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.

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>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>
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>I think you could decorate it for any holiday. Very versatile!</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>what an idea </p>
<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!
Pretty cool concept.<br>It would be awesome if you hooked some of these up into a sequencer so they could flash in a pattern.
I don't recomment this for people where it's cold in the winter lol. Tried this last year and after the christmas when I were going to take in back in it collapsed and all the cups cracked and all. If you wan't to do this where's cold then wait untill the summer or something
Interesting. I know there are people who use them where it snows alot and in places like MN. Maybe it's the kind of cups or the method of putting it together you used? I've heard HotGlue won't hold in cold weather. But this is the first word I've heard of the cups shattering. :-(
Sparktacular! Love the idea, :)
Well its December 10 and I am goimg to RAID the christmas light stores in a few weeks for the cheap lights. I like to use LED kine lights for long lasting display. <br>
The SparkleBall me and my sis made for an Indian festival of lights called Diwali...
Dear AntzyP,<br><br>May I post your photos on www.sparkleball.com ? They are wonderful and would be the first made for Diwali! Will you email me at sparkleballlady@yahoo.com or here and let me know. I didn't want to download without your permission. If yes, tell me your first name and where you live so I can put you on the sparkleball map.<br><br>Thanks again!<br><br>Alex<br>
I wouldn't mind at all, you can go ahead and you can download it. It will be awsome! :)<br>I'll mail them to you as well.<br><br>Thanks for the great instructable. Had a lot of fun making it and got a lot of compliments too...<br><br>Antzy<br>New Delhi, India
NEW DELHI, INDIA! Antzy, that is so cool. I can't wait to put you on the sparkleball map. You will be the first marker in Asia. If I have any trouble downloading, I'll contact you again. Best wishes to you and your sister! <br><br>Alex<br>Sonoma CA
Thats great! I've mailed you the images in case you have any trouble...<br>-Antzy
I've been making these for years.<br /> I have gave gobs away for gifts and sold alot of them.<br /> I usally use&nbsp;the 16 function lights from walmarts.<br /> I've sprayed some with snow that comes in the can and used the plain colorful twinkling lights and they were pretty hung outside.<br /> I use a sodiering iron to make my holes in the my solo cups for the lights and and then&nbsp;use a small high temp. glue gun to melt the cups together.<br /> No hot glue used just the hot glue gun tip.<br /> I had 2 use the sodiering gun to melt off the built-in &nbsp;stand on the glue gun to fit it into my cups.<br /> They are nice to use on floats in parades if people have a way 2 hook up to electric.<br /> I've made some with plastic medicine cups.They were kinda hard 2 make exactly round and were very tedious but were cute.Some came out in an egg shape but were nice for easter.lol<br />
one could use staples to hold them together too