If you own a bouncy castle business one of the first questions you will probably ask yourself is can I save money by making my own inflatables and bouncy castles ?
It depends , and , you’ll need a few things first :
1. A sewing machine .
2. A decent pair of Scissors
3. A straight edge - 5ft or longer
4. Markers/pens/chalk/ for writing on PVC
5. A bench - a big one
6. PVC nylon or PVC polyester
8. A copy of BSEN 14960
9. A PIPA registered tester
10. A lot of patience
11. A cutting plan and design
Doesn’t seem too bad this inflatable manufacture business right ?
Let’s break each of those items down a point at a time so that you can make an informed decision and work out the cost between making your own bouncy castles and buying inflatables from the myriad of inflatable manufacturers already in the UK .
Invest in a pair of decent scissors - you can find them on EBAY . If you can afford an old set of tailors shears then invest .
Alternatively you can buy a job lot of cheap ones and throw them when they get blunt .
You can also buy an electric rotary hand knife but they are expensive and a little unwieldy for a beginner .
You may prefer using a stitch unpicker - you can find them on eBay and they are cheap - you’ll need them if you are doing any repairs ( they look a little like a two pronged fork ).
A good straight edge is absolutely essential and again not cheap . You can make do with a length of Dexion racking to get you started . Your edge needs to be longer than the width of a roll of fabric ( mostly 150-152 cm )
Markers for pvc
A writing implement for drawing clearly on PVC is essential .
You can use tailors chalk , china markers , indelible markers and if you are really really lucky you’ll find a biro that’s writes on PVC ( one in a hundred )
You will need a sturdy bench . We recommend at least 6 feet by 12 feet . Ideally 10 - 25 feet and made out of 19mm plywood - marine ply faced as it needs to be smooth to help the fabric slide across . We suggest painting the surface with a decent quality varnish .
The bench must be nearly the same height as the bed of your sewing machine ( most machine tables have a little adjustment in them, 50mm or so ).
When you make your bench remember it must be strong enough to hold a large weight in fabric plus the weight of you moving about on it ( marking up , cutting out , Rolling up etc )
DO NOT skimp on your bench !
PVC nylon and PVC for Bouncy Castle Manufacture
You’ll need to find a UK supplier of PVC nylon or PVC polyester . Generally PVC nylon is stronger but Polyester rolls better on a chilly morning so you may use it in walls for instance .
There are two finishes available . Cape ( looks a bit like leather ) and gloss .
You can buy PVC suitable for bouncy castle making here :
Sewing machines for bouncy castles
You WILL need a heavy duty sewing machine ! A featherweight singer 222 won’t cut it and neither will a semi industrial “heavyweight” machine .
You will need a walking foot or compound needle feed machine with a large hook and large capacity bobbin .
People will tell you to buy a twin needle machine ,don’t, it’s generally not a first time machine . A single needle machine is fine for you to learn on and easier to manage too when learning - you’ll just have to run a few more lines of stitching down your bouncy castle !
For advice and spares for bouncy castle type machines try Solent :
How to make a bouncy castle bounce-Inc West Sussex
Again don’t skimp . Depending on your machine you’ll need anything from a size 20 to a size 8 thread . A bonded nylon is the recommended option for its strength and smooth travel through the machine , needle and fabric .
Do not begin to design or make anything at all without owning a copy of and fully understanding BSEN 14960 . Your inflatable must be comply with the British Standard to be legal for use and Hire . You can buy a copy here :
Find a PIPA tester
When you finally finish making your bouncy castle you’ll need it to be PIPA tested and tagged . We highly recommend ITATS for inflatable testing :
We hope you find this useful and wether you just put on a few anchor points or you make your own kit drop us a line below if you have any questions or you need to buy any parts ! Good luck - the bounce-Inc team