Picture of Emergency Blanket from Old Party Balloons
A backpacking trip in northern British Columbia is something in the works for me and my husband. We love to hike and are pre-planning to see what exactly we need and how much we can get in our packs without weighing us down too much. Since we will be in-the-middle-of-nowhere I figured an emergency blanket should be a vital part of our packs.

My son recently had a superheroes themed birthday party with life-sized superhero mylar balloons. I couldn't bring myself to throw away that much material and found the perfect use for it. Turns out mylar is very easy to work with and makes for a great homemade emergency blanket! An emergency blanket helps regulate body temperature to prevent/counter hypothermia.

Fashionable too I might add. As I am shivering to death at least I will be in style!! I'm kidding.....really!
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Step 1: Have a Party - Then Wait

Picture of Have a Party - Then Wait
Have a party with many small mylar balloons or a few HUGE mylar balloons! Or, save them up over time.

Wait for them to deflate or until your kids don't remember that you have new members of your household. I have to say in the middle of the night having these things lurking around the living room is kind of freaky!

Anyway, it's a good idea to get permission from your kids before cutting up their balloons!! Save yourself a tantrum!

Step 2: Dismember Superheroes

Picture of Dismember Superheroes
Using sharp scissors cut the balloons apart. The body parts will have seams. Try to follow the seams as to salvage the largest pieces of mylar possible.

Flatten all of the pieces.
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bakdrft12 months ago
OK, Lets think about this "fun" project. Effort vs. Time.. I can buy a rescue blanket for 3-5 dollars. Why then would I spend 1-2 hours cutting, taping and hopefully have a blanket that might not even have the same quality as a real emergency blanket, Sorry folks IMHO I would not trust the opinion of someone to keep me safe in an emergency situation.

Why do it? 1. Because it is a fun craft. 2. Because the mylar would hold body heat and be light-weight to carry when hiking. 3. Because repurposing the balloons keeps them out of a landfill even longer. 4. Because you saved $5 you would have spent on the other rescue blanket. 5. Because it helps the environment. 6. Because it is creative and creativity sparks more creativity. 7. Because it is just plain cool. (And I hope when she has sufficiently used her emergency blanket she will upcycle it again as gift wrap and after it has been used as gift wrap that she will upcycle it again into umbrellas, purses/tote bags and wallets, and after she is finished with those that she will upcycle it again into jewelry and bows and headbands, and that after those have been sufficiently used she will upcycle it yet again into art supplies for her children and after the artwork has been enjoyed and displayed that she will upcycle it yet again into confetti {probably to be used at her child's college graduation party}. See the concept? It is about thinking outside the box instead of just trashing something and buying something new.)

wold630 (author)  bakdrft11 months ago
If everything was about 'time vs. effort' this site wouldn't exist.

I'm sorry you are upset that I repurposed items and you didn't think of the project on your own.

Mylar is mylar. I would trust my life (or anyone else's) with this blanket. BTW if you read the entire list of instructions you would notice there isn't any tape involved with this.

i have the opposite problem I'm afraid, but this was lovely to look at, perfect for a child traumatized by a natural disaster.

I need to find something to do with a mylarized thermal blanket. I was using it as a curtain to keep the heat out this past summer but it had duct tape induced tears. Still, I could feel the difference, the kitchen was several degrees cooler.

I've cut small to medium sized pieces of it and folded the blanket up. maybe i can make a plant heater or a reflector to warm my room up this winter.

bakdrft11 months ago
WOLD, I did mention "IMHO" If I remember correctly this remains a FREE country to which an individual can speak freely about something. I DID say that I would not spend time making an emergency blanket out of mylar taping cutting and the like to which I would TRUST to keep ME warm in an emergency situation. What I find terrible in the society today is that someone made a cool project out of something that most people would throw away and someone had a difference in "Opinion" about what I would trust for myself. Society thinks that I slammed them terribly to which I did NOT. So please toughen UP take criticism, LORD knows we can all use and take someones opinion with some maturity.
jemasonn bakdrft9 months ago

Bakdrft, I think you'll find this is not a free country but an international site dedicated to sharing projects and not dedicated to unfounded criticism, greetings from Ireland bye the way! As a professional sports equipment design engineer I can say with some certainty that this would be a safe project as long as the seems were fully sealed, robust enough to survive transport and 12hr use. This is easily achievable with the method described, but, as with all great instructables, the reliability is in the hands of the maker. Great Project for kids, sustainability and the outdoors!

bakdrft jemasonn9 months ago


Please read my prior reply to your initial email/post. I personally do NOT care where you live , that is not my business. BUT what is my business is someone like you TELLING me what is wrong to say or THINK. Therefore I shall not take anything you say or think as anything constructive.

