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Kids’ Hot Air Balloon Photobooth DIY

by Chiara Alberetti Milott

My friend Kate recently celebrated her daughter Scarlet’s 1st birthday. We wanted to do a photobooth especially for kids – and she came up with this cute hot air balloon idea. After gathering supplies, we sort of winged-it and with the help of Kate’s Dad, we managed to fashion a sweet little hot air balloon for the kids to “ride in.”

Continue reading for complete instructions and more photos.

Materials needed: a laundry basket, a roll of blue paper, a 36-in balloon, helium, 36 feet of heavy yarn (or lightweight rope would work too), a scissors and tape or a staple-gun.

Step 1: Begin by inflating your balloon (make sure you will be able to get it though any doorways if you are setting it up somewhere other than your final spot!). Temporarily tie the balloon down to something heavy (we used a tea kettle positioned in the laundry basket) so you will be able to adjust and fiddle with the yarn as you tie it. Make an ‘x’ over the top of your balloon, with enough yarn to go over the ballon and down to the basket. Tie it to the basket at four corners, leaving an opening in on the front side so you will be able to see the kids’ faces as they sit in the basket.
Step 2: Take another length of yarn and begin tying knots AROUND the top third of the balloon, attaching it to the existing ‘x’.
Step 3: Repeat this step, only this time do it around the middle of the balloon. You may have to wiggle and adjust your yarn, so don’t tie your knots too tight at this point.
Step 4: Drape some yarn from the middle knots so they create some swag from knot to knot. Tighten up knots and trim any excess yarn.
Step 5: Roll out your paper floor to ceiling, and then on the floor. This is a two-person job, so grab a buddy. Depending on your floor and wall, use tape or staples to secure the paper to the surface.
Step 6: Carefully help kids in and out of the balloon basket ~ and make sure they don’t pull too hard on the yarn (very tempting for kids)! We also put two pillows in the basket to make it more cushy, and since we set this up outside and were nervous about the balloon flying up and away, we tied an extra piece of yarn from the balloon to the side of the building. We staple-gunned it to the wall and since it was directly behind the balloon, you can’t see it in the pictures.

I also enlarged, color-copied and cut out some vintage bird illustrations, and made a paper banner that read “Scarlet’s First Birthday!” I spray-glued these and stuck them on the background once everything else was in place. You could also just cut out big white paper clouds to give the illusion that the balloon is floating high in the sky.

Kate also followed Jordan’s tutorial for DIY party hats, and made a gorgeous two-tiered pink ombre cake. She used Liberty-inspired paper plates, napkins and cups from IKEA, and served quiche, yogurt, granola and honey. Peonies provided the perfect pink touch.

It was all so very sweet and lovely, even the chaos that ensued when we tried to get ALL the kids in a group shot. Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Scarlet!

Top six photos by Kate Mathis.

  1. The New Diplomats Wife

    May 31, 2012

    this is adorable – i could also see using this for an “up, up, and away” going away party – will definitely bookmark!

  2. Amy

    May 31, 2012

    So, so cute! I don’t have kiddos yet, but am definitely going to store this idea for when I do :)

  3. natalielaurenphotography

    May 31, 2012

    Such a cute idea!

  4. Lexy @ The Proper Pinwheel

    May 31, 2012

    What a fantastic first birthday! That balloon is stunning and seems super easy to pull off. I’m scheming for when I have kids!

  5. Erika ~TiptoeButterfly~

    May 31, 2012

    IN love with this idea!

  6. Promo Logo Mugs

    May 31, 2012

    oh my word, this is the cutest thing ever. they are adorable!!!

  7. Hannah

    May 31, 2012

    LOVE this! super cute, we did a circus theme for our first’s but will have to remember this for a future use. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. bussbuss

    May 31, 2012

    Brilliant! I wonder if this might work for my niece’s 6th birthday party. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  9. Ayumi

    May 31, 2012

    I LOVE THIS! I bet the kids loved it. I want a picture in that hot air balloon.

