Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plastic Bag Hot Air Balloon

We really wanted to try making our own hot air balloon from a plastic bag. There are a lot of different ways to do it, and tutorials. I thought this one looked most promising (the instructions are very detailed). There are 6 videos to watch. We almost, almost got our balloon to fly. It hovered for a moment. But it just wouldn't go all the way up. We tried it first with a dry-cleaning bag (it started to melt before getting very far up, though it did stand up) and then with a small trash can liner we got at church, but it must have still been too thick---or perhaps the folds on top needed to be smoothed out so they didn't get so hot (he shows this in one of the videos).

We would have tried again, but we had no more bags, no more candles, and no more time that day! But it was a really fun project, and not too difficult. The boys did all the measuring and taping/cutting of the straw frame, the foil, etc. by themselves, and I helped with attaching the candles to the foil. I read that you can use hot glue instead of melting the wax, and I think that would have worked better (the wax had a tendency to be unstable). There are other good troubleshooting suggestions on this main page also.
Candle platform
Measuring the bag
Attaching the "frame"
Ready to fly

We do have this on our list of things to do another time! I really think we can get it to work better, so next time I have to have something dry cleaned we'll give it another go!

We also might give one of these methods a try (there are several other tutorials like this one around), but because the heating apparatus is not attached, I'm not sure it would be as effective. Might be worth trying, though.
Fully inflated

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