Balloons and Felt are so in right now so the combination has to be a winner!
I love hot air balloons and I think lots of folks do too. Balloons were a popular theme at the Craft and Hobby Association Summer show in 2012 with lots of manufacturers having hot air balloon papers, stamps and other scrapbooking elements.
I’ve been making a few felt things lately and the combination of felt and hot air balloons just seemed so obvious to me. The fun was in getting everything to work right and the first thing to do is to cut the panels for the balloon.
Along the way I learned the math for creating the panels to make a circle – once you understand the formulas it is quite easy to make your own panels. However, to help you out I’ll give you the pattern I used as a free download and save the math for another post.
Start by cutting the panels for the balloon – you need 6 sides so a good combination is to use 3 of each color or perhaps 2 of 3 colors – I used two colors only.
As always, use wool or wool blend felt – it just stands up to the process so much better and the stitches won’t tear away from the felt when you stuff it later on. Use embroidery thread – at the time I made this I was still using 6 strand thread but I’ve changed lately and I now use DMC #5 cotton as it is so much nicer and has a cool luster to it. Sew up the side seams – I like to use a simple blanket stitch and to put the stitches on the outside.
Stuff the balloon with fibrefill or your choice of filling – carded wool will work too and is much nicer if you don’t like plastic filling!
Cut a small circle of felt and sew it to the top to cover the seams at the top – the very top is never a pretty site so this just hides the mess!
If you want a wire for hanging the balloon, before you put the top on, twist a short length of wire – around 4″ of it into a loop and pull the ends outwards so it will go inside the top of the balloon as shown – but don’t put it in there yet. First cut a small hole for the wire in the middle of the felt circle bend the wire ends back together and push through the hole in the felt.
Bend the wire ends back out and insert into the balloon – then sew the top in place. If you forget – it’s pretty easy to add the wire though a small hole in the felt circle after it is sewn.
To make this basket I took some brown felt and cut into a slightly curved length so it would be smaller at the top than the bottom and sewed it into a round shape and added a base of brown felt.
Then I twisted some wire into a loop and added three sides for the balloon ‘string’. I used fairly substantial copper wire – I suspect around 18-20 gauge.
I put the wire in the ‘basket’ and stuffed it with more fiberfill.
Then sew another small circle of felt on top.
Finally put the wires into the balloon, add a small circle of felt to the base of the balloon and sew into place making sure to catch the wires as you do so it all holds together.