Picture of How To: Ping Pong Ball Lights
At some point last semester I realized that ping pong balls make great diffusers and look really cool when they are glowing. Next we concluded that a hundred glowing ping pong balls would look even cooler. It was at about this point I decided that my apartment was in dire need of some ping pong ball lights.

In this instructable I'll show you a quick way to turn an ordinary string of Christmas lights into a great party decoration.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials
For this Instructable you'll need a few things.

  • A string of Christmas lights
  • A ping pong ball for each light on the string

  • Drill and drill bit (or other implement to make a hole in a ping pong ball)
  • Hot glue and glue gun

When researching this project I found that you can get a gross(144) of ping pong balls for under $20 including shipping on eBay.

Make sure the string of lights you use is in good condition. Check for any electrical shorts or overheating bulbs before starting.
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 Sweet, the prices are going down.  I thought $25 was a little ludicrous for christmas lights.  And I absolutely know what you mean about the blinking functions.
HeidiJJJJ5 years ago
Use add random google eyes and use as a Halloween decoration.
aksaks5 years ago
Thanks for the wonderful idea.
I got 'my balls' from a Dollar store (he he he), 6 for a buck, used a power drill and selected a drill bit size such that I did not need any hot glue at all, just some twisting of the ball to push the bulb into the hole (lots of squeaking noise though). I used regular (colored) Christmas serial lights (incandescent).

Initially I was concerned about over heating and a potential fire hazard, so tested couple of them while gradually increasing the time they were on; nothing adverse happened. Now I leave them on for about 5 hrs. I use them in the patio so I am not overly concerned of a fire hazard. Also mine stays exposed to direct sunlight during day time.
PS: The seams on the ping pong balls give it an exotic look or are distracting depending on the 'eyes of the beholder'. I purposefully randomized the seams while I was drilling holes.

Since there is a great variation in the lights, ping pong balls, duration of use and location, I recommend each user to test it before leaving it on for long periods. Its better to be safe than sorry.
Great idea. Creative, cheap and easy.
thalden5 years ago
Just did this. I salvaged a fully-functional 35 light string, which worked out nicely for buying a 36-pack of balls.
I reduced the risk of fire by aiming a fan at the light string. Since cellulose isn't a great insulator, this keeps the lights themselves cool as well. It also induces a swaying motion that can be quite hypnotic, in addition to making a nice sound if hung on a wall.

Remember, though: Christmas lights shouldn't be left running for long periods of time, or unattended, regardless of any modifications you may have made.
Ev thalden5 years ago
Get LED lights. Use a fraction of the old, hot incandescent bulbs, evenin the small size.
I use a string of LED holiday lights as a night light in my store room.They use so little power I never turn them off!
Ev5 years ago
Great idea. The "matte" finish makes them less twinkly holidaylike.

How about the seamless balls sold on e-bay? I'll try and report back.

I bought a bunch of LED holiday lights over the last few yearsafter Christmas, they're discounted 50% or more!
instead of putting the balls on the bulb you should put them on the plastic part of the light so it dosent get so hot
harvey6395 years ago
OMG they r SO cool i am going t make a set for my room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
relima5 years ago
Hey people! please, don't do it. Ping pong balls are can easily get on fire. If it happens close to a curtain... well you don't want to die burned because you decided to save some bucks. I have had some christmas lights that would get so hot.

Please, be careful with this project. Use leds instead of conventional christmas lights!

relima has a good point.  Celulose is VERY burnable.
carl87gt relima5 years ago
I think these lights look awesome . . . absolutely awesome. But relima is correct. Ping Pong balls are made of cellulose. There are tons of recipes for making nitrocellulose lacquer for making electric matches for model rockets (another hobby of mine) online. They are very flammable.


I might still make this, but I will will probably do it as a patio decoration where there are around nothing flammable. Better still, I plan to do it with leds which run incredibly cool.

Be safe!

I like the led idea because leds look better (In my opinion) than the incandescents. 
m0nde5 years ago
 very nice!
cool!5 years ago
 Everything is better with Balls!

Neat mod, cheap, simple, easy, and looks great. These will serve nicely for lighting up my New Years LAN party.
Applebohn5 years ago
this is awsome!
w00t ._.5 years ago
dude this idea is awesome!!
noxvox7 years ago
I made some of these for my dorm. Get your Christmas lights at Good Will! 3 boxes of 50 lights for $3. 150 lights total is the closest you'll get to the 144 gross that pingpong balls are sold in. Great job!
Awesome, I was just trying to figure that out! (now to find enough ping-pong balls...)
so simple, so cheap and so great. these kind of Christmas lights (I mean without the balls) are real depressing to me, with this easy transformation they become a beautiful thing that you want to see everynight in your patio.
Hejjhog6 years ago
Oh my god best idea I've seen in a long while! I am SO gonna do that! THANK YOU!
ANTQNUT6 years ago
EPIC!!!!! teehee I love ping pong balls they're so.... bouncy
We used a drill press and it worked great! Went through about 100 balls in 10 minutes or so :)
ali6666 years ago
Instead of a c clamp you could use Silicone Sealant, squeeze enough of it around a ball and cover it all the way up to around a few mills above the center line, allow to dry, or perhaps playdoh would work, anyways.. Nice intractable u got there.
Miss World6 years ago
what a great idea! I love this!
Nitocris6 years ago
They look like bubbles. I have to make these ...for some party or occasion that does not immediately occur to me. Good job!
njdjs6 years ago
I made this with Led Christmas lights.I used my hot glue gun to melt the holes and while it was still warm I pushed the light in the ball. I still put a bead of hot glue on it just in case.After making them and hanging them up I see they don't have to just be used for Christmas,So I am going to leave these in my gameroom where I have a ping pong table just for a neat gameroom decoration. Thanks for the idea.
willhooi6 years ago
alternaively, you can use a hot soldering iron to melt a small hole in the ping pong balls. beware of the fumes and molten plastic though..:)
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
Looks Awesome!
Shagglepuff7 years ago
Go poke some extra holes in the ping pong balls so little spots of light go everywhere.
Should be able to burn little neat holes all over it you heat a metal implement and burn them into the ball. Caution...do outside. Not good to breathe in plastic fumes.
M F cjozzibozzi6 years ago
good point
Shagglepuff M F6 years ago
Yaay for getting high off of fumes! Until you die of it, anyways...
advancedMischief (author)  cjozzibozzi7 years ago
Ping pong balls are made from cellulose, which is highly flammable. Burning holes in one with a hot implement is probably a bad idea. There's a good chance you would ignite the ball.
That's why they make good smoke bombs! kewl, thanks, now i know not to set then on fire making holes, sweet!
"kewl, thanks, now i know not to set then on fire making holes, sweet!"
Dont set them on fire?
Are you crazy! Whats better than a krazy fireball?
nothing at all.
Platt3r7 years ago
Do you know if these look good with LED's? I think I might make some self contained LED ping-pong ball's.
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