Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hot Air Balloon Decorations

Emma's first birthday is fast approaching, I can't believe it's already been a year.  The year has flown by, but at the same time it seems like Emma has been part of our family forever.  I decided to get a jump on decorations since free time is hard to come by with a little one beginning to walk around.  Since she is too young to tell me what she would like as a theme for her birthday I decided on hot air balloons because I think they are fun and year Emma I'll let you pick :o)

I searched the internet and Pinterest for hot air balloon party ideas and came across a lot of fun stuff.  I found a site that made hot air balloons out of paper lanterns.  Since we used quite a few paper lanterns for our backyard wedding that were sitting in the shed just waiting for another use I already had the basis for our hot air balloons.  I found some fabric in the colors I was using for the party and got to work sewing the balloons together.

I found the idea of using paper lanterns for the balloons on the Fabric Paper Glue blog.  I also used this cute hanging hot air balloon cut-out on Etsy for design inspiration:

I decided to make three hot air balloons with one larger balloon and two slightly smaller ones.  I first measured the circumference and height of the paper lanterns to determine the number and length of fabric strips needed.  I then measured and cut strips of fabric including enough extra for seams.  For the larger balloon I decided to try to imitate the design above so I cut strips to cover half the height of the balloon in different colors.  For the other two balloons I measured the strips to cover the length of the entire lantern.

I then sewed all the strips together so they formed a tube:

And sewed a hem along the top and bottom edges.  Here you can see the inside and the hem pinned:

I meant to use the top and bottom hems as channels to pass a string through to be used to gather in the ends, but that proved difficult.   The plastic needle I was using to shuttle the string through the channel would get caught at each seam where the fabric folded back on itself and snapped at one point when I was trying to work it through.  So I ended up loosely handstitching a string through the hems for gathering.

Then I slipped the fabric over the paper lantern and pulled the gathering stitches tight at both poles.

And here Emma is showing off the balloon:

Next I hung a small basket removed of it's handle using twine.  It took a little bit of work to get it level.  I also added decorative ribbon along the center seam of the large balloon.  Brian then helped me hang the finished balloons.  Or more like he hung them while I called out directions, "a little to the left, no too far, back a little".


Here is a view of all of them:

I figure after Emma's birthday part we can move them in to her room as decoration.  Now on to the next project for her birthday party :o)