Balloon Business Blows Up

The days of simple helium balloons welcoming guests to an event are giving way to elaborately crafted displays. NBC's Dan Scheneman reports.

(NBC News) — Nothing says a party like balloons: Big, beautiful and colorful.

But the days of helium balloons welcoming guests to an event are gone and have been replaced by elaborate displays.

They aren’t the simple arrangements you’re used to seeing at a child’s birthday party, but huge installations that include hundreds or even thousands of balloons.

Amber Ford opened Balloon Blueprint two years ago after struggling with a kit she bought for her daughter’s birthday.

“It was a headache to put together and figure out, and then in the end it still didn’t look anything like I wanted,” she recalls.

After some training, Ford launched her own business, joining the ranks of professional party planners who make elaborate displays for any occasion.

Mosaics are becoming a big part of her business.

“I hand-make every single shape, every single design,” she says. “I draw them out, I cut them out, adhere them together, and then I fill them with all sizes of balloons.”

Even with the proper tools and technique, Ford says it can take eight to ten hours to create one of her designs.

Experts say it’s not impossible for diehard DIY’ers to tackle a simple arch or garland themselves, and the fun doesn’t have to end after the event is over.

Balloon installations can last for months…if you don’t pop them.