How to Make a Balloon Dog!

Patricia Yu
9 min readOct 16, 2018

Oct 16 — First thoughts


I think i’m going to watch tutorials online as my first approach to how to make a balloon dog. After doing that, I’ll get some real balloons, blow it up with air, and try to do them by watching these tutorials. I have had some experience in creating balloon animals as well, so that might help.

Steps to create balloon dog:

  1. inflate balloon
  2. Make 1 two inch knot from the tip of the balloon, then 2 one inch knots
  3. Bend the longer twist to the body and tie the longer knot to the larger body
  4. twist the balloon 3 times with three long equal segments
  5. Bend two of the together and twist them together to create the front legs
  6. repeat from step four against to create the back legs.

Oct 18 — Actually doing it!

Today I made two balloon dogs! I was going to learn it from watching videos, but I just got others to teach me instead!

Follow pictures from top left to bottom right


Step 1: make the head of the dog by making one smaller knot

Step 2: fold the head with the body and twist to make the “legs”

Step 3: make a fold down a little bit from the head to make a legs. To do this bend the balloon in the same length as the first “legs”

Step 4: adjust the legs and head to make it look more like a dog

(Optional) Step 5:If the tail is too long, then rip or cut the tail and tie a knot

Doing this was a lot more fun than I thought!

Oct 20 — Planning Storyboards

We took notes on short videos we watched and how they did their scenes. This inspired me to create a short film with a quick story that can incorporate my balloon dog!

Taking notes from video
Planning for Storyboards

Next, I drew up plans for my own storyboards and wrote captions underneath them so I wouldn’t forget what I wanted to do.

Oct 21 — Storyboards!

I created 3 different “stories” that reflect the process of how to create a balloon dog. Then I wrote captions explaining the story.

Storyboard 1 with explanation of story
Storyboard 2 with explanation of story
Storyboard 3with explanation of story

The digital versions for more clarity:

Storyboard 1
Alternate ending of storyboard 1
Storyboard 2
Storyboard 3

Oct 22 — Making it more “tutorial”

I chose storyboard 3 in the end

I chose storyboard 3 in the end because it was the storyboard that focused the most on the creating the balloon dog and not the story. What I changed for this storyboard was just to expand on the making balloon dog process; I made more step by step shots.

Oct 23 — Oh no! Wrong direction!

Today, during class I realized that I took the wrong direction! I was going to create a video about a scenario/story plot and then incorporate the creation of the balloon dog. However, now I know to only focus on the tutorial part because adding so much story would change the intention of the video.

New Storyboard

Now i’m going to focus only on creating the balloon dog but making different cuts and closeups to create interest!

New Storyboard focusing on being a tutorial

I did another storyboard really trying to focus on the step by step tutorial format and the POV.

Feedback from critique

Notes from the critique:

  • color of balloon and background important
  • first/second person view
  • pay attention to framing (people’s clothing)
  • control of lighting (consistency)
  • horizontal shots
  • Pay attention to detail!

Oct 24 — Making the first vid!

I recorded the scenes based on the storyboard mentioned above and here what it looks like!

The video on youtube:

Oct 26 — Changing it up

I watched some Youtube videos about how to make a balloon dog to get some ideas whats the easiest way to get my point across and I realized that:

  • Show leaving ballon space at the end of the tail when blowing it up in the beginning (this is important because if the person adds too much air then when they twist it, it could explode)
  • Redo the “ripping of the tail”, it might be confusing why I was stretching the balloon tail so aggressively. Instead, just cut it like a normal person…

I also asked some classmates about feedback on my video:

  • Pumping the ballon and only showing the end of the balloon shot was confusing
  • Possibly taking out making the tail short, not necessary?
  • Add some proportions to the making of the balloon
  • PAUSING the video at areas to have the audience register the steps
  • Sometimes my hands cover the content

Oct 28 — Making more videos!

I drew a storyboard taking into account all the feedback and notes I took during the critique and started to film my next version! I also tried a white background this time, because I the black paper background reflected white light and I wanted to try to see if white would be more easy on the eyes.

Storyboard for next video

Oct 29 — Edited it!

It’s a bit longer than 1 minute, but I think this was due to my motions not being fluid enough (tying the knots took a lot of time, and twisting it as well).

Check out the vid here!:

Oct 30 — Critique 2!

