Picture of Coffee cup sphere lamp
I've had this idea for a long time and when I read about the Coffee cup challenge thought this would be the time to let this idea become reality: The coffee cup sphere lamp!
I must admit it isn't completely original. I just saw the same idea posted in another Instructable here, and I can remember seeing something similar in a windowshop as decoration but hey...those aren´t my story, so let get to work!

Step 1: The ingredients

Picture of The ingredients
IMG_2174 (Small).JPG
So start drinking a lot of coffee, especially the bad tasting stuff at your work or school. Save the cups.
Ehmm...to be honest...I did not had the time to wait until I had collected about 300 necessary cups so I went to my local supermarket and bought them. (however I drink way to much coffee, in such quantities that there was a time it was my main source of inspirations as you can see on my website)
I rather would have had paper cups but they only had plastic ones, so I sticked with those.
Besides that Instead of using glue I picked up my stapler and ( a lot of) staples.
Further more you'll need electric wire with an attached socket, an energy-efficient lamp (with normal lamps I'm afraid the heat will meld the plastic), some (3 or more) pinbolds, a  big washer and some small ones.

Let me list that;
-300+ cups
-a stapler with staples
-electric wire with socket
-energy-efficient lamp
-big washer
-small washers
-a heatsource (a lighter or something like that)
-A sharp metal pen (for instance a scriber) with the thickness of the wire

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I love this. What's really incredible is how perfectly round it is!

Dave A (author)  sparkleball_lady6 months ago
Thanx. Honoustly I have to admit that the picture shows it a bit rounder than it really was..but it was pretty round.
gaazzaazz9 months ago

I like it a lot! Thanks

There's a street food seller here in Lampang Thailand that uses all kinds of funky objects to make his stall interesting. Most recently SPOONS - the little ones that come with yoghurt. Also Thai people can be creative with cut and bent ANYTHING - I have seen fish shaped lamps that on closer inspection revealed their parents to be 2 L milk bottles.

Has anyone used ping pong balls to make such a lamp - They would glow nicely.

e-beth9 months ago
As a child of an architect in the 70s, I had all kinds of different projects like this around our house. My bedroom had a light fixture made of the old foam cups. It wasn't a sphere, it was more of a concave honeycomb. I think my dad didn't use the whole angle of the cup and only glued the rims to each other to achieve that. It had the added bonus of being large enough to cover the cracks in the old ceiling around the light socket.
So I guess you could say I looked at a coffee cup project every day of my life for 7 years until we could finally move into a house my dad designed himself.
jack20012 years ago
the french coffee cup lamp
Merci !!!
Dave A (author)  jack20012 years ago
You're welcome. Very nice result, Salut!
Thanks for inspirate my 13 year old students of CES SAN JOSE in Malaga (Spain)! They say: Come on "Dave A" light my classroom!!
coffee cup lamp.jpg
Dave A (author)  chuchomalaga2 years ago
Haha, I took a closer look and read "Reciclado", that happens to be my capoeira nickname which I practice.
Dave A (author)  chuchomalaga2 years ago
Thank you, you made my day! I hope to inspire my own 13 year old students daily, but it's great to hear I even inspired Spanish younsters!
This is great, But... How to clean the dust from this thing?!
Dave A (author)  BookyLACaUSA2 years ago
Marry a good housewive..
great point...
Dave A (author) 2 years ago
Strange...a part of the above comment didn't get through. Well to be honoust, I don't know. The lamp isn't in use anymore, it was a bit to bulky.
djhandwal3 years ago
i really liked the idea and made one for diwali myself....this is how it looks.....its not really round as such ....but it turned out beautiful..:)
I just made it a regular ball and people kept on telling me to cut a hole in the top and put a lamp in the middle. Problem? I'm too damn lazy haha
gzech4 years ago
How many cups did you use? 300?
dklepper4 years ago
WOW! Thanks for sharing!!!
Dr.Bill4 years ago
And so if we use Clear plastic cups with Christmas lights poked through the bottom of each cup, we end up with a sparkle ball that can be hung from the trees outside.

