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Topic: SPARKLEBALL (no-melt) **Tutorial** -- Easy, Child-Friendly!  (Read 12855 times)
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sparkleball lady
« on: November 24, 2008 08:01:48 AM »

Sparkleballs are fun!



For years I've been making sparkleballs, but this year, thanks to a new friend and a  new husband, here's a new way to make these light balls without melting plastic.  Thank you, Erika for the hole-punch idea.  Thank you, Steve for the zip-tie idea.
 

No more stinky burning plastic!  But it requires soft Solo (or Solo-style "tumbler") 9oz plastic cups.

For one no-melt sparkleball you need:
  • 50 soft plastic cups - 9 oz tumbler-style with slanted sides
  • electric drill with 1/2" bit
  • hand-held hole-puncher
  • 100-150 mini-light strand
  • 200 zip-ties (Erika uses lengths of wire, but I find zip-ties easier.)
  • optional:  beads, glitter

STEP 1
Drill a hole 1/4-1/2" in the bottom of all 50 cups. You can stack several and drill them at once.  The hole must be big enough to slide 1-3 lights through (depending on how many lights in your strand).  Drill one cup and check that lights will fit through. You want them to insert snugly. If the hole cracks a little when you push the lights through, that's ok.
OPTIONAL:  For a very pretty effect, dip cup rims in glue, then glitter.  Let dry.

STEP 2
Punch 4 holes around the top of each cup.  Space them evenly apart, so each hole has one across from it.  If the cup has a raised lip, punch holes just under it.

STEP 3
Arrange 12 cups in a circle.  Attach each cup to the one next to it using a zip-tie through the touching holes.  DO NOT TIGHTEN the zip-ties until all cups are attached.  Then tighten zip-ties one by one, making sure the circle of cups stays flat.  Trim zip-ties.

OPTIONAL STEP:Here is where you start adding the beads if you want.  Slide plastic beads onto zip-ties before tightening.

STEP 4
Place 9 cups, one by one, on top of and around of the circle.  Attach each cup to the one it sits on top of.  When all 9 cups are in place, then attach each one to the cup next to it. (These cups will attach at 3 holes.) Finally, tighten all zip-ties and trim.

STEP 5
Place 4 cups into the space left in the sparkleball-half you're building. When they fit neatly, attach them to each other.  These cups will attach at all four holes to other cups.  If holes don't quite meet, punch new ones.  When all cups are attached, tighten zip-ties and trim.

STEP 6
IMPORTANT! TEST LIGHTS BEFORE YOU INSERT THEM.

To insert lights: start at the prong end of the cord. Insert the two lights closest to the prong into a cup at the outside rim. (The plug will then hang out when you put the two halves together.) Depending on how many lights you're using, insert 1-3 lights in each cup--using half the strand of lights on this half.

Work slowly. It's important NOT to skip a cup or miss a light. If you crack a cup, that's ok. This is the hardest part, but you're half done!

STEP 7
Build the second half of the ball just like the first.  When you thread the lights, start with the opposite end of the strand, so the lights will meet when you join the halves.

STEP 8
Press the two halves together, making sure all wires are neatly tucked inside the ball.  Attach halves with zip-ties.  Tighten them and trim.

STEP 9
To make a hanger for your sparkleball, decide where the top is.  Do you want the cord out the top? Or the bottom?  I make my hanger out of 2 "s" hooks and a bit of chain, but you can use fishing line, zip-ties, wire coathangers, or ribbon.

STEP 10
Plug in and enjoy!

If you'd rather make sparkleballs with a soldering iron-- the old-school way-- here's another Craftster tute to show how:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=189563.0
« Last Edit: November 24, 2008 10:04:21 AM by sparkleball lady - Reason: to add link to another craftster.org tutorial » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2008 08:19:06 AM »

Oh wow!
Wow!
Great tute............  Smiley
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CourtneyEllen23
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2008 08:22:54 AM »

I absolutely LOVE them!!!  Thanks so much for all of the instructions.  I can't wait until I can start making some for my house! 
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008 08:25:51 AM »

YEAHHHHH! I'm so glad you posted a tute! I was signing in to search for this exact project and here it is! They look great. We are off to buy supplies!
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amelie
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2008 08:35:46 AM »

