Intro: Plastic Balls and Their Uses
Ping pong balls are a dime a dozen… (Actually, more like six bucks!) Even if you don’t have a table tennis setup, these little hollow plastic balls can be a ton of fun to play with. There are numerous ways to repurpose these bouncy, white balls.
Here, I’ll teach you how you can use ping pong balls to create a cute little sock puppet with big, googly eyes and a string of extra-large Christmas lights that you can hang over your puppet’s stage!
Step 1: Prepare the Materials Needed for Your Sock Puppet
Before we get started, let’s gather the items needed to complete our project. It’s actually quite simple!
- (1) Old sock (or new if your feet are really stinky)
- (2) Ping Pong balls
- Spool of thread and sewing needle
- Power drill and 1/8” bit
- Permanent marker
Step 2: Preparing the “googly Eyes”
Very carefully, equip your power drill with the 1/8” bit and proceed to drill two holes right next to each other (but about 1/8” apart from each other) into the bottom of one ping pong ball. Repeat this process for the second ping pong ball.
Step 3: Attaching the Eyes to Your Puppet
Stick your hand inside the old sock as you would if it were already a puppet. With your opposite hand, use your permanent marker to mark where you’d like to attach the eyes to the top of your sock puppet.
Once marked, prepare your sewing needle with the threading of your choice. Beginning from inside of the sock, pass the thread through the first hole you drilled in the ping pong ball and into the second hole you and back down into the sock.
Repeat this process anywhere from five to ten times or until you feel confident enough that your puppet won’t lose any eyes during the second act!
Do the same for the second ping pong ball/googly eye.
Step 4: Color in Your Puppet’s Eyeballs
Using your creativity and your permanent marker, draw the eyes onto the attached ping pong balls. You can make them plain black or go crazy and add some colored irises!
Stick your hand back inside the sock and voila! Your puppet is alive!
Proceed to step five to create stunning theater lighting for your puppet’s stage…
Step 5: Using Ping Pong Balls for Stage Lighting
Creating large colorful lights from a string of holiday lighting and ping pong balls is incredibly simple. First, as we did before, we gather our materials for the project:
- (1) – String of holiday lights (white or colored)
- X – Ping Pong balls (equal to amount of bulbs on your light string)
- Power drill and 5/16” bit
- Glue gun (just in case)
Step 6: Drilling the Holes
Very safely, drill one hole into each ping pong ball using your power drill and carefully attached 5/16” drill bit.
Step 7: Attaching the String Lighting to the Balls
Take your ping pong ball and insert each light bulb into the newly drilled holes. Every string of lights is different but most ping pong balls will slide right over the bulb and will *click* over the lip of the bulb’s housing.
In some cases, this will not be the case. If the hole is too small, use a larger drill bit to open the holes up more. If the hole is slightly larger, slide each ball over the bulb and using a glue gun, apply a thin layer of glue around the area where the ball meets the bulb’s housing.
Step 8: Hang and Enjoy!
Once your ping pong balls are all securely attached to the string lighting, hang or drape them over your sock puppet theater and insert the plug end into an electrical outlet.
Tada! You and your new sock friend are ready to take the stage!
Step 9: Learn More Ways to Repurpose Plastic Balls
The aforementioned “Instructable” is just a couple of simple ways to repurpose these little, hollow plastic balls. If you scour the internet, you can find much more intricate uses for these balls. There are even some unbelievable uses for similar types of balls in industries like the medical field, the food and beverage industry, and even the oil drilling industry!
It might be fun to explain a few of these remarkable facts to your little ones while preparing your sock puppet and stage lighting. Your children will be enamored when they hear you telling stories of how a little plastic ball in the medical field could end up saving a life!