Introduction: Emergency Blanket From Old Party Balloons

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!

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.

Step 3: Cut Mylar Into Squares

Picture of Cut Mylar Into Squares

Store bought emergency blankets are 52 x 84 inches. I thought I would save myself some hassle and round the size to 50 x 80 inches. This way I would need 40 ten inch squares.

Using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat cut out 10x10 inch squares until you have 40 squares.

Cutting in layers makes the process faster. Once the mylar is cut it rolls very easily. I sandwiched the pieces in a large book after they were cut to keep them somewhat flat. Rolling doesn't really matter it just keeps things more organized!

Step 4: Iron Squares

Picture of Iron Squares

Supplies needed for assembly:
-Iron
-Old cloth
-12 inch long (or longer) piece of scrap material

Mylar bonds to itself when exposed to high heat. A household iron will fuse mylar sheets together forming a very strong bond.

Mylar will also fuse right to your iron if you don't cover it with a cloth to protect it!! Be careful! I have an iron I only use for crafts so if something gets melted it can't ruin my clothes. This is a good idea!

Layer in this order:
1. Old cloth
2. Two sheets of mylar - shiny (unprinted) sides together - The printed side of mylar will not fuse.
3. Scrap fabric covering the very edge of the mylar

I used a piece of scrap fabric that had an edge on it so I would know how far to iron onto the mylar. If your fabric doesn't have an edge draw a line 1/4-1/2 inch in from the edge to give you a guide. Doing this will keep your pieces square and rows straight.

Using an iron on the highest setting iron along the edge of the fabric covered mylar.

Peal the scrap fabric off of the mylar and the mylar off of the old cloth. Open the two pieces. Fuse another square of mylar on one end until you have eight squares in a long row.

Repeat the entire process until you have five rows of eight.

Step 5: Iron Rows

Picture of Iron Rows

Once you have all the squares ironed together you will need to iron the rows together. Using the same technique as in step 4 fuse the rows together.

Step 6: Fold and Pack

Picture of Fold and Pack

Now that the blanket is finished it will need to be 'packable'. Fold the blanket as small as possible and place in a small resealable bag. Label for clear reference.

Since weight is an issue when packing I wanted to show that it weighs in at 2.7 ounces! Pretty good for any pack!

Now, I can just hope I never actually need to use it!!

Comments

joyfulnana (author)2013-06-19

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.

wold630 (author)joyfulnana2013-06-20

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!!

Cheerfultrout (author)wold6302015-11-19

I had a mylar blanket go through the wash on accident once, and the effect was that the metalic coating came off the plastic backing in places. I think this may have been a reaction with the detergent dissolving the coating, but I'm not sure. It didn't go through the dryer (it fell out of the pocket it was in) so I don't know what effect that would have, but i cant imagine it would be good so personally I would recomend hand wash only.

masynmachien (author)wold6302013-06-20

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.

TygerCub (author)joyfulnana2013-06-20

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.

StandsWithABeer (author)2015-07-03

Most Excellent! Thanks!

AnimeShinigami13. (author)2014-10-09

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.

bakdrft (author)2013-12-24

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 (author)bakdrft2014-02-21

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 (author)jemasonn2014-02-21

Jemason,

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 (author)bakdrft2014-02-23

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

poofrabbit (author)2013-08-31

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)poofrabbit2013-09-01

Thank you so much. I'm glad you like the ible! Hopefully some oversized superhero balloons will enter your house in the near future!

savorthefood (author)2013-09-01

Great project!! Thanks for sharing.

yNfWWKpHNb (author)2013-08-18

Great idea! I even love the custom label you put on the blanket packaging. Looks very professional!

wold630 (author)yNfWWKpHNb2013-08-30

Thank you!

curbowman (author)2013-07-14

Excellent!

wold630 (author)curbowman2013-07-15

Thank you.

twentyfathoms (author)2013-07-08

What a great idea. I am a huge proponent of recycle/reuse. I can see all kinds of uses for this. Thanks

wold630 (author)twentyfathoms2013-07-12

Thanks.

DTninjagirl (author)2013-07-04

nice instructable! voted for you

wold630 (author)DTninjagirl2013-07-12

Thank you, much appreciated!

masynmachien (author)2013-06-20

Cool!
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)masynmachien2013-06-21

Never thought about homemade balloons! Great idea.

Jack A Lopez (author)wold6302013-06-21

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 Lopez2013-06-22

I LOVE this idea and so would my kids!! I will definitely keep this in mind!

bignail1954 (author)2013-06-20

I wonder if chip bags would work since they are mylar on the inside?

wold630 (author)bignail19542013-06-21

If they are mylar they will work. I would just make sure to wipe them well to get any grease off.

kishida (author)2013-06-20

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)kishida2013-06-21

If they are mylar, yes they would work. You will have to experiment and see.

pittiesmom10 (author)2013-06-20

This is brilliant! Voted for this in all the contests you entered.

wold630 (author)pittiesmom102013-06-21

Much appreciated!

sunshiine (author)2013-06-18

Very clever! Thanks for sharing!
sunshiine

wold630 (author)sunshiine2013-06-21

Thanks Sunshiine!

bajablue (author)2013-06-18

Ingeniously creative and definitely stylish! :-D

wold630 (author)bajablue2013-06-21

Thank you very much!!

mymyjames2000 (author)2013-06-18

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)mymyjames20002013-06-18

Thank you. I did enter it in the outdoors contest just haven't been accepted yet.

onemoroni1 (author)2013-06-18

really clever and it keeps Mylar out of the environment. Good idea to get the child(s) permission.

wold630 (author)onemoroni12013-06-18

Thank you. I agree - there should really be more craft ideas for mylar to keep it from ending up in the landfill. Everyone I have ever asked just throws mylar balloons in the trash after they deflate.

HollyMann (author)2013-06-18

This looks awesome - what a grea idea - and those kiddos are so cute!

wold630 (author)HollyMann2013-06-18

Thank you! You can see they weren't even out of their pj's yet in the picture!!

RosyRivet (author)2013-06-18

Very clever! My guess is you'll not need it, but your kiss will LOVE it. This could well be their new picnic blanket, or a fun tent, once you give it to them.

wold630 (author)RosyRivet2013-06-18

Thank you. I also hope I never need to use it and can give it to my kids for something!

zieak (author)2013-06-17

Very cool!

wold630 (author)zieak2013-06-18

Thanks!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Hi, I'm Jen! In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, cake decorator, and Etsy shop owner. I also can't stop ... More »
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