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Football Play Inspired Balloon Backdrop

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DIY Football Diagram Balloon Backdrop Tutorial

During a recent football party brainstorming session, my husband and I came up with this fun idea for creating a giant Football Play Inspired Wall Backdrop made out of mylar balloon X’s and O’s!

I used the small 7″ mylar balloons and 8-player teams for this diagram to keep the design reasonably sized for a house party, but am already thinking it would be pretty darn cool to recreate this on a HUGE scale for a large event using the 16″ balloon letters too!

This backdrop would work well as a themed photo booth or behind a football party food/drink table, and the key elements are nice and simple: black fabric (I used an inexpensive shower curtain from Target), small letter balloons, and white label tape used to “draw” the “route” arrows & divider line. The diagram is flanked with two 18″ mylar football balloons filled with Balloon Time helium, who I partnered with to bring you this fun DIY!

Read on for full details and instructions below…

Football Party Backdrop made from mini mylar balloons

Balloon Time tank and 18" mylar football balloons

You’ll need:

*I used eight X’s and eight O’s for this particular design, but you can increase the number of players if you’d like your diagram to be even larger. I also definitely recommend buying a few extras of each balloon in case you accidentally pop some during the air fill or heat sealing processes like I did! The good news is that they’re pretty inexpensive at around $0.50 each. :)


1. Hang backdrop material. Be sure to iron it first to remove any excess wrinkles.

2. Fill the letter balloons with air, using a hand pump. Carefully pinch the flap to keep air from escaping, then heat seal the balloon with a flat iron hair straightener or heat sealing tool. (I had my flat iron set to 380º.) Tape the flap to the backside of the balloon to hide it. Repeat with all the letter balloons + add a couple glue dots to each one to prep them for hanging.

7" mini mylar balloon letters - how to fill and heat seal

3. Set up your play! We took pictures of every single balloon going up… but in the interest of not making you scroll for days… I’ve pared it down to just a handful of “in progress” shots for this post. And of course you can change things up with the play details however you like! I know it can be helpful to just follow a step by step process sometimes though, so here are some of the key steps for recreating the diagram shown here:

football play party backdrop - step 1

Start with your offense first… and add three O’s to the center (these would be the linemen), as shown above.

football play party backdrop - step 2

Next, add an O on each side of the first group, bookend style. Then, add 3 more O’s below the first 5, with the one directly behind the center representing the quarterback.

football play party backdrop - step 3

Now add 3 X’s (defense) above the divider line. I also used white label tape to create the arrow for the first receiver route here.

football play party backdrop - step 4

Now you can put another defender (X) on top of that first receiver route arrow + add another arrow coming up from the far right receiver.

football play party backdrop - step 5

Next, add 3 more defenders (X’s) on top of the first 3 (as shown above) + one more X on top of the far right arrow. Add a short arrow at the bottom to indicate another offensive route.

football play party backdrop - step 6

Last but not least, add one more offensive route (arrow) directly inside of the far left arrow. Make this one turn in and to the right for visual interest.

4. Fill the large mylar football balloons with helium & add green/white striped baker’s twine (or your string of choice) + some sort of weight to keep the balloons in place. I like to use these fishing sinkers as balloon weights.

Balloon Time tank and 18" mylar football balloons

5. ENJOY! Add yellow tissue tassel “penalty flags” for a fun pop of color (optional), and have fun with your finished design. :)

football diagram balloon party backdrop - detail


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Balloon Time. As always, all thoughts and designs are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming your way.

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  6. Chris January 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Awesome idea. I think this would be great for parties people would be asking how did you do that! Thanks for sharing this fabulous idea great time with the super bowl approaching!

    • jenn s. January 14, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks, Chris! So happy you like it :)

  7. Teresa February 18, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Where did you purchase the small X O balloons from?

    • jenn s. February 19, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Hi Teresa –
      I bought them at Bargain Balloons. Here’s the link to their 7″ balloons page. :)

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