Gold Dome made of 18" film balloons stuck together with special order 2 sided foam tape

Photo of Graham Rouse with name underneathjustrouseit-logo-icon-100x100-with-border-02-web“This gold dome won
a top IBAC 
in the late 1990s.
Today it could be built
more quickly and easily
if we JustRouseIt™



This large sculpture entry won a top award at the International Balloon Arts Convention. It was a glitzy, space age, 22′ dome of AIR FILLED (no helium required), gold and silver Microfoils from Pioneer Balloon Company. You see the golden glow on the outside.


The inside of the dome was like 840 convex, silver, security mirrors reflecting the colorful glow of illuminated latex balloons that had been formed into sculptured walls.  The animated figures of curious people passed between the radiant walls and the hundreds of mirrors in the dome. The space was alive with fascinating and  changing images.


Conwin’s automatic cut off regulators enabled us to get accurate and consistent inflation of all our foil balloons. The balloons themselves were held together by the precursor of current Glue Dots.


Gil Ganz, at our request, manufactured small, two sided adhesive patches for our use in this project MadeWithBalloons™.  He later sold these as standard supplies for balloon artists. Gil has since retired as has his brand of adhesive patches, but the trend to small adhesive patches and “dots” manufactured especially for balloon artists began right here.




We were proud of our sculpture and very pleased that it won an award, but if we were to build it again we would JustRouseIt™ with our latest technology to make the construction task much easier and faster.  We would still use the Qualatex foil balloons and inflate them with the Conwin automatic cut off regulators, but now we would use Rouse Matrix™ Super Builders to hold the foil balloons in place.


The big trick to using the RMS™ Super Builders with foil balloons is to make sure the balloons are centered in the Matrix.  That way the  adhesive stripes on the Matrix can do their job . The video below shows exactly what that centering looks like.


A smaller trick, but equally important, is how to get the balloons into that centered position. Eighteen inch, round, foil balloons are larger than most balloon decorators commonly use. They are stiffer and slipperier than most latex balloons. They, therefore, require a little extra effort. They add so much longevity and “glitz, however, that they are worth learning how to get them installed and functioning at their best.  The video below shows my favorite technique for installing those foil balloons into the Super Builders. Give it a try.




There is another Rouse Original and patented technology for projects MadeWithBalloons™ that promises to make decorating jobs like this one even easier and faster “tomorrow”.

JustRouseIt™ 20-AT-A-TIME

Suppose, instead of having to inflate all 840 foil balloons 1-at-a-time, you could inflate them 20-at-a-time with just one of those Conwin automatic inflators. Push the button. Hold it until it cuts off and you are are done.


Suppose that average set of 20 balloons were already connected together. Once you install one of those balloons the next one is right there and ready to be installed without having to chase it down or dig into some loose bag of balloons. That would be easier, faster and more convenient wouldn’t it?


Suppose you could easily reuse all those long, connected balloons? That would really increase your return on investment, wouldn’t it?

If you wanted to reuse the original design, you would have to untape the valves, insert straws and squeeze each one of those 840 balloons until all the air was out. Then you would still need to pull them apart and cover the taped spots or use solvents to clean off the 5040 sticky spots (6 on each of the 840 balloons).

With the new balloons you would likely just cut off one end of each of the 42 long balloons and roll them up from the opposite end to squeeze out all the air. Stuff them into a duffle bag or box and take them home. Unroll them later for reuse.


These and more benefits are possible with Rouse Roll Balloons™. Roll Balloons™ are not in production yet, but look for them to come.  In fact, ASK FOR THEM NOW from your favorite balloon distributor.  Distributors do not have them yet (April 2013), but if you ask for Roll Balloons™ then distributors will know you want them. Distributors will in turn ask for them from manufacturers. Manufacturers are more likely to make new products like Roll Balloons™ when they know there is an existing demand; yours.

Rouse Roll Balloons™ are connected.  This example has connecting tubes that allow air to flow among all balloons in the string (or ROLL).

Rouse Roll Balloons™ are connected. This example has connecting tubes that allow air to flow among all balloons in the string (ROLL).

Simply load one balloon into an aperture (opening) and then load the next balloon of the roll into the next aperture and so on.


You can learn more about Rouse Roll Balloons™ at the “Balloons On A Roll” Blog.




Nearly any design you make with RMS™ Graph paper, whether it is flat or a three dimensional model, can be made 24 times as large with RMS™ balloon frames and balloons.


We did not have this special, honeycomb, graph paper when we planned the original dome, but we would certainly use it today.  Download a copy for your own planning from: .

