We all miss one or two life lessons. Some people, like Lifehacker reader izzysanime, never learned how to blow up a balloon. It’s actually kind of tricky until you learn it! So we’ll teach you.
1. Stretch it first
By blowing air into a balloon, you stretch the rubber out. The balloon resists this, especially for the first few puffs. To make it easier, stretch out the balloon with your hands first.
2. Position it properly
There’s a ring at the end of the balloon’s neck. Use that to form a seal just inside your lips, in front of your teeth. Hold the stem lightly between your forefinger and thumb, tightly enough to keep it still but loosely enough to let air through.
3. Blow hard, then soft
You’ll need a strong, sustained force to start inflating the balloon. After that it gets easier, and you should slow down so you don’t get dizzy. (If you’re blowing up more than one or two balloons, this starts to matter.)
Take your time. If you need to rest and catch your breath, clamp down on the neck of the balloon with your fingers, and take it out of your mouth. A tiny bit of air might escape; that’s fine.
4. Blow until the balloon stops growing
Don’t stop blowing too soon, or you’ll have a sad-looking balloon. As long as the balloon is growing without strong resistance, you’re not done.
At some point the balloon will stop growing, and the skin of it will start tightening instead. Stop there. You can let a little air out if you’re worried about popping.
5. Tie it off
On a good balloon, the neck will still have a lot of stretch left, so you can tie it around your fingers, kind of like tying a shoelace or the handles of a trash bag.
The important thing is to make a loop and pull the end fully through. Keep ahold of that end. As long as you keep that grip, even if you struggle to pull your fingers out of the loop, the balloon won’t go flying out of your hand, sending fart noises around the room.
Congratulations! You’ve blown a balloon! And it’s the kind that won’t float away and kill a sea turtle. Tie it to a candy-striped straw and put it in a vase. You now own a pretty piece of future garbage.