Want to make a Sparkleball? Talk to Carl.

After Carl Boro saw a neighbor’s sparkleball, he went home and just figured out how to make one. With time he developed his own designs and methods, creating a garage full of colorful sparkleballs made from different cups and lights. He sent me some photos a few years ago, and we began a lively email exchange.

In 2015 I visited Carl at home near San Francisco.  It’s no exaggeration to say that day changed my life.  The fun we had exchanging ideas and working together cemented our friendship.  It also pushed me to update and improve this website.  I became more determined to share the mutual enthusiasm of friendship and craft with people like you, so that all of us around the world can work together — no matter what our beliefs or backgrounds–  in a safe, creative virtual garage like Carl’s.

Below are just a few of Carl’s creations, as well as links to posts about him.  Leave a comment and Carl will answer. To see over 90  photos of Carl’s wondrous work, visit Pinterest.

PINTEREST / Carl Boro Sparkleballs 

VIDEOS /
Carl’s Trick for Keeping The Lights
from Slipping Out
Carl’s Trick for Making Perfect Holes

POSTS /
Visit to Carl’s Workshop 1
**Visit to Carl’s Workshop 2**
Visit to Carl’s Workshop 3
Hard Cup vs Soft Cup
Black Cup Sparkleball
“Retro” Ball
How to Get It Really Round
Hard Cups and Bobby Pins
Moonglow Sparkleball
Turducken Sparkleball
Game Day Ball for Dad
Halloween Ideas
New Year’s Eve Ideas

 

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Hard Cup vs Soft Cup

the one that broke

A few days ago, I dropped an old Hard-Cup Sparkleball I love. Five cups shattered, and  there’s no way to repair it.  That’s the thing about hard cups.  They’re really sparkly, but they crack. Two other important points:  you can’t staple them and they are a slightly different size than solo-style cups.  BUT they come in more colors!

Here are the  instructions for making a Hard Cup Sparkleball.  I used to use a soldering iron to melt the cups together, but now I use hot glue.   (Master Sparkleballer Carl Boro uses silicon caulk.)  From the instructions you’ll learn that there’s a different formula in how you put the Hard Cup Sparkleball together.   This is very important.  If you try to make it like an Original Sparkleball, it won’t work.  You’ll need more cups too.

photos below by Carl Boro, who loves making hard-cup sparkleballs.

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“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?


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.

 


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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