I accidentally discovered the most incredible toy on earth…Balloon Balls! How did this happen? The way that accidents do, of course! My son has a class gift exchange and he drew his best friend. Lucky, huh? I always picked the boy who threw rocks at me a recess! I generally wouldn’t be the one buying/preparing this gift…hubs would have to pick something up, ’cause it’s technically a secret santa swap (the whole not doing Christmas anymore thing rules out my participation), but this time….being I know this kid…he’s spent the night…he’s a big part of my son’s life…I decided I would include him in our family celebration if I thought he’d be around so giving him a gift isn’t outside the realm of my un-Christmas world. Who am I trying to convince? Anyway, my husband would’ve come up with another pack of hot wheels like he does every year and I wanted him to have something cool since it would be from his buddy. You know they’ll tell each other who they have!!!
So I was looking for DIY science kits on Pinterest. There’s not much you’re going to buy for $5 and I thought a fourth grader might like to do things like that. That’s when “DIY gifts for under $10” came up. I clicked, not knowing what earth shattering, idea quaking, gift giving bliss was about to erupt. The idea is so simple!! I went back to Pinterest thinking I might find the original owner of this wonder of simplicity, but I can’t find the master. If you do, let me know! I would be glad to give credit where it’s do!
All I know is once I dusted off that sewing machine (it was yucky) I was in creative heaven. Part of my soul woke up and I can for sure promise you now that people do in fact go through withdrawals over crazy things…like sewing! I just totally got an easy “fix” for my problem!!!
It was only midnight, all the kids were asleep, I hadn’t folded those clothes piled in the living room floor before now so why not get started? First I needed to find a pattern. What I settled on was in German, but there are only two pattern pieces so you can’t get confused. The only thing is that the pattern was created to fit on a sheet of paper, so the ball doesn’t turn out huge. My kids were all happy with the size. I, on the other hand, want it bigger (like how big we would blow the balloon up independent from the cover). I’m going to work on making my own pattern soon! My husband seemed interested, so with his help, I’m shooting for super giant ones!!
Choose your fabric! This was so much fun! I’m totally calling this a stash buster! You can do all the same type fabric, all different, half and half…whatever!! For my starter I chose camo for the body and black for the top and bottom. This was supposed to be for the gift. My daughter was the first up the next morning and immediately wanted one of her own. She got two sides with top and bottom the same. My youngest and my oldest were both in line for theirs before hers was finished. My youngest got every other panel the same. My oldest had been waiting awhile so I told him he could have the one that was finished and then could help me pick fabric for his friend. He picked red and camo for his friend since green and red are his favorite colors, but I wasn’t sure red really went with camo (you would generally use orange) so I embroidered his name in red on the two panels of camo and the rest is red. Wouldn’t you know they all want their names on them now! Don’t worry…if you don’t do it for anybody then they will all love it just as much as mine did to start with!
Cut out your patterns pieces. Cut six of the large and three of the small pieces.
Sew the large panels together. Easy peasy. I tried to start and stop with a seam allowance left at both ends of the fabric (just to help the top and bottom line up easier) but then I had to back-stitch everywhere and was worried I would be a bit shy and end up with tiny openings. So technically, sew the side seam, stopping and back-stitching at each end with a seam allowance remaining. I just ended up running the stitch the entire length. For my seam I used the width of my presser foot. Just make sure you stay consistent. A quarter-inch didn’t seam sturdy enough for me, and a didn’t have a way to gauge it the same as the pattern seam. . However you do it, keep putting right sides together, adding another section until you’re out then forming a tube by sewing the first piece to the last. This is your “balloon body.”
Create your opening. I did this three different ways, and settled on the third, so that’s what I’ll share.
Make sure your connecting stitches are narrower than your final seam allowance, so the stitches don’t show.
Sew your ends to your balloon body. Make sure that you place right sides together (the right side of your bottom and the right side of you body).
Work on one side at a time. Flatten the seams of the body outward, then gently tug up on the piece next to it. It should pull up at an angle, removing any fabric from your stitching area that could get caught under. Line up your bottom piece and pin in place. The first piece lays correctly the easiest. Sew with your body on top and just touch your seam seams. DO NOT GO PAST THEM OR YOU WILL HAVE A PUCKER THERE! Back stitch at the start and stopping points. Be careful here…my machine jumps forward one stitch at the start of a back-stitch, so I had to stop one stitch shy of my side seam. Move on to the next section. this time only one side will pull out of the way easily. Use a pin on the outside of you side seam to keep all the other fabric out of the way, and continue with all sides. It will be easier if you stopped on your side seams ‘a seams width’ shy of the ends. If you didn’t just fiddle with it a little. If you happen to catch some of the other fabric then who’s going to care but you?
Flip it over and do the other end.
Trim all the thread if you haven’t done that yet.
Turn your balloon cover right side out using the opening you created!!!
Tuck the end of the balloon inside the flaps to be sure if a baby is playing with it that none of the rubber pieces will be accessible if the balloon happens to break.
Now just sit back and watch them play!
It dribbles like a basketball, volleys like a volleyball, hits your brother like a balloon and bounces off a wall without a sound!! If it busts (the only one we had broken was because my daughter wanted to see if a sewing pin would pop it…it does…) you just fish out the broken pieces and put in a new balloon! We used 9″ balloons, but they didn’t fill to capacity.
While I was making these I was enjoying the aroma of a cinnamon turds (tutorial coming soon…well technically for cinnamon dough) and “what,” you ask, were my children doing?
What is the worst thing your kids have done while you were busy? Was it worth it?