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Top tips for creating a mini hot air balloon

25/07/2014 Jo Bailey Features

Making your own mini hot air balloon is much easier than you might think, so why not get stuck in and create your own fully working balloon today?

Here are our top tips for doing just that:

Preparation

Items you’ll need:

• Tinfoil

• Scissors

• Small cake candles

• One thin bin bag (seal the top hole)

• Sticky tape

• Lighter

• Plastic straws

• String

Warning: It is very important that any small children should be supervised when making a hot air balloon. Even though only small candles are used, there is still a small fire risk and it is important to keep children and flammable liquids away from the flames.

Building the balloon

Here’s how to create your hot air balloon:

• First, cut your tinfoil into a square measuring 4 inches by 4 to create your basket

• Take your lighter and begin to melt wax from one of your candles onto your foil, making sure that it is roughly 1 inch from the edge

• Quickly, while the wax is still soft, push the end of the candle into the wax, holding it until it stands firmly in place. Repeat this at each corner

• Next, fold the tinfoil half an inch from the edge, until it makes a wall. This will prevent the wax from spilling out as it burns

• You will then need to measure the opening of your bin bag to determine the size of the plastic straw frame you will need to construct. You will have to remove the bendy part of your straws (if they are not completely straight) and cut them into the right size for your frame. This may involve fitting several straws together, which can be achieved by cutting a slit into the straw and fitting it inside another. Use your sticky tape to make sure that the construction is secure

• Next, you will need to tape the middle of your straws together into an X formation. Try to use the least amount of tape as possible, because more will make your balloon heavier

• Put your frame into the opening of the bag and tape it securely in place, using the absolute minimum tape possible

• Now you can attach your hot air balloon basket onto the frame. Ensure that the candle wicks are not directly above the straw struts and that they are facing inside the balloon.

• If you are flying your balloon somewhere with high ceilings or outdoors, be sure to attach a length of string to the structure so that you don’t lose it

• Hold the envelope up and light the candles. After allowing the bag to fill, your hot air balloon should now take to the skies.

If you find that you have done everything right, but your balloon will not take off, it might be that your hot air balloon is too heavy and you will need to trim the amount of wax on your candles, using a pair of scissors or a sharp knife (be very careful when doing so). Alternatively, you could try again using thinner candles than before or less tape.

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