Introduction: Make a Paper Balloon in 8 Easy Steps!

Picture of Make a Paper Balloon in 8 Easy Steps!
This is my very first Instructable. While I expect to publish a number of projects I’ve done over the years, I thought I’d start out with something extremely simple. Don’t expect my future posts to be this easy!

When I was little, my dad used to make these neat paper balloons for us to play with. He taught me how to do it in about 5 minutes when I was 10 or so. Since then I’ve always been able to impress the kids (My own and those of my friends.) with this little feat, although, I’ve never succeeded in teaching others how it’s done.

Hopefully this tutorial will show others how to easily impress their friends and kids. It’s actually very easy, but until you’ve made two or three, it won’t seem that way. The most important thing to remember is that every step after the third has to be repeated four times and the folds should be as exact as you can do.

Tools? There are none. Only your hands and a sheet of paper. This also makes it more impressive when the kids watch you make it. It’s almost like a magic act. If your paper isn’t square to begin with, you’ll do a little tearing in step 2. While you could use scissors, it would take away from the performance.

I’ve created a printout that should help you the first couple of times. This printout covers an entire 8.5 x 11 sheet and should be printed with a printer that can print to the edge of a standard sheet of paper. My Epson printer does this nicely. Don’t try to get the folds to match up exactly with the lines. It’s more important that the folds be in the exact centers. Remember that it’s most impressive when you can perform the process with a blank sheet of paper. Almost any size will do.

Step 1: Fold the Diagonals

Picture of Fold the Diagonals

Fold the paper diagonally toward the back of the paper, so that the top and side exactly line up. This is so the edge of the fold, when opened is toward you. Sharpen the edge with your forefinger and thumbnail. Note that all folds should be as sharp as possible. Open the paper and repeat this step with the other diagonal.

Step 2: Remove the Excess Paper.

Picture of Remove the Excess Paper.

If your paper didn’t start out square, fold the bottom at the bottom of the two folds of step 1. Again, sharpen the edge with your forefinger and thumbnail. Open the paper and repeat that same fold in the other direction. This will allow you to tear the extra off creating a perfectly square sheet.

Hold onto this extra sheet. You can use it later to make a few tiny baloons!

Step 3: Fold the Horizontals to Make Pyramid

Picture of Fold the Horizontals to Make Pyramid

Fold the square across the horizontal exactly in half over the face so that the fold is away from you. Again, sharpen the edge. Repeat this fold right to left. Note that all folds, diagonal and horizontal will meet in the exact center of the sheet.

Pop the center of the sheet so the point is toward you and fold the sides in to create a flattened pyramid. One of the horizontal folds will be unfolded and in the center of the face of the pyramid. (See figure 3 on torn off piece of the printout.)

Step 4: Fold the Pyramid to Form a Diamond

Picture of Fold the Pyramid to Form a Diamond

Fold a side of the pyramid so the corner meet the top. The base of the fold should meet the center fold line of the pyramid. (See figure 4 on torn off piece of the printout.) Sharpen the edge and repeat this on the other side. Now, flip over the pyramid and repeat with the other two corners. You should now have a diamond shape (Square on a corner). Always keep the folded edges down.

Step 5: Fold the Diamond Sides Inward

Picture of Fold the Diamond Sides Inward

Fold the outside corners of the diamond to the center of the diamond on both sides. Flip over and repeat. (figure 5) You should now have a 6 sided polygon (an uneven hexagon).

Step 6: Fold Up the Bottom Flaps

Picture of Fold Up the Bottom Flaps

Fold the bottom loose corners up to meet the center (figure 6) on both sides.

Step 7: Tuck the Tab Into the Slot

Picture of Tuck the Tab Into the Slot

Tuck the tab created in Step 6 into the slot created from step 5 (figure 7).

Step 8: Inflate!

Picture of Inflate!

That's it! You’ve got an un-inflated Paper Balloon! The last step is to inflate it. Just hold the balloon loosely and blow quickly (puff) into the open hole at the top of the balloon.

Step 9: What Then?

Picture of What Then?

With some careful folding of the inflated balloon, you should be able to make it into a very presentable cube.

A fun thing to do with the completed box (balloon) is to disassemble it and draw a scene on the inside surface. so that it’s viewable from the inflating hole when reassembled. If the center square drawing has a bit of depth with the sides, top and bottom relating to the back, you can have an interesting spy-hole presentation

Another thing you could do with the paper ballon is make interesting christmas ornimants. Just let your kids put design to a square sheet of paper; Build the balloon and don’t square it off. Fit your hanger wire into the inflating hole and hang it on the tree! Nice thing about this is storage is a breeze. No broken bulbs!

I challenge someone to build a large enough paper balloon with heavy enough stock to install a computer into it. Should make a great Mod!


patriotsman (author)2011-12-28

hey, thanks for this instructable i could never make these.

baba87 (author)2011-09-18

You could also put them on Christmas lights, just stick the lights where you blow it up and let it glow, something neat for a party or just decorations :)

PetervG (author)2006-11-02

I'm just curious. Whats on your hand?

LasVegas (author)PetervG2006-11-02

It's a very common genetic disorder called Psoriasis. I was hoping no one would comment on it…

ilpug (author)LasVegas2011-09-18

i thought it was a healing burn.

