TMSM Summer Craft: Paper Mache Hot Air Balloon

July 13, 2014

From our friends at Spoonful.
(This is technically a 2 day project due to drying time)


What you’ll need

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Balloon
  • Newspaper strips
  • Tissue paper strips (the article suggested silver, blue and green but we are suggesting you pick the colors)
  • Tissue paper shapes (the article suggest silver hearts but we are suggesting you pick the shapes)
  • Small disposable plastic or paper cup
  • String or embroidery cord
  • Self-adhesive foam shapes (the article suggest foam hearts but we are suggesting you pick the shapes)
  • Hot glue
  • Large paintbrush

How to make it

  1. In a saucepan, whisk over a low heat 1/2 cup flour, 1 Tbs. salt and 2 cups of water until mixture comes to a boil. Whisk continually for 1 minute, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your work area. Protect surfaces. Blow up and tie off the balloon. A mug or drinking glass is helpful as a place to set your balloon as you work on it. Have ready several strips of newspaper, you will need less strips of the color of tissue paper you will be using for the balloon basket than the colors you will be using for the balloon (remember to use complimentary colors that will not turn to brown if the colors bleed together) and small silver tissue paper shapes you cut out to go with your theme. You’ll also need a large paintbrush.
  3. When the paste is cool enough to work with, begin adding strips of newspaper to the balloon’s surface and use a large paintbrush to paint over the strips with the paper mache paste. Cover the entire surface of the balloon with newspaper strips, overlapping them and placing them in different directions. You want most of the surface to have about 2 layers of newsprint. Don’t add too many layers, or it will take much longer to dry.
  4. When the entire surface is covered in newsprint, begin adding layers of tissue paper.  The tissue paper is much more delicate and may tear more easily. Since the entire surface should already be wet with paste, try placing a dry piece of tissue down first, then gently paint over it with paste. Add some paper shapes all over the surface. Place the wet balloon on a mug to dry overnight. You may also want to turn the balloon periodically as it dries to allow it to dry evenly.
  5. If needed, trim down a disposable plastic or paper cup to the desired size of the balloon’s basket. Layer another color of tissue paper over the cup using the paper mache paste. Allow to dry overnight.
  6. When the balloon and basket are completely dry, hold onto the end of the balloon and use scissors or a needle to pop the balloon. Pull it out. If the paper mache form collapses a bit, blow into the hole at the bottom to re-inflate the shape. Trim the base of the balloon, if desired, to even out the bottom.
  7. Cut 3 equal pieces of string or embroidery cord. Each piece should be long enough to drape over the center top of the balloon and hang down to the point where you want to connect the basket, plus 6 inches of extra string. Hold the 3 strings together and fold at the center. Tie off a center loop. You should now have a loop with 6 strings hanging off of the bottom.
  8. Hot glue the knot to the center top of the balloon (it helps if the balloon is standing straight up in a mug or glass). Spread the 6 strings equidistantly from each other from the center loop. Add dabs of hot glue to the strings from the loop to the widest part of the balloon.
  9. When the hot glue is dry, grasp all of the strings at the base. It may be helpful to hold the balloon upside down by the strings to center them over the base of the balloon. Tie all of the strings together with a knot, leaving a few inches of fringe.
  10. Place the basket inside the fringe, hot gluing the knot to the center bottom of the basket. When the hot glue is dry, hang it upside down from the fringe and see where the strings fall on the basket. Hot glue the strings to the basket.
  11. Flip over the whole thing and add foam shaped stickers between the stings. Hang the hot air balloon from the top loop.


Supplies needed for tomorrow:

  • Cupcakes
  • Frosting
  • Knife or frosting spatula
  • Freezer Paper
  • Craft Knife
  • Crushed graham crackers or sprinkles
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