I like the design.
A single cup in the middle surrounded by six for a total of seven.

I have seen this done on another 'ible but the resulting sphere looked kind of sloppy which is ok for the application. I like smooth and round with no gaps.
The clear cups allow light to be transmitted through the 'Light Pipe' like plastic the cups are made of. Marching lights make it sparkle up high in an outside tree hanging from an unseen branch from a string.

Thank you for your design. It will make a far nicer sparkle ball I think.
I will post an instructable..............
I love it! I feel like a kid a Christmas during the 80's with this kind of stuff. :) I'm making two to go on the set of my film project. Thanks! I like this also because like the others were saying, there is so much room to customize it and get really creative!
Judith7564 years ago
My father made these in the 80's. If you take a drill and make a hole in the bottoms of the cups, the twinkle lights fit right in the holes. They make great hanging lights for parties or decorations too.
bluenebe5 years ago
It looks wonderful. Great idea!!!
azopper5 years ago
cool stuff ! , i made one for few days
kylek5 years ago
it would look really cool if you put different colors in the bottoms of each cup some how. maybe like plastic disks or even clear cups painted with semi translucent paint.
katzpawz5 years ago
I've seen these made up with multi-colored "twinkle" lights for holiday use. No matter how they're set up, they look rich and happy!
dinkin5 years ago
When I presented this project to my uncle, who works with spherical objects a lot, he asked me how I solved the problem of the bulb burning out. Having not quite read to the end of this ible, I was stumped. So what I did was drill a hole in a 1"x2" board and ran my cord through that. Slid the board into the sphere and now the whole thing is supported, hung and will be used in a movie that my sister and I are making. Thanks for the idea. I'm very pleased with my light.
jerryang5 years ago
I made mine with tiny cup.
As per request, I put it on for a try before I finish the whole thing.
 Awesome pic!! You made our day a lot happier!! :D

The ultimate end.

kcls5 years ago
Uh-Oh... I won't tell anyone, but, these are plastic cups. Only paper cups are allowed in the contest.
Dave A (author)  kcls5 years ago

But my plan, as I mentioned,  originaly included paper cups, however those where not available at my local shop. I had spring-holiday last week so I couldn't collect paper cups at my work (I'm a teacher so there is a LOT of coffee drinking going on there!). But tomorrow I have to get back to work so I'm thinking about do one with paper cups. The bigger (American) ones would be cool but we only have the small ones there.
Just don't drink your coffee from those plastic cups! Yuck!
I've also seen this done with polystyrene cups - which are horrific on all levels, including to touch, drink from, listen to, and to contemplate the environmental horror...

I'm thinking of making one of these from thimble-sized cups!
kcls Dave A5 years ago
Oh. You did a great job anyway, though! I especially like the front picture.
AkKrock5 years ago
Nice and useful. =)
AT5 years ago
That is very cool looking!  Seems to be an easy project.  If you could get some colored cups, there could be some extra designs added to this.  AND if you had LED's for light source, you could have the light source color change.  To complicate it even further, use a string of holiday lights and put one through the bottom of each cup!  Ooooo! I think I have a project for the holidays.
Dave A (author)  AT5 years ago
Haha, well, I wanted something for my living-room, not a disco-light!
AT Dave A5 years ago
Hmmm, disco-lights......  Maybe I could find some plastic sliver cups and but the bottoms off, then put a multicolored light source in it, have it spin and have a party ball light!  Great idea you had.
Oreh1085 years ago
 So quick question. After all is said and done, how do you replace the light bulb?
Dave A (author)  Oreh1085 years ago
As you could read beneath in another question, thats why I used pinbolds, so the cup with the lamp is easily removed.
coolboy455 years ago
do you think this could be fitted onto a normal table lamp?
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