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We tend to think of balloons as a b-day prop, which is fun till you turn 13. With childhood behind, these are just inflated pieces of air that sit in the attic waiting for a hero to escort them to a recycled heaven.

But the Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto is proving us all wrong. This guy has been turning balloons into intricate sculptures for a decade now, proving such an unusual medium can create wonders. Every piece, which takes two to six hours to make, is made entirely from balloons with no markers, stickers or tapes allowed in the game.

Let’s take a look at some of the most mesmerizing inflated animals and insects below. After you’re done with this post, be sure to check out some more of Matsumoto’s creations in our part 1, part 2, and part 3. If you dream of picking up a needle and popping a balloon or two tonight, you’ll know why. And we can’t judge.

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#2

Sloth

Sloth

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Hannah M
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wonder how many tries that took.... It must be so infuriating working with balloons; you just get it almost done and then pop!

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Bored Panda contacted Masayoshi Matsumoto to find out more about his unique balloon artworks. The 31-year-old from Kanagawa, Japan graduated from engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he received a master’s degree in 2014.

The artist has been working on this project that he calls “realistic balloon art” for more than a decade. “I started making balloon art when I was in the juggling club 12 years ago,” he told us.

Masayoshi has been drawn to animals and insects since he was a kid. “I've liked animals since I was a child, so I mostly make art with animal themes,” he said. “As a child, I kept insects as pets, so I have an emotional attachment to my insect-themed artworks.”

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Every balloon creature takes from 3 to 6 hours to make. Masayoshi told us that he has always been inspired by wildlife pictures. “I wanted to see if I could possibly create realistic animals of my own using nothing but balloon material.”

#8

Bush Cricket

Bush Cricket

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#16

Rose-Ringed Parakeet

Rose-Ringed Parakeet

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Scorpionfish

Scorpionfish

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#19

Leucochloridium

Leucochloridium

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#23

Japanese White-Eye

Japanese White-Eye

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#24

Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch

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#27

Tick

Tick

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#28

Camel Cricket

Camel Cricket

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#30

Mayfly Nymph

Mayfly Nymph

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Note: this post originally had 57 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.