So you want to grab some attention and strengthen your brand with a cool, custom inflatable? Great choice! Maybe you just want what is essentially an inflatable logo. Perhaps you want something more functional, like a bounce house or jumper. Whatever the case, you might be wondering, “how are inflatables made?”
How are Inflatable Structures Made?
Custom made inflatables are simple and complicated. They’re simple because they have no internal structure. The only thing holding them up is air! But they’re also complicated, because the sections must be cut and attached in highly specific ways.
Custom made jumpers especially must be strong because they have to withstand the force of people bouncing around inside them. The most common material for inflatables is PVC-coated vinyl or nylon, which is strong and durable. PVC-tarpaulin is especially heavy-duty and is often used for very large structures, like those found in water parks. Oxford cloth is another commonly-used material and is the best choice for creating complex shapes.
Let’s go over the steps to answer the question, “How are inflatables made?”
Step 1: Design
The design is incredibly important. Thankfully, these days, we have the luxury of computer modeling. Designers take a concept from a client and render it on the computer. They will work hard to keep to execute the client’s vision while making sure their custom made inflatables will work in the real world.
The design is then broken down into individual pieces. With help from the computer, the designer can determine how much fabric or PVC will be needed. Once each piece is created digitally, the design is sent to the printer.
Step 2: Print
The print department gets the design and prints it onto individual pieces of fabric or PVC. Once the pieces are printed, they’ll go into the pattern cutter. A pattern cutter is computer-controlled to ensure the inflatable’s sections are cut exactly. From here, the pieces head on to the stitching department
Step 3: Assemble and Test
The pieces of the inflatable are then stitched (for Fabric) or sealed (for PVC) together in the correct order. After the inflatable is completely assembled, it’s filled with air and checked for leaks to ensure there are no defects.
What Is the Standard Lead Time?
The standard amount of time required for a custom inflatable is 30 days. This begins with a quote for a build, which we will provide within a few hours. Then, designers take a couple of days to refine the design. After about four days, the customer will be shown the design. If they approve, then construction begins. Construction can be as little as one week and as many as three.
It’s important to point out that the question, “how are bouncy castles made,” assumes the inflatable will be a certain size and style. If a customer is looking for an unusually complex structure, like a maze, the lead time can be even longer.
For some, the question is not, “how are PVC inflatables made,” but, “how are PVC inflatables made as quickly as possible?” If a customer is in a rush, there are several options for them. One is to choose an existing design. Perhaps the customer is a beverage company. Soda can designs already exist—that’s not a complex order!
If the order is more complicated, the client might want to combine several simple designs instead of custom-designing one complex one. They can also choose to pay for faster shipping to speed the process up.
Which Materials Are Used to Make Inflatables?
What are inflatables made out of? Fabric! Okay, it’s not quite that simple.
The answer depends on what the inflatable will be used for. If it’s just for decoration, it doesn’t need to be made from the heaviest materials. How are bouncy castles made to last and withstand abuse? They use materials no one would dream of using for an inflatable costume! If the custom inflatable is meant to be worn, the material definitely must be light enough to walk around in.
How are bounce houses made to be bouncy? They’re made with PVC, a type of plastic. Most people are familiar with the material PVC because it is widely used in pipes, but a hard, rigid formulation of PVC is used in that application.
PVC tarpaulin is more like a piece of fabric in terms of how it behaves. It’s flexible, but also durable and water-resistant. It’s categorized by weight per square yard, so you may see it described as “8 oz. PVC” or “15 oz. PVC”
The higher the weight, the stronger the PVC tarpaulin. Bounce houses made with this material will last a long time. They’re also easy to clean and maintain.
The nylon used in inflatables and bounce houses is heavy-duty. It's measured in thickness with numbers followed by a D (which stands for Denier, a unit of measurement for yarn or thread density). For example, you might see a 600D nylon. The higher the number, the thicker it is. Nylon isn’t nearly as water-resistant as PVC tarpaulin, however, nor is it as strong.
A woven polyester, Oxford Fabric is thin, light, tough, and water-resistant. While not as strong as PVC tarpaulin, it’s ideal for small and lightweight inflatables. If you’ve ever seen a “dancing noodle” outside a car dealer, you’ve seen Oxford Fabric in action.
Are There Any Standards for Making Inflatable Buildings?
Another important question to ask is, “how are bouncy castles made safe?” Because bounce houses have to withstand so much abuse, there are important safety standards. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) governs the rules for bounce house construction.
The rules cover baffling, which is what keeps air in the bouncy house, anchor points, materials, and more. This is why it’s important to go with a professional inflatable design shop. You’ll know your inflatables are safe to use!
Floatie Kings Custom Inflatables
So how are inflatables made? In whatever way the client wants! As long as it’s a shape that can be made in real life, there aren’t any limitations. Floatie Kings makes inflatables for pools, parades, sports teams, events, and more! Your imagination is all that’s needed for us to transform your vision into an inflatable work of art. We've collaborated with famous brands and created unique inflatables for them. You can also read about larger-than-life inflatables of the iconic fnnch honey bears! Go ahead and check our case studies to learn more about our collaborations!
Perfect Inflatables Shapes for the Beverage Industry
The beverage industry benefits from custom inflatables for branding. Can mattresses, bottle mattresses, and other 3 dimensional designs like mazes and mascots can transform an event. Reach out to Floatie Kings today and let’s make your design a reality!
How Much Do Custom Inflatables Cost?
Depending on some important factors, such as the type, size, and amount of artwork, custom inflatables can cost between $750–$2,500. We consider every aspect and complexity of your project. The use of premium materials and our detail-oriented, professional approach guarantees proven results.