skip graphical navigation
PBS KidsZOOM Home Back to Activity
Science Rocks!

Hot Air Balloon


your results

Sent in by:
Steven of Pearland, TX

Up, up, and away in this homemade balloon!

Materials Needed

  • large lawn garbage bags
  • dry cleaning bags
  • straws
  • coat hangers
  • string
  • scotch tape
  • hairdryer



  1. Can you make a hot air balloon? It doesn't have to carry people, but it has to go high.
  2. You can use garbage bags, dry cleaning or shopping bags, straws, coat hangers, string, and scotch tape. Use a hairdryer to create hot air. Before you start, make sure to get permission from an adult to use the hairdryer.

How did you use your materials to build your balloon? Did you get it to float? How high? Why do you think hot air balloons rise? What do you think would happen to your balloon if you put more or less hot air into it? Let us know what you think by sending your thoughts to our fabulous feedback area.

Some of your Results

Kurt, age 9 of Gagetown, MI wrote:
it flew high but you cant keep it in one place but it did work a little

Mackenzie, age 8 of Houston, TX wrote:
It did not go in the air

Kendra, age 10 of Burlington, ON wrote:
it what 2 meters high

Howie, age 10 of Burlington, ON wrote:
it what up in the air

Brianna, age 11 of Newington, CT wrote:
i got it to float im going to tell my science teacher because we are studying air molecules and heat ex. yay

Lauren of Ruston, LA wrote:
I made this to demonstrate thermal energy for 5th graders. The hot air molecules are moving faster. At first I thought of taping the straws attached to my dry cleaning bag to a hard plastic plate, but then of course I thought that it would be too dense for it to float, so I used a paper plate instead. At first it floated crooked because my straws were not evenly spaced on the paper plate I taped them to. Yet, when I moved them, it worked! Radical!

Samantha, age 9 of Rio Bravo wrote:
it floated!

Bryan, age 9 of Trenton, NJ wrote:
at first it didnt work but when we tied the strings tighter and put some more of the materials it worked really good. it was so cool.

Jaden, age 7 of Turlock, CA wrote:
it flue up very hiy.

Trent , age 12 of Manistee, MI wrote:
It went realy high it was cool.

Grayson and Lyndon of Charlotte, NC wrote:
When my sister grayson blew up the balloon. It melted on the bottem. We did not use all the stuff because we did not have all of it. We only used the hangers the starws the trashbag the strings and the hairgriger. It was so much fun. please write back by. Grayson and Lyndon Gerber

Jellii, age 15 of Brizzy, Australia wrote:
well we used meathalated spirits as our fuel! it worked better than candles

Sarah, age 7 of Beach, CA wrote:
it was hard to make it but then I discovered that the string's are to loose. so I tryed straws. and that worked

Demetrus, age 12 of Cincinnati, OH wrote:
it went up an up

Phoebie, age 8 of Los Angeles, CA wrote:
it was fun and it worked.

Amier, age 8 of Chicago, IL wrote:
I added baking sota and vinger the bottle. Then, I put a balloon on the bottle. last, the balloon made hot air.

Maggie, age 7 of Commerce Twp., MI wrote:
i got it to work for a second but then it just went down.

Ali, age 9 of NC wrote:
I made a air balloon with a balloon and a pice of paper. It exploded

Cam, age 7 of Elgin, IL wrote:
when I first tryed it, it only went 6' off the ground. the 2nd time I tryed it I used tissue paper and it went really high like 12'

Travis, age 15 of Fort Worth, TX wrote:
It was not very impressing. I once built one with a veggie bag from the store along with thin dowell rods and candles. It was self contained and floated nicely. I would advise that you have a bucket of water on hand to put out any fires it may create. Also, stay away from grass and buildings. I tethered it with string and flew it on our street.

Cindy, age 12 of Woodbine, MS wrote:
Was in the air for 4 sec and then started to sink

Ataman, age 11 of Auburn, AL wrote:
We did ours outside. it was awsome ot went so high it was so fun and spectacular

ZOOM Fan, age 11 of Arlington, TX wrote:
it went high but not like I thought it would.. in '06 I went to chemistry camp and we used tissue paper and it went up way higher, we just threw them outside, unlike this which is where we gotta use a blow dryer and all that stuff..

Marissa, age 9 of Caldwell, ID wrote:
What happend was the hot air balloon flew a few inches off the ground.

Brent, age 12 of Pinville, MO wrote:
It worked out great I was expecting it to do that but I was suprised how high it went.

Ethan, age 10 of Milton Mills, NH wrote:
It went good when it launched but it had a hole so we fixed it and it went high.

Tyler, age 8 of Cumberland, MD wrote:
The first time it popped. The second time it worked great.

Nigel, age 9 of Jakson, MI wrote:
I didn't actually do this but your stories of what happened when you did it usually ended in popping. I would reccomend putting a small hole in the top but that might make it not go as high.

Andy, age 13 of Jupiter, FL wrote:
It is so hard. If your doing it for a science fair project I really don't recomend it. Use a small bag.

not yet implemented