A sparkleball is a magical ornament handmade from plastic cups and mini-lights; usually displayed at Christmas or holiday time.

You'll need 50 soft 9 oz. solo-style plastic cups, a hole-puncher, a drill with a 1/2" bit, a string of mini-lights (100-150), and 200 small zip-ties or your choice of connectors like wire. (recycled clean cups will work perfectly as will an old string of mini-lights.)

NOTE: The "no-melt" refers to the old school method of melting the cups with a soldering iron. This INSTRUCTABLE has been so popular, even though there are new techniques in making sparkleballs, I've just left it the way it was first written.

Step 1: Drill the Cup Bottoms

Drill the cup bottoms of all 50 plastic cups. You can stack and drill 2-3 at a time. The holes should be about 1/2" or large enough to insert one or two mini lights.


I started one, but turns out I'd bought 12oz cups so the sphere was going to big for me, so I left as half sphere and put it against wall, added some rays. viola. looks like with minor mod it could be eye of sauron for Halloween.
<p>Whoa - super cool!</p>
<p>I think you could decorate it for any holiday. Very versatile!</p>
Help! I thought this would be a simple project but it isn't coming together (literally). I am using the 9 oz cups but 12 of them will not make the first ring. It seems that I need to add at least 2 more cups. I can force the cups together but it pulls the staples out somewhere else. To me the cups seem too rigid. Any idea what I am doing wrong?
<p>It could be the angle of your cups' sides - the more wide they are, the fewer you'd need.</p>
<p>look for a youtube video </p><p>Much more instructional than this </p>
<p>Hey Sg573!</p><p>A couple of thoughts. 1. There are 9 oz cups that are not the right shape for a basic sparkleball. If I knew your brand or saw a photo I could say for sure. But if 12 doesn't make a nice circle, good chance it's the wrong shaped cup. 2. BUT you can try a different formula for your cup. Check out my instructable for &quot;Hot Glue Sparkleball.&quot; That one's made with 9 oz hard cups, but the shape may be similar to your cups. The formula is 14-11-6-1. 3. And if all else fails, try the &quot;Any Cup&quot; Sparkleball method on sparkleball.com, which shows you how to turn any cup into a sphere. This may be more trouble than you wanted, but there IS a solution. Good luck! S.L.</p>
<p>These are great! I am going to give them a try. I priced some lighted spheres and they are either @15-$20 and get terrible reviews or over $45 for one! This is a great alternative and look amazing. Thanks for the instructible!</p>
<p>Hey allgaul, Glad you like it. There's nothing commercial to match a sparkleball. Check out my other Instructables so you can choose the sparkleball you'd like most to make. There are several different techniques. </p>
<p>A stapler may be used instead of the hole-punch and zip tie method.<br>These are beautiful!<br>Thanks to the author for writing this.</p>
<p>I stapled mine as well. Had to purchase a heavy duty plier stapler to make it work right. For added effect, I used a string of 16 function multi colored lights. So, it changes colors and patterns and speeds. Fun project!</p>
Love motion lights in sparkleballs! The best!
<p>Thanks, DIY-Guy. You're right. I made a new tute showing the stapler method. But I love the idea that there are lots of ways to do it. Truly DIY! </p><p>http://www.instructables.com/id/E-A-S-Y-Stapler-Sparkleball/</p>
<p>magic !</p>
<p>Looks awesome</p>
<p>These are looking so pretty &amp; amazing! Waw!!! festive too, indeed! :)</p>
I believe that you could make one of these out of plastic clear shot glasses, so you get a really small one. Could you? regards, Kryptonite
Dear K, I've made a mini-ball out of condiment cups (like you get ketchup in at hamburger places.) But a man in Australia built a really beautiful smaller ball made out of red shot glasses. Not sure how he did it but you can see photos of his mini and mine at [http://http:..www.sparkleball.com/intro.htm sparkleball.com]. Alex<br/>
Where do you get the ties from? Can you buy them separately? Thank you.
Also available in dollar stores in their hardware section, making this even cheaper to make! I could likely buy ALL the things I need to make this at the dollar store including LEDs, cups, etc. You can also buy bulk glitter &amp; pure pigments online for far cheaper than in the craft stores. Try TKB or even Alibaba. I'm envisioning this using plain, clear glass cups with metal beads &amp; all sorts of other goodies!
Koda, You can buy them at any hardware store or Home Depot. My husband introduced me to them, and they come in very handy for a variety of uses. I can't live without them now.
