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Science Rocks!

Hot Air Balloon


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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

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.

Justin, age 13 of Barberton, OH wrote:
When we put it together and it went 50 feet and turned left. I used a trash bag was 7 feet high and 8 feet wide it was cool.

Micaiah, age 6 of Albany, CA wrote:
First we used a plastic garbage bag, but it didn't rise, because the bag was too heavy. Next we used a dry cleaning bag and made it in the shape of a big hot air balloon by taping slants inside to make the opening narrower than the top. This time it was successful.

Bayan, age 12 of Oak Lawn, IL wrote:
When I did it, it did not go very high! But when I did it the 2nd time, it tottaly work! It went about 12 feet in the air because we went outside!

Aly, age 11 of Zimmerman, MN wrote:
I didn't experiment with it, but I think that if you put too much hot air into your balloon, it will either pop, or not float because it would be over filled. I think that if you didn't put enough, hot air into your balloon, it would not float, it would just sag to the floor.

Kristen, age 12 of St. Albans, WV wrote:
Well it stayed up in the air for a little while but then it went crazy and went all over the place. So I would say it was successful.

Matt, age 15 of Victoria, Australia wrote:
I modified the design heavily, using a cheap garbage bag (250 litres) and some wire. It went about 4 kilometres before crashing into a farmers paddock.

Savannah, age 12 of Salem wrote:
Well it worked because I took the bag and tied the hanger to it with string, then I had someone hold it up while I put the hair dryer under neath it, and then we let go and it floated.

Adam, age 13 of West Jordan, UT wrote:
It floated up and turned and just hovered for a moment then popped.

Tori, age 10 of Chattonoga, TN wrote:
It floated up to the selling I brought it out tied a string to it and weant around the house and after awile it burst.

Zach, age 9 of Gagetown, MI wrote:
It went up in to the air and came back down.

Adam, age 5 of NY wrote:
We tried 3 different hot air balloonss. The biggest bag was the best, it went the highest and the farest.

Samantha, age 13 of Webster, MA wrote:
My hot air balloon whent to the celling.

Karli, age 5 of Fort Wayne, IN wrote:
The hot air balloon went real well. We got as close to the floor in our living room as possible and the balloon went all the way to the ceiling! That's about 10 feet high! It would have gone higher, but it hit the ceiling and stopped for a few seconds before falling.

Gearldine of Palm Springs, CA wrote:
I tried with a super thin garbage bag and cut a tubular shape out of paper on the end, then blew hot air into with my hair dryer for at least 1 minute - maybe longer. The bag fell right away... what went wrong?!

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