I had a lot of cups left over and a lot of zip ties so I decided to make a Sparkle Ball. These Sparkle Balls are great for decorating for the holidays or for a wedding. You can use any color lights and colored cups to give you any look you want.
All you need are the following supplies and tools. Some of these can be replaced with other things and still make it work.
- Strand of 100 ct. lights
-102 plastic cups
-200 small zip ties
-hole punch (could use soldering iron)
-Drill with 3/8" drill bit ( bit size can vary)
Step 1: The Prep Work
This is a simple project so there is not much prep work.
First thing you need to do is to drill a hole in the bottom of all of the cups with the 3/8" drill bit. I sped this process up by stacking 5-10 cups up and drilling them all at the same time. be careful as the bottom cup tends to crush if you have too much pressure applied.
Once you have all of the bottom holes drilled then you need to use the hole punch and punch 4 holes along the rim of the cup. Try your best to align the holes 90 degrees from each other so you have 4 evenly spaced holes from one another. This does not have to be exact and you can fix this later in the process if they do not align.
Alternatively you can use a soldering iron instead of a hole punch. This process is a lit faster than a hole punch but please be aware that it is more dangerous. Not only can you burn yourself but the fumes are toxic, so do it in a well ventilated area if you use this method.
After this step you are ready to start building.
Step 2: Building
For my Sparkle Ball I made mine a little bigger and my layers are 18, 15, 11, 5, and 1 cups for a total of 51 cups per side. I used 9oz cups and sometimes it works better with smaller punch cups and you can do a patter like 11, 9, 4, and 1 for a total of 25 cups per side. Then you can put 2 lights in each cup. But for mine I did 18,15,11,5, and 1 cups.
You want to use a flat surface and connect 18 cups in a circle by connecting them using a zip tie through 1 hole of the cups. When completed you should have a full ring like in the second photo.
Once the first layer is done I found it easier to push the first 18 cup ring aside and make another separate 15 cup ring instead of attaching 1 cup at a time to the 18 cup ring. If you start attaching 1 cup at a time it gets confusing on where to put the next cup.
Once the second layer with 15 cups is complete, place it on top of the 18 cup ring and start attaching the 2 rings to as many holes that line up as you can.
Now, make the 11 cup and the 5 cup rings and attach them in the same manner, then add the 1 cup in the center. You might have to push and pull to get the cups where you want them. If at any time some of the holes don't line up or you would like more zip ties just punch more holes in the cups and attach them.
On this half of ball I located the center cup and attached 3 zip ties across the cup like a chain link for a mount in case you want hand this ball later on.
Make a second half of the ball just as you did before for a total of 102 cups.
Once you have both halves finished you need to trim all of the extra zip tie lengths off.
Step 3: Wiring
The wiring is very easy.
Feed the cord between the center cup and a cup nest to the center and make sure it doesn't fall back into the ball by adding a zip tie to it.
To start wiring don't put a light in the center cup since we only have 100 lights. Start with the cup next to the center cup and place the lights in the cups in a circular pattern starting from the center and working your way out. This will make sure that you end on the outer rim of the circle so you can start the wiring of the other half.
Once you have the 1st half wired up I found it easiest to start the next half with the last bulb on the light strand and start toward the center of the 2nd circle but don't put one in the center cup. Work your way around in a circular pattern as you did the first half.
Once you have both halves done, place them on top of each other to complete the ball. Then you need to go around and attach the cups that the holes line up and punch new holes in the ones that don't. Clip the extra zip tie lengths off and you are finished!!!
Enjoy your new Sparkle Ball for your decorations or for a nice night light.
If you like this project please vote for me above. Thank you!
Runner Up in the
Zip Tie Challenge