How to Make a Fire Balloon

Fire balloons, or sky lanterns, originated from China and are commonly launched as part of a celebration. Fire balloons are fun to make and a beautiful sight in the night sky!

Steps

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    Build a pad for the ignited cotton to rest upon. Take a cardboard square and wrap foil completely around it. Don't use to much foil, as this will make the balloon too heavy.
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    Create an edge using foil around the diameter of the pad. Make sure the edge is tall enough to prevent the cotton ball from falling off.
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    Build the base of the balloon out of two thin pieces of balsa wood, each approximately one foot in length.
    • Mark the six-inch point on each piece.
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    • Tape the balsa frame to the cardboard/foil pad, making a plus-sign shape with each balsa strip meeting at the center six-inch mark.
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    Completely open the bag you are using for your balloon.
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    Tape the frame to the bag. Keep in mind that the foil edge should be facing towards the upper/closed part of the bag.
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    Soak your cotton ball in rubbing alcohol.
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    Place the cotton ball within the foil pad, safely light it, and launch your balloon!

Tips

  • You will need two people for the launch. One person will hold the top of the bag and the other person will light the cotton ball. Each person then needs to each hold one side of the bag once the cotton is lit to ensure the bag doesn't touch the flame.

Warnings

  • Once the cotton ball is lit make sure no part of the plastic bag is touching the flame.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case.
  • Don't launch fire balloons in windy weather.
  • Remember that you are responsible for any damage your fire balloon causes.

Things You'll Need

  • small, light-weight bags (such as those used to line a waste paper basket)
  • 2 pieces of balsa wood, each approximately one foot (30 cm) long
  • 1 triple size cotton ball
  • rubbing alcohol
  • small square of cardboard.
  • foil
  • tape
  • matches or lighter
  • fire extinguisher

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Balloon Crafts