one coudl use thimbles too
Hey Yeah, that dude in Australia did what I'm thinking about, which is good cause I live in aus too so I can probably get all the stuff. Thanks for the reply, Kryptonite
Well, Aussie Kryptonite, if you do make a shot-glass sparkleball, I'd love to see how you do it. So I hope you post it here and let me know. The one Rob made is one of the prettiest ever. I know he used like 100 cups, but the trick is always making the ball come out round and it's harder when the cups have straight sides. . .
Rightio then! I may or may not make this, I'm a bit busy with school at the moment. Although, for the good instructable, nice attitude and quick replies I'll give you a 4.5/5. Thanks for posting! Kryptonite
<p>2 suggestions<br><br> one use a string of solar powered/activated lights then you don't hve to wory about them turning on and off and it keeps your power bill down</p><p>Two use spray adhesive and spray crystal glitter on it then hit it with a layer of either spray paint or matte clear coat it will keep the glitter from comming off on your hands</p>
Just a thought....matte clear coat would affect the reflection of light off the sparkles. Why not just use an acrylic spray clear coat?
<p>For round shape start with a Styrofoam ball about 4-6 inches. I have made smaller globes this way and hot glued them to Styrofoam ball in circles. For outside globes I like the idea of zip ties best or staples. Lights can be mini lights pushed through melted 1/2&quot; holes in bottem of plastic glasses, you can even use portable lights that come in small sets with battery pkg. attached. If you can get a larger Styrofoam ball you could eliminate the 12, 09, 04 layers and just hot glue them to the ball and maybe staple them to each other for more security.</p>
Those are all great ideas that I'll keep in mind when I make this myself. I'm imagining one of these as a gorgeous light fixture suspended from the ceiling.....the possibilities with these are endless!
I made two over the weekend useing Led lights turned out nice
took about an hour and cost about $20 in materials. but it was fun and my 6 year old was able to help.
<p>Very pretty... is this likely to blow up...being plastic</p>
<p>We still have my grandma's from the 60's and it works well! Never had any problems with melting or other damage, even with the old style bulbs in it.</p>
unlikely to blow up unless you use explosive s
I've wanted to make one of these for 30 years. Half way done. Using white 50 light LED strand that cost $5. Making another with multi-color strand next.
<p>So so so pretty!! </p>
I'd love to see a green sparkle all from cut wine bottles. I bet that would beautiful.
<p>Nice one! I think I may try to make a glass one eventually.</p>
<p>MY grandma made me one of these 20 years ago (it still works, never had to replace a bulb). It never gets hot, and I have never had a problem with it. Using todays LED bulb will produce even less heat. As always you need to make sure that your set up is safe. I can only say that mine has never been hot or affected the cups at all.</p>
<p>Hello from Finland!<br>This is an amazing idea! Just got my 11.8oz cup ball made.102 cups the ball contains. Stapled instead of using zip-ties. I am going to hang it as an bedroom lamp from the ceiling, with a led light bulb inside the ball. A led light bulb does not get hot in use so it is safe. :) Thanks again for this brilliant idea! Looking forward for x-mas to make even more balls to give away maybe even as gifts :) Loving it!! </p>
<p>May i ask if this is safe? Will it not melt the cup if lights are on for hours? Thanks!</p>
<p>I have a question. Once one half is completed, do you start the other half with nine on top of the first half, or a whole new twelve? Is it 4-9-12-12-9-4 or 4-9-12-9-4?</p>
<p>Hi! You make both halves exactly the same. first layer=12, second=9, third=4. Then when you put it together, you put the two layers of 12 against each other. Make sense?</p>
<p>Informative tutorial to make your celebrations more enjoyable and special.</p>
thank u so much 4 such a beautiful tutorial :) i loved it.
My pleasure!
Great project for Christmas, and ever so pretty! My mom made me one in the late 80's and I had that thing for years. She used the multi-funtion light set but after several years use eventually only one color of lights were left working. <br>She used hot glue to secure hers, but I sure like the one pictured that had beads strung in with the zip ties. <br>Thanks for the great tut!

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