Hot Air Balloon Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

If you have ever been to a fair or festival, you may have seen or even been on a hot air balloon. Hot air balloons are more often found in festivals and other outdoor party events for an obvious reason, they are really neat and entertaining to watch drift through the sky.

About the Hot Air Balloon

The hot air balloon has been around longer than any other human-carrying form of technology, which means they have been around longer than the airplane. In 1783, the first hot air balloon was set off in Paris, France. This balloon was created by the Montgolfier brothers and the ones who participated in getting inside the wicker basket, or the gondola, were two men by the names of Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and his companion Francois Laurent d’Arlandes.

The bag on top of the hot air balloon, the balloon itself, is called an envelope. This envelope is filled with hot air that comes from a flame underneath the opening of the envelope at the bottom.

Hot air balloons are designed so that the envelope is fire resistant, meaning it will not catch on fire so easily. This flame under the envelope heats the air inside the envelope and the air surrounding the flame. Placed below the flame is the wicker basket known as the gondola.

This is where the passengers of the hot air balloon take their ride. When operating this aircraft, the pilot must know a thing or two about temperatures and how those temperatures affect the surrounding areas. This is very crucial for one to know if you operate a hot air balloon, after all, it is not called a hot air balloon for nothing!

Although not every hot air balloon has these, sandbags are another crucial part in the flying of an air balloon. Sandbags are simply just extra weight that can either be inside the gondola with the passengers or hang off the side of the basket. In most cases, the sandbags are placed on the inside.

Having a sandbag on the outside and dropping it from there could be not only dangerous but could make you go a lot higher up than you expected. Many balloon pilots keep the sandbags inside, this way they can choose how much sand they let out of the bag instead of just dropping the entire bag completely. Just a small handful of sand could raise the altitude of the balloon by hundreds of feet. Below are examples of hot air balloon tattoo designs, placement, and ideas.

Soaring Through the Clouds

The hot air balloon concept as a tattoo is not only an amazing and creative idea, it is also very unique and rare to see on a person. Not many people think of hot air balloons on a daily basis, so when we see one in real life up in the sky, we tend to get excited and enthusiastic about how enchanting they look floating so high above the ground. Hot air balloons themselves also have an array of different patterns and designs on the envelope as well. Because it is a big tarp of fire-resistant nylon, painting designs and images on these is very easily done.

The hot air balloon festivals are great for getting different perspectives on art and fun to see all of the creative ideas that have been done. If you want a hot air balloon tattoo, the first thing you should do is pick out a style of hot air balloon. The classic ‘inverted tear drop’ is the style of the envelope. This is one that is most associated with hot air balloons and is easily recognizable.

Once you have your hot air balloon style ready, many people will get an image inside of the envelope, This really brings the balloon to life and even gives it a nice frame for a graphic to be displayed. The image design and pattern you choose can literally be anything you can think of. A kaleidoscope effect is one that is used quite often, a rainbow of colors seen floating through the air on a balloon is eye-popping and pleasing to see.

After you have your idea of the hot air balloon in mind, a nice background to this graphic could be a couple of clouds in the background, This gives the effect of the balloon soaring high in the sky, taking up a miraculous view of the world beneath it. Tattoos such as this are best done in a space where you have enough room to fit it. The upper arm is a good place to consider, having the envelope part of the balloon at the top of your arm, makes the balloon look like it is expanding.

Replacing the Basket

The main feature of the hot air balloon is of course the balloon, or the envelope, itself. This being said, the basket of the hot air balloon does not particularly always have to be there. Instead of the classic, gondola wicker basket, many people decide to go the route of replacing that basket with something else.

Usually whatever it is replacing the basket is something that holds dear to the person or even just something silly that looks like it would be impossible to have lifted in the air by a balloon. The elephant tied to a string that is connected to the hot air balloon is one example. This graphic is neat and has a good sense of humor with it. Other replacements can be symbols such as a heart. Replacing the basket with a symbol such as this can not only make the tattoo more unique, but it give the tattoo much more symbolism and meaning.


The symbolism behind the hot air balloon tattoo can be one that varies from person to person. The image of a balloon floating through the air however gives off a strong sense of freedom of being able to say that you are in control of your life, but you float along with the wind and go with the flow anyway.

This is a great tattoo concept because of the versatility of it. Perhaps you even want a balloon tattoo that not only catches the beauty of the invention but brings in a dark way of looking at it. In this case, a skull in replacement of the envelope itself is an idea. Since the balloon part of the aircraft is already in sort of a rounded, skull-like shape, incorporating this into your piece can be very easily done!

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