What Are the Different Types of Hot Air Balloon Designs?

Lori Kilchermann

Winged cows, space shuttles and giant turtles are just a few of the many hot air balloon designs adorning the skies. Designs frequently feature mascots or logos and are often used to promote movies, products and events. While the most common hot air balloon shape is the basic inverted teardrop shape, others are made in more exotic shapes such as newspapers, forklifts and frogs.

Early airships, including the Montgolfiere, one of the first hot air balloons.
Early airships, including the Montgolfiere, one of the first hot air balloons.

Bulldogs, beagles and bunnies are all types of hot air balloon designs. To promote its batteries, the Energizer® bunny with his drum has been featured as a hot air balloon. The child toy product, Mr. Potato Head®, also is a hot air balloon, as is Mr. Peanut®. Another common icon balloon is Snoopy.

The basic hot air balloon shape is an inverted teardrop, but the balloons still are often quite colorful.
The basic hot air balloon shape is an inverted teardrop, but the balloons still are often quite colorful.

Movie characters are common designs. Characters such as Shrek, Horton and Kermit the Frog have balloons modeled after them. Hot air balloons are also designed as Thomas the Train and Humpty Dumpty. Several Disney® characters and themes are depicted in hot air balloons, including Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse and Epcot’s Spaceship Earth icon. Other character-shaped hot air balloons include a knight and bagpiper.

Many hot air balloon designs are aeronautical in nature, including balloons resembling space shuttles, blimps and airplanes. Some transportation-based designs include a pirate ship, motorcycle and steam engine. There's even a hot air balloon shaped like a forklift. Some hot air balloons are sport-themed and resemble soccer balls, basketballs and footballs.

Hot air balloons can also take on bird shapes, such as owls, chicks and parrots. Animals are also common hot air balloon shapes, including pandas, polar bears and cows. Some hot air balloons feature more unique designs, such as birthday cakes, a barnyard, or Jesus floating on a cloud. There's even a hot air balloon shaped like a Jack 'o lantern.

Some hot air balloon designs are shaped like actual consumer products, including golf balls and soda and beer bottles. Vehicle-shaped balloons are used to advertise businesses, such as trucks and cars. Other promotional shapes include a coffee mug from Nescafe® and a Ronald McDonald balloon from McDonald's® restaurant. Ball Park® even has a hot air balloon shaped like a hotdog in a bun.

Grapefruits, strawberries and bananas have designs modeled after them. For Star Wars movie fans, there's even a hot air balloon designed to look like Darth Vader's helmet. A fairytale-based balloon is a giant shoe, which is based on "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe."

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


My friends and I tried to make a homemade hot air balloon when we were in high school. We actually took it pretty seriously. We pooled our money and bought about $200 worth of materials and we got a book that said it could show you exactly how to make one yourself.

We tinkered with it for weeks but honestly, we did not get anywhere close to getting that thing off the ground. The balloon had problems, the hot air generator had problems, the basket had problems. I think even if we had made it float no one would have had the courage to float up in the air in that balloon of death.


Is there a size limit to a hot air balloon? I guess what I am wondering is if they could make one that is really really massive, and then attach a basket at the bottom that would hold 100 or more people. Maybe this already exists and they call it a blimp.

I guess the issue would be that if a balloon was too huge there would be no way to generate enough hot air and actually float the whole thing.


I recently saw a hot air balloon that was shaped like Snoopy the dog from Peanuts. I was completely charmed by it. I have always loved Snoopy and who would have thought they could make a giant balloon that looked so much like him?

I saw it at a hot air balloon festival they had here in one of the big parks. There were dozens and dozens of different balloons, many of them just as creative as the Snoopy one. It is amazing what they can do with these balloon these days.

Post your comments
Forgot password?