Party DIY: Hand-lettered balloons

Did you see the hand-lettered balloon garland I made for Tala’s first birthday party? I wanted to write a separate post about this fun little DIY project because I enjoyed doing it so much.

DIY hand-lettered balloon garland

Aside from the balloon garland, I also hand-lettered individual balloons and floated them around the cafe. Tala is already used to hearing English, Filipino and Dutch, so I used a combination of fun party words from those three languages.

Hoera! Party balloons DIY handlettering

Hoera (pronounced hooh-rah) means hurray!

Leuk! Party balloons DIY handlettering

Leuk! is Dutch for nice, fun, or cool. The Dutch say it so often, in the beginning I was paranoid that people were being sarcastic with me.

Yehey! Party balloons DIY handlettering

We also had Super! Yay! and Yippee! And of course, I couldn’t leave out our very own Yehey!

This was so much fun for me. I’ve always loved hand lettering—just ask my high school classmates and look at my old textbooks. Plus, it’s easy! Anyone can do it and it doesn’t take much time. Here’s how to DIY your own hand-lettered party balloons.

All you need are inflated balloonsstring or ribbon, and a permanent marker, such as Pentel or Sharpie. For maximum contrast, I used a plain black Pentel Pen with a fine bullet tip and a fluorescent pink window marker. Window marker is basically liquid chalk, so it takes a few seconds longer to dry than permanent marker.

Handlettering balloons with marker DIY

To make a balloon garland, start by inflating all the balloons you need—one letter per balloon—and tying them together in a row with ribbon or string. Tie one end of the string to a chair on the same side as your writing hand. This keeps the balloons from floating up to the ceiling while you write.

Handlettered balloon garland DIY

Now, the fun part: start writing! Experiment on a few spares balloon to see what feels easy and natural.  Keep a light touch and don’t press too hard. Go loose and cover as much of the balloon as you can—the bigger, the better. Don’t stress about slightly wobbly lines—it’s all part of the charm of hand lettering.

It’s a good idea to make each letter a different style, so you don’t have to worry about consistency. Keep a reference of different styles beside you for inspiration. I have a Lettering & Type board on Pinterest for projects like these—feel free to check it out for ideas!

DIY party balloons with handlettering

For individual balloons, keep it simple. I used a loose, loopy script because I found it easy, but you may want to try tall, narrow letters or all caps. Since people will be looking up at them, write the words closer to the bottom of the balloon.

Most importantly, have fun! Play with different colors and styles. This really shouldn’t take more than one minute per balloon; the script balloons took me 15 seconds each, tops. That way, I finished 30 balloons by the time my daughter woke up from her morning nap.

I’d love to know what you think of this DIY. Is this something you might want to try for your next party?

Lovely comments:

  1. Excellent! These look so cool, the fun of making them completely shines through in the results! Also, great tips! Especially that you may want to write on the bottom of the balloon, because that’s what you’ll see. Writing on balloons (even blowing them) always makes me a little nervous… afraid that they’ll pop ;)