The origami balloon is a traditional origami design with many different applications. It is a fun paper toy for children to toss back and forth. It can also be incorporated into various home decor or holiday party decoration plans.
You will need a square sheet of paper to make an origami balloon. The paper needs to be fairly thin for you to make the folds properly, so use lightweight wrapping paper or patterned scrapbook paper if you don't have any origami paper handy. Colored copy paper or free printable origami paper designs would be another option to consider as well.
1. Make a Waterbomb Base
To begin, you will need to create a waterbomb base or balloon base. This is a traditional origami base that is similar to the square base. It is made by folding a square sheet of paper diagonally in both directions and unfolding so the creases form an "X" in the middle of the paper. (You should start with the colored side of the paper face down if your paper is only colored on one side.)
Flip the paper over. Fold the paper in half vertically and unfold. Fold the paper in half horizontally and unfold. Use these creases to collapse the paper into the shape that is shown to the left.
2. Fold the Flaps to the Top
Fold the front flaps to the top as shown in the photo to the left. Flip the paper over, then fold the back flaps to the top. When you're finished, your paper will be in the shape of a small diamond.
3. Fold in the Corners
Fold the right and left corners to the center of the diamond. Flip the paper over. Repeat on the other side.
4. Tuck in the Flaps
Tuck the loose flaps into the folds you just made. Tuck the paper in as far as it will go, then run over the crease with your fingernail to make it lie flat. Repeat this process with all four flaps.
5. Inflate Your Origami Balloon
Gently blow in to the end of the balloon that has a small hole. With a minimal amount of air, you'll get a paper cube. With the balloon fully inflated, you'll have a ball shape.
If you are having trouble inflating your origami balloon, check to make sure that all of your flaps are tucked in fully. If one of the flaps accidentally comes loose, your balloon won't hold the air it needs to inflate into the desired shape.
6. Paper Balloon Origami Project Ideas
Challenge yourself to see how many ways you can come up with to use the origami balloon.
Here are some ideas:
- Make a game for children by tossing small paper balloons into folded paper boxes.
- Fold a balloon from orange paper and decorate it to look like a Halloween pumpkin. (The pumpkin in the photo to the left is made using a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch 24 lb paper from Astrobrights in Cosmic Orange cut into an 8 1/2 inch x 8 1/2 inch square. The face is drawn on with a black Sharpie marker and a green crayon is used for the stem.)
- Decorate a paper balloon to look like a silly monster. Stick a pencil or a wooden dowel through the hole in the balloon and use it to put on a puppet show.
- Stack three progressively smaller balloons and glue them together to make a paper snowman decoration.
- String together several origami balloons to make a garland for a birthday party.
- Use balloons folded from vellum to make covers for a strand of white Christmas lights.