This Valentine’s Day, you can make a mini hot air balloon with a few easy to find supplies. The hot air balloon will seem to be lighter than air, and your guests that see it displayed in your home will be fascinated with how fragile it appears. These steps can help you make one of your own.
First, you will need to prepare by gathering all of your supplies. You will need at least one color of sewing thread, but you can also use multi-colored thread or several different colors. You do not need to use high quality thread. In fact, the type of cheap thread that comes on tiny spools with a mini sewing kit is perfect. You will also need a round latex balloon, fabric stiffener, flat toothpicks, a glue gun, wax paper, and a foil candy cup. These candy cups look like small cupcake liners, and can be found at most grocery stores or discount department stores. You can also use ribbon if you choose, which will give it a more finished look.
To begin, blow up your balloon to about 5-6 inches across and tie the end. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparing the fabric stiffener. When it is ready, you should put about three feet of thread into it. If you are using more than one color of thread, this should be three feet total. Make sure that it is thoroughly soaked, and then you can begin to apply it to the balloon. Start near the bottom and wrap the thread around the balloon. This should be random and with no set pattern. When done properly, the thread should cross over itself and there should be many gaps and spaces between the thread. Once you have finished, decide if you want to add more, or if you are happy with the way it is. If you want more, simply add more thread to the fabric stiffener and wrap it around the balloon. Make sure not to cover it too much. Set it aside on the wax paper and let it dry and harden for several days.
Next, you can begin preparing the bottom of the balloon. At four separate corners, attach toothpicks so that they stick up from the inside of the candy cup. Use your hot glue gun to attach the toothpicks, but make sure not to use too much glue.
After the balloon and thread have dried several days, check it for stiffness and dryness. Lightly touch it to see whether it is dry, and at the same time, whether it is stiff. You can use more prepared fabric stiffener to brush over the thread. This will give it added stiffness, but you will need to wait several more days for it to dry. It is time well spent. Once you are satisfied with the stiffness, you can begin separating it from the balloon. To do this, you should lightly press on the spaces where there is only a balloon. Do this until the thread begins to pull away from it. Take your time and do this all over the balloon until you have it fairly well separated. This step should not be rushed. After it is well separated, pop the balloon with a straight pin. Carefully remove it through any hole possible. You may have some difficulty near the bottom, but as long as you take your time, the balloon should keep its shape. If there are any sections that have a layer of fabric stiffener where there isn’t any thread, you can carefully trim these away with a pair of sharp scissors.
Next, you can attach it to the base. Carefully set it on top and hold it in place while you use the glue gun to attach the ends of the toothpick to the thread. If you have decided to use ribbon, find the spot that is directly in the middle at the top of the balloon. Wrap the ribbon from the bottom of one toothpick so that it covers it, up the side of the balloon and down the other toothpick. As you do this, you should apply a very light string of glue from your glue gun. Do the same with the ribbon in the other direction, covering the other toothpicks, so that the ribbons cross at the crown of the hot air balloon.
Although it appears to be very fragile, it is much more sturdy than it appears. You should certainly still take care with it, but you should not be afraid to dust it lightly. This is a craft that kids can help make, but obviously, some steps are better left to the adults. You entire family will love this beautiful Valentine’s Day mini hot air balloon.