How to Make a Ribbon Balloon!

posted on November 13, 2012 by  |  posted under Baby Showers, Birthdays, Crafting, Decorating, Fun With Kids  |  22 Comments

Make A Ribbon Balloon

Last month I visited a restaurant that had light shades that looked like giant spheres made of strings of white yarn.  A friend that was with me said that she had seen tutorials online of how to make them with a balloon and some glue.

I thought that was a neat idea, and as I began thinking about ways to decorate for parties (we have a birthday coming in our family), I thought it would be fun to do something similar, but with colour. Then I thought it would be fun to try with ribbon. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I thought you’d be interested to see what happened, so I took pictures!

Want to  join me on my experimental journey to find out if my “ribbon balloon” idea
could become a reality ?

Make A Ribbon Balloon

If you’re giving this a try, you’ll need the following:
– ribbon
– white glue
– inflated balloon
– water
– helper (you can see her arm in the photo ;))

Make A Ribbon Balloon

I started by pouring some glue into a bowl, and adding a little bit of water to it. I can’t give you a measurements, because I just aimed for runny, but not totally watery.

Then I started at the end of my spool of ribbon and dipped it in the glue:

Make A Ribbon Balloon

After dipping in glue, lay it on your balloon, and continue wrapping your balloon with the glue-y ribbon. This is where a little helper comes in handy. My 3 year old held the balloon for me while I worked (until she got tired of it)

Make A Ribbon Balloon

It’s pretty messy & your hands will get very glue-y in the process, so be prepared for that! (I put a piece of cardboard on the table, to catch drips and for easy clean up.) For my balloon, I wanted to use more than one color of ribbon, so I got my little helper to trim the ribbon when needed, since my hands were a mess!

Before hanging the balloon to dry, I added some extra glue. I just got it in my hands & smoothed it over the balloon & ribbon. Do this carefully, or you’ll be rearranging all of your ribbons! I wanted to make sure it was really glue-y, incase I hadn’t put enough on in the first place. I wasn’t sure if it would work with ribbon as well as it does with yarn, since the ribbon wouldn’t be able to soak up the glue.

I’m thinking it may have been better to skip that step because of what happened with the glue that was inbetween ribbons, on the balloon. You’ll see what I mean soon.

Make A Ribbon Balloon

Let the balloon dry overnight.  In the morning, this is what I found:

Make A Ribbon Balloon

Hopeful, I popped the balloon, to see what would happen.
I was hoping for a collapsed balloon and a lovely, stiff “ribbon balloon” in its place.

Instead, this happened:

Make A Ribbon Balloon

Aaaaand I was pretty sure I was going to have to come up with another post idea for you for today 😉

Feeling bummed, I pulled the balloon away from the ribbon, and “puffed up” the sad, deflated “ribbon balloon”.  To my surprise, it took shape again!  But, it had a lot of glue in between ribbons that I didn’t think looked very pretty.  (That’s why I’m thinking I could’ve skipped the extra glue step the night before)

Make A Ribbon Balloon

So, I looked at that sad ribbon balloon & for a few seconds, I tried to convince myself that it was cute.  But I knew it wasn’t 😉  So, I sat down on the couch with my daughter (who was watching a movie) and while watching, I started picking/peeling those bits of glue off.  They came off quite easily but there were a lot of them.  So, it took a while, but it wasn’t hard work or anything, and it was over pretty quick since I was busy watching a movie at the same time 😉

In this photo, you can still see a few bits of glue.  You can decide how picky you want to be (pun intended) about those bits, and stop there, or keep going to make it “perfect”.

Make A Ribbon Balloon

So, in the end, I am here to report that yes, you CAN create a ribbon balloon.  It won’t be stiff (as I imagined it would be), but it will hold its shape.  It might deflate and shrivel up after popping your balloon in the morning, but all is NOT lost! :)  It actually turned out to look pretty good, and I think that if you had a lot of time to spend making them, you could totally make some cute decorations out of these!

So, what do you think?
Did it end up looking cute or am I just kidding myself?
Would you make these?

Make A Ribbon Balloon

Heather Lynne

P.S. Come visit me & check out some other party ideas over at my blog, Raising Memories!

    1. November 13th, 2012 at 8:26 am
      Kimberly says:
      I'm thinking that this would have worked out better with satin ribbon since it would absorb the glue. Just a thought :)
      • November 13th, 2012 at 11:18 am
        Heather says:
        Good thinking!!!
    2. November 13th, 2012 at 10:06 am
      Sara says:
      Very cute. You could try spraying it lightly with hairspray. Or maybe starch would even work. But I know that hairspray can stiffen ribbon.
      • November 13th, 2012 at 11:19 am
        Heather says:
        Oh, these are great ideas! Thank you!
    3. November 13th, 2012 at 10:26 am
      Alison says:
      I think that would be fun at my daughters birthday party. Really cute!
      • November 13th, 2012 at 11:22 am
        Heather says:
        Thanks Alison! :)
    4. November 13th, 2012 at 10:27 am
      Shauna Altman says:
      I like it! I wonder if fabric ribbon would soak up the glue better and therefore hold shape better? Oh, and I would guess about a 50/50 ratio water:glue. But don't quote me. LOL!

