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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checklist for making sparkleballs

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.

 

 

Putting Cups in the Cups

Sparkleballs are all about cups.  So let’s shake things up a little and put cups inside, on top of, between, and over the cups. Add a second set of cups, and you’ll  totally change the lighting and the overall look of the ball.  Using hard plastic cups like shotglasses,  you can solder holes in them for the lights, then hotglue them into the solo-style cups.  Or turn them upside down and glue them over the lights.   Soft cups can be treated the same way and even stapled inside Solo cups.  I love Sabel’s “Sporeball,” where tube shots are inserted between the main cups.  Here are some ideas to spur your creativity, but, really, the deal is,  just go for it :)


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
–  painting your sparkleball
–  make The Original Sparkleball
–  make AnyCup Sparkleball
–  making Mini Sparkleballs