Hanging Hot Air Balloon Sculpture

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Introduction: Hanging Hot Air Balloon Sculpture

About: DREAMER. DABBLER. NOODLER. Though clay is my passion, at the core, I’m simply a maker, a builder, a creator. Making things makes me happy. I make videos about the things I dream up.

Learn how I made this hanging hot air balloon sculpture using paper mache and some objects I found at the thrift store. This type of sculpture is called "assemblage" and is an art form that dates back to Picasso.

This DIY sculpture makes for a fun decoration in a child's room or at a a baby shower. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make a basic hanging hot air balloon sculpture, but you can get creative and decorate it as elaborately as you like. I'll show you some ideas at the end of this Instructable how I've decorated another hanging hot air balloon sculpture I made.

Supplies

  • 12" balloon
  • newspaper strips
  • paper mache paste
  • acrylic paint and brushes
  • basket
  • votive holder
  • string
  • metal rings
  • muslin
  • sewing supplies
  • poly pellets (or fiberfill)
  • chain
  • pvc or dowel
  • eye hook screws (2)
  • s-hook screws (3)
  • glue
  • 5-minute epoxy

Step 1: Paper Mache

Materials used in this step:

  • 12" inch balloon
  • paper strips
  • paper mache paste

Inflate a 12" inch balloon and cover with paper strips and paper mache paste. Allow to dry thorough between layers. I used 5-6 layers on my balloon, but the balloon was still somewhat flexible after it was dry. More layers would yield a stiffer balloon and better results.

Step 2: Basket

Materials used in this step:

  • basket
  • hand tools
  • acrylic paint
  • metal rings
  • string

While the paper mache is drying, collect your basket and remove the handle using pliers and a small hand saw, if necessary. Clean the basket as needed and paint your desired color. When the paint is dry, tie a metal ring on the outside of each corner of the basket.

Step 3: Sand Bags

Materials used in this step:

  • muslin strips
  • sewing supplies
  • Poly Pellets or fiberfill
  • string

Cut strips of muslin approximately 5" long by 1.5" wide. Fold the strip in half and stitch the long edges of the strips closed to make a small bag. Turn the bags right side out and fill with Poly Pellets or fiberfill. Tie the tops of the bags closed with string.

Step 4: Balloon

Materials used in this step:

  • scissors and/or Xacto blade
  • acrylic paint
  • votive holder
  • metal ring

When the paper mache layers is completely dry, remove the balloon from the inside. Measure the size of the votive holder and cut a hole in the bottom (pointy end of the balloon) just large enough for the votive holder to fit inside the opening.

Cut a smaller hole in the top of the balloon the size of the metal ring.

Paint the balloon using acrylic paint and allow to dry.

Step 5: Inside Hanging Structure

Materials used in this step:

  • pvc pipe or dowel rod
  • something to cut the pipe/dowel rod
  • eye hook screws
  • s-hook screws
  • chain (2 pieces: a short one approximately 5" long, and a longer one approximately 18" long)
  • a drill
  • 5-minute epoxy

Cut a piece of pvc pipe (or dowel rod) to a length slightly smaller than the diameter of the inside of the balloon. Mine was approximately 9.5" inches long. Test fit the pipe inside. You want the pipe to be level to the ground and sit near the top of the balloon.

Drill two holes in the exact mid-point of the pipe directly opposite each other, and insert a small eye hook screw in each side.

Using the s-hooks, attach one piece of chain to each of the eye hook screws and close both ends with pliers. Attach one more s-hook to the end of the short chain, and close the end connected to the chain. This will be the hook for the burner later on.

Spread 5-minute epoxy on both ends of the pipe and install inside the balloon. Feed the long chain up through the small hole at the top and hang. Adjust the pipe inside the balloon until the balloon is level and sitting the way you like. Allow to cure.

Step 6: Balloon String Decoration

Materials used in this step:

  • metal ring
  • string
  • glue

When the 5-minute epoxy has cured, take the balloon down. Measure a piece of string long enough to reach from the top of the balloon to the mid-point. Double this number and add a couple of inches. Cut 16 pieces of string at this length.

To form a lark's head knot, fold a length of string in half and insert the loop end through the inside of the metal ring and bring the loose ends through the loop. Repeat this for all sixteen pieces of string.

Glue the ring on the small circle at the top of the balloon and distribute the pairs of strings evenly.

Split each pair and combine one left and one right string from adjacent pairs. Tie a knot several inches down from the top. Repeat this all the way around with adjacent pairs.

Split each new pair and combine the left and right strings from adjacent pairs and tie a knot below the first row of knots. Repeat this all the way around with adjacent pairs a second time.

For a third time, repeat the splitting and joining of adjacent pairs for a third row of knots.

Step 7: Connecting Ring

Materials used in this step:

  • 4-5" embroidery hoop
  • string

Remove the outer ring of a 4-5" embroidery hoop. We'll be using only the inner hoop for this project.

Tie four pieces of string to the embroidery hoop. Hang the balloon once again, and count off every fourth knot in the bottom row. Tie each of the four strings from the embroidery hoop to a one of these four knots. Adjust the hoop so it is sitting just below the opening of the balloon.

Step 8: Assemble

Materials used in this step:

  • string

Tie a sandbag to each outside corner of the basket just below the metal rings.

Prepare the votive holder to be suspended from inside the balloon. In my case, I tied 3 pieces of string to the votive holder and joined them together with a small metal ring at the top.

Take the balloon down to assemble. Tie one end of a piece of string to each of the metal rings on the basket. Tie the other ends to four evenly spaced points on the embroidery hoop.

Hang your balloon and suspend the votive holder from the s-hook on the end of the short piece of chain inside.

Step 9: Optional Decorations

Now that you've learned the basic steps for building a hanging hot air balloon sculpture, you can have fun decorating it to the ends of your imagination. I've added dangling charms, a battery operated tea light, pillows, cushions, a steering wheel, paper wings, and a propeller on some of my sculptures. Have fun!

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    4 Comments

    0
    Kerrie Lee
    Kerrie Lee

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    0
    Kerrie Lee
    Kerrie Lee

    Reply 1 year ago

    Getting the "simple" part right is so hard for me. I never do things the easy way!