How to Make a “Stained Glass” Sparkleball

adella3For a “stained glass” sparkleball, you’ll need materials for the Original Sparkleball plus some permanent color markers. (I like Sharpies.)  Next,  find an artist.  Mine was 11 year old Adella, who was willing to color 50 plastic cups with the markers and with a little help from cousin Anna, brother and sister Russell and Gigi.  The results are stunning.  Alone, each cup is a little work of art.  A starry night, ocean wave, flowers, funny faces.  Put together, the cups become like stained glass with colors as vivid in sunlight as they are lit up at night. It’s a stunning sparkleball and memorable keepsake.


Big thank you to Adella and crew :)

helpful DIY how-to posts:
–  find the right cups
 tips for inserting lights
–  the best stapler
–  how to hang it – 1
–  how to hang it – 2
–  how to hang it – 3
–  using different lights – 1
–  using different lights – 2
–  drilling a perfect hole
–  how to get it really round
–  make The Original Sparkleball
–  make AnyCup Sparkleball
–  making Mini Sparkleballs






For Uncle Chuck

My Uncle Chuck died last month.  He was 91.  He had bombed Italy and Berlin in WWII and afterward, was an angry man prone to fistfights, even into his 80s.  For years we were estranged, but softened by age, we made a new relationship and rarely mentioned the past. I visited when I could.  meandchuck2We talked by phone regularly.  When it came, death was as he’d hoped:  at home and swift.  I was holding his hand when he took his last breath.

Since the funeral and cleaning out his house,  I’ve had trouble picking up where I left off.  Death does that.  It shifts the pieces.  Nothing goes back the way it was.  I kept wanting a way to honor him yet honor myself.  Honor us. Uncle and niece, eldest siblings, people who do what needs to be done, crossword solvers.  Last of a line.  Forgivers.

I chose a new shiny sparkleball from my collection, and I’ve hung it like a lighthouse beacon out front, for Uncle Chuck. I’ll leave it up as long as I need to.


The Krauss family, 2006

When I started a friend suggested I jazz it up with other people’s photos. Invite submissions, he said.  I only intended to provide instructions for how to make one.  Who would ever share photos with a stranger? I said.  But people did.  Now there are a jillion places to share craft photos, but ten years ago, not so much.

The photo of the Krauss family was one of the first that came in.  I think it was in 2006 but I’ve lost those first emails from Jane Krauss.  I do remember asking for permission to post it on, and her kind, unequivocal, yes, of course. Little did she know that her family’s photo would spread across the internet like wildfire, popping up on websites all over the world.    If ever there were a perfect sparkleball photo, the Krausses captured it.  The fun.  The dazzle and magic. The doing-it-togetherness.  The sharing.

Everything sparkleballs are about in one sweet shot.