We made hot air balloon banners! We think they make pretty garden flags or fun party decorations…
This hot air balloon art project provided lots of sewing practice and a chance to talk about analogous and complementary colors. My goal was to help the bigger kids become more independent with the sewing machine and to teach them how to choose colors and fabrics that look pleasing together.
First, we made this fabric color wheel with fabric scraps and talked about the color relationships.
The kids had lots of fun sorting through my scrap bins and finding rainbow colors to complete the wheel. I kept hearing things like: “I have this shirt!” “This is my doll dress!” “Look, this is in my blanket!” And after, the room looked like this…
We decided to make our hot air balloons in fabric with analogous colors. They each chose their fabrics and we cut strips and arranged them in order, like this.
My children have grown up watching me sew and were excited to have a chance to try it themselves. They have had extensive lessons on safety around sewing equipment, which I highly recommend covering if you plan to let your children sew! The 8 and 6 year olds did most of their own sewing with help from me if they went off track. They also learned how to line up their fabric with right sides together, so that the front looked nice and neat.
My 4 year old sat on my lap while I sewed his. He now believes that he is the “fastest sewer ever” and “super fast.” I refused to let the big kids ruin his fun by telling him that I actually did all of the sewing.
I pressed the seams for them, we traced a hot air ballon shape onto the fabric, and cut them out.
This was the result of an afternoon of sewing. (Check out the gradient piecing on the brown one! He learned something and used it…)We finished the banners on a separate day. I used 12×18 pieces of canvas drop cloth for the banner backgrounds, which I prepped by hemming the edges and making a 1 in pocket (like in a curtain panel) at the top.
The older children sewed their hot air balloons to their banners by using a wide zig-zag stitch around the edge. We used old jean pockets for baskets. Here are the finished banners (in age order, starting with my example):
Overall, this was very successful. Even the preschoolers understood the color concepts. The older children were able to practice sewing straight lines without worrying about seam allowances and perfect edges. I love how they all chose fabrics that really allow their personalities to shine through, and they are all very proud of their work!