Rouse Matrix™ Super Builder Graph Paper

Rouse Matrix™ Super Builder Graph Paper


  1. The dome is made of six pentagon shaped “umbrellas”.
  2. Each of the pentagons is made of five triangles.
  3. Each of the triangles has seven balloons along each edge.
  4. Sketch out each of the triangles on the graph paper in a row.
  5. Leave one row of balloons empty between triangles to allow for  cutting between triangles.
  6. You will need 30 triangles (6 pentagons x 5 triangles each).
  7. One sheet of graph paper is too small to hold them all so cut out the graph sections from additional pages and tape them together. (2 panels wide by 14 panels long).


Super Builder graph paper layout for 30 triangles wit 7 balloon on each edge of the traingle

Cut out and stick together graph paper showing two panels wide and 14 Super Builder panels long. Lay out 30 triangles with 7 balloons along each edge of the triangle. Be sure to leave one row of opening empty between triangles.

Enlarged view of graph paper layout

Closer view of layout for Rouse Matrix™ Super Builders to make triangles for Gold Dome.
— The white areas that are 10 openings long and 3 openings tall represent a single RMS™ Super Builder
— The Gray opening are rows of openings that are added when Super Builders are connected.
— Use scissors shown in green to cut out the graph paper triangles to make the model and to cut out the real thing along lines illustrated in red.


  1. Cut out the triangles,
  2. trim them and
  3. tape them together on two of the three sides in a circle of five triangles.  Notice that they puff up in the middle to form something like an umbrella.
  4. Use one pentagon as the center.
  5. Tape one point from each of the other pentagons to a different point of the center pentagon.
  6. lift up the center pentagon and tape together the adjacent points of the encircling pentagons.
  7. Your paper dome is up.
  8. You may measure your graph paper dome with a ruler. One inch on the model equals approximately 24″ when you build the real thing.
Illustration of several views of graph paper model of dome.

Connect five triangles as shown in gold. Use tape for the paper model. Use cable ties (zip ties, electrical ties) around touching Matrix straps for the real thing
— Connect the pentagon “umbrellas” you create at the points to form the dome show in white in three views above.



When you build the real thing your project will proceed in a similar way.

  1. You connect RMS™ Builder panels before you open them.
  2. Stretch them open as you load them with balloons according to your graph paper plan.
  3. Leave your empty row between triangles.
  4. Cut around the triangle of balloons with scissors.
  5. If you have a second team/person they can be connecting the triangles to each other in sets of five with cable ties while the first team/person proceeds with loading and  trimming triangles.
  6. You may set a 6′ to 8′ step ladder under the center of the pentagon you plan to use for the center of your dome to hold it up temporarily while you add the surrounding pentagons.


We had never built anything like this before so we included a center pole that was mostly hidden by the inner decorative walls to guarantee that our dome would not sag over the duration of the exhibit.  At one point we did disconnect the pole. The dome did settle but held its own. With the RMS™ framing your dome should be even stronger, but you may want to have a similar center support or a “sky hook” line to the ceiling available “just in case”.



Even as good as this award winning Gold dome is, we can make it even better when we JustRouseIt™ with patented, Rouse Original Tools & Techniques.

1.  Apply R.E-A-L  (Rouse Expand-An-Load) balloon art technology by using Rouse Matrix™ Super Builders.

2.  Apply RAAD (Rouse Advanced Aperture Display) technology by including adhesive between the balloon frame and the balloons to help hold them in place.

3. Anticipate ROLL (Rouse Roll Balloon) technology as we look forward to using Rouse Roll Balloons™ once they are in production “tomorrow”.

4. JustRouseIt™ one more time by using RMS™ graph paper (not patented) to plan our design in  a 3-D, scale model.

All these are Rouse Original tools designed to help you Advance Your Balloon Art and Business in this project and in others to come.



Balloon displays that incorporate overlapping cut expandable frame technology are covered by USA patent # 6,332,823.  Balloon displays that incorporate adhesives and/or a wide range of other techniques to replace or to supplement pneumatic pressure to hold balloons inside apertures are covered by USA patent #7,094,124. Muti-chamber balloons utilizing Rouse Roll Balloon™ technology are covered by USA Patent # 7,491,109.

As of this writing (April 20, 2013) and wherever USA patents apply, that means you may make, use or sell balloon displays that incorporate any of these patented technologies only with official, Rouse authorized components.

Balloon frames must be official Rouse Matrix Systems™ balloon frames rather than other frames. Roll Balloons must be official Rouse Roll balloons or Rouse licensed versions. You may currently (April 20, 2013) use your own choice of standard balloons and other components. These terms are subject to change without personal notification. Check back here and other official Rouse web sites for updates

Thanks for joining me here today. Do come again soon as we examine more projects MadeWithBalloons™ and more Rouse Original tools and techniques designed to  Advance Your Balloon Art and Business.

Graham Rouse
Your host for “Just Rouse It” Blog

Copyright 2013 by Graham Rouse

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  1. […] to be gained and how you can use what you learn to advance your balloon art and business. (See “MAKE IT EVEN BETTER – GOLD DOME”. […]

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