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DIY Hot Air Balloon

DIY Hot Air Balloon

Last weekend I had the honor of coordinating a baby shower for my gorgeous cousin in New City, NY.  It's been quite some time since I've orchestrated a baby shower, and I was thrilled to bedeck and fancy-up her beautiful home to celebrate her soon-to-arrive baby boy!

My cousin and her husband enjoy traveling, so the first thing I thought of was airplanes.  Perfect for a lil' guy!  I wanted to include other forms of travel and I imagined how adorable it would be to have hot air balloons and airplanes hanging throughout the main party room.  Of course I tuned in to Pinterest for some ideas.  If I could find a great looking hot air balloon for under $20, I'm sure I would have purchased them. But, that wasn't quite my luck. The nicest one I found was approximately $78, which was insanely over my budget.

So I did what I usually do - I defaulted to "how can I make my own???"

Here's my finished product for under $20!

These are the items I purchased:

Red bouncy ball (approx. 18" diameter) :: Walmart :: $2.50
Basket with chalkboard :: AC Moore :: $5 (50% off sale)
Wooden Needlework Ring :: AC Moore :: $1.50
Basketball Net (fitted over the ball) :: Dick's Sporting Goods :: $5.99
Sawtooth Hangers :: Walmart :: $2 
3M Strips (5lb) :: Home Depot :: $2.94

The following are additional items I used, but didn't have to purchase since I keep
a pretty hefty craft stash :) :
White Rope (to match basketball net)
Thin Wire
Fabric Remnants
Chalk Marker
Twine, String, or Ribbon
Small Stuffed Animals 
Fusible Tape/Web

The basketball nets worked perfectly! Before fitting them over the balls, I used some thin wire (had some in my craft stash) to hold the sawtooth hangers in place by wrapping the wire around the ball securely and looping through the ends of the sawtooth hanger (as shown in picture below).  The reason for this is so that you can loop fish-line (had some in my craft stash) around the hanger.  The length of the fishline depends on how low you want the hot air balloon to hang from the ceiling.  The 3M Command Strips were attached to the ceiling and the balloons hung perfectly from them.  I performed a "test run" for 2 days just to make sure the balloons wouldn't fall. :)

Another important tip:  when you're fitting the basketball net over the ball, feed a piece of rope through the large open loops of the net and tie a knot.  You can see the knot on the far right of the picture below.  It's also best to have the barcode side of the ball facing up, so that party-goers won't see the barcode.

I cut four  24" pieces of rope for each hot air balloon.  For each "corner of the basket, I looped the rope through the end of the basketball net, tied it to the wooden needlepoint ring, then tied it to the basket.  The trick here is to try to keep the rope lengths equal on each corner.

The needlepoint ring...

I added little weights/bags on both sides of each basket.  I made these, but you can find little sachet bags just about anywhere!  The ones I made were "no-sew". I used fusible web to make the little sacks and tied a piece of twine around it.

It was great that I found these baskets, but any small basket you choose should work just fine, keeping in mind the total weight of the hot air balloon.  Remember, I used 5lb 3M Command Strips.  I also had the chalk markers in my stash, so for each of the hot air balloons I made, I wrote different quotes like:

"Precious Cargo"
"Heaven Sent"
"Baby Burgos on his way!"
"Burgos Flight"
"Lullaby Rides"

For the multi-print fabric banner around the ball, I simply cut large triangles, folded the top over and used the fusible web to make a small hem where I could feed twine or ribbon through. Super easy!

My kids are grown, but I still have boxes of stuffed animals hidden in the basement.  The ones I used were in excellent condition, and they found a perfect little home in the hot air balloons!

The party room looked amazing with hot air balloons afloat!

Some more pics of my aviator/travel-themed party...

A little wooden bed to hold the chocolate bars.  "Sweet Dreams!"

The beverage station before beverage was added ;).  I used Washi Tape around the cups, 
and glass baby bottles to hold the straws.  The beverage dispenser sits atop a vintage-styled suitcase.

I found these wooden airplanes at the dollar store and spraypainted them red.  

A mailbox for "airmail" and cards.  The pics in the macaroons were made with 
lollipop sticks and the same Washi Tape I used around the cups at the beverage station.

Baby aviators on the doll were from Build-A-Bear. Perfectly sized!
I had purchased this authentic antique baby scale years ago, and decided to spraypaint it
aqua to match the rest of the party decor. It turned out adorable.

Aviator photo props were laid on all of the guest tables.  These frames were also found
at the dollar store. I used the same spray paint I used on the baby scale.

How perfect was this cloud background??? Found it at Michael's for under $9.

I designed the wooden airplane;  also handmade.  It looked amazing hovering over the cake table!
The cake also sat atop a real vintage suitcase.

{Take time to celebrate a new life! xoxo, Nei}


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