Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hot Air Balloon Centerpiece

This impressively-sized decoration
may serve as the centerpiece for the serving table
at your next bridal or baby shower event,
girls' tea, or birthday party.
Measuring approx. 15 tall,
the base is built as a "box"
(though once thoroughly glued, it is best left together)
with a center square pole that supports the six-panel
balloon with it's rope "cage", flag streamers
and top pennant.

1. Identify and cut the shapes:
A box lid half with top
B box lid second half
C box base
D box insert to support pole (center cutout)
E flange for attaching rope shapes (L)
F post
G post cuff (2)
H basket box decor shapes
I balloon vessel wedges (6)
J lower vessel hollow hexagon
K post top hexagon 
L rope overlays (6)
M top of balloon vessel hexagon
N ropes lower bracket shapes (6)
O flag stringers
P flags (6 each of 3 colors; foldover shapes)

Q balloon finial platform
R balloon top of vessel hex with slots
S top flag pole
T extra flag shape for top finial

2. Prepare the box "lid" shapes by folding inward on all perforation. Join the two box halves by attaching straight side edge over corresponding tab, taking care that the upper and lower perforation lines will line up properly. Then form the box into a "tube" and join the remaining side seam.

3. Prepare the ropes attachment flange by folding sections inward slightly at perforation lines, forming into a ring, and joining the straight side overlapped at the tab. Insert the tabs into the slots on the top of the box "lid".

4. On the backside of the lid, fold the tabs inward and glue in place.

5. Fold the lid into place and glue to the corresponding tabs.

6. On the bottom edge of the box lid, fold the flanges back inside the box and glue in place. This forms the rim.

7. Prepare the box base by folding all perforation lines as inward folds. Form into a tube to align the straight side edge and the tab perforation line, then align and glue in place.

8. Fold the bottom up and attach to the corresponding tabs. It may help to place the box bottom-up on a flat surface, then use a pencil eraser end to push down to help secure the tabs to the lid.

9. Fold the top edge flanges back to the inside of the box and glue in place to form the rim.

10. Prepare insert by folding all perforations as inward folds, then form lower portion into a ring to join side edge and tab as for lid and base. Fold top into place and attach to tabs. Push center tabs upward to open the square post receptacle.

11. Form post by folding all perforations as inward folds. Join side edge overlapped at corresponding side tab.

 As shown here, this can be done by folding the post shape in half, to allow easy pressure application along edge/tab.

12. Fold ends into place, insert tabs into box and glue in place.

13. Insert post "top" end (either end can be top) through insert opening from bottom upward.

14. Apply glue to the bottom of the post, and to the side edges of the insert, then insert into the box base and push to the bottom. Apply pressure to the post top to ensure a good bond to the inside bottom of the base.

This assembly, with insert, helps position the post accurately and keep it perpendicular.

15. Slide the box lid opening over the post top ...

... then continue to slide the lid down until the lid's inside "roof" surface touche the top of the base. A margin of the base will still show at the bottom.

16. Prepare the post-top hexagon for attachment. Note that perforation lines indicate the position of the post top square surface. Also, take care to align the nexagon TO MATCH the attachment flange below.

Apply adhesive - hot glue recommended here for it's secure and quick grab - to the marked area on hexagon, then position carefully on top of post and hold in place until secure.

Here is the hexagon in place, showing that it is oriented to match the flange shape below.

17. Prepare the post cuff shapes by folding top sections outward, lower sections into a tube. Apply glue to all underneath surfaces, then wrap around pole and position snugly so that folded-back scalloped flanges touch (and support) the hexagon.

Repeat for the second cuff at the bottom of the pole, to attach it to pole and box lid surfaces.

18. Apply nail head (or other) decorations to the basket decor shapes to cover guide holes.

19. Position each basket decor shape centered over each box lid side, with bottoms aligned, and glue in place.

20. Prepare vessel wedge shapes by folding tabs inward, cross perforation lines inward.

21. Align the first two sections to be joined, then align corresponding straight edge and tab perforation line, overlap accurately, and glue in place.

NOTE: this image shows the seaming beginning at the bottom. Some find it easier to reach all edges to apply pressure by beginning at the center sections, then working toward ends.

22. Join the third second to the previous assembly in the same fashion. This forms one half of the balloon vessel.

23. Join remaining three halves to complete the second half of the vessel.

24. Join the halves first edges in a similar aligning and seaming process, though the manipulation to get edges and tab lines lined up is the most difficult part of this construction. Use end openings as finger holes to reach and hold edges during gluing process.

25. Join the final seam to connect halves, applying pressure in any way necessary to get edges and tab perf lines to match and line up.

Here you can see fingers of one hand reaching into the top opening while ringers of the other hand press edge and line together, while also pressing against inside fingers.

26. Fold bottom vessel tabs inward to horizontal position, then apply glue to the hollow hexagon underside and position and attach. Use opening to insert fingers to assist.

27. Prepare the ropes sections by shaping the upper portion to have a curl. Here I am using my "scraper" tool to apply pressure to the shape while pulling the shape against the scraper edge. Use enough but not TOO MUCH pressure to avoid damaging the shape.

This shows the desired curl.

28. Fold the eyelet tabs outward at each side of rope shape.

29. Fold the "tab" at the top of each rope shape back slightly. (Tab is the horizontal band at the top of the shape. Tiny perforations at each side edge are folded back.) 

Position bottom edge of tab at perforation/tab edge of vessel top opening and glue tab in place. 

30. At the rope section bottom, position the "bracket" shape lower edge even with the vessel's bottom edge, center and attach.

Repeat for all 6 rope sections.

31. Position and attach the top hexagon shape.

32. Attach each decor "bracket" shape to cover the cut-in bracket shape that is part of the rope shape.

33. Apply glue then push together the two corresponding eyelet tabs at each side of the rope shapes, taking care to align holes and edges.

34. Apply adhesive (hot glue is a good choice here) to the hollow hexagon of upper assembly, then insert lower assembly hexagon between ropes to align with hollow hex edges. Adjust alignment as perfectly as possible, then hold in place until glue is secure.

35. Prepare flag stringer by folding flags in half, sliding stringer in place between center flag, centering flag on stringer, and gluing flag inner surfaces together. Repeat for left and right flag shapes.

Repeat for all six stringers and flag sets.

NOTE: eyelets can be used to attach baker's twine or narrow ribbon bows at each angle, as desired.

36. Bring lower rope sections downward and glue, centered, behind the attachment flange on box top.

37. Prepare the finial platform by folding all perforations slightly as inward folds. Bring straight side edge to overlap corresponding tab perf line and glue in place. Repeat for all six side seams.

38. Align and insert finial tabs into hex base slots.

39. On hex backside, fold tabs outward and glue in place.

40. Fold flag stick in half, bottom end tabs outward. Glue the upper portion edges together, keeping end tabs separate.

41. Insert stick upward from bottom through slots in hexagon and finial, until tabs are flush with hex underside. Glue tabs in place.

42. Fold and wrap flag around stick, and glue in place.

43. Apply glue to hex underside, then position on top of balloon structure and attach in place. Apply pressure as necessary to ensure good attachment.

Here is one more view
of the completed Hot Air Balloon.


  1. All I can say is WOW! Great job. Beautiful work and project.

  2. my next file to buy from the Silhouette Design Store! so much detail. love it.