Make: Projects

Easy Balloon Blimp

Fun for about a dollar.


Step #1: Up, up, and away!

Easy Balloon Blimp
  • Fit one straw end into the other, overlapping about ΒΌ", and seal with tape.
  • Bend one end of the straw into a "U" shape, using a piece of tape to hold it in place. (Bendy straws work well.) This is the front of your blimp.
  • Trim the business card into a rudder shape and use tape to attach it to the straw end opposite the "U" shape.
  • Fill one balloon with helium and attach with tape to the front of the blimp, toward the "U" shape. Don't let go!
  • Add modeling clay until the blimp slowly starts sinking to the ground.
  • Without ballast, the blimp will continue to rise.

Step #2:

Easy Balloon Blimp
  • Blow up the second balloon with air and slip it onto the shorter end of the "U" shape. Make sure not to let the air out and that the neck of the balloon fits snugly on the straw.
  • Launch gently.
  • After the bottom balloon runs out of air, the clay weight will cause the blimp to sink, so you can grab it and do it again!


This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 03, page 42.

  • snowblinded


  • CFox

    Are you attaching the air-filled balloon to the blimp? We tried putting it on loosely but it just emptied out while hovering and then hit the ground – it did not move forward. We tried taping it as firmly as possible and blowing it up through the end of the straw but it was hard to get enough force to inflate the balloon. Tips?

    • CFox

      OK, we taped the air balloon firmly on and inflated it through the end of the straw (on the rudder side) with a balloon pump. After a few inflations it was easier to inflate without the pump. We had to pinch the end of the balloon to help support the tape seal while we were filling or it would leak. . The kids tended to inhale the air out of the balloon when inflating by straw, so they learned to pinch the straw closed while they took a breath. Hope this helps others!

    • Kyoung’s family (Dad L Eugene, Son : Daniel)

      Did you trim neck of the balloon? With end remained, we couldn’t make it sealed properly.

  • snowblinded

    Hey guys nice project