Farm DIY Recipe Balloons Easy Using Jail Bars Wall Trick In Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Guide)

4 months ago 6 Comments

With two new rounds of seasonal recipes hitting Animal Crossing: New Horizons this month for Winter Snowflakes and Festive Ornaments, it’s the perfect time to explore an incredible new way to get those pesky Balloon Presents containing recipes!

If you’re like myself or most Animal Crossing: New Horizons players, you know what a ridiculous struggle it’s been this year to shoot down enough flying Balloon Presents during each season to get all of the current seasonal recipes.

Since the beginning, there’s been many tips and tricks around involving the timing of balloons spawning about every 5 minutes, plus keeping an eye on the current wind direction and watching the beach.

As helpful as those techniques have been though, it’s typically required some tedious running up and down most of the beach frequently to check for where the Balloon might be.

Thankfully, there is a better way! We’ve been watching a new more complex method emerge lately to efficiently farm and hunt DIY Recipe Balloon Presents that allows you to basically stay still AFK in one single location and wait for the sound of balloons before paying attention.

How The Jail Bar Balloon Trick Works

Have you ever noticed how flying balloons will sometimes divert their path a little when confronted with a large building in their way, like the Museum or Nook’s Cranny? What if you could use this to your advantage to more easily farm DIY Recipe Balloons?

Well, there’s a way to do just that! A very small amount of furniture in Animal Crossing: New Horizons has a tall enough height to cause the same diversion effect, and you can use it to manipulate the Balloons into following a path down right towards you.

Here’s a quick summary below of how the Jail Bar Balloon Farming technique works, but keep reading this guide further on for complete details:

Jail Bar Trick Summary
  1. Craft or get at least 30 or so furniture items with a very tall height, like the Jail Bars or Climbing Wall
  2. Place a vertical wall of these items up and down an entire strip of your island
  3. Balloons will fly into your walls and follow them south
  4. Wait at the bottom of your vertical furniture wall for the sound of balloons and shoot them down

Craft Or Order 30+ Very Tall Furniture Items

There are about 40 furniture items in Animal Crossing: New Horizons with a tall enough height to effect a Balloon’s path in the sky, but most of these items are items like fossils or statues from Redd that aren’t easy to get in mass quantities quickly. Others include items from Wedding Season event, Gulliver, or the ridiculous Robot Hero.

We recommend using either the Jail Bars or Climbing Wall items as they can be both be obtained in large amounts relatively easily compared to the alternatives.

Jail Bars can be obtained from crafting 5 Iron Nuggets if you’ve learned the DIY Recipe. Recommended for those who play in real time, have an immense amount of excess Iron Nuggets in storage, or don’t have the Climbing Wall catalogued.

Climbing Walls can be purchased at Nook’s Cranny and re-ordered from the Nook Shopping Catalog for x Bells. Recommended for those that are willing to time travel (due to daily order limits), have few Iron Nuggets, or don’t own the Jail Bars DIY Recipe.

You’ll need to get at least 30 of each item, or a combination of both, to cover enough vertical space from top to bottom of your island for creating your wall. It takes 150 Iron Nuggets (five stacks) to craft 30 Jail Bars or 129,000 Bells to order 30 Climbing Walls.

Some of the other less preferred furniture options that are tall enough include the Wood-Burning Stove, Hearth, Utility Pole, Lighthouse, Silo, Wind Turbine, Parabolic Antenna, Statue of Liberty, Illuminated Tree, and Rocket.

Build A Vertical Wall Of Items, Usually On A Beach

Once you’ve got all of your extra tall furniture items ready to go, find an area on your island where there is a relatively clear straight path to place items all the way up and down the entirety of your island’s height. How difficult this is will depend on your island’s design, which you may need to modify.

For many players, the best place to pull off this trick will be on one of your two side beaches where you likely have more open space to make room for the items. If you can’t manage a perfectly straight line though, that’s OK — it’ll just take extra items to fill space horizontally before continuing downwards more.

