This shop featuring my hot air balloon centerpiece has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BirthdaysMadeBrighter #CollectiveBias

Blowing out candles on the huge cake

It’s birthday-palooza around here right now. Monday was my husband’s birthday, Tuesday was my daughter’s, and today is my dad’s birthday. And yes, we celebrate all of them. Every year, we make sure no one feels left out by letting the birthday boy or girl choose dinner and cake that I make. It’s tradition, and it’s fun.

This year, the three decided they were willing to share a huge chocolate cake so we didn’t end up with leftover cake each night for once. I still wanted to ensure this birthday week remained as special for each of them as it always had. I decided to create something special for each of them. The centerpiece I made to hold my daughter’s cards is my absolute favorite.

How to make a paper mache hot air balloon centerpiece with emoji face

As much as she ends up with a pile of gifts every year, she now receives more and more cards with gift cards inside. This past Christmas, we know at least one gift card disappeared, and we assume someone accidentally threw it away with the wrappings and trappings. Little Miss was crushed – and I don’t blame her.

This adorable hot air balloon centerpiece doesn’t just look cute, but it’s the perfect place to pop all her new gift cards as she receives them. We learned we can’t put them into the card or back into an envelope, and no one wants a repeat of that oops. Plus, it looks great as a backdrop to the American Greetings cards we picked out for her in addition to being a fun party centerpiece.

DIY hot air balloon centerpiece

Needless to say, she loves her hot air balloon centerpiece. She knows I made it look like an emoji just for her She loves emojis and has for years, which may help explain the emoji pillow, emoji shirts, emoji pj pants, emoji slippers, and more she received!

This helped make her birthday special and separate it from my husband’s and my father’s birthdays. We also use cards to make birthdays special. I trooped on over to Meijer to pick up cards from my husband, son, and I to give to her in addition to all the materials I need to make the hot air balloon centerpiece. I love that American Greetings has cards to fit any personality – even the “she’s turning 12” with all sorts of facts that’s right up her alley. Meijer has the perfect card for every child’s birthday from birth on up, both general cards and licensed characters.

Perfect American Greeting birthday cards for a 12 year old

I even stored her loose cards in the hot air balloon centerpiece before she opened them.

Hot air balloon card holder for emoji birthday party tutorial

While I could have made this hot air balloon centerpiece with a paper lantern, once I heard Little Miss had never heard of paper mache, let alone done it, you know what I had to do. You can’t go through live without experiencing the fun of paper mache at least once. This turned into a perfect project to complete together. We had a blast, and everything from the gift bag we used as a base to the yellow tissue paper for the head to the ribbon and wrapping paper we used for bunting came from Meijer. American Greetings has everything you need for a kids’ birthday party, whether you plan to wrap presents traditionally or craft instead!

American Greetings products at Meijer

And the cards? She loved them. She still quotes facts from her “Hey, 12 Year Old” card like the fact that she’s spent about 5,850 hours in school or she’s slept for almost four years. I love when we pick just the right card, and she does, too!

Enjoying the perfect birthday card

Have a birthday coming up? You’ll definitely want to check out these great ideas!

Make Your Own Hot Air Balloon Centerpiece

What You’ll Need:

Materials for DIY hot air balloon centerpiece

How to Create It

Blow up your balloon and tie it off. In a bowl, mix together 3 parts glue and one part water until smooth.

Cut tissue paper into small squares. I find it easiest to leave it folded and cut across each fold then cut those lengths in half again to make long strips about an inch and a half wide. Cut each of those strips every couple inches, and feel free to do all the strips at once.

Work in sections on your balloon. Add a thin layer of glue, then lay squares of tissue paper over the glue. Be sure to overlap them. I’ll be honest. I find it easiest to dip my finger into the glue and use my finger to smooth a light layer of glue over the tissue paper to ensure it fully adheres to the balloon. Cover all but the very bottom of the balloon with tissue paper.

Use two skewers to carefully poke through the tied off end of your balloon. This becomes a support to hang your balloon to dry. I hung mine from the corner of my deck (weighted with towels we had drying) and from the door of my entertainment center. Let dry thoroughly, then repeat this process twice.

Use skewers to help hold up balloon as paper mache dries

Once your balloon has a thick enough layer and feels secure and has dried enough to be stiff, use the scissors to carefully cut off the tied off end. Once the balloon deflates, pull it out from the paper mache shell. Use your scissors to cut a smooth opening for the bottom of your hot air balloon.

Open your gift bag. Determine how tall you want your basket to be. I chose to make mine about four inches tall. Carefully trim the bag to that height, but save the trimmings!

Glue (or tape) your skewers to the inside of the four corners of your bag, pointy side down. Place the yellow balloon on the inside of the skewers. Make sure to gently separate them so they rest about a third of the way up the balloon. Glue into place.

DIY hot air balloon centerpiece partially assembled

Cut the black ribbon long enough to droop like a bunting around the balloon at the height where the skewers end. Choose whether you want to have the ribbon droop four times or eight.  Glue ribbon into place. Unroll the wrapping paper enough to cut small triangles to attach to the ribbon and glue.

Add bunting to papier mache hot air balloon

Decide what face to make your balloon. Cut out the appropriate shapes from the trimmings you cut from the top of the black gift bag. Glue to the balloon, and you’re done.

Now, just add your favorite cards, and you are set with a gorgeous hot air balloon centerpiece perfect for your child’s next birthday party!

How to make a paper mache hot air balloon centerpiece with emoji face

Have you ever made a hot air balloon centerpiece? What’s your special trick?

Don’t forget to check out more ideas for your next party, and you are sure to find something fun!

Make this fun paper mache DIY hot air balloon centerpiece for your next emoji kids birthday party. This tutorial shows you how to make this emoji hot air balloon for a fun centerpiece or to hold cards so they don't get lost.

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