14th March 1992
I have an idea for making some money by making and selling juggling balls from a delightful and original design that’s come my way. It originated in Australia as far as I can establish.
It’s a joy to juggle and fun to make and a beauty to behold, really eye-catching so they sell themselves, I know ’cause I’ve been doing it here & can sell all I can make at “Two pounds a piece, or any 3 for a fiver! Come and get your lovely juggling balls! Free instruction”.
I’m selling at Camden at weekends & occasionally Covent Garden mid-week, with a wooden wine-box as a tray on a strap round the neck. No need for a market stall, a basket would do just as well.
So how are they so great & how to make them? They’re cheap quick and simple to make, no sewing, the filling is birdseed (budgie mix to be precise) and it’s encase in several layers of balloons, all different colours with holes in the outside ones so you can see the colours underneath.
You start by cutting a plastic bottle in half & use the top as a funnel. Stretch a balloon neck over the narrow opening and pour the seeds in – you overfill by putting more seed in the funnel and blowing down it, and poof! They all go inside and you pinch the neck of the balloon BEFORE they blow back out and into your mouth, and up your nose, and in your hair and down your neck… WARNING! If they blow into your lungs it could be very dangerous, so don’t try it the first timeif you’re too stoned.
Then you separate the balloon from the funnel and tie it’s neck in a knot and you have a squidgy soft ball! Cut off the neck close to the know & proceed to toughen it with one or two layers of balloons with the necks cut off. If the balls are small, or the balloon necks will stretch enough you can add the necks themselves by cutting away the ring at the original opening so you just have a tube open at both ends.
Three layers is tough enough; more, if tight stretched, will make it a “low bounce” ball rather than a “no-bounce” one.
Now we get to the clever bit. Take two balloons whose colours look good with the ball you are working on and snip lots of holes with a pair of scissors. Start by cutting off the necks to make the hole to stretch round the ball then fold it in half lengthways & snip away the tip, fold across and snip the corners & two snips make four holes… again & again, perhaps 16 to 20 holes in all. And here’s the magic bit, the holes are square or jagged when they’re cut but when stretched over the ball they all become round, or rounded, and a random pattern of colour contrasts appears, each one unique. The second layer over that and Hey Presto!, it’s ready to use or sell…
They’re the best balls I’ve found in a long time as a juggler, and perfect for beginners or old timers alike. Some experimenting with different sizes gives all kinds of results. The texture is wonderfully grippy to the touch, like the treads on a tyre grip the road, thich gives a really good control of their flight.
The silver business is still at the expensive hobby stage, as I lack the capital to build up stock, but the balloon balls should solve that.