How to Build a Blimp

A blimp is a type of airship that has a large, non-rigid, gas-filled envelope, a solid gondola, tail-fins and a powered motor. Because the blimp's envelope or bag material is filled with a gas that is lighter than air, such as helium, the blimp is able to float. Building a small indoor blimp is a cost-effective way to have your own blimp. The blimp moves using a battery-powered motor and remote control, as in flying small model aircraft. The blimp's horizontal movement is also controlled by the direction of a breeze or wind. Try these steps to build a blimp.


  1. Image titled Sqblimpbg Step 1
    Make a square blimp bag. Use mylar or metalized nylon material. You can buy a mylar blanket from a camping or sporting goods store to use if desired.
    • Fold the bag material over so the shiny side faces outward. Have the top layer of the material overlap the bottom layer by 33 inches (82.5 cm). Cut away extra bag material so you have 33 by 38 inches (82.5 by 95 cm) of material left.
    • Rub the folded bag material with a terry cloth towel to remove wrinkles and any trapped air.
    • Weigh down the bag material with books. Mark a bottom border 32 inches (80 cm) from the top fold line with a yardstick and felt tip pen.
    • Place the yardstick along the left side of the material. Leave 1/2 an inch (1.25 cm) of room.
    • Iron a seam alongside the yardstick with a continuous sweeping motion. The seam should be smooth and should seal the folded bag material.
    • Leave room in the bottom left corner of the bag for a fill spout. Do not iron this fill spout area. A nozzle will later be inserted into the fill spout to fill the blimp bag with helium to make it float.
    • Iron a complete seam 1/2 an inch (1.25 cm) from the right side of the bag.
    • Place the yardstick 1/2 an inch (1.25 cm) above the bag's marker line. Iron from the yardstick to the end of the bag material.
    • Cut off 1 inch (2.5 cm) of material from the bottom of the bag. A 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) bottom seam should be left.
    • Turn the blimp bag over. Mark the fill spout's position on this side. Iron the seams on the left, right and bottom of the bag, while avoiding the fill spout.
    • Place 2 pieces of clear packing tape along the sides of the fill spout. Cut off any excess tape. The tape gives the fill spout extra protection.
    • Insert a toothpick in between the 2 layers of bag material to leave an opening for the fill spout.
  2. Image titled Test Step 2
    Test the blimp bag for holes or leaks. Fill it partway with air from a vacuum exhaust port passed through a drinking straw, then tape the spout.
    • Leave the bag alone for 1 hour. If its size remains the same, it has no leaks.
    • Patch holes with adhesive tape or remove air from the bag and redo any problem seams.
  3. Image titled Helium Step 3
    Fill your blimp bag with helium from a canister. Ask a local florist or balloon shop to do this. The bag should only be filled with enough helium to start floating.
  4. Image titled Seal Step 4 1
    Tape the fill spout closed when finished adding helium.
  5. Image titled Gondola Step 5
    Assemble the blimp's gondola. This is where passengers and crew would be in a large-scale blimp. The gondola goes underneath the blimp bag and has a motor to help propel the blimp.
    • Push wooden dowels into the gondola's platform. Glue them in place. Let the glue dry.
    • Attach a small propeller to the gondola's motor shaft. Tape the gondola's dowels to the blimp.
  6. Image titled Fin Step 6
    Add solid tail-fins and a rudder to help maneuver your blimp and make it fly more smoothly. The tail-fins and rudder also add stability to the blimp.
  7. Image titled Battery Step 7
    Insert an AA alkaline battery to operate your blimp's motor. Leave the battery slightly pulled out to deactivate it.
  8. Image titled Ballast Step 8
    Fill your blimp's gondola with ballast to keep it from tipping too far in 1 direction. Tape paper clips, small coins or other lightweight objects to the gondola for ballast.
  9. Image titled Fly 9 1.jpeg
    Push the battery in all the way to let your blimp fly.


  • If you want to control your blimp, you can remove the motors and remote control receiver from a small RC car and attach them along with some propellers and a AAA battery to your blimp, just make sure it's still light enough to fly!
  • Practice ironing seams on extra bag material before making your blimp bag. Adjust the iron's heat as necessary so it is not too hot or too cool.
  • You may be able to make tail-fins and a rudder from light balsa wood or Styrofoam and a light, adhesive, plastic shrink wrap used in building model aircraft.
  • Airships, also called dirigibles, are categorized as rigid, semi-rigid or non-rigid. Rigid airships, such as the Hindenburg, had an internal frame structure. Semi-rigid airships usually had a rigid lower keel attached to or hung beneath the gas-filled envelope. Non-rigid airships-blimps-are the most popular type today.
  • Consider buying blimp parts online.


  • Do not fly blimps with metalized nylon blimp bags into power lines. Doing so could cause a severe power outage.

Things You'll Need

  • Mylar or metalized nylon material
  • Yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Terry cloth towel
  • Books
  • Felt tip pen
  • Iron
  • Packing tape
  • Toothpick
  • Drinking straw
  • Vacuum cleaner exhaust port
  • Adhesive tape
  • Florist or balloon shop
  • Helium canister and nozzle
  • Gondola
  • Wooden dowels
  • Glue
  • Electric motor
  • Propeller
  • Tail fins
  • Rudder
  • Alkaline battery
  • Remote control equipment

Article Info

Categories: Crafts