How To DIY a Balloon Centerpiece With Vinyl Letters

Who says centerpieces actually have to sit on the tables?

Balloons are, hands down, one of the easiest ways to decorate. They don’t take a lot of time, and with a little imagination, they can make a huge impact. Plus, you can keep your tables mostly clear for folks to talk without being blocked by flowers. Tabitha, the talented design force behind LA-based Winston & Main, designed these for anyone looking for a centerpiece that will draw the eye up, who doesn’t want to spend a million dollars on things like fancy tall urns. They work just as well for holiday parties as for weddings (obvs). For the average table, you should plan on using two or three large balloons over the table, to spell out a phrase or a few words. Brainstorming of phrases to spell out in the comments! Meet you there!



1. Decorate your strings. Leave a few inches at one end of the ribbon to attach it to your balloon, then cover a circle with glue, lay the ribbon in the middle, and sandwich it with another circle. Continue adding circles every few inches until you reach the end
of the ribbon.

2. Blow up your balloons with helium and attach your fancy gold ribbon as strings. Now you can eyeball where you might like your word or phrase.

3. Peel and stick your letters onto the balloon. Rub gently to secure. Done.

4. To display your balloons, tape them directly to your table and/or use weights to hold them in place—Tabitha used gold gourds, but you could use any decorative item.


1. You can line up balloons to form quotes or short phrases.

2. Add as many or as few circles as you like to the embellished strings—maybe more for balloons decorating a dessert table or bar and less for balloons going in the center of a dining table and obscuring conversation.

3. Use the balloons as photo props—a giant “thank you” balloon would make a great pic for your thank you cards!

Tips & Tricks:

1. You can use a piece of painters tape as a guide if you are having trouble lining up a word.

2. You can use a little piece of rolled up scotch tape between the balloons to keep them stuck together with the words facing the direction you want. (Be careful removing the scotch tape though, it might pop your balloon.)

3. Shop around for helium. Balloon Stores have quoted me ridiculous prices for a single giant balloon. Like $20 per balloon craziness. BUT Tabitha’s local craft store will do them for a cool 75 cents each! She’s also had good luck with the 99 cent store. For reference, they are three times the size of a regular balloon, so the helium shouldn’t be more than three times as expensive.


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  • Mhelentoll

    Love this! I’m envisioning this for displaying table numbers!

    • CS

      That was our plan already! We’re also having regular sized balloons to hand out to each guest after the ceremony to hold as they walk 10 mins or so round the corner to the reception venue. I’m hoping 70 or so people processing through central London holding balloons will make for some cool photos!

  • Acres_Wild

    Ooooooooo cute! I just started thinking about centerpieces this weekend and initially envisioned something involving tall vases and spraypainted branches, but that was all starting to sound like a lot of work. It occurred to me the other day that balloons might be a simpler option, but I was worried it would look like a kid’s birthday party…. and here comes APW with an extremely topical post! I’m not sure if we’ll end up doing balloons or not, but it is good to know that it’s a viable, non-cheesy-looking option. Awesome!!

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I assume you can get balloon stick stands, so you can use sticks instead of helium, or maybe you can figure out a stand yourself (clay?). Helium is a non-renewable resource with defense applications. There was a helium shortage when we were planning our wedding in 2012 – It wasn’t available for balloons at all – and I’ve been reluctant to consider it ever since that shortage inspired me to research where it comes from and what it does.

    • swarmofbees

      I think dowels from a hardware or craft store would work, but it might be hard to get the balloons to “point up.” I don’t know what you would use as a base, though. They would be pretty top heavy. Alternatively, if you are sufficiently agile, you could try hanging balloons from the ceiling.

      • KC

        From Other Peoples’ Party experience:
        1. yes, it is hard to get the balloons to consistently “point up” on dowels/etc.
        2. hanging them from the ceiling is actually pretty easy as long as the ceiling can be reached; I don’t know about this size of balloon, but smaller balloons can be stuck up with poster putty as long as you attach the balloon string to something that will stick to (and not pull through) poster putty. (do: paper, cardstock, fabric ribbon; don’t: shiny metallic ribbon, fishing line)

        Also, I would not feel too badly about using a few balloon’s worth of helium every once in a while (see: weddings; super-special events), based on the little I understand about the helium used for balloon inflation vs. the “refined” helium needed for med/tech usage and the very little I understand about the strategic helium reserves (???) and the percentage of usage via balloons vs. via other things. Something like this, where the individual decorated balloons are the centerpiece, seems less wasteful and more respectful of the resource than having the balloons effectively fade into the background?

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  • Very cute! I love the idea of helium balloons at my wedding, but here’s the thing: I know of at least one of my sort of close friends but not really who has a balloon phobia. I can’t really have balloons if I *know* she’s going to freak out, can I?

    • KC

      I think it would be more considerate not to. (sorry!)

      • No I think you’re right. As much as I would love to have balloons, it would play on my mind a bit. Thanks for confirming my opinion! :)

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  • Lisa

    I know I’m a little late to the post on this one, but does anyone have an idea of how far in advance I could make these? Thanks for any advice!

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