Aar000n3y (author)2007-10-27

I couldn't understand step 3... None of it Can anybody explain it to me?

travisttt (author)Aar000n3y2011-09-18

I describe the same step in my paper airplane instructable. Not a much better explanation, but maybe a few more pictures will help. Tell me how far you've gotten and I'll start there.

mhbrat123 (author)Aar000n3y2008-11-18

me to aar000n3y

howtowithmanish (author)2011-09-18

aflacpyro267 (author)2010-12-26

... then you fillit with airsoft bbs, put in a firecracker, light it,and throw it at your enemy.

theburn7 (author)2009-02-02

This was the first instructable i read

Zaphod Beeblebrox (author)2009-01-04

I have never understood these

hamares (author)2008-09-25

thanx man i really loved it , it was awesome good job on this video

Tammie1 (author)2008-07-22

I loved this instructable. I wanted to teach my son how to make paper hot air balloons and he asked me to look these up. I did it in 5 minutes and I am horrible when it comes to following instructions. The pictures were very helpful.

lacrossehannah91 (author)2008-02-23

hay I don't get step 4 sm1 help me please? my mom taught me how to make them like 12 years ago and now she forgot and so did I and like so yeah sm1 help me with step 4!!!! any1

Download and print the PDF file from the Info page and print it out. It should help understanding the steps and you go through them.

joey2542667 (author)2008-01-04

want me to make a better instructable?

kid123 (author)2007-11-26

I people really have a problem, before I knew this guy had it on intructables, I posted the same thing... look at it

animeman819 (author)kid1232007-11-29

not trying to be mean or something but this guy has some steps explained better.

saintshortckt (author)2007-08-12

we used to call this paper football :)

bhunter736 (author)2007-03-05

Awsome! I havent made one of these since elementary school. I had completely forgotten how to do it and this was fun. Ill be teaching my 3 year old soon. : )

TjT (author)bhunter7362007-06-06

Yo! me 2! Say, does "bhunter" stand for the swedish techno artist Basshunter?

bhunter736 (author)TjT2007-06-07

sorry, b is for Brad. Id like to be a known artist, all I would need is talent! ; )

TjT (author)bhunter7362007-06-11

Dude, even if u never heard of basshunter, go to his site!

weebl (author)2007-03-27

or to save the many trees youve wasted you could go to the dollor store and buy some real ballons for a dollor.

monkeylander6552 (author)weebl2007-06-07

Ya maybe we should buy the rubber than our precous trees that a getting cut down

TjT (author)weebl2007-06-06

Oh, Stop Being a tree hugger, mr. dollo'r.

chaka2 (author)weebl2007-04-22

Rubber balloons are more difficult to recycle than paper (as is the packaging). . . if you are that concerned. Thanks, LasVegas, for the great instructable. I was waiting in an office with two small children, and needed something to keep them occupied and interested. This DEFINITELY kept them and the other people waiting, very entertained. Well done.

monkeylander6552 (author)2007-06-07

This was awsome the blowing part was dufficute

twisted (author)2007-02-26

I made one with out with a blank page on my first try. Nice job. i love these things, keep it up ~Twisted

TjT (author)twisted2007-06-06

Hey Twisted! i loved your Knex Gun! it pones all newbs!

babyboi512 (author)2007-06-01

dis is awsum steps are well xplained jst made it

instructionsguy11791 (author)2007-02-14

very easy to follow instructions, very cool

knexer1 (author)2007-02-10

this is the best instructable that i have seen so far. very clear instructions. great job, i look forward to seeing more instructables from you. :D

dustinthorley (author)2007-01-13

awsome instructable - i used to make something like these but they were a teardrop shap. no idea how to make them now

paulza (author)2007-01-06

Cool thing! made 2 pices. the end is litte hard, but the secend time the cube was better. ;-) Thank you.

LasVegas (author)2006-12-24

Download the PDF helper sheet from Step 1.

Andude (author)2006-12-24

i wasnt able to make it, it was too confusing

frickelkram (author)2006-11-26

I really like the cup! ;-)

LasVegas (author)frickelkram2006-11-26

Yea! I picked up that "WordPerfect for Macintosh" cup at COMDEX years ago. The other side say's "Forever Mac!"

nothingface (author)2006-11-17

i must be the only one that couldn't do this then??

LasVegas (author)nothingface2006-11-18

Try printing the PaperBalloon.pdf and use it while following the instructions. This will show you where to fold and in what order.

KBA (author)2006-11-15

Woohoo! This jogged old memories of making these before. Now I remember how, thanks for this Lasvegas! Very clear and easy to understand too :)

terrymaz (author)2006-11-11

My oldest boy and I really enjoyed putting this together, a first for both of us! Instructions were clear and the pictures made everything straightforward. Thanks for giving us a great evening!

erein (author)2006-11-05

Vegas, this is really well documented and looks like a lot of fun to do with my kids. I think I learned how to make these as a kid but that time is now too far past for me to remember how to do it. That is what instructables is all about! Thanks!

lowtherjustin (author)2006-11-04

Sweet, I remember making these, has to be almost as well known as making paper airplanes. I didnt think anyone else squared the corners though. I need to start doing some of these.

cry_wolf (author)2006-11-03

Wow, this in my opinion is one of the best instructables I have seen so far, next to the LED throwies by the GRL. Extremely well documented, and clear proper instructions. I use these as water baloons all the time, but turning it into an square and the little see-hole thing were genius! Good work, I expect to see alot of good instructables from you! =D

J_Hodgie (author)2006-11-02

I remember using these in the summer as water bombs. If you fill them with water then throw them, they are like water balloons. Although, unlike water balloons they break on impact. Good job in the Instructable.

zachninme (author)J_Hodgie2006-11-02

I know, the companies are actually not cheaping out on water balloons, so they never break!

FrenchCrawler (author)2006-11-02

I remember making these.... Excellent instructions Good Job :)

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