Feedback from mini group critiques

Some things I need to fix from the comments are:

  • Make the shots farther away and close up only at necessary points because most of the shorts are too closeup right now and feels uneasy
  • Making the transitions more smooth and less choppy because it can be confusing. So connect some scenes.
  • Possibly show the completed product in the beginning to tell audience what you are trying to make in the beginning
  • Some parts such as from the tail cut to the nose part was too fast. So I could try to slow these parts down, or try another POV.
  • Make the twisting sounds less harsh, because it’s distracting. I could make my motions more precise to prevent excessive squishy sounds or add music.

Steve Feedback:

  • After talking with Steve, I don’t think music would be effective in my video because it would be creating assumption based on what music I would add, and just become a distraction. I need to make judgements based on my own at times and see if other’s feedback is worth following.
  • The shadows are quite strong and so distracting. I should try using lighting from the left and right.
  • There are a lot of hand proportions and is difficult to remember. I could try to make them all based on the width of one hand.

Oct 30 — Making changes

This is my updated storyboard. I made some scenes more connected for smoother transitions. Also I made my hand proportions easier to remember, they are all in the size of four fingers and once with three fingers.

I shot the videos, but I still haven’t put them together yet. After I shot them however, I saw that there was still a lot of drop shadow. I think I’ll need to make the lighting softer (more far away).

I also decided to make the pumping of the entire ballon in more of a “stop motion” effect because only showing the end of the ballon being pumped was confusing. Showing the ballon in it’s entirety but just cutting the clips to make it shorter will be easier to understand.

Nov 1 — Workday!

Today we had a workday! I finished editing my video taking new footage from yesterday and talked to Stacie about what see saw in my video.

Overall, some things I need to fix are:

  • cropping the video to the required size
  • slow down some places for the watcher to take in
  • take out some repetitive parts such as the blowing of the ballon, I have too may shots
  • focus on teaching and not sharing how to make this balloon

Watch Video Here!

Nov 2— Last final storyboard.

I wrote down a plan for what I’m going to do until the final piece due on Wed and I’m acting it out!

Thur: finishing editing second to last video for critique and ask for feedback.

Fri: Make a new storyboard from feedback.

Sat: Shoot the new video.

Sun: Edit video and ask for feedback.

Mon: Fix anything about video or reshoot from Sunday’s feedback.

Tue: Upload video to server.

This is my final storyboard and what I plan to shoot according to the feedback from the last official critique.

Final Storyboard

Nov 4— Filmed the final piece!

I finally put together the film I did yesterday!

See it here!

I’m going to ask for feedback tomorrow and see if there’s any final fine tuning I can do!

Nov 5 — Editing

I watched my film multiple times and asked some of my peers for feedback. There was not much I had to change except for some little details such as making some cuts longer or shorter.

Watch it here!:

Nov 6 — Final Video + Reflection

Today in class, I showed my video to Steve and he said he couldn’t help notice the shadows. So I felt compelled to reshoot the video again.

Here it is! Done!


The main takeaways I had from this project was to:

  1. Make sure to remember the purpose of a task because it’s easy to go off track.

I started out with creating more of a story rather than a DIY video. When I look back, if I had kept the storyline, my video would not have been solely for the purpose of being informative, rather, it would be for entertainment or drama.

2. Details matter.

If your painted nails are chipped or have dirt in the corner of a shot can all discredit your video from being professional. This makes the watcher trust less on what you have to present.

Also, sometimes you don’t realize how something looks like. For example, if you balloon dog is pink and you’re holding it in a certain way, it may resemble something inappropriate. Thus, paying attention to these details, and just trying to look at it from a different perspective is important.

3. Know your audience.

Sometimes your logic doesn’t apply to other and even though this is obvious, it hard to actually do. Make sure to show you concept to many other people to see if they can follow your logic and change it accordingly.

When you’re working on a project for too long, you tend to become jaded to your work and don’t notice what could be wrong. Therefore, getting feedback from others is another reason for this.

4. How to make better videos.

For example, I learned about what kind of lighting is less distracting, how to choose a background for a neutral background for shooting, how different point of views can change a watchers interpretation or experience, and the different shots/perspective I can make to make a simple video interesting.

Overall, I appreciate what I learned from this project, but I would not do it again. The repetition in the making of the video made it very monotonous and hard to find the motivation to do again.



Patricia Yu

Industrial/Experience Designer, Human Computer Interactions and Physical Computing at Carnegie Mellon University