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  Issue 2003.04      TOY  LAND          Toy Mural

This wonderful 36' display was designed by Graham & Mary Queen Rouse as part of the decor for the 2003 Japanese Balloon Artists Network (JBAN) convention.  The convention of 500 plus attendees was in August 2003 in Yokohama, Japan.  The 3D mural followed the convention theme of "Toy" and was built by students and staff.   

This premiere piece was sponsored by Pioneer Balloon Company of Wichita, Kansas, USA, Emily's Balloon Corporation of Tokyo, Japan and Rouse International of Columbia, SC, USA.  Additional thanks go to Conwin for their great equipment which made the work go so much faster.

Construction featured (5000) Qualatex 5" latex balloons and (20) RMS Banners.

Construction also featured some elements and techniques which can be used on smaller projects to make your balloon decor easy, fun, effective and economical.

Toy Soldiers  

Two Toy Soldiers stood left and right of the mural. These 6' tall figures were free standing with a simple base plate and hidden vertical pipe between the front and back layers of Matrix and balloons. 

The Soldiers served as guardians of the display, but also served to extend the display left and right. These 3-D Soldier figures added depth to the basic flat surface of the mural.  The Soldiers also provided flexible elements which could be easily moved around.  

Suggestion: Such pieces might be used  to flank the entrance to an event or as props for a photo op.

Take a closer look and learn construction tips in the "Soldier" page of this issue. 


Teddy Bear  

The Teddy Bear filled a prominent spot in the mural.  You could use him as part of a mural of your own, but he would make a good independent piece as well.  He could be made in double layers like the Soldiers or one sided against a wall or backdrop. He is shown here about 6' tall made with two RMS  Banners and 5" Qualatex balloons.  160Q and  260Q balloons were used for the black outlines drawn over the round balloons.

You may make smaller and larger versions of this Teddy Bear by using RMS frameworks designed for smaller and larger balloons.  Fill in balloons to make the design, and then cut away the excess framework with scissors.  Take a closer look and learn construction tips in the "Teddy Bear" page of this issue. 


Toy Train  

The Toy Train shows off several techniques for making your balloon graphics more sophisticated.  Notice that the string of Toy Train cars turn at relatively subtle angles as they wind their way across, then down, and out of the mural onto the floor. This series of changing views of the cars adds a sense of perspective depth to the mural.  

Artificial depth is further enhanced by the Train engine which covers part of the area in which one would otherwise expect to see more of the Teddy Bear (a partially hidden foot).  The Teddy Bear covers part of the area in which one would otherwise expect to see more of the Train cars (on the hill). This apparent overlap of objects adds to the sense of depth.  Ordinarily, one object would have to be in front of a second object in order to hide parts of the second object.

The front part of the Train engine literally escapes the border of the mural and comes right out of the picture onto the floor.  Now one has real depth mixed with the artificial depth of perspective and overlap.


You may download more illustrated notes on creating real and perceived depth in your balloon graphics from  

If you just like trains, you may want to visit a great little balloon train at



The Lettering in this graphic ("JBAN") incorporates several useful techniques for enhancing the sense of depth in the mural. First, there is a sense of perspective by angling the Lettering "up hill" and back into the graphic rather than horizontally and flat across the balloon canvas.

Second, this perspective is reinforced by giving the Lettering some thickness by the addition of the red "shading" on the edges of the letters.

Third, one of the Letters, the "N", is literally freestanding in front of the mural and aligned to continue the series of Letters shown in mural itself.


Take a closer look and learn construction tips for the freestanding Letter in the "Lettering" page of this issue.

If you are more ambitious, you may want to download one or more of the lettering fonts found on our "Downloads" page.  Use these as a starting place for designing your own shaded and 3-D letters.  They are in the third section down the page labeled "Fonts".  Go to .


Yellow Ribbon  

The Yellow Ribbon escapes the traditional rectangular border of the mural.  It also laps in front of and behind the Jack-In-the-Box. All these things add to the sense of depth in the mural.

The Yellow Ribbon also serves to "tie" the entire balloon canvas together.  Further, it provides wonderful movement and flow, while softening the hard outside edges of the piece.

The parts of the Yellow Ribbon which escape the borders were also made with RMS.  The extensions were cut from scraps of RMS.  They were attached to the mural by lapping several holes of the extensions over several holes of the the main piece.

If you look closely, you will notice that the Yellow Ribbon, like the Teddy Bear, is trimmed with black lines made from 160Q's and 260'S.  This helps the Yellow Ribbon stand out from the background as well as  to distinguish one layer of ribbon from another.


Check out other designs made with RMS Banners in our Balloon Arts Banner Gallery at

Download basic instructions for using RMS Banners from

Download Banner, Honeycomb Graph Paper to plan your designs from

     Visit our online tutorial on how to use RMS Banners at

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Last Updated: 30-Oct-2003
copyright 2003 Rouse International