Balloons with Writing Utensils

How to Write on Balloons

Writing on balloons is great for adding your own personal touch or artistic flair to your balloons. It is also great for conveying a message – they are great attention grabbers!

I, personally, found writing on balloons came in handy when my kids and their cousins were all given punch balloons at a family party.

In order to keep the kids from fighting and mixing up the balloons, I wrote each kid’s name on their balloon. A simple little hack!

So, if you find yourself needing to write on a balloon, for whatever reason, you might be wondering what the best way is to write on them.

Balloons can be finicky, especially after being blown up. They are not the typical flat writing surface.

They are constantly moving, and there is a chance of popping. Balloons are like children – they never stay still and don’t listen!

So how do you do it? Here are a few different ways you can write on balloons.

Hold the Balloon

Perhaps the easiest and most straightforward way to write on a balloon is to hold it. This will work with any type of balloon – filled with air or helium.

Holding the balloon allows you the most control over it. You can hold it in your lap, between your legs, or against a table, the floor, or any type of solid surface.

I personally like to put the balloon in my lap, while holding it slightly between my legs to ensure it doesn’t move around. I hold the balloon gently with one hand and write with the other!

Tape the Balloon Down

Another way to keep control over the balloon while writing on it is to tape it down. This works especially well if the balloon is filled with helium and wants to float away.

Use a tape that is not too sticky so that you do not pop the balloon while removing it. I found that painters tape or Scotch tape works nicely!

Simply put it on the side of the balloon that you are not writing on and then stick it to a table. It will stay in place while you write on it!

After you’re done, gently remove the balloon from the table and then gently remove the tape from the balloon.

Write on the Balloon Before Inflating (Foil Balloons)

This technique will only work with foil balloons, because foil balloons are pre-stretched and pre-cut to size. Inflated or deflated, they will always be the same size.

Latex balloons are elastic and expand significantly in size once inflated. If you try to write on a latex balloon before it’s inflated, your writing will essentially disappear.

An example of this is shown below. You can see that, because the ink expands with the balloon, it no longer shows up with any clarity.

Interestingly enough, the opposite is true. When the latex balloon is deflated, the ink shrinks down and stays in tact on the balloon.

Now that we’ve established that this technique does not work for latex balloons, let’s explore how it works for foil balloons!

If you have an uninflated foil balloon, it makes the balloon incredibly easy to write on! You don’t have to worry about handling the balloon or stopping it from floating away.

Plus, you can take all the time you need to perfect your design. Simply lay it on a table and write/draw!

Below are some examples of writing on foil balloons before inflating them. Both balloons were written on with Sharpie permanent markers.

What Can You Use to Write on Balloons With?

When it comes to writing on balloons, the most important thing to consider is – what do I write with?

What will work best may also depend on the color of the writing utensil and the color of the balloon. For example, a yellow chalk marker will show up better on a black or purple balloon than a permanent marker would.

The three best writing utensils for balloon writing are listed below. All of these options work great for both latex and foil balloons.

1. Permanent Markers – Small and Big

Big or small, permanent markers proved to be the most reliable writing utensil to write on balloons with.

Permanent markers come in so many different colors nowadays, there are plenty of options to choose from. Use regular colors – bright or dark. You can even use metallic colors too.

They don’t fade or smudge.

Writing on a Foil Balloon with Assorted Permanent Marker Colors

2. Chalk Markers

Chalk markers are designed to show up colorfully and vibrantly on a black chalkboard, so why not on a balloon!?

Their vibrant colors will show up nicely on the surface of a balloon. Just make sure to let it dry to avoid any smearing or smudging.

3. Whiteboard Markers

Another marker option is the whiteboard marker. Whiteboard markers come in several different colors and show up nicely on a balloon.

Other Options That Work

Here are some other options that work. They just might not work quite as well!

Glitter Markers

Glitter markers showed up decently on balloons, as well. Ultimately, it will always depend on the color of the marker and the balloon you’re writing on.

Be careful of smearing while it’s drying!

Fine Point Sharpie Pens

Just like a full permanent marker, the fine point version works just as well on a balloon. It shows up nicely and doesn’t smudge.

The downside of using a fine point, however, is that it is harder to read on a balloon due to it being so thin and fine. Be careful while writing, you don’t want to pop the balloon!

Foil Balloon Written on with a Fine Point Sharpie

Regular Pens

Surprisingly enough, regular pens do write on balloons. Like the fine point Sharpie, it won’t show up as obviously, but it does work!

Again, be careful not to pop the balloon while writing!

What Doesn’t Work for Writing on Balloons

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what kind or color of balloon you are using. There are some writing utensils that just will not work.

Crayola Markers

Crayola markers are usually meant to be washable. Therefore they are made from two primary ingredients: water and dye.

Because they are water based, their pigment does not show up well on balloon surfaces. The colors will not be vibrant, easy to see, and will smear easily.

Writing on a Latex Balloon with Crayola Marker


Like Crayola markers, the main ingredient in a highlighter is water. Therefore, for the same reasons, it does not show up well on a balloon.


It might be obvious, but a pen works, so maybe a pencil could too? In fact, it does not.

Stick to something ink based!

Final Thoughts

Writing on balloons isn’t too complicated! The trick is to use the right writing utensil on the right kind of balloon.

Once you have that figured out, hold that balloon and get writing!

If you are looking for other fun ways to customize your balloons, check out How to Customize Balloons for some great customization ideas!

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