When you think you’ve scouted a decent location, it’s time to start placing down your items vertically to build a massive wall covering the entire height of your island from top to bottom. It’s best if you can contain all of this on a single low level, but if not, be sure to place walls up on your cliffs too.

To save on required items and materials, try and place your items so that there is one half-tile of space between each piece of furniture. This will still prevent Balloons from passing through the barrier, while conserving your resources slightly. If there’s a full tile of space between an item that you can walk through, then the Balloons can pass as well breaking the wall.

Speaking of, you may want to intentionally shift your barrier slightly to the side at one point to allow for placing a sneaky hole that you can pass through diagonally — see the clip above to see how it works. This will allow you a shortcut for getting around your wall without going all the way around.

UPDATE: Some readers have reported that these diagonal shortcut holes can cause balloons to sneak through during certain wind conditions — so take care in watching the balloons carefully if you do this. It may be better not to use them after all.

Keep building your Balloon wall by continuing to place items to from a barrier until you reach nearly to the bottom of your island where you should leave a little space. That’s where you’ll be waiting to shoot down your Balloons after they take the long path south alongside the furniture walls.

Wait At The Bottom Of Your Wall For Balloons To Shoot

When you’ve finished building your wall of tall furniture items, you’ll likely want to run a test or two first to ensure it’s working correctly before committing to farming Balloons using this trick. Just look for a Balloon, and tediously track it without popping all the way until it collides with your wall, and hopefully follows it southward until reaching the end.

Once you’ve confirmed the wall is fully functioning, it’s time to just hang out at the end area with your slingshot and patiently wait for flying Balloon Presents heading your way — hopefully containing a seasonal DIY Recipe! As a reminder, a Balloon has a chance of spawning every 5 minutes, but not always.

Still At The Mercy Of Drop Rates

Unfortunately, there’s still no way to control what drops inside each Balloon Present you shoot down, and the drop rate for seasonal DIY Recipes remains quite low around 15%. So even with this handy trick, it’s still going to take plenty of time to get all of the recipes you’re looking for.

The good news is that this wall method makes it completely painless with almost zero active effect on your part. Just hang out at the bottom of your barrier, crank up the Nintendo Switch or TV volume so you can listen for the balloon wind sounds, and fire your slingshot when you spot one. It’s easy to multitask!

Seasonal DIY Recipe Lists

Now that you’ve got a handle on how to easily farm Balloon Presents, check out our guides below covering the full recipe lists for every type of seasonal DIY item in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

RELATED: How To Build A Perfect Snowman (Snowboy) Every Time

General DIY Recipe Balloon Hunting Tips

Just in case you’re not already familiar, there are a few basic tips to know about when hunting for flying Balloon Presents in the sky. These mostly apply whether using the wall trick or not.

New Balloons can spawn every 5 minutes at times ending in a ‘4’ or ‘9’. For example, a balloon could appear at 4:19pm or 4:24pm. By the time it actually reaches your beach though, the time will likely be closer to 4:20pm or 4:45pm.

A Balloon won’t always spawn on these minutes — it’s a random chance as to whether one will actually appear every time. Expect some spawn times to be duds with nothing to see.

The wind direction that Balloons fly in from changes throughout the day. Once you spot the direction that one Balloon flies into your island from, you can expect all Balloons to come from that side for quite some time. Then around 6pm-7pm in the evening, the direction will flip to the opposite.

Turn up your volume and listen carefully. When a Balloon is flying nearby you, a relatively obvious wind sound plays to let you know. This is great when multitasking.


We hope this guide is helpful in your seasonal DIY Recipe hunting adventures! If you have any suggestions on how we can improve it, please let us know in the comments below.

Stay tuned to Animal Crossing World for everything on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, including our extensive Guides section here. In particular, don’t miss out on our popular Winter Snowflake Recipes, How To Build Perfect Snowboy, Christmas Toy SetChristmas Ornament Recipes, Thanksgiving EventRedd Art, and Sea Creatures guides.

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