Recently, on my birthday, my friend decorated my desk with balloons to surprise me! It was so fun to walk in to the office that morning and see balloons all over my desk! The best surprise of all was the vanilla scented balloon she put near my monitor. All day long I could detect a subtle aroma of vanilla. (It was so much better than the usual latex balloon scent!)
She learned how to do this from her son who insisted that she make a couple of vanilla scented balloons for me! In his science class at school, he did an experiment about the size of molecules.
(Have you noticed that when you go to buy helium balloons at the party store, they charge extra to put a goopy additive in balloon to coat the inside?) This additive helps the balloon stay afloat for a longer period of time. Balloons, contrary to what we would think, are porous. Eventually, the air (or helium), escapes and the balloon slowly deflates.
His “experiment” showed how the molecules in the alcohol (the vanilla extract) are smaller than the molecules in the latex. The alcohol molecules were able to escape between the larger molecules in the latex.
The only things I remember about my high school science class were dissecting a frog and looking at paramecium through a microscope! Who knew that high school science experiments could have such pleasant results?
Before blowing up the balloon (and I mean the good old-fashioned way, using your lungs!) add 2 – 3 drops of the vanilla extract to the balloon. (It doesn’t take much. In fact, if you overdo it, you will just have brown drops of vanilla running inside of the balloon.) I like to “moosh” the balloon between my fingers to evenly distribute the extract. Then, blow up the balloon. In a couple of hours the scent will begin to release and you will have the pleasant aroma of vanilla. Not too strong, just a nice subtle scent.
Note that these scented balloons are made WITHOUT helium. I don’t claim to know the science behind combining helium and the alcohol found in the vanilla extract! I’m not sure what would happen!
It’s a fun way to make your next balloon bouquet something to remember!
Since it takes a few hours for the vanilla aroma to begin releasing from the balloon, if you plan to use this idea for a party, or to decorate someone’s office, make them a few hours ahead.