Any Size Cup


20160304_142043-1Any cup can make a sparkleball if you have a little patience.  The Original Sparkleball is three rings of 12, 9, and 4 solo-style cups.   To make the Any-Cup,  you must figure out how many rings and how many cups in each ring for your cup.   



Build a ring that is nice and round and flat.
Write down how many cups it is.  Do not staple yet.
Use clothespins, clamps or paperclips to hold in place.


Build and stack smaller and smaller rings
until the first side is complete.
Each ring will be 1-5 cups smaller than the one before.

drill-and-staplerBuild Side 2 the same way and join sides.
When it looks good, take it apart. Drill holes in cups.
Remake and staple based on your notes.  


Add lights and join halves as you do in
a Original Sparkleball
If you have fewer lights
than cups, add them randomly.


This method works with little cups too,
like the shot glasses and 1 oz portion cups above.


WARNING:  It can be hard to get the Any Cup Sparkleball really round, but here are some tricks that help.    

    As you staple cups, make sure one rim tucks under the other. I alternate cup rims, over and under. 
    When you add a ring on top of another ring,  staple at 4 “compass” points.   With those 4 cups anchored, then finish stapling the rest of the cups in the ring.
    As you settle one ring on top of the other,  you’ll see some cups  sit between two cups (valley)* and some sit on top of a cup.  Wherever they sit, leave them and staple.
    There will be some gaps.  Don’t force cups together.   Instead, reinforce where cups do touch with a few extra staples.

Finally, one last really geeky sparkleball trick
that helps for roundness.


  • When you stack Ring 2 on Ring 1, place the First Cup so it nestles between two cups, in a “valley.”  Staple.  Go across the ring  and staple the Second Cup on top of a cup. From then on staple the cups where they fall, following the “compass” technique above.
  • On Ring 3, do the opposite. Staple the First Cup on top of the First Cup in ring 2. (see photo) Go across the ring and staple the Second Cup  in a “valley.”  Staple the next cups where they fall.
  • Alternate and repeat as you add rings until you finish.
  • This is similar to hexagonal packing, which gives the ball a nice round shape.

Here are some Any-Cup Sparkleballs from our photo pages.
Click photos for details.

The any-cup method is how people build mini and giant sparkleballs.

Building a gigantic sparkleball also means creating secure hanging and support for the weight of so many cups.

More Any-Cup Sparkleballs to Make

hard cup 

shotglass mini


more how-to posts:

– make The Original Sparkleball
 make The Any-Cup Sparkleball
 find the right cups
– tips for putting in the lights
–  the best stapler
–  how to hang it – 1
–  how to hang it – 2
–  using different kinds of lights
–  drilling the perfect hole
–  how to get it really round




10 thoughts on “Any Size Cup

  1. It took me awhile to figure out that the stapler was so important! After purchasing 4 different staplers, and trying the twist tie and hot glue method, I finally found the Arrow P – 22 stapler. It reachers far into the cup and staples go right in! Also stapling each ring together before stapling to each other made it easy to work with! Thanks for all your help and I love the pictures from all over!

    1. Hi Janet! Sometimes there’s no other way but experience :) I’m so glad you found a method that works for you– and that you were willing to share. (I love my P22!) Send a photo, and I’ll put you on the sparkleball map. Alex

  2. Hi, PleaseI need your help. I wanna know the formula if I’m gonna use a 3oz cup.
    We live in UAE, 9oz is really hard to find.. Pls help!

    1. Hi Hannah! Because cup shapes vary I can’t tell you exact formula. But if you build it as the Any Cup instructions show, ring by ring, you can figure it out. Use paperclips or clothespins to hold cups together while you figure. Build Ring 1 to be a circle. Build Ring 2 one or two cups smaller, and so on. I can tell you that it will take you probably 100 cups or so. Keep me posted! Alex

  3. Thank you so much for your quick response. I’ll be trying the 3 oz or the 1 oz by tomorrow.. I was assigned to decorate our christmas party andsparkleball is a very great idea, budget friendly and easy to do.. just having a slight prob looking for right sizes of cups and its formula. I was just trying to figure out also how many cups do I really need, to build atleast 8 sets of the Sparkle balls before buying it.

    7 oz is a bit big for a very low ceiling hotel. (I was planning to hang it)

    However, I will surely give you an update!
    God bless!

  4. Hi! I saw these big light balls how to- wonderful instructions!
    I saw the black glue gun could you tell me where I can get one?
    I have been looking all over for one just like it!.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Peggy, Janet is right about the stapler. A plier stapler works best on the soft cups. Glue gun works great on the hard plastic. But people make them all kinds of ways. I think I got my glue gun at Michaels (a craft store) but you can find them at hardware stores like Ace and Home Depot. Good luck! Alex

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