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To Celebrate the launch of our neeeeeew book, Everything Oz, The Wizard Book of Makes and Bakes I am sharing with you this project from the book. It’s one of my favourite makes. I’d always wanted to make a Hot Air Balloon and toyed with the idea of making one using a spherical lampshade and covering it in green material with a fabric basket, but I think this paper craft one is more unusual. It makes a beautiful alternative to a mobile in a bedroom or if you make lots of them they can be a stunning aerial display over a wedding or party table.

Here’s how you make it …

YOU WILL NEED

• Various sheets of plain and patterned scrapbook paper: For the largest balloon, you will need enough sheets to cut 30 x 26cm diameter circles (the balloons work best if the paper is all of a similar thickness.)
• Craft knife or pair of scissors
• Pinking shears
• Double-sided adhesive tape
• Hot glue-gun or superglue
• Coloured or metallic embroidery thread
• Gems, buttons or paper shapes for extra decoration
• Bradawl and cutting mat
• Strong thread, such as a button or bookbinding thread
• Large needle
• Invisible fishing wire

To make the basket

For the basket base, draw an 8.5cm diameter circle onto a sheet of paper and cut out with an extra 1cm all the way round. Score around the drawn circle with the blunt edge of a craft knife or pair of scissors. Make small snips into the outer 1cm, about 5mm apart, around the circumference of the circle to make little tabs. Fold these tabs upwards.
For the basket sides, cut a 30cm x 6cm rectangle from the same paper. For a decorative edge, use pinking shears. Place double-sided adhesive tape along one long and one short edge of the rectangle. Peel off the backing papers. Join the sides to the base by fixing the rectangle to the cut tabs of the circle, pressing down each tab. Once attached to the base, press the short edges of the sides together to secure.

To decorate the basket cut swag shapes from thin paper, score through the middle of the swag and pinch together slightly to give a 3d effect (the book has a template for the swag, maybe you should buy it here!). Using a hot glue-gun, fix the swags evenly round the basket so they just touch, about 1cm down from the top edge. At each point where two swags meet, glue a 20cm length of embroidery thread (these will attach your basket to yoiur balloon so make sure they are going upwards!). Cover the joins with a decorative gem, button or paper shape.

To make the balloon

Cut out 30 – 40, 26cm diameter circles from various coloured and patterned papers. The more circles you use, the fuller the balloon will be. For smaller balloons, use fewer paper circles.

Fold each circle in half. Make two equal stacks of semi-circles. Place the two stacks next to each other to form a whole circle. For the stitching guide, measure and mark the points 4cm down from the top edge and 4cm up from the bottom edge of each semi-circle. Make another mark 2cm further in. Repeat at the middle.

Take one of the stacks and unfold the circles so they lay flat with the marked circle facing upwards. Using a bradawl and a cutting mat, make holes at each mark through all the circles of paper. (For the hanging loop, using a bradawl make a hole 1cm down from the top edge of each stack of circles.) Using strong thread and a large needle, stitch the circles together. Repeat for the second stack of circles. Place one sewn stack on top of the other and stitch together to make one big stack. Make sure the first half of the circles bend one way, then the second half bend the other way. Run a length of invisible fishing wire through the top hole. Suspend your balloon at a height
where it is easy to work with. The paper leaves will naturally fan out to create a sphere. Fix the basket to the balloon by stitching through a different paper leaf for each string. Spend time finding the right leaves so the basket hangs straight. You can temporarily fix the basket strings in place with glue dots whilst experimenting with different positions. If you want to add a tail then cut a length of thread and decorate with bows or bunting.

Hang from the cealing, have a little sit down and watch the balloon sway in the breeze…

If you’ve enjoyed this make, please feel free to share it but please mention Everything Oz, The wizard book of Makes and Bakes by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey published by Quadrille when you do.

And if you want 49 other such lovely projects head over to Amazon. Right. Now.

Thank you.