  10. LARY@ Inspiration Nook

    May 31, 2012

    This is awesome! How creative :)

  11. Rebecca - A Daily Something

    May 31, 2012

    I want to do a grown up version 😉 This is great!!!

  12. MelindaI

    May 31, 2012

    I had this idea in my “idea” folder on my desktop for at least 10 years. I remember the original picture so well!

  13. Elena

    May 31, 2012

    There is nothing I don’t like about this. What a sweet idea!

  14. Penelope

    May 31, 2012

    Just amazing!!!!

  15. Margaret, Enrout

    May 31, 2012

    How cute!

  16. Fun Fun

    May 31, 2012


  17. meagan

    May 31, 2012

    one of the cuter things i’ve ever seen!

    xo the egg out west.

  18. Melissa

    May 31, 2012

    Someone just tweeted me and said I should check out this post! We just hosted a hot air balloon themed first birthday for my son Arlo on Monday. My husband had a different take on a hot air balloon photobooth – but I LOVE this version too. So clever :) Check out Arlo’s party here:

  19. Karen

    May 31, 2012

    Adorable. And now I want cake.

  20. Maria @ Busy as a Bee in Paris

    May 31, 2012

    darling idea!

  21. melissa

    May 31, 2012

    my favorite photo booth idea yet. SO cute. must do.

  22. Ayako

    May 31, 2012

    I saw this on Pinterest. Balloon photo booth is so adorable! I love it! Thank you for sharing :)

  23. Katie

    May 31, 2012

    I just died of happiness seeing this! SO CUTE! Love it!

  24. nicole i

    May 31, 2012

    a-dor-a-ble. yikes.

  25. Pink Ronnie

    May 31, 2012

    What an adorable idea! You guys are brilliant.
    Ronnie xo

  26. Celeste

    May 31, 2012

    So beautiful, I’m looking to do a grown up photo booth for my friends party. Thanks for the great inspiration!

  27. Marie

    May 31, 2012

    A photobooth for kiddies…this is adorable! I love the idea and creativity! :)

  28. Kless

    June 1, 2012

    So super cute! I love this idea!!

  29. Mini Piccolini

    June 1, 2012

    Love this!

  30. aloÿse

    June 1, 2012

    That’s just amazing. I hope when I will be a mum I will be so full of great idea!!

  31. sdee

    June 1, 2012

    Amazing the visit was worth…

  32. Miriam

    June 1, 2012

    Awesome! I love it!

  33. Lindsay - ShopEllaLou

    June 1, 2012

    This is one of the most fun (and age-appropraite) first birthday celebrations I’ve seen. So creative! Thanks for the tutorial!

  34. mum of all trades

    June 2, 2012

    such a fantastic idea for a photoshoot,the colours and everything work so well.

  35. vikkufania

    June 3, 2012

    very nice

  36. vikkufania

    June 3, 2012


  37. Amanda | Little Door On The Sound

    June 4, 2012

    Blown away by this!! And I’m completely obsessed with hot air balloons, I might add.

  38. Phoenix Child Care

    June 4, 2012

    This is too cute!!! Love this idea!!!

  39. Lindsay

    June 4, 2012

    I want an adult size version of this!!!!

  40. Julie

    June 5, 2012

    This is such a wonderful idea for a birthday party! I’m impressed.

  41. Katie O"Keefe

    June 5, 2012

    This is so inspiring! Love the idea, and it doesn’t seem to complicated either!

  42. Savanah

    June 6, 2012

    This is so cute!! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m seeing some really adorable hot air ballooned themed parties this summer :)

  43. Gina

    June 7, 2012

    Positively Adorable!

  44. Soo-Jin

    June 7, 2012

    this falls in my top ten photo posts i’ve ever seen!! so creative and perfectly executed!!

  45. Anneliese

    June 7, 2012

    This is so darling! I adore he hot air balloon photo booth. So lighthearted and fun. I would love to do something like this for my youngest daughter. (And I also have a “Scarlett”) Thanks for sharing!

  46. Rachel

    June 7, 2012

    What a beautiful idea.

  47. Courtney

    June 9, 2012

    Is there a source for the yarn? Its fantastic!

Comments are Closed

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