There are two ways to go with your New Year’s Eve sparkleball. Giant drop-the-ball-at-midnight dazzle. (and see below) And champagne-sparkly-chic like Nargiza, Nick, Misha, and the Pinks. Happy New Year!
see more on Pinterest and in these New Year’s Eve posts. . .
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.
Here’s an easy checklist to nudge you gently forward on making the sparkleball you’ve always wanted. With the materials on hand, you’re halfway there.
1. Cups. When you’re grocery shopping, back-to-school shopping, or at the pharmacy look out for Solo 9oz tumblers. They come in packs of 40s and 50s, and you’ll need 50 cups per ball so buy more than you think you need.
2. Stapler and staples. Once you’ve got the cups, test the stapler you have to see if it works to join two plastic cups. No? You’ll need a plier stapler. I bought my Arrow at Ace Hardware. And don’t forget staples!
3. Drill and 1/2″ bit. This is for the holes in the bottom of the cups. Got a drill? Got a 1/2″ drill bit? Got a friend who does? You’re in business. If you’re going to make a bunch of sparkleballs, invest in a step drill bit which is made specially for drilling plastic. (You can also use a soldering iron to burn the holes in, but you’ll need really good ventilation.)
4. Lights. You need a string of 100 minilights to put 2 per cup. Do you have an old string? If not, gather all the other stuff, and when the lights hit stores in October, Voila! You’re ready to make your sparkleball. Want battery lights? Amazon has some good ones.
5. Hanging stuff. You’ll want to hang it right away, so check out this pinterest page for ideas about hanging sparkleballs. An extension cord comes in handy.
6. Party. Share this post with friends and plan a sparkleball party together. That’ll git ‘er done, as my stepdad Bill says.
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. 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.”)