Sunday, February 23, 2014

Paper Machė Hot Air Balloons

Originally this was a project to hang over the baby crib, but the size and colors fit perfectly in the boy's room. I was really excited to do this craft. It had been ages since I worked with paper machė. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but it was a whole new experience with two little boys running around. I thought I would never finish. I did think of the kid and husband factor when I started so I planned my craft in phases.  It was just hard seeing it sit while I had to care for the household.  

Step one -Preparation of newspaper strips. I decided thin was best. I had seen several people use wide cut strips of paper but the balloon size I was working with was on the small size so I figured thin strips would wrap easiest and give me a smooth finished surface. I also needed a way to store my materials and hang the balloons.  A settled for a small box that I could store easily on top of my refrigerator, and some thread and tacks.
Step 2- Making the paste.  Since I had little experience with paste I looked on line and found a simple supper cheap recipe.  All you need is equal parts flour and water. Don't bother trying to mix by hand, put the ingredients in the blender it is soooooo much easier.  You don't want to deal with lumps trust me. This paste is really thick and if you want to  add a bit more water you can, but the more flour the stronger it will dry. I only covered the balloons in one layer of paper and paste then let it dry. I TESTED for weakness and added another layer on the softer areas. 
Step 3 once I was ready to paint I consulted the net again, and I am glad I did. My original idea was just to paint with craft paint,  but I learned it was better to paint a layer of Gesso beforehand.  This really helped my paint cover the surface with out any hint of newsprint showing through. I also used paint that had a glossy finish. I accidentally did buy one color that was just a standard finish and it looked really bad. So stick to the gloss.

Step 4 - Once my balloons were painted I had to figure out how to make the baskets to hang from the balloons.  I will just say it was trial and error.  In the end I made them out of cereal boxes, a glue gun, and covered them with a layer of paper machė. Once dry I applied Gesso then paint. I had purchased some colorful twine like string from the dollar store and a small picture hanging kit when planning this craft . I used  the spooled metal wire in the kit to make little key ring hoops then notted the twine to the ring with two long ends hanging down. I then poked a hole on the top of the balloon, running the twine inside the balloon. I then used a hot gluegun to fix the two ends to the inside of the balloon. At the bottom opening I punctured to holes parallel to each other for the basket strings. My baskets are not square so on shorter sides I made two holes and ran the string threw the inside of the basket then up to the balloon where I fixed them with a knot and hot glue. 

In the end I added one last string from the top ring to the ceiling.  I was much relived when it was all over. I would definitely do this project again but maybe next time I will go X - Large and use my fitness ball!


  1. A very cool project! Fun for the big boys and so welcoming for our new little one. What a great environment for children to grow up in.

  2. Emily those are gorgeous! Good that you put them all the way up because if not I'm sure the kids wouldn't resist touching them!