      • November 13th, 2012 at 11:23 am
        Heather says:
        That's a good point about the satin ribbon soaking up the glue better!
    5. November 13th, 2012 at 10:35 am
      Cait says:
      I'm a nanny to 3 little girls, so this is definitely going to be a part of their Christmas presents! Is it best to use the plastic (?) gift wrapping ribbon or would satin ribbon work, too? If you haven't tried with the satin ribbon, then I'll give it a go and let you know what I find out :)
      • November 13th, 2012 at 11:26 am
        Heather says:
        I have not tried satin ribbon, but I think satin ribbon might even work better, since it'll be able to soak up more glue. Definitely let us know if you try it, how it went!
    6. November 13th, 2012 at 10:36 am
      Kathy B. (scrapkat) says:
      I made something similar years ago with string. I used liquid starch and painted in on after the balloon was completely wrapped. I don't think spray starch would be heavy enough to hold it, but I haven't tried it.
      • November 13th, 2012 at 11:27 am
        Heather says:
        That's an interesting idea- thanks for sharing that!
    7. November 13th, 2012 at 11:07 am
      Anne V says:
      Liquid starch or fabric stiffener might work better. Let the ribbon really soak it up, then run the ribbon through your finger and thumb(like a squeegee) to get the excess off. Apply to balloon and continue. Letting the ribbon soak makes sure the liquid penetrates the fibers-giving you a much stiffer finish.
    8. November 13th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
      Heather says:
      When I was younger, my mother would make these every year as a fun craft to do together. We made these at Eastertime and made them egg shaped by blowing the balloon larger and we used string. Then once dry, pop, then should would sit it down and cut open a hole and place that grass in it and we would set them out for the "Easter Bunny" to leave us treats. We looked forward to them every year.
    9. November 13th, 2012 at 10:37 pm
      emilia says:
      i think they are very pretty. it worked fine. not a fail!!
    10. November 17th, 2012 at 12:16 am
      Jessica-Lynn says:
      Hi Heather!
      First I need to tell you how much I adore your blog! I am a blog and tutorial fanatic and of course loving the pinterest thing I am a very crafty and actually quite unique person apparently according to my husband that is lol. But I was searching pinterest one night once the baby was in bed and came across something similar to this but with yarn as you mentioned before! SO go figures I attempted to make this as well and go figures I have no yarn! But I did however have white string and as I attempted to do this (By myself - As my son is only 8 months old lol and my husband was working) it was like you said very messy & actually quite difficult to wrap and hold! So I used one of my sons plastic cups and place the balloon on that but it really just prevented it from touching my table it was still a little helpful though.. Now I used Mod Podge Glossy! & a Paint Brush and as you mentioned as well with your rubbing the glue all over and the ribbon being able to easily move my string was the same especially since I was using a paint brush! & I didn't soak my string as I didn't realize that you had too! Ugh bummer! But mine I gave up on because my son started to get cranky after wondering what the heck Mommy was attemping to attach string to a balloon! What an experience! But It will work for sure like yours did mine is hardened but kinda all over the place as I stopped for my son and i'll admit I was getting frustrated as well lol But I too thought about using ribbon because I thought it would be nice if you blew all different sizes of balloons and used silver, gold, red, and green ribbon for Christmas ornaments! To hang on the tree or in the window or wherever. But I have always wondered how do they make those balls that you often see in a bowl of primitives and such? The ones that seem to have a twig wrapped around it. I wonder would it be the same way or similar? What do you think? Nice work by the way yours looks a million times better than ours does lol!

      Yours Truly!

      Jessica-Lynn <3
    11. November 17th, 2012 at 3:19 pm
      paige dempsey says:
      So I've some similar to this before and used yarn instead. We actually make Easter baskets with it. When your putting the yarn on the balloon make sure you leave a big ova on one of theists in the morning if the glue is dry, pop the balloon then stuff with ester basket grass and whatever else you want.
    12. November 17th, 2012 at 6:07 pm
      Christine says:
      I would try clothing starch instead of glue. the ribbon would be stiff and stay in place and shouldn't stick to the balloon. You might also have more luck with a slow leak in the balloon.
    13. November 21st, 2012 at 8:33 am
      Mindy says:
      I've made baskets in a similar way, but with yarn and a bowl.
    14. November 22nd, 2012 at 2:57 pm
      Thalia says:
      My mom makes these with colored yarn instead. You almost got it right, just change these two things:

      - Don't use any old glue: use HEAVY DUTY wallpaper glue.
      - Don't slather the balloon in glue: soak the strings/ribbons into the glue and THEN apply them to the balloon.

      And here's a really fun tip: try making a valentinesday lampshade with red ribbons and a heartshaped balloon. *insert cheeky creativity-in-the-bedroom joke here*
    15. May 24th, 2013 at 11:17 pm
      Natasha Foote says:
      hi there,This looks gorgeous. I have done this with yarn in my class, we smothered the balloon with vaseline first and then when you pop the balloon it leaves it in the perfect shape and takes the glue-y bits in between with it!
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