If you’re looking for some standout decor for your next birthday party, it’s time to get fun and floaty with these DIY hot air balloon decorations by our contributor Madeline Trait. These simple “balloons” are paper lanterns that are easy to decorate. Attach with twine or ribbon to homemade baskets, and voila! You’ve got whimsical homemade hot air balloon pieces that will impress guests young and old.  Here’s what Madeline has to say about her creations:

“Want to make your next party super cute and creative? I have something that I think you will love: a hot air balloon DIY that is simple and easy to customize for your next event. Make a couple more and now you have some great decor for a fabulous party. You can also fill the baskets with candy, flowers, or whatever you can think up.”




—Washi tape

—Paper lanterns (6″ diameter in pictures)

—Twine or ribbon




—Acrylic paint

—Screw punch



1. First put together the paper lantern. Now prepare a design for your lantern and start painting with acrylic paint. The paper is very thin, so thick acrylic is best, but be careful not to tear the paper or make it too wet. A super simple design is to paint stripes by following the structure of the lantern. You can also use stencils, stickers, or even go freehand with your own design. Customize it so it matches the theme of your party.

2. Now, let’s make the basket! For a 6″ diameter lantern use a 2″ x 2″ basket. Grab your paper and draw a 2″ grid that is 3 squares by 3 squares. You will then cut out the corner squares, creating a large x.


3. With the screw punch, punch holes at each corner of the 4 squares that create the “x” shape. Once you are done, create the sides of your basket by folding each square where it meets the center square.

4. Secure each corner with your washi tape. Be sure not to cover the holes. Use the rest of your washi tape to decorate the entire basket.


5. Cut 4 pieces of twine approximately 21″ long.

6. Once all your twine is cut, get both your basket and your paper lantern. Take a piece of twine and thread one end through one of the corner holes and tie a knot. Grab your lantern and turn it upside down (where the c shape hook is pointing down) and thread the twine under the metal bar. Then thread it through the other corner hole, adjacent to the one that has the other end of the same piece of twine. Now tie a knot to secure it. Do this for every corner.

7. Once your basket is hanging, adjust the twine around the lantern to make it hang evenly. You may even have to shorten or lengthen some of your twine by untying some of the knots, so keep them loose initially.


8. Cut one more piece of twine and tie it around the metal bar at the top of the lantern. This will now be the twine you hang your lantern from, so make it as long as you need.

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