Those look great!!! Aaaaand you don't have to melt plastic?? Hooray! New project ahoy!  Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2008 08:42:30 AM »

Oh cool! I love that last photo too!
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dishwasher182
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008 08:46:54 AM »

those are AWESOME!!!!! thanks so much for the tutorial!!!
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pixeegrl
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2008 09:04:04 AM »

My granadma used to make these but this is much easier! Thank you for the tutorial. I love the bead idea too!!
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2008 09:07:01 AM »

Just a cheap idea in regards to wire/zip ties:

I didn't want to have to go buy zip ties, but also didn't want to have to spend the time cutting all that wire.  But you can usually find cheap ornament hangers at dollar stores in packs of 1-200.  The wire isn't super pretty, but they're also in very managable lengths.

Just an idea!!!
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2008 09:08:33 AM »

these are freekin cool!  thanks for the tute!  making these for outside!  yayhoo Grin
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goosegg1001
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2008 09:32:06 AM »

Wow these are gorgeous! Thank you for taking the time to make us a tutorial. Im definitely going to have to try this.
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2008 09:34:40 AM »

INCREDIBLE! Cheesy
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arosado
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2008 09:53:48 AM »

Wow! This is a very cool tut.
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2008 09:55:25 AM »

I think Im in awe... thats way cool.....may have to try it with the kids
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2008 10:03:30 AM »

Thanks for this great tutorial!  I love these and can't wait to make some for christmas!
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2008 10:58:10 AM »

I was having trouble figuring out what those things were... They look like a lot of fun. I like the idea of the ornament hooks. I was thinking small paper clips too but the hooks are better and hide the wire inside the beads. So much fun. I may have to try these. Don't they make similar cups in different translucent colors?
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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2008 11:02:33 AM »

There used to be an Italian restaurant here in Omaha called Mr. C's that was perpetually decorated for Christmas. My favorite decoration was what I called punch cup lights - these! I always wanted to make one. Thanks for posting this!
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2008 07:42:26 PM »

***VERY VERY VERY*** cool... awesome job!
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2008 08:13:34 PM »

I love, love, love these!  Can't wait till I have some time to do this with my kiddos--my five-year-old has a passion for zip ties, so this will be right up her alley!

Thank you for posting this, and for giving such an awesome tutorial!
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2008 10:25:09 AM »

Neato! I always wondered how people did those!
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2008 06:20:00 PM »

Thank you so much for sharing this tut. This is a great kid safe craft. Did you buy indivual stands of each color, or did you swith the lights around so you would have one of each color?
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sparkleball lady
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2008 08:35:56 AM »

Did you buy indivual stands of each color, or did you swith the lights around so you would have one of each color?

Mini lights are available in single colors on one strand.  You have to look to find them in the stores.  In CA our CVS drugstores have them right now.  And Target is always useful.  You can also find them at light sources online.  BUT also, the chasing lights--  the ones with the little controller--  sometimes adjust to show one color at a time.  Or they flash one color at a time, rather than multi-color sparkling.  Does that make sense?  And did I answer your question?
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chocolatebutton
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2008 09:47:08 AM »

these are so cool! i'd love to try this but i panic and would worry about it over heating or something. i suppose you'd have that issue with whatever you put christmas lights on though. brilliant stuff anyway  Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2008 09:53:09 AM »

I don't think the mini lights get hot enough to start a fire unless they are wired wrong or have a short. LEDs are becoming more available and consume far less energy thus less likely to start a fire.
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NicholeH
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2008 09:56:04 AM »

Coolest things ever. Im planning on trying to make one soon! soo excited. Smiley
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randomrainbow
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2008 12:52:19 PM »

Oh, love these! My mom and aunt used to make them when I was little except they just use paper clips to hold the cups togather, I must admit your way is a prettier method though.
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sparkleball lady
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2008 05:44:08 PM »

they just used paper clips to hold the cups togather

I always wanted to find directions on how to make one with paper clips, since so many folks didn't want to melt the cups together (because of the fumes.)  Now I think the zip-ties are a stronger method--  but using paper clips to hold it together while you attach the cups to each other might be a good idea. 
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« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2013 08:35:39 AM »

I just adore these!  Thanks for sharing the tutorial. Grin

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