The key to making any 2D frame from aluminium rod is to avoid it from buckling. Like a wheel on a bike it needs to remain perfectly flat when viewed from the side, the simple way to do this is to keep it flat on the floor when you’re doing all the bending.
To make this heart frame I start by taping 2 rods together. I then bend them around the heel of my shoe whilst keeping the shape always flat on the floor. I make a shape that’s 2/3 of a heart shape, I then untape them and flip one over so they overlap into a perfect symmetrical heart.
I used a hand pump to size all the balloons. At one time I would have used a nitrogen cylinder and a conwin split sizer but now days I’m really fast on a Qualatex hand pump. I find I can sit in front of the TV and fill a couple of bags with clusters using a hand pump, it’s costs less and you don’t need to lug a heavy cylinder around.
The balloons were polished with balloon shine to make the heart look good for longer.
This technic of bending rod on the floor can be used for all shapes, you need to account for the balloon size. For example a No.1 will need a longer frame than a No.2, when they’re covered they’re look the same size.
You can see some of the tools I use below – fishing line, bolt cutters and gaffa tape to keep everything together. I placed gaffa along the floor to help with a constant height for each number.
I buy the ali rod from a local metals company who sells 10 lengths for a set price. I ask them to be middled (cut in half) which makes them so much easier to transport. 3/16″ or 1/4″ Work fine depending on the size of the frame you’re making.