Instructables

Balloon Lantern

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Picture of Balloon Lantern
This instructable teaches how to make a balloon lantern. This can be used for outside in your patio or make one for a lantern festival (such as Illuminares events in British Columbia! http://www.publicdreams.org/event_details.html?section_id=1&day=25&month=07&year=2009)
 
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Step 1: Materials and Set up

Picture of Materials and Set up
In the picture shown is a variety of materials that you will need to help complete your lantern.
1) regular white glue
2) balloon (blown up)
3) glue gun
4) tea light
5) aluminum tart tin
6) thick string/hemp/cord
7) Tye wire
8) paint brush (to put the glue on)
9) scissors
10) tissue paper (you pick the colours!)
11) a strip of card board 12"x 5" connected together (opt.)


This can be a slightly messy process so make sure that you are wearing clothing that you don't mind getting glue on and cover the table with plastic and/or newspaper.

Step 2: Mixing the glue

Picture of Mixing the glue
For better distribution of the glue and application it is best to add a bit of water to the white glue. Usually the ratio is 4:1 (4 parts glue, 1 part water).

Step 3: Blowing up the balloon

Picture of blowing up the balloon
Take the balloon and blow it up. Then if you like you can place it in the cardboard stand (the strip of cardboard that is optional to tape together). This lifts the balloon off the table and makes it where you don't have to hold it while painting the glue on the balloon.

Step 4: Papering Balloon

Picture of Papering Balloon
Once you have covered the balloon in a medium-light layer of glue (you don't need tons on it). You can start taking whatever colour or pattern of tissue paper and start papering the balloon. You need to have 3 layers of tissue paper on the balloon.

Step 5: Adding the string

Picture of Adding the string
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Once you have papered three layers onto the balloon then you then take the cord/string/hemp (which ever one you have) and wrap it around once the top area of the balloon. Then you paper overtop of the string, ensuring that is properly glued down to the balloon and secure.
DivaB2 years ago
Can this really be left outside?
dchristine3 years ago
I'm decorating my outdoor fence with a bunch of these as we speak. Thank you millions for such a crafty, clever idea! :)
very nice!
terrix3 years ago
We tried these today, but I smeared neat washing up liquid all over the balloon before sticking the paper to it, and had no problems 'peeling' the balloon out. Usually with papier macher I use vaseline to cover the mold with, but I was a bit put off using it with these, as it's petrol based!
The kids and had fun tonight preparing these to use for a Memorial Day garden party this weekend.  We experimented with shaping the balloon using some twine tied around the middle and they look great! Thanks for posting.
Kroft (author)  curtisandcompany4 years ago
 I am so glad you enjoyed making one! I like that idea of using some twine to create new shapes! I also did an other lantern instructable using bamboo if your interested in trying that one too.
Mr. E4 years ago
Anyone figure out a good way to make these waterproof?
A few coats of clear acrylic spay from a craft store should offer some protection from a light rain. Just don't forget to puch a small drain hole in the bottom :-)
this project seems fun...something that I can do with my daughter.....
strmrnnr5 years ago
I see in the handle step that you can give the lamp a pretty good bend. Does it bounce back or does it have to be bent back into shape? They must be pretty tough too? Good idea for around the yard. Should I put holes to let the rain water drain also? Maybe a lid. Thanks bud.
Kroft (author)  strmrnnr5 years ago
you don't have to bend the lamp at all. Your are only bending the wire (create an arc over the top). The lantern can be pretty tough, but that is depending on how many layers you put on the balloon. Three is a good amount, but I encourage you to experiment. Remember that it is only tissue paper and water soluble glue that is forming the shape so leaving it out in in the rain will most likely ruin it. As well you need to keep some kind of opening at the top for the heat/flame to have oxygen, plus for the heat to go somewhere, so creating a full covering over top of the lantern will possibly suffocate it.
strmrnnr Kroft5 years ago
Maybe some resin or something over the paper after the glue dries. I don't think the ballon would take the resin bye it self. Will have to experiment as you mentioned. Thanks again.
Wop2k strmrnnr5 years ago
Or you could paint it with a clear paint. That would make it waterproof too.
random1 Wop2k4 years ago
Great idea. I think I will make these only, make the opening smaller and use a string of white X-mas lights.
Kroft (author)  strmrnnr5 years ago
Ya resin might work. But like you said do it over the paper after the glue dries.
MamaB2C5 years ago
Fun and easy project, even for little ones, thank you!
Instead of a real candle there are tiny fake tea lights that flicker and don't get hot. they might work. lovely idea!!
Browncoat5 years ago
I guess I'd worry about the tissue paper catching fire from the heat/flame... But it's very pretty!
Kroft (author)  Browncoat5 years ago
If you use a tea light and make sure that there is a proper opening at the top then it should be fine. :-)
Bobblob5 years ago
Well crafted and nicely photographed Instructable! My mom used to do a similar thing with paper bags and I suspect that is what is in the background picture of the URL you gave at the very beginning. I wonder if you could do the same thing with a 1 gallon and/or a half gallon milk containers with their tops cut off? The frosty white color would look ok and I'm sure, if wanted, there must be a way to color them too. I wounder if you could paper only a little past the “cord/string/hemp” on the balloon so as to leave a larger hole which would do several things. Save tissue, glue and labor. Already provide a large opening with only minor trimming required. Maybe if done right allow the reuse of the balloon ( I'm very frugal)? Nicely done, thanks for sharing.
Kroft (author)  Bobblob5 years ago
The milk container might be a nice idea. If you want to colour them then I suggest you try glass craft paint (I think that is what its called) that might work. Your right you could easily not go over the cord as much as I show in the demo. However sometimes it nice to have the option for how much you want to cut. Besides white glue, tissue paper and balloons are not expensive materials. I`m a bit doubtful that you would be able to reuse the balloon after. Have fun!
Wop2k Bobblob5 years ago
you could simply deflate the ballon instead of popping it ;) just use a clamp or something simillar.
Really cute, and I love the part idea! I'll be linking to this later today.
tntjarrell5 years ago
cool project !
Kroft (author) 5 years ago
awesome! Glad that you find it useful!
Wop2k5 years ago
Really nice concept! I think I'm gonna try this!
omnibot5 years ago
Cool .. I'll do this .. have been working on some good easy cheap lighting for our engagement..