How to Build a Balloon-Powered Car from Household Items


Balloon-powered car is a fun craft project that suitable for all ages. Carrying out such innovative inventions and interesting experiments with children at home during the period of movement control order can enrich and inspires their thinking mind. Furthermore, scientific activities derived from a variety of scientific concepts, principles, or theories can broaden and expand their horizons. It’s also a great lesson for children in recycling and how to re-purpose waste items into fun toys. Let us get into our topics now!

Various elements are needed to be prepared to erect a balloon-powered car. In particular, a plastic bottle, four plastic bottle caps, a wooden skewer, two straws, a balloon, a roll of tape plus a sharp knife, or scissors.

To begin with, cut a rectangle out of cardboard with a pair of scissors or a craft blade cautiously. Then, decorate the cardboard with paint or cover it with bright tape to make it look attractive and vivid. Later, cut a straw into two pieces, but do not include the bendy part of the straw since only the smooth and straight part able to hold the wheels and axles in place. 

Next, tape the straws to the cardboard and lay the straws across the cardboard’s width, ½-inch from each narrow end. Make sure the straws are straight and parallel to the ends of the cardboard. After that, secure the straws to the cardboard with tape and use duct tape to ensure the straws do not wiggle loose and cover the entire length of each straw.

Afterward, cut the pointy ends off of the wooden skewer first. Subsequently, cut each wooden skewer down to 4 inches to compose the axles for the car’s wheels. Succeeded, slide the skewers into the straws. Ensure that the skewers sticking out of each end, the wheels will go onto the skewers next and this will allow the axles to rotate freely and smoothly inside the straws and allow your car to move swiftly.

Obtain the wheels using bottle caps to trace four circles onto a sheet of cardboard. Then, cut the circles out make use of scissors or a craft blade. You can also use bottle caps instead of paper cardboard. The following, make a hole in the center of each wheel to attach the wheels to the skewers. Slide the wheels onto the ends of the skewers sparingly. If the wheels are loose, then place a drop of glue or clay on the end of the skewers. If you are using bottle caps, you will need to punch the hole by applying a nail and hammer. 

After that, attached a straw into a balloon and wrap tapes in a tight spiral around the end. Extend the tape over the edge so that it covers part of the straw and seal airtightly. Consequently, tape and place securely the straw and balloon on top, each facing a narrow end. The balloon should be resting on top of the cardboard with the straw hanging over one of the ends.

Now, the procedure for a balloon-powered car is near completion, but the car is still stationary. Therefore, you need to blow some air into the balloon through the straw, squeeze the straw, place the car on a smooth and flat surface, and then let go of the straw. The car is then working and moving speedily.

The concept behind the balloon-powered car is simple and easy. When we inflate the balloon, set the racer down, and let it go, the escaping air from the balloon rushes out of the straw. As Newton’s Third Law of Motion stated that every action force, there is an acting equal but opposite direction of reaction force in between the object. As such circumstances, the air that rushes backward out of the balloon will push the racer forward in the opposite direction with an equivalent force in contrast state of rest. As a result, the balloon car changes its state of motion and move actively.

By How Mo Chang , 16 Years, Malaysia


  1. A simple and textful explanation about balloon powered car.
    It conveys a message that we can learn science throughy daily life and we apply the concepts in daily life as well.

  2. What a creative invention! I am so excited to see this balloon-power car because it was built by using the concept of Newton third law of motion.


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