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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 http://www.sparkleball.com (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:
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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?
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!
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.
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.
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:
i found the link to a page that shows how.i have never seen these!they are very neat!
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.
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
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
Where can I find colored or patterned 9 oz. plastic cups? Last year my local grocer had red and holly ones, but this year they are not carrying them. Sam's club is supposed to have neon ones, but they are only carrying shot glasses.
This is a page about making a snowman with plastic cups. Clear plastic cups and mini Christmas lights can be used to make a fun snowman decoration.
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 www.sparkleball.com 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