Making Sparkleball Decorations

Sparkle balls are lighted holiday decorations you can make quickly and economically at home. This page contains information for making sparkleball decorations.

December 8, 2008 Flag
8 found this helpful

I had so much trouble locating directions on the internet for making a "solo" cup light ball that I just created my own free website that gives easy to follow step-by-step instructions. I call them sparkleballs. These balls cost under $10 to make (if the season is right for buying Christmas mini-lights) and they can be used to decorate showers, weddings, parties, teen's rooms; as well as at Christmas. I know of one family who is making them to raise money for a friend's heart transplant. So, I don't own this idea. I just decided to provide as much information on the how-to of it as I can as a small public service. These balls have given me so much joy, I just wanted to share. Every craft website I visit has people looking for the directions, so here you go!

My website is (it has lots of photos). Once again, I earn nothing from this. It is all free and in the spirit of thrifty crafting. If you'd like to share a photo of your creation, please let me know. I'm just a fanatic, fascinated by this American craft. Thanks for sharing!

Sparkleball Lady from San Diego, CA

Editor's Note: This looked so easy and pretty that we decided to make one for the site. It took about an hour but the next ones will go faster. The cups cost about $5.00 for 2 packs of 40 (you need 50), but you could probably get them in bulk for cheaper. We had the lights on hand but basic 100 strand light strings are usually only a dollar or two. We also needed to buy a cheap soldering iron, which was $8.00, but you might have one already.


The instructions on the site are detailed and have step by step photos. Here are a couple of helpful hints that we figured out along the way:

That's it, they are very sparkly and impressive when completed. The finished light is about the size of a small beach ball (about 13 inches in diameter). The lower photo is with the lights on, so you can see more detail.

December 9, 20080 found this helpful

I have seen these balls used for placing on your awning when camping. They look really neat.


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December 10, 20080 found this helpful

i'm wondering if you could hot glue the plastic cups together?

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December 10, 20080 found this helpful

I never had luck using a glue gun. I've used a soldering iron and a hole puncher (with zip-ties) and others have told me that they've stapled the cups together. The glue just didn't bond well with the plastic cups for some reason.

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December 17, 20080 found this helpful

If you're having trouble joining the cups, remember to join them <i>at their bases</i> (not the rims). This trick will insure that the first circle and next layers can splay out with a little give, rather than be too rigid and maybe break apart. Sometimes there are even gaps between the cup rims.

Good luck!

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December 27, 20080 found this helpful

GREAT job Editor and thanks for your hard work! :)

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January 3, 20090 found this helpful

Every year a neighbor puts across the front of their house. By day they look goofy out there.. by night they are BEAUTIFUL!

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January 7, 20090 found this helpful

I use clothespins to hold the cups together while i solder them. Sure beats burned fingers. You can also use clothespins to try different sized cups to see how it will turn out before you attach them.

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November 23, 20090 found this helpful

These are the most creative handmade things I've ever seen! They should be more than 10 bucks!

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December 16, 20110 found this helpful

November 27, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about making a snowman with plastic cups. Clear plastic cups and mini Christmas lights can be used to make a fun snowman decoration.

Sparkle ball variant.

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December 5, 2008 Flag
2 found this helpful

I've been making sparkleballs for years. But this year I've finally discovered an excellent no-melt method for putting the holiday light balls together-- thanks to my new husband, Steve! A fan of sent me her instructions for using soft cups and a hole puncher to build the sparkleball. She then used bits of wire to attach the cups together. But crafty Steve gave me a package of zip-ties, and the result was brilliant. The No-Melt Sparkleball is perfect for children!

By Sparkleball Lady from San Diego CA


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December 9, 20081 found this helpful

Thanks for the great instructions! They are really pretty.

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December 10, 20080 found this helpful

I am so happy to see these instructions! i made one of them many years ago but connected them together with paper clips. Mine was just plain clear with white lights...I put it out on my porch and everyone wanted to know where i got it...these instructions are so much easier and i'm going to get one made before Christmas...i also went on the site and was amazed at all the different ones made..thanks again for the instructions...Now my project has a name...I never knew what they were called before..

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December 14, 20081 found this helpful

thanks for the instructions. That is so neat.


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December 14, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

I need help with completing my first Sparkle Ball. It was fun to make, but I need to know more about the hanger. Pictures suggest an S hook on each end of a chain. What does the S hook within the ball hook onto?
I assume you wouldn't want to hook it to a wire.

Bruce from Mercedes, TX

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December 14, 20070 found this helpful

At a hardware store, you can get little rings that have a screw on the end. I don't know what they're called, but you can find them with the picture hanging stuff. Just screw it into the ball, and you can hook an s- hook into it!

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December 16, 20070 found this helpful

I just found this site! It sounds like fun. I would like a description and directions for this. THANKS a bunch.

Editor's Note: Here is a link to the Sparkleball article on ThriftyFun.

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December 16, 20070 found this helpful

I have been making these the last couple weeks and fishing line works great. It is thin enough that it slips right into the holes left by the soldering iron at the base of the cups. If you need to use S-hooks you should make sure you burn one hole large enough for the end of the hook.

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November 20, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to make light up outside Christmas Ornaments to hang from a tree? I have seen ones made from what looks like small plastic cups, string of lights, somehow shaped into a ball. Has anyone heard of these or made them?

Janet from Pennsville, NJ

Editor's Note: Here is a link to instructions on how to make lighted balls with plastic cups:

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November 21, 20070 found this helpful

i found the link to a page that shows how.i have never seen these!they are very neat! ... /

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November 21, 20070 found this helpful

Those are called sparkleballs. This is the website for them. It will tell you everything you need to know and give you step by step instructions to make one. There are also pictures of sparkleballs from all over the world.

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November 25, 20070 found this helpful

Here is an idea - you will need:-

small empty jam jars - save the nicest shaped ones

strings of beads from a charity shop/thrift shop or jumble sale

florists or garden wire

wire cutters

transluscent glass paint

a cheap child's paint brush for each colour used

tea light candles

What about small jamjars - painted with transluscent glass paint - and a wire around the lip of the jar and a loop to hang up. You can thread beads onto the wire as well. Then pop in a tealight candle and this will make the jar glow shining out the colours of the paint - red and green look best. Even if you are not arty you can just paint stripes of different colours. Holly leaves are easy to draw too - especially if you outline with a felt pen and then fill in with the glass paint. If you do not have a tree to hang them from - a cheap clothes line strung with these little lanterns would look good, especially if the wire loops are at varying lengths to give a random line. Even a rotary line would look really pretty with these lanterns glowing in the dark. Apart from the glass paint - the rest of the things needed to make these costs very little. If you have any broken decorations then salvage any bows or sparkle from them and glue this onto the jars too. Remember not to hang them too high - as you will have to replace the tealights each night.

Kindest regards - Borasic Lint

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