Tips for Putting In the Lights

Pushing the lights into the cups is the hardest part of making a sparkleball.  Here are some things I’ve learned over the years to make it easier.

  • Test the lights before you begin. I’ve finished a sparkleball, plugged it in, and nothing. Pulling lights out is actually harder than putting them in.
  •  The right size hole helps.  Thanks to Carl Boro,  I use a 1/2 ” step drill bit which makes the perfect hole.  Ever since I got it, lights are so much easier to insert.  For a standard drill bit or soldering iron, aim for 1/2″.
  • If a hole’s too small and you’re in the middle of adding lights,  use scissors to cut a slit or two out from the hole.  Bulbs should push through. Just be careful not to cut the light wire, which I’ve done.
  • If the hole’s too big and lights keep popping out, Carl’s got a simple fix.
  • Icicle Lights are easier to thread into a sparkleball than regular mini’s.  Trust me on this.
  • Two 50 strands are easier to work with than one strand of 100. One for each side. Just make sure the lights have a male and female plug–  and the right plugs end up on the outer edge so they can join.
  • Go slow so you don’t skip a cup.
  • Too lazy?  Just stuff the lights in the middle.  Still a pretty cool light ball.
  • The Nitty Gritty.    SIDE ONE: Push the male plug out the top, between the four cups added last.   Put 2 lights into a cup at the center.  Then work cup-by-cup in a spiral until you finish with a cup on the outside rim.   SIDE TWO:  Start from the opposite end of the lights, in a middle cup.  Work in the same spiral, ending with a cup on the outside rim.  The last few lights may be hard to get in.  You may have to hold Side One upright as you add the final lights. Be ready to join the halves when lights are finally in. Clothes pins or clamps are handy to hold it all together while you catch your breath.

spiral the lights

If you have any tips for making this chore go faster, I hope you’ll share.  Leave a comment or email.


more how-to posts:
 finding the right cups
–  the best stapler for making a sparkleball
–  how to hang it – 1
–  how to hang it – 2
–  using different kinds of lights

3 thoughts on “Tips for Putting In the Lights

  1. I always start from the middle and spiral out to the edge. That’s always the way I have done it. When the middle starts to get clogged up with wire, the outer edges are still accessible. But I have always used a lot of lights and that means a lot of wire to stuff into the ball.

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