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For some reason, whenever I think of summer one of the first things that come to mind is hot air balloons. Maybe that's because of living in the Northwest and we have so many hot air balloon festivals during the summer to enjoy on a nice evening. The day before I received the "Seasons: Summer" paper I was on Pinterest and saw this amazing pattern for creating hot air balloons from the Paper Matrix blog and was fascinated by all the creations that are found on there. When the "Seasons: Summer" paper arrived the next day I went back to my pin to create my own balloon!
Now a little bit of a side note (warning? lol) about creating this balloon- this is not for the faint of hearted! I will tell you that you need ALOT of patience and some time to create your own balloon- I think that it took me a couple of hours to create the first one from beginning to end but I'm sure that now I know what I'm doing the others would go much quicker. The longest part is cutting out the pattern pieces, they are a little tedious I'll admit. And have lots of paper clips handy before you start putting this together! All that being said, this thing is so darned cute and I know that I would definitely make more of them!
To begin with, print out the balloon shape pattern from the Paper Matrix blog. Once I downloaded the pattern (there's one for the balloon (pieces shown above) and one for the basket. I ended up enlarging the image to 250% on copier and printed it on 11 x 17 inch sized paper for making this out of 12 x 12 sheets- your printer/copier may be different so this is only a suggestion. After printing out the pattern I traced the pattern onto a sheet of "Summer One" paper, then flipped the pattern over and traced the upside down pattern onto a sheet of "Summer Two" paper. After cutting out the traced patterns, I edged the "Summer One" paper using an InkBlusher™ and Memento™ dye based inks from Imagine Crafts®/Tsukineko® in Bahama Breeze and the "Summer Two" paper with Teal Zeal.
This is the beginning of weaving the two sheets of paper together- yes, it does look like an octopus fight gone wrong! They have step-by-step instructions, along with a video tutorial and pictures on the Paper Matrix blog which were very helpful. What I learned was that it's easiest to have the two sheets of paper offset a little bit to start the weaving with. After you have the papers lined up (and before you start the actual weaving) pop a hole through the very middle of the papers and secure your thread on the inside of the balloon for hanging your ballon up! I forgot to do this and had a mild melt down trying to do this after I completed the balloon and thought "Um, how the heck am I supposed to hang this?!?"
After you have a couple of rows of the paper woven (that's all you'll get while it's flat) you're going to start shaping the actual ballon. After struggling for a bit with trying to do this I had an "ah ha" moment and put a tennis ball on the inside to start rolling the paper into the right shape. I found that only doing a couple of rows of weaving at a time, securing it into place with paper clips and then moving onto the next section worked the best. Again, follow the instructions on the Paper Matrix blog and you'll understand.
Here's a close-up of my finished balloon! Note that I modified how I hung the basket from the pattern- I clipped off the paper part on the pattern and replaced it with gold cording instead, I thought that it looked better. I also added coordinating ribbon for the bottom of the balloon's opening because I had to hide a little bit of unevenness at the bottom.
Please note that the Paper Matrix blog has more than one balloon pattern on their blog- the one used here is the "Mobile #001 Balloon" pattern from the link above in my blog posting and it only takes 2 sheets of paper to create the balloon. The other balloons on their blog use 3 sheets of paper with a little more paper weaving involved- I'll admit that I thought it would be easier to weave 2 sheets of paper instead of 3 to start out with!