42. Make your own hot air balloon

Free to do
Can do in my area
No planning needed
All year round
Great for little'uns with parents (under 6)

or refine by category!

Make your own hot air balloon - set it free during the International Balloon Fiesta and film how far it flies.

Do it ourselves
People in a hot air balloon basket, at night, taken at the Bristol Balloon Festival Night Glow.

Why do it?

Balloons are Bristol, Bristol is Balloons. Oh, and jobs, science, art and excitement are all involved in making balloons – why wouldn't you want to give it a go?

How to do this in Bristol

Bristol is famous for the International Balloon Fiesta in August every year in the Ashton Court Estate. It's the biggest in Europe and more than 150 hot air balloons literally fill the sky. The balloon ascents (where large number of balloons take to the skies) are at 6am and 6pm, and there are many other events in between. Look at the Balloon Fiesta website for more details.

To make your own (slightly smaller) balloon for the fiesta, have a look at the links below to find instructions on how to make your own hot air balloon.

What you will need

Materials vary depending on design see links provided for how to guides including material requirements.

Safety tips

Wait for a calm day to launch your balloon. Wind can increase the risk of flame damage to the balloon, and it's not great for a successful take-off. Sometimes the built or natural environment can cause unintentional wind tunnels which channel gusts, this will also interfere with take-off. If the balloon does not take-off very well it is more likely to hit obstacles on the way up, which causes a fire risk.

Before you launch try to work out which way the wind is blowing and imagine the route the balloon will take. Check it has a clear passage without any obstacles. Do not launch your balloon near an airport.

On a clear day with low wind the balloon should easily clear most obstacles.

Other activities you might like