Have a GREAT day, where ever you inhabit....

jemasonn bakdrft9 months ago

I have read the predominantly negative and unfounded comments you have left here and for others and your are a simple troll.

poofrabbit1 year ago
Just wanted to say congratulations on being a finalists in the Great Outdoors Contest! This was a fantastic instructable...and just plain cool! Now I want someone to give me really cool superhero balloons so I can eventually make them into blankets. :) Good luck!
wold630 (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
Thank you so much. I'm glad you like the ible! Hopefully some oversized superhero balloons will enter your house in the near future!
Great project!! Thanks for sharing.
yNfWWKpHNb1 year ago
Great idea! I even love the custom label you put on the blanket packaging. Looks very professional!
wold630 (author)  yNfWWKpHNb1 year ago
Thank you!
curbowman1 year ago
wold630 (author)  curbowman1 year ago
Thank you.
What a great idea. I am a huge proponent of recycle/reuse. I can see all kinds of uses for this. Thanks
wold630 (author)  twentyfathoms1 year ago
nice instructable! voted for you
wold630 (author)  DTninjagirl1 year ago
Thank you, much appreciated!
I used to make balloons from emergency blankets (certain types that are hot sealable).
I like your idea going the other way around very much too. Great Ible!
wold630 (author)  masynmachien1 year ago
Never thought about homemade balloons! Great idea.
I was thinking much the same thing.  Perhaps, when you get back from your camping trip, or when you are no longer worried about whatever kind of emergency it might be that would necessitate this emergency-blanket, then perhaps, perhaps you could heat-seal together the edges of your homemade mylar blanket for to make ONE GIANT MYLAR SUPER BALLOON!

Many small balloons come together to form one GIANT SUPER BALLOON!   Somehow I am thinking I got this idea from watching Voltron(r). ;-)
wold630 (author)  Jack A Lopez1 year ago
I LOVE this idea and so would my kids!! I will definitely keep this in mind!
I wonder if chip bags would work since they are mylar on the inside?
wold630 (author)  bignail19541 year ago
If they are mylar they will work. I would just make sure to wipe them well to get any grease off.
kishida1 year ago
Do you think that I can use empty potato chip bags (the ones with the shiny inside) too?
I've been saving a few to make a solar reflector oven and I'll eventually have enough to make a emergency blanket too.
wold630 (author)  kishida1 year ago
If they are mylar, yes they would work. You will have to experiment and see.
This is brilliant! Voted for this in all the contests you entered.
wold630 (author)  pittiesmom101 year ago
Much appreciated!
sunshiine1 year ago
Very clever! Thanks for sharing!
wold630 (author)  sunshiine1 year ago
Thanks Sunshiine!
bajablue1 year ago
Ingeniously creative and definitely stylish! :-D
wold630 (author)  bajablue1 year ago
Thank you very much!!
joyfulnana1 year ago
Is Mylar machine washable? Thinking if it is it could be used as batting layer in quilt.

I think you are brilliant. I just found you and viewed two of your ables. I have added both to my list of to dos. Was just thinking yesterday about making a weaving setup for my 3 yr old grandson. Loved your twig weaving but saving that for me! I love it!
Thank you for sharing your know how with the community.
I would not recommend using mylar in a quilt. First, it is very noisy, even between layers of fabric. Second, it retains moisture as well as heat: the side next to your skin would end up soaking wet by morning. The moisture retention problem is a common complaint for many campers who use mylar as emergency shelters. Water vapor must be allowed to escape.
wold630 (author)  joyfulnana1 year ago
I did a quick search and could not find a definitive answer to if mylar is machine washable or not.

I do think if used in a quilt it might be kind of noisy. I also think the color would probably wash out and possibly stain through the quilting fabric. It would be worth it, however, to make a test square and wash and dry it to see what happens. If you do please let us all know.

Thanks for viewing my ibles!!
From experience I know both the ink and the metal come off with moist.

Just a note: balloons are usually not made out of Mylar. Mylar is a brand of polyester film. Foil balloons are commonly made out of a nylon film. This difference is important for the heat sealing.

I see you have only entered this in the epilog V contest. I think this is a really good idea for the great outdoors contest!
wold630 (author)  mymyjames20001 year ago
Thank you. I did enter it in the outdoors contest just haven't been accepted yet.
onemoroni11 year ago
really clever and it keeps Mylar out of the environment. Good idea to get the child(s) permission.
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