How to Make a Hot Air Balloon with Kids

Teach your child how to make a hot air balloon with a few simple supplies. This craft will take you up, up, and away. You can make a colorful hot air balloon in no time. Imagine flying over rolling hills and deep blue lakes and being close to the sun. This craft just might inspire you to try that one day.

Craft Difficulty Rating: Difficult

You Will Need:

  • Papier maché glue

  • Balloon

  • Tempera paints

  • Empty packing tape or masking tape roll (or other heavy cardboard circle)

  • Newspaper strips

  • Paintbrushes

  • Pipe cleaner

  • String

  • Strong tape

Instructions:

  1. Blow up a balloon to the size you want the hot air balloon to be. Put a knot in it.

  2. Make up a batch of papier maché glue.

  3. Tear newspaper into strips. If you tear newspaper the right way, you will get nice clean tears. If you tear in the opposite direction, you will notice that the paper will not tear as nice.

  4. Dip a newspaper strip into the papier maché glue and take off the excess glue by gliding the strip between your thumb and first finger to remove the excess. Repeat this process until the entire balloon is covered with newspaper. Make sure you overlap newspaper strips to ensure there are no bare spots. Let dry for 24 hours.

  5. Apply a second coat of newspaper strips to the balloon the next day by repeating steps 2 through 4. The more layers you put on the balloon, the stronger the papier maché project will be. Just remember to allow 24 hours in between each coating of newspaper and glue. I made my hot air balloon with two layers, but you can use more. I would not recommend using just one layer, though.

  6. Pop the balloon, holding the knot, so the balloon does not slip inside the papier maché ball. Throw away the balloon.

  7. Sit the balloon on an empty cardboard circle so that the hole of the ball is facing down into the circle. An empty packing tape or masking tape roll is perfect for this part of the craft. Papier maché the roll to the balloon as the base. Let dry for 24 hours, as well.

  8. Now you can begin painting your hot balloon with the design you prefer. You will need to paint at least two coats to get the paint dark enough that the newspaper will not show through.

  9. When the paint has dried completely you will need to gently poke a hole through the top of the balloon with a pencil point. Thread a pipe cleaner through that hole down to the opening of the ball at the bottom. Loop the pine cleaner at the top of the balloon to make a hook. Bend the bottom of the pipe cleaner inside the base and tape it down to secure it.

  10. Poke three holes around the base of the balloon with a pencil point. Thread string through each of the three holes and tape them down to the inside of the base. Gather all three pieces of string above the hot air balloon and tie them together. This will suspend your hot balloon in air when you hold the knot.

  11. Your balloon is ready to hang.

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