“Can I hotglue a sparkleball together?”

 

Carl uses clear silicon caulk on hard cups sparkleballs. He builds the ball with paperclips, puts the caulk between the cups, reclips, and lets it harden for a couple of days.

Yes and no.  Yes, if the hotglue is so hot it literally melts the cups to each other.  This works best on hard plastic cups.  But no, hotglue isn’t great for putting Solo cups together in a sparkleball.  The cups just resist the glue. (There are chemical reasons for this.)   Carl Boro uses silicon caulk on his hard cup sparkleballs.  I’ve used superTAC500, a special hotglue made for plastic, to customize and decorate sparkleballs. Otherwise, I stick to my stapler and gripperclips.  If you are a dedicated hotgluer of sparkleballs, please let us know.  I love to be proven wrong.


Want to make holiday sparkleballs?  Here’s what you’ll need.  Want to make it easy?  Buy the Make-A-Sparkleball Kit.


MORE HELPFUL 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

 

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Getting Your Sparkleball Really Round :)

Many thanks to Sparkleball Master Carl Boro for these techniques.

Tis the sparkleball season!  Time to get stapling! There are lots of videos on youtube to show you how to build an original sparkleball.  But they don’t always show you the best way or the tricks of the trade. That’s why it’s nice to have some step-by-step instructions with a few shortcuts and some technique thrown in.   If you’re a perfectionist (like a few people I know), there are some tricks to getting your sparkleball really round.   These tips of Carl’s may sound geeky, but they’re simple, and they work.

  1. THE RIGHT CUPS
    If 12 cups doesn’t make a tidy circle to start, your cups aren’t solo-style which is essential for the Original Sparkleball.
  2. DON’T OVER STAPLE
    Use only 1 or 2 staples per cup.  This keeps the ball flexible and stretchy as you assemble it.  When you’re done and like the shape, you can add more staples.
  3. STAPLE DEEP IN THE CUPS
    Don’t know why but this makes a difference.
  4. HOW TO STAPLE – 1
    As you join cups, make sure one rim tucks under the other, and the rims touch. Doesn’t matter who’s on top, but the cups should nestle neatly.
  5. HOW TO STAPLE – 2
    When you fit the 9-cup ring on the 12-cup ring, first staple at 4 “compass” points.   When those 4 Cups are anchored finish stapling the rest of the cups to the 12-cup ring.  Really important to get the right shape.
  6. TRUST THE CUPS
    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, staple.
  7. GAPS
    There will be some gaps.  Don’t force cups together.   Instead, reinforce where cups do touch with a few extra staples when you’re finished.

Question?  Add something?  Comments below.


more helpful 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

 

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Going BIG

This 20″ biggie is 7″ wider than the Original Sparkleball.

If you want to build a BIG sparkleball,  I’ve got the video for you.  This is the first any-cup sparkleball I’ve made that is perfectly round.  I mean, perfectly round.  The trick in Walter Calabrese’s video is — stay with me— that first you build 15 hexagons  and 12 pentagons.  Hexagons are made of 6 cups attached around a 7th.  Pentagons are 5 cups stapled in the exact way below.

Then you fit them together in a certain way.   Walter’s video shows you how.  My recommendation is to make all the hexagons and pentagons first.  Then attach them to each other with paperclips or clothespins, before you staple the entire ball.  (I used gripperclips.)  You start with  a hexagram. Then you add 5 pentagrams to each side of it.  Then hexagrams.  Then pentagrams.  Don’t freak. Walter’s video is pretty clear.

Be careful as you staple.  Not too deep, about 1/4″ – 1/2″ from the rim. Also,  do follow Walter’s instructions to mark pentagons as you add them, or you’ll get lost.  I painted them, but you can mark them as he did or any other way.  This helps you keep the pattern straight as you build.

For the lighting, I inserted a lamp socket into a champagne flute so it would sit in the bottom of the ball, because I wanted the cord at the bottom not the top. There are many other ways to do the lighting, including Walter’s.  I also used a bracket under the ball for support and ran a single wire up through the ball to the top.

I highly recommend Walter’s method. It should work with any cup of any size if it’s similar in shape to the one above. I’m happy to answer any questions. Be patient, and have fun!  (Oh, and the official name of the structure/shape is a “truncated icosahedron.”)

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Jennifer’s Glitterball

There’s sparkle  And then there’s Jennifer’s glitter sparkleball.  Jennifer is a person who takes the art of sparkle seriously.  Here’s how she does it, in her own words.

1. Spray paint the outside of each cup. I was using silver glitter so I spray painted the cups silver to match. Though mix matching would turn out awesome too!
2. When dry grab some Modge Podge or any glue that dries clear and a paint brush or you can use your finger (I did) to coat the entire inside of the cup. 
3. Pour some glitter into the cup and dust it around. Roll the glitter around the cup and on the bottom. Dump the excess glitter in something so you can use it on the next cup. I used fine dust glitter on 25 of the cups and chunky glitter on the other 25. No reason. I just couldn’t decide which one looked better so I did both.  (ed note:  James Gerrasch makes his glitter balls over a bucket to catch the glitter and reuse.)
4. Once all 50 cups are glitter filled. Let dry before you start stapling away.  I’m not going lie, this part gets super messy! I had glitter all over my dining room, before I realized I should probably do this outside. 
5. Staple the glitter cups the same way you would any 9oz sparkle ball. Glitter’s going to fall..there’s no getting around it..luckily there’s a ton of it so no worries you wont be able to tell.
6.  Add your lights – and hanging hook and BAM You just made a GLITTER-BALL !

 

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