A Lot of Hot Air!


This one was too much fun not to even try!


First there was the request: Please could I make a miniature hot air balloon for a local company, Scipac.  Erm...  Dunno, mate!  Come and see me and see what we think!  So he did, and I'm going to try!

The balloon is to float above the company booth at things like the County Show and science and job fairs.  It needs to be dark blue top and bottom, have a white stripe in the middle, and have the company name and logo on the stripe.  OK...  This needs a little thought, so I send him away and tell him I might have a go and do a few experiments to see what was possible, and we'd do what we could by Monday.


First I needed a base pattern idea...  A nice swim in the pool with a pal gave me the first bright idea: base it on a bean bag chair pattern I'd used to make her two giant bean bags.  The pattern pieces were roughly the right shape, it was made in segments, and it might at least save a little work.  So I set too with paper and scissors!  Here's what we have so far:



On the right is the segment traced straight off the scale pattern, turned upside down so the base is now the top, and with the new bottom half elongated by another inch and a half.  This was then cut through the middle at the widest part and separated by a 3" strip...  I added a cuff to the new bottom edge.  There's a hexagon shaped bit to go in the top.

I taped it all together and got this:


So far it looks OK.  Now I just need to experiment with making it in fabric.  Luckily I have some parachute type rip-stop nylon in the stash...  OK, it's plain white, but it'll do for a balloon toile!  Meanwhile, back to the wedding dress!

Right!  Finally I got this fun project off the ground!  Here's the rest of it...

Firstly, there was the fabric trial so that we could see how it really looked: I didn't put the cuff on this one.  I did make it in blue and white as I had this to hand and didn't fancy quarrying my way through the stash!


Alan was commisioned to make baskets as we couldn't find anything the right size!  Click on these ones to get close-ups!  I think they worked very well.

slats.JPG (99769 bytes)  basketweaving.JPG (87621 bytes)  balloonbasket1.JPG (73287 bytes)  balloonbasket2.JPG (61375 bytes)

In the end I made two balloons, as Barry thought a second, larger one in blue and gold would be a nice idea.  I narrowed down the neck, as requested, and put the cuff on it, and painted the logo...

This is the small one before the basket was fitted.  Below you can see it with the basket along with  is the final larger version with the gold bottom half.  I thought it looked very effective.


Painting the logo was fun...  I experimented with fabric paint (dead loss!) and acrylic paint (MUCH better!) and a stencil... Not good: the paint got under it and made a right ole mess!  I scrapped one almost complete balloon and tried again.  This time I just drew round the stencil and painted the logo in.  That worked, though it isn't quite as crisp round some of the edges as I would have liked.  This wasn't technique so much as materials and conditions.  It was very warm and the pain dried very rapidly, and the surface of the fabric is textured rather than smooth like paper.

Barry has promised me pictures of the pair floating above the booth in San Diego, so watch this space!

See, it's not all posh frocks here, you know!


Some places that have been helpful:

Barry at SCIPAC, who had the idea!

Jean Smith and her hubby at Fabrics-n-stuff who sent the fabric in record time!

For some of the hot air balloon and balloon modelling madness:






Back To Table of Contents