How to make fabric balloons!
If you have been following my journey then you will be well aware how much I hate balloons! The real ones. The ones that are filled with air or helium and always manage to slip away, up into the sky, landing into the ocean causing harm to our precious wildlife.
Let's face it though, balloons do scream 'birthday party' but there was no way real balloons were going to be making an appearance at my son Jett's first birthday party. Instead, I did a little DIY and made fabric balloons! To put it simply, they are balloon shaped cushions that you can hang from a tree or on the wall. Made from 100% cotton inside and out, making them biodegradable.
Below I will explain in a bit more detail how I put together my reusable fabric balloons!
- Coloured cotton fabric. Try use some scrap material you have around the house, even old clothes. If you're like me and have just done a trip to the Salvos then go buy 0.5m of 4/5 different colour, or how ever many balloons you would like to make.
- Sewing pins
- Large safety pins (one per balloon if you are hanging them from a wall hook)
- Sewing machine...or you can hand stitch if you have time
- Chalk, or another form of fabric marker
- Large round tin, tray, or bucket, this will be the shape of balloon
- Cotton filling. 100% cotton filling is a lot more expensive but it all natural which means it's biodegradable. You can use a cheaper polyester but keep in mind polyester is synthetic, like plastic...but I guess it's a lot better than single use balloons that end up in our oceans.
- Twine. I used natural/brown but you can use what ever colour you like
Step 1: First fold your fabric so it is doubled over. Using something round, like the tin tray above, draw a perfect circle. Keep in mind to choose something that is slightly larger than you want your balloons to be, because once you stitch and fill your balloons they will become smaller. I used chalk to mark my fabric.
Step 2: Using your chalk, draw the balloons opening/handle/blow up hole, not sure what you call it, but again be sure to make this larger because it becomes smaller when finished. You can see in the next photo below, when I was cutting out my shape I made this 'blow up hole' bigger than my chalk markings.
Step 3: First pin both sheet of fabric together, around the circle but inside your chalk markings. Then grab some scissors and cut along your markings. Again you can see when I was cutting out my shape I made the 'blow up hole' bigger than my chalk markings.
Step 4: Use you first balloon shape as a template to mark out your other balloons. Remember to double over your fabric to save time.
Step 5: Once all you balloon shapes have been marked, pinned, and cut to shape, it's time to start sewing. By no means am I a sewer...I can work a simple machine but that's it. So forgive me if I don't use the correct lingo. The stitch I used was a small straight stitch. I would just stay away from zig zag stitch. Now, the important part about sewing is not to sew along the straight line of the 'blow up hole'. You need this open to insert your filling.
Step 6: Your balloons will be inside out so turn them the right way. Then use your cotton filling and a wooden chopstick or something similar to help push the filling through the small opening. Really try and pack the filling in, using the stick to move filling to where it's needed.
Step 7: Use some twine to seal up the hole, leaving a long end dangling down. (P.s. sorry to be confusing...using a white balloon as an example now)
Step 8: To hang on the wall I used a safety pin/large nappy pin. Pin it to the back of the balloon and hang it onto a wall hook with the other balloons. Lay them out so they appear as if they were filled with helium. You could also connect some thin and almost invisible cotton to the top of the balloon and hang it from a tree.
The Finished product!!
Hope you enjoy making your own fabric balloons that will be at all your future birthday parties.
Thanks again for ditching the plastic at your party.
Please feel free to shoot me a DM or email me at email@example.com if you have any questions or would just like to say hello!
Founder of The Eco Party Place