funny that you are trying to make a hot air balloon as well, I have tried a couple of things and on my third, I think this time it should work. I tried the paper mache idea, it was my 1st thought, but when the gum paste is wet it is too heavy for the balloon to hold up making it difficult to cover, so on to next idea....I took the gum paste and formed it over a 1/2 ball pan and thought if I attach pcs to it to form the sides but again no go. My next attempt is to use the ball pan but inverted, form the gum paste inside and then put a balloon in and work it up the sides....I figure if I put shortening on the balloon hopefully the gum paste will stick and once dried pop the balloon and attach 3 to 4 dowel on the inside with royal icing. Once that is dry I'll turn it out of the pan and prop it in styrofoam to decorate. As for the basket, I am making a 3"x3" inch cake and frosting it with a basket weave design and then push the dowels into it at the delivery sight. I'm praying this works as I'm making this a topper for my daughter's wedding shower since her finance proposed on a hot air balloon. Let me know if this works out for you.