DIY Hot Air Balloons




              Hot air balloons have been around since 1782 and are a well known way of transportation or for just viewing the geographical features of our modern world. Hot air balloons are also the oldest human-carrying flight technology ever. The way these balloons work is that heat is released into the balloon, and due to the fact that heat rises while cold air descends, when the balloon is heated internally, it will lift into the air and gradually rise higher when the passengers heat the inside.

In this instructable, I will be showing you how to make your own mini hot air balloon from just a few, cheap household items.
As you view this instructable, you will not only learn how to build the hot air balloon, but also learn the technology behind hot air balloons. This is a great hands-on learning experience that I use to teach my science class.

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Step 1: Materials

Materials needed:

1- Large Plastic Bag(I used a bag from the dry cleaners)
3-4 Birthday candles
1-Thick and sturdy wire
1-Aluminum foil
1-Glue gun

And of course some patience:)

Step 2: Tie the Bag

First, Tie the bag in four evenly spaced spots by the opening of the bag
(see picture)

Then knot the top of the bag where the hole for the hangers is(only if you have a dry cleaners bag)

Step 3: Cut and Bend Wire

Cut two pieces of wire that are about the same length as the knots on the bag that are diagonal from each other

Then, twist them together, forming an X shaped structure.

Step 4: Make the Candle Holder

Take the aluminum, and make a cup shaped structure to hold the candles.

Step 5: Glue the Cup and Add Candles

Hot glue the cup to the middle of the x shaped structure
Then glue 3-4 candles to the inside of the cup.

Step 6: Attach to Bag

Carefully twist all 4 parts of the X shaped wire, to all 4 of the knots on the bag.

Step 7: Ready to Fly!

Now here is where the fun begins!

Bring your hot air balloon to a calm, non windy area outside.

Then, make sure all areas of the bag arent touching or near the bag.

After that, light the candles on fire with the lighter and wait a while until the bag fills with hot air.

Finally when your bag is filled, let go of the bag and watch it rise in the air and get higher and higher.
These balloons have gotten so high, that I have even lost sight of them.
Try doing this at night for cool effects.

Be safe when doing this project, but most of all.... Have Fun!

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    42 Discussions

    Is this Instructable honestly advocating to litter our planet with plastic bags?? And from a SCIENCE TEACHER of all people, encouraging the destruction of our planet by sending non-biodegradable material up and "away" to end up in our rivers, streams, forests, oceans, etc. Many of these will inevitably becoming toxic substances confused for food by the rest of the creatures we share this planet with. Wow.... I hope my children's science "teachers" have a little more forethought than this.

    14 replies
    JamesP491tdevries beyer

    Reply 9 months ago

    That plastic is going to in the ground or water sooner or later may as well make something worth seeing.

    I don't see anywhere in this instructable that says the teacher is encouraging students to release these into the wilds. Just because it floats doesn't mean they let them go. What the SCIENCE TEACER is advocating is hands-on learning, bringing dry textbook material to life. Isn't this what science is supposed to be about? And bravo to the teacher for encouraging the repurposing of materials.

    AndreaS13- That must be because you didn't finish reading the instructions ;) If you keep reading you get to Step 7: "Finally when your bag is filled, let go of the bag and watch it rise in the air and get higher and higher. These balloons have gotten so high, that I have even lost sight of them." Doesn't sound like there's any string attached if they are disappearing. Science IS about hands on learning. It is NOT about destroying our planet by sending more pollutants into the environment. This science teacher should know better, and amend the Instructable to reflect his/her respect for our planet so as not to encourage others to follow his/her lead on apparently trashing the planet with plastic bags. Attach a string = problem solved.

    Considering losing sight does not necessarily mean losing control I did not read this as untethered. Perhaps I was caught off guard by what I read as an attack on the teacher. I am an Environmental Educator/Advocate. I feel it's important that as we communicate our message of protecting the planet we don't alienate the people we are trying to educate.

    hansenz2301tdevries beyer

    Reply 2 years ago

    a way that littering could be avoided is to attach a piece of thread to the hot air balloon before letting it off so you can drag it back if necessary.

    LilyHarreth241tdevries beyer

    Reply 2 years ago

    Actually, this project is not advocating to litter our planet—it is an easier and more accessable way for students to build and test hot air balloons. If you have a way that is easy, planet friendly, and widely accessible to students, then please make your own instructible, instead of wasting your time critisizing a perfectly good project. Thank you for your opinion!

    tdevries beyerVincentF2

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes, that would be great if the OP could update this Instructable to tell people to use a kite string instead of explaining how his previous plastic bags have floated "up and away" and never to be seen again. So sad that he is advocating to litter our planet just for a simple experiment!

    tdevries beyerSarahK2

    Reply 4 years ago

    SarahK2 that is a perfect idea! ? I wish the author would amend the Instructable to reflect that advice as well.


    1 year ago

    I know go to Amazon look for Chinese sky lantern 100 percent biodegradable

    Won't come down till it runs out of fuel . I saw 5 pack 6.45! And 2.99

    This makes me happy that I found a answer so there is no FIGHTING!

    I myself am a teacher an have used this project to teach my students about cold air and warm air as i teach the weather unit. It is a great hands-on activity for the kids.