How To: Make a Sparkle Ball

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There's a story behind "the sparkleball lady" (as she calls herself) and her fascination with these globes of Christmas lights and plastic cups. She was stopped in her tracks while driving by a mobile home festooned with the decorations, and was promptly sold one by the occupant.

It seems she's since dedicated a good amount of holiday spare time to making sparkleballs, and has created a website with step-by-step instructions for making your own, complete with pictures for each step.


We'll give you the overview here, but be sure to bounce over to her site for the complete lowdown.

You'll need:


  • 50 plastic cups - 9 oz with slanted sides

  • 100 mini-lights OR 2 sets of 50

  • soldering iron

  • good ventilation

The steps:


  1. Melt a 1/2" hole in the bottom of all 50 cups.

  2. Create the "equator" with 12 cups. Join each to its neighbor at the bottoms with the soldering iron.

  3. Create the next layer on one side of the "equator" with 9 cups. Create the next layer after that with 4 cups.

  4. Insert the lights. Start at the outside rim, and zigzag between inner and outer layers until you return to where you began. Insert two lights per cup.

  5. Repeat steps 1-4 above to create the second half.

  6. Join the two halves with the soldering iron.

  7. Hang your sparkleball by making a hole between two cups. Insert an s-hook and attach hanging media of your choice: ribbon, chain, fishing line, etc. Attach a second s-hook to the top.

Image: ellessu

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