build a hot-air balloon - header image featuring final craft and Cardboard Box Creations logo

Don’t let your around-the-world adventures stop once your vacation is over! Continue your travels at mesmerising heights in this breathtaking play hot-air balloon. Step inside and be swept up to see where the wind (and your imagination) takes you…

Remember – cutting into cardboard can be tricky. Ask a grown-up to help or supervise.

You will need:

– Box big enough to stand in
– Play parachute
– 4 long cardboard tubes
– Tape
– Toy hoop
– Beach ball (larger in diameter than the hoop)
– String

Build a hot-air balloon - step 1

Step one

Cut off the top flaps of the big box. Cut a semi-circle into one of the sides. Count the handles on your parachute. Ask a grown-up to cut this number of small circles around the top edge of the box.

Build a hot-air balloon - step 2

Step two

Cut a 5cm (2 inch) slit straight into the end of one of your long tubes. Cut another 5cm (2 inch) slit a quarter of the way around the tube from the first cut to create a small flap.

Build a hot-air balloon - step 3

Step three

Slot the tube into a corner of the box, with the small flap on the outside. Secure in place with tape on the inside and outside of the box. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other three tubes.

Build a hot-air balloon - step 4

Step four

Use plenty of tape to attach the toy hoop horizontally to the tops of the cardboard tubes. If the hoop is bigger than your box, gently lean the poles outwards to fit.

Build a hot-air balloon - step 5

Step five

Place the beach ball on top of the hoop and let it drop down comfortably within it. Tape where the edges of the ball meet the hoop to secure the ball in place.

Build a hot-air balloon - step 6

Step six

Drape the parachute centrally over the ball and hoop. If you don’t have a parachute, ask a grown-up if you can use an old sheet or piece of material instead. Cut it into a circle and make holes around the edge in place of handles. Tie a piece of string to each of the handles and the corresponding hole in the box below. Brighten up the balloon’s basket with pens or paint.

Build a hot-air balloon - completed craft, including illustration of a passenger

Want more? Try our hot-air balloon potato stamps activity.


Welcome to a world of crafting, creativity… and cardboard! Lonely Planet’s Cardboard Box Creations will take you around the globe as you build 20 travel-themed objects, icons and famous landmarks. Including step-by-step instructions and a starter kit of cardboard sheets with cut-out template guides, you’ll soon become a master cardboard crafter!