How to Make a Paper Mache Hot Air Balloon

Updated March 21, 2017

Papier-mache is a fun and easy craft to make with children. A favourite project is a colourful hot air balloon or pinata. It requires only a few simple objects to create a cute room decoration or pinata that children will adore.

Cover the work area with newspaper to minimise messes and to help in the clean-up process. Tear the newspaper into 1-inch strips. Blow up a balloon to the desired size. Tie a loop of yarn to the paper clip to create a hanger and set aside.

Create papier-mache paste by mixing one part flour with one part water in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the flour mixture to prevent the final project from moulding. Drag a newspaper strip through the papier-mache mixture then through your index and middle finger to wipe off the excess paste.

Place the paper clip on the top of the balloon and cover it with the paste-covered paper strip. Continue coating the newspaper strips with paste and overlapping them on the balloon until it is completely covered. Smooth the strips down to prevent air bubbles from forming under them. Allow the balloon to dry at least 24 hours or as long as necessary for it to dry completely.

Pop the balloon by inserting a straight pin into the papier-mache. Cut a 3-inch round hole into the bottom half of the sphere and remove the latex balloon. Use a hole punch to make four evenly spaced punches around the hole. Punch four corresponding holes into the paper cup.

Paint both the hot air balloon and the paper cup. Allow both pieces to dry thoroughly. Cut four pieces of yarn and use them to attach the cup to the balloon.


Cover the paste with a paper towel to keep it from drying out during the application process. Apply at least two but no more than four layers of treated newspaper to the balloon. Use either computer paper or paper towels as the final papier-mache layer to give paint a more even appearance. If you don't want to paint the hot air balloon, glue multiple layers of tissue paper to it. To use the hot air balloon as a pinata, make a smaller hole in the bottom of the balloon where the cup would be attached. After punching the small connector holes in the balloon, cover the hole with tissue paper. Make a hole in the back of the balloon. Fill the balloon halfway with candy, then use tissue paper to cover the hole.

Things You'll Need

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Newspaper
  • Balloon
  • Paper clip
  • Yarn
  • Straight pin
  • Hole punch
  • Paper cup
  • Paint
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About the Author

Michelle Cagle began writing in 1994 and has had articles published on various websites. She writes primarily about educational issues, society and cultural issues, and home and family issues. She received her Master of Education from Oklahoma State University and her Bachelor of Education from Northeastern State University.