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Project

Papier-Mache Hot Air Balloons

The sky is the limit with these charming papier-mache balloons: Use them at children's parties, baby showers, nurseries, or any place your decor needs a lift.

Materials

  • 12-inch balloon
  • Large bowl
  • Newspaper
  • Half-water/half-white-glue mixture
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • 1/4-inch tape
  • Craft paint in 3 to 4 colors
  • Paintbrush
  • 1/4-inch ribbon
  • Fabric glue
  • Paper cup
  • Pencil
  • 1/4-inch hole punch
  • Scrap of pom-pom trim
  • Monofilament
  • Small 2-inch scrap of dowel or piece of wood
  • Wooden bead

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Blow up balloon and place in a large bowl for stability. Cut newspaper into long, skinny triangles.

  2. Step 2

    Dip newspaper strips into glue mixture and papier-mache 3 layers of newspaper onto balloon. When papier-mache is completely dry, cut a small hole in bottom and slowly deflate the balloon. Even out the bottom hole with scissors. If the dry papier-mache is too wrinkled or bumpy, sand it smooth.

  3. Step 3

    Section the papier-mache balloon into 8 equal lengthwise parts with 1/4-inch tape.

  4. Step 4

    Alternating colors, paint sections of balloon with craft paint.

  5. Step 5

    Remove tape. Attach 1/4-inch grosgrain ribbon over tape lines with fabric glue. Glue two long pieces of ribbon in an X over top of balloon, with ends hanging down to hold basket.

  6. Step 6

    To make the hot-air balloon basket, mark a paper cup 2 3/4 inches from the bottom, all the way around the cup. Cut off the top of the cup with scissors. Paint cup with craft paint to match the balloon. Make four equidistant marks around top of cup, and then use a hole punch to make a ribbon hole at each mark. Add pom-pom trim around outside of cup with fabric glue.

  7. Step 7

    Tie monofilament to a 2-inch length of dowel, then thread through top center of balloon for hanging. Hang balloon before attaching basket. To attach basket, thread four hanging ends of ribbon through each hole on the basket, from the inside out, then pull and slide ribbons until basket is level. Thread all ends of ribbon through a painted wooden bead under basket; tie in knot.

  8. Step 8

    Add additional embellishments to balloon as desired.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, September 2010

Reviews (21)

  • 11 Jan, 2014

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  • 13 Dec, 2013

    Always tear your newspaper strips! Never cut them. You'll get much smoother results
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    GREAT
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  • 1 Jul, 2012

    Loved your video on the hot air baloons. But the balloons
    that you used at the very end seemed to be floating. How
    was that done? Or were they really just hanging from a
    string. Would appreciate an answer via my email. Will
    be making these with 2 of my 5 grandchildren next Tuesday. Thanks

  • 7 May, 2012

    Always tear your newspaper strips! Never cut them. You'll get much smoother results.

  • 16 Sep, 2011

    are these balloons free standing or do they have to hang for the balloon part to stay up.

    Thanks
    Jennifer

  • 7 Jan, 2011

    How do you keep the paper so smooth. My sides keep buckling, I can't get them straight. Help!

  • 29 Dec, 2010

    i am so happy i found this im making these for my daughters 1st birthday party and i cant wait

  • 9 Oct, 2010

    I used this idea as a gift bag for a baby shower. It was a hit. Just don't add anything too heavy. I used four ribbons for the basket and the other four to tie in a bow and keep the gift in. Just painted it to match the shower invite.

  • 29 Sep, 2010

    How long will these ballons float? Does the balloon fully deflate?

  • 26 Sep, 2010

    Hi again! We are making these today... or starting them, giving drying time the kids might have to wait until after school or next weekend to finish them up. I wanted to let proudarmywife know that the glass hot air balloons are made from old light bulbs... I will look through my archives of inspirational sites. They turn out so beautiful too.

  • 24 Sep, 2010

    I too love Luv2CUSmiles idea to make them out of glass. I would love to see them and maybe you could give out your instructions as well. I am going to try try to make them in colors to match my livingroom and use a hanging light kit to hang on either side of my sofe. I will leave off the basket. I love great new ideas, everbody keep going with them.

  • 24 Sep, 2010

    So excited...I am actually making several of them for an outdoor evening wedding! We are using battery powered tea lights in the cups and hanging them from trees! I can't wait to see how they look! This is a great craft! Thanks!!!

  • 24 Sep, 2010

    So excited...I am actually making several of them for an outdoor evening wedding! We are using battery powered tea lights in the cups and hanging them from trees! I can't wait to see how they look! This is a great craft! Thanks!!!

  • 23 Sep, 2010

    Just like the rest of the women on here I ran to Walmarts for the suppplies today afer watching this show today. Unfortunately we don't have a Micheals in Cookeville Tennessee. Just throwing that out there. I will be making these ballons for my daughter who is expecting in Feburay... Thanks for a great gift thats handmade..TPflirt

  • 23 Sep, 2010

    just like Luv2cusmile i did the same thing... then sent it to my daughter for her to make for my granddaughter. Oh Martha, what a WONDERFUL IDEA.. this is a winner indeed!

  • 23 Sep, 2010

    Just watched this segment and had to jump on the site to find these. I love hot air balloons and have a craft of my own making them from "glass"... This is a wonderful and very easy way to let the kids get involved and make them also! I think we will be making these for my daughter's next birthday party!! Thx martha! As usual you bring a very simple craft to us with such class!