Introduction: LED Bubble Balls

Picture of LED Bubble Balls
I used to ship a lot of computer equipment for my work. We would end up with a lot of small pieces of bubble wrap that weren't good for very much. One time, I wrapped a piece up in a tight ball with some packing tape and the Bubble Ball was born.

Soon, we realized that it's an excellent office toy. It's about the weight of a Wiffleball, but it's the size of a softball so it can't be thrown very hard. It's made of bubble wrap so its very soft and unlikely to hurt anyone. The irregular surface of the ball makes it curve an incredible amount. We found ourselves tossing them around or bouncing them off each others' heads all the time.

My daughters won some junky LED necklaces at the town carnival. The squishy covers on the necklaces tore off within 10 minutes, but I kept the LEDs from inside so I could reuse them. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce the Bubble Ball to the world.


Step 1: Flashing LEDs

Picture of Flashing LEDs

My daughters won these flashing necklaces at the town carnival. Before they went on another ride they had torn the covers off them. I held onto them because they were really bright and the mechanism still worked fine. I decided to put them inside an office toy I invented called the Bubble Ball and see how they worked.

To make a bubble ball, all you need is 1 square foot of bubble wrap and some light weight packing tape.

Step 2: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Its pretty simple to put one of these together and it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes or so.

Take a 12" x 12" piece of bubble wrap, lay it bubble side up, and fold the corners into the center. Tape the corners together so you have a double layer of bubbles with the seams all on the upper side. If you do it right, the pillow should still be roughly a square. If you have some, place your LEDs in the center of the pillow and fold the sides up around it. Lay out some packing tape, sticky side up on the table. Roll the bubble pack down the tape on its side so the LEDs sit in a pocket of bubbles. Lay out some more tape and continue wrapping different sections with tape, being careful not to cover the hole where the LEDs are. This hole is the only way to turn the LEDs on or off.

I like to use light weight packing tape because they can get heavy and they don't curve as much when they are too heavy. I try to cover every bit of the outside with just one layer of tape. This reinforces the surface and makes them last longer (otherwise the bubbles pop). After each tight wrapping of the tape, another bulge will appear somewhere else. This is ok, just wrap it again and cover this new bulge. You can't make them perfectly round and they wouldn't curve well if you did. The lumpiness of the surface is what makes it fun.

Step 3: Finished Product

Picture of Finished Product
My kids loved these things. We kick and throw them around, even inside the house. They are so soft and light, they are unlikely to break anything. They might even be fun to play a night game of Wiffleball with.


Comments

bajablue (author)2011-07-11

What a FUN idea! Good Luck to you!!!!

tdew (author)2011-07-04

That looks like a fun toy and easy to make too. Thanks

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