                                                 so may unfortunately
                                                       add to landfill

Float time                                          5-7 hrs plus                        12-15 hrs plus  
                                                     Included balloons              With premium balloons 
                                                                                                included in kit from a
                                                                                               speciality balloon store   

Security bond required                          No                                           Yes  

Balloon clips included                             No                                           Yes

Refillable                                                No                                            Yes

            DIY helium balloon kits are available from our store in Carlingford, Sydney.
                                          Click here for information on our kits.

Disposable tanks that you don't have to return are convenient in that you won't have to make a return trip to the store, but you get a lot less helium and greatly reduced float time. Yes, you only need the balloons to float for a few hours but do you really want to leave inflating your balloons till the very last minute when there are always so many other last minute jobs when planning a party.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Book week costume ideas

This year in Australia book week is officially August 22 - 28

Every year we get heaps of stressed parents in looking for book week costumes so I thought I would get a head start on it this year. I have gone with a variety of ideas, some easier than others. For many of the ideas I have suggested how you might create your child's costume. 

Alice in Wonderland

Aliens in underpants - Alien antenna on a headband with the craziest pair of underpants you can find over your clothes. 

Amelia Bedelia - Wear a dark skirt and top with a white full apron and add some artificial flowers to the front brim of a hat.

Angelina Ballerina - Attach pink cardboard mouse ears to a headband and wear your pink ballet gear.


Butterfly from The very hungry caterpillar - You can buy butterfly wings, cut them out and make your own from cardboard or you may be lucky enough to find a kite that looks like butterfly wings. 

Captain Hook

Captain underpants - Buy or make a red cape, wear a pair of men's white underpants over your clothes and carry a toilet plunger.

Cat in the hat - Buy a hat and red bowtie to wear with black top and pants or buy or hire a full costume.

Cruella - Think crazy black and white hair and some Dalmatian fur fabric with red black or white clothing.

Curious George - You will need a monkey costume or a monkey mask and brown clothes and you may like to carry a pair of binoculars

Dorothy - If you're not a sewer probably best to hire or buy this one.

Dwarf from Snow White

Fancy Nancy - Wear your good party dress and go to town with a feather boa, gloves, beads, tiara, flowers in your hair and or whatever other bling you can come up with.

Fantastic Mr Fox  - See if you can get hold of a fox mask or onesie and wear a shirt & tie with it.




I spy - Grab yourself a magnifying glass. You may like to attach pictures or light objects to your clothing of all the things you've spied. Make a list of all the things you've spied.

Little Miss Muffett

Little Red Riding Hood


Olivia the pig - Look out for red and white striped tops and or tights and wear them with something red and a pig snout & ears on a headband.

Paper bag princess

Pearlie Fairy - Wear your fairy outfit and add some large pearls to a headband.

Peter Rabbit from Beatrix Potter

Peter Pan  - Green shorts and t shirt with v cut jagged edges and a triangle green felt hat.

Pinocchio - Red shorts with braces, a yellow or white top,a blue oversized ribbon bowtie and a purchased Pinocchio nose. 

Pippi Longstocking - you will need some striped long socks or tights and a plaited red wool wig to be worn with something blue.

Pirates from The night pirates or Peter Pan

Princess Merida - A green medieval style dress, a long red curly wig and a bow & arrow.

Puss in boots - A pirate hat turned up on one side with a feather, some pants tucked into boots, a loose white shirt with some lace tied at the neck, a black cape, a zorro sword and draw on some whiskers.

Repunzel - A medieval dress and extra long wool plait. 

Rangers apprentice - Dress in green or brown top and pants, add a green hooded cape and a bow and arrow.

Smurf -  Buy a hat and face paint to wear with blue and white clothes.

Snow White 

Sorcerers apprentice from Fantasia -  Add some Mickey mouse ears to a wizards costume.

The grouchy ladybug

The Saucepan man - Make yourself several saucepans from foil and cardboard, wear one as a hat and the others hanging around your neck from a piece of string. You could even hang a couple of real saucepan lids if you have some light ones.

Thing one and Thing two -  Buy a blue clown wig, draw the Thing one or Thing two logo onto some strong white paper and attach it to a red top.

Tiger who came to tea -  Hire or buy a tiger costume or buy a tiger ears and tail set, go crazy     with the orange on a black tracksuit. Glue some cups and saucers from a children's tea set onto a plate to carry.


Very hungry caterpillar

Wally or Wanda - Buy a beanie and classes then paint some red stripes onto a white t shirt with a small paint roller.

Where the wild things are - Hire or buy a white mouse costume, add a brown fluffy tail and a crown.

Wish I had duck feet - Cut out some yellow cardboard or vinyl duck shaped feet to sit on top of your shoes, then buy whatever other animal ears, tail and nose or beak you can find.

Witch from Room on the Broom - make or buy a witch cape or costumes and hat, attach a toy dog, cat, frog or bird to a broom to carry with you.

Witch from Roald Dahl's The Witches.

Wizard from the Hobbit

Visit the website for our Carlingford store


Monday, 22 April 2013

Hire or Buy costumes

In the past the only way to get a costume was to make it yourself, have one custom made or hire one, but these days there are lots of costumes available for sale. If you have the option try to get to a store to compare what is available.

So what is the difference between hiring a costume or buying one to keep?

