DIY Paper Hot Air Balloons

Hello crafty friends! 

Today I want to share these colorful hot air balloons fashioned from, you guessed it- PAPER! These playful decorations are perfect for a number of occasions- nurseries or kid’s rooms, party decorations, picture props, library or retail displays, and even classrooms! While they can take some time and patience, the result is simply WOW! If you are feel like attempting a crafty challenge, give these DIY Paper Hot Air Balloons a try!

Back in the day- about a year to be exact, I had a blast making these DIY paper hot air balloons for my final library lobby display before leaving my job. This was shortly before my daughter was born and I have to say- crafting when you are 8 months pregnant is best while sitting! 😉 

With spring on the way I had a hankering to add fun and color to brighten the entry for our patrons, but flowers are so predictable. I thought hot air balloons were the perfect addition to our airy, open space!

Now I can not take credit for the design of the amazing paper creations- I had help! While browsing Pinterest I came across some free templates from PaperMatrix!

Let me tell you- this blog is inspiring! A paper lover’s dream! I dare you to peruse this blog and not pin a thousand projects for later! PaperMatrix also provides links to assembly instructions for these projects on YouTube! A lifesaver!

Using their *FREE* printable template forMobile #001 Balloon, I made my first practice balloon!

I soon realized that although adorable the result was tiny- maybe 3” tall. To fill the extra large open air lobby I would have needed, like, a thousand. And the template is for hand cutting with scissors. Nope. 

I needed BIG paper balloons- and in a timely manner, so I put my thinking cap on and decided to alter the free template for use with my Silhouette Cameo!

Photo Courtesy of PaperMatrix

*Please remember the the generous people at PaperMatrix provide their templates for personal use only! If you follow what I did to make larger balloons, please do so for personal use and do not share or sell the cut file or final product. Out of respect for PaperMatrix’s beautiful work I have only shared my process with you all, not the file I created!
  • I traced the template PDF using my Silhouette software and created a  new cut file.
  • I sized up the design considerably- and ended up even splitting the design into quarters to cut it out of 12” card stock.
  • After all the pieces were cut, I assembled the quarters together like the original design. 
  • Then, I assembled the balloons according to the video instructions. Think of this process like weaving a curved basket. Use paperclips to help you keep it together as you work!

Click here for the link to the video tutorial! 

WHEW! That was a lot of work. And for all that I got *drumroll*….. 

A medium balloon. A decent sized medium ballon. Probably 8″ tall.  Perfect for a nursery, like this one I also made for my daughter’s room, or a classroom! I made a few of these for variety. 

I needed them to be LARGER!

  • For the largest balloons I printed out the PDF template and increased it in size many many times using the copier at work.
  • I ended up hand cutting and piecing together a very large quarter to use as a tracing template.
  • I traced this quarter stencil on extra large construction paper 8 times for each balloon, hand cut the large pieces, and attached them together like the original design.
  • I followed the same instructions for assembly but I will say that the large balloons are way easier to weave together with an extra pair of hands to help you and lots of large paper clips to hold it together as you work!

Pictured above are the two different size balloons. The large balloons ended up being the size of a small/medium beach ball. 

I created 4 large balloons and 4 medium balloons in total. I also cut out some flat cloud shapes from white card stock using my Silhouette Cameo. To hang the finished balloons, I threaded fishing line through the top weave of the balloons and attached the line to the railing of the lobby balcony in varying lengths! 

This library lobby display was a huge hit with many compliments! Even a few offers to buy or requests to take home the balloons when it was time to come down!

Unfortunately for our adoring patrons, the balloons were up for a couple months. Their color faded considerably in the bright light of the lobby and fluorescent lights! A word to the wise- if you intend on making one of these balloons as a long term decoration, use quality card stock and be mindful to not hang the project in direct sunlight!

I hope sharing the details and process for this project inspires you to create your own DIY Paper Hot Air Balloons. Impress you friends, or impress yourself for that matter! When you’ve finished this project pat yourself on the back- you are a paper magician!

 Thanks to PaperMatrix for making this project possible! Be sure to check out the other projects on the PaperMatrix blog and their book for more paper craft masterpieces! Thanks for checking out my blog! Check back for more paper craft and DIY projects to come!

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