If you want a great quality or elaborate costume or something like a large fur animal hiring can be far more economical. Many really good costumes are simply way too expensive to purchase just to wear once.
Hire is a good option if you need an unusual size or uncommon character. 
A good fancy dress costume hire store will probably stock a whole load of stuff that you can't find to buy because they have been collecting and making great things for years.  As costume hire stores do often make their own costumes there is less chance of someone else having exactly the same outfit at your party. Hire stores will usually allow you to mix and match from a huge selection of pieces and they are able to cater for all shapes and sizes.

If you think about it hiring a costume doesn’t create landfill unlike a single use purchased costume.


If you are a standard size or think you may want to be the same character over and over again buying your own costume is a good idea.  Buying also takes away the pressure of having to return something on time or in good order (great if your going on a bucks night or taking something away for a extended holiday).
Purchased costumes are generally mass produced to meet a certain price point, the fabrics and materials used are usually lower quality. Depending on how much or little you spend you will probably find they are not made for repeated wearing and washing. They will often be one size fits most or come in only a limited range of sizes, unlike hire costumes you can not mix and match to fit.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Costume ideas starting with A

A is a great letter for a costume party theme. You can be as obscure or obvious as you like.

If you come up with any other ideas please feel free to add them to the comments.

Visit our costume catalogue to take a look at some pictures.

Abbess -  Female superior of a convent / Nun
Abbott -  Head of a monastery / Monk
Academic - Gown and mortar board
Ace - Pilot or aviator
Addams family
Al Capone
Ali Ba Ba
Alice in Wonderland
Alice Cooper
Alter boy
Ambassador - any national dress to represent a particular country
Amelia Airhardt
American Indians
Amphibian - frog
Ancestor - any period costume including cave people or ancient Romans or Egyptians
Ancient  - Egyptians or Romans
Anglo Saxon - Vikings or Medieval
Angus Young
Annie Oakley
Archer - Robin Hood
Austin Powers
Australian colonial

Monday, 25 March 2013

Theme Party Ideas

The theme you pick for your party can have a big impact on how keen everyone is to join in. If you choose something too difficult or limiting some of your guests may not even bother. Make sure when you send out your invitations that you encourage people to think outside the square. There are ways to improve on many popular themes, take a look through the following ideas.


Don't forget not everyone is comfortable in Lycra or Spandex. Give your guests a bit more scope, maybe make the theme just heroes or heroes and villains. For something different you could even encourage them to come up with there own slightly dodgy superhero.

Sound of Music

Don't just stick to the characters. There's heaps of obscure ideas hidden within the song lyrics. (When the dog bites, when the bee stings, brown paper packages tied up with string, white dresses with blue satin ribbons).

Initial Parties

Getting your guests to come as something starting with the first letter of your name is quite common but you may like to think about using your first and surname initials to give people a few more options.

Colour Parties

Challenge yourself with this one. Decorate your party with one colour only, start with balloons, streamers, table covers, candles then see what else you can find in the right colour. Get creative with your menu, think up food and cocktails to serve in the same colour. Have your guests come in full costume in your chosen colour or let the less enthusiastic come with a touch of colour.


This is a great idea if your birthday is in the colder months, and there's plenty of ways to keep warm if you don't have room for an indoor party. Suggest they come as anything to do with the winter, cold or cold places. For costumes think ski gear, Snow White, Snow Monkeys, Ice Hockey. Get the brazier or fire set up and serve cheese fondue and mulled wine.

Famous Duos, Groups or Couples

To make this theme fun and get everybody mingling you randomly pick who each of your guests is to dress as then when they arrive they need to seek out who they are matched with. This is a great way to introduce different groups of friends who may not have met before. If you don't want to make this a full on dress up party you can just send your guests their chosen characters nametag and they can just wear the tag, it will still get them talking to each other.

Think up your own theme

Browse through any costume shop catalogue and see what you can come up with. Visit our costume ideas page here. Happy planning.




Wednesday, 6 April 2011

How to make a helium balloon arch

Recently a customer of ours who was hiring a DIY helium balloon kit asked us how to make a balloon arch. These look impressive and are very simple once you know how. Here are the instructions I wrote up for her.

What you will need

Helium, Balloons, Template*,  Fishing line, Two weights,
Curling ribbon (optional), Two chairs (optional)

Step 1

Determine the approximate size of your arch and how many balloons you need.
For an arch as tall as it is wide (0.5 x height) + width = length
For an arch wider than it is tall height + width = length
For an arch taller than it is wide 2 x height + width = length
Length divided by the diameter of your balloons = Balloons required

Step 2

Place two chairs back to back at least the length of your arch,** tie fishing line between the chairs allowing plenty extra to later attach to your weights.

Step 3

Inflate your first balloon and tie the balloon neck directly  around the fishing line. (don’t tie the fishing line around the balloon) if you find it easier to hold you may like to knot the balloon once then knot it again around the line.
Keep going with the rest of your balloons spacing them evenly as you go and using a sizing template so they look uniform.
If you wish you can now attach curling ribbons to the balloons, any ribbon needs to be tied between the knot and the end lip not between the knot and the inflated part.

Step 4

Remove one end of the fishing line from the chair and tie it to a weight then repeat with the other end. If you need to even up the spacing between the balloons you should be able to gently slide the balloons along the fishing line.

*All of our DIY helium balloon kits include a sizing template. Alternatively you can make your own by cutting a square in a cardboard box which your balloons need to fit through. Size the template according to the balloons you are using.
**If you have plenty of space you may like to loop the fishing line between the two chairs tying the two ends together that way you can stay in one spot and just slide the fishing line and balloons along as you go.

You will find a photo of a completed arch amongst the balloon photos on our website