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.

 

 

Why I Love the Arrow P22


Nobody pays me to promote the Arrow P22.  I’ve  tried other plier staplers, but the P22 is  my personal favorite  for building sparkleballs.  It staples plastic cups like butter.  Well, almost.  Sometimes it needs a little oil. Sometimes  a staple jams. It’s a tad clunky.  But we’re old friends, and nothing does the job better.

Today I learned that the P22 is made in the USA.  Hooray!  And that Arrow was founded by Morris Abrams, the inventor of the staple gun and clearly a man with an overall special talent for staplers.  Mr Abrams was born in New York City in 1908, the son of Romanian immigrants.  I like that my stapler has an authentic American story.  Just like sparkleballs :)

The Arrow P22™ will run you $15ish, with a box of staples adding another 2.50 or so. Once you have it, you’ll find it’s good for stapling all kinds of things.  Look for it at Ace Hardware, on Amazon, in places like Home Depot, and maybe at craft stores. Don’t forget to buy Arrow P22 staples.

 


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

 

 

Best Stapler for Making Sparkleballs

It’s called a plier stapler.   Like everything else in life, with the right tool you can do anything.  Buy a plier stapler, and your hand will thank you.  Your sparkleball will turn out better because you can staple deep in the cups, and the staplers are stronger.  I’ve used an Arrow P22. for years. Sometimes  it’s clunky, but if I keep it oiled it’s pretty great.  Don’t forget to buy staples!  Each stapler has its own brand of staples and you have to buy them separately.
You can find plier staplers at hardware stores and online.

click on stapler photo for more information.

more helpful DIY:
–  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

The Perfect Hole

 

I’ve given Carl Boro a lot of credit on this site, and no wonder. If anyone knows about building sparkleballs, it’s Carl. Probably his very best tip is the 1/2″ step drill bit.  Carl uses the bit in a drill press. (video here)  I use mine in a hand drill.  The bit costs  about $14, but it makes absolutely perfect holes.   Lights slip in, and they stay put. You can drill up to 4 soft cups at a time. And I’ve stuffed as many as 4 lights in a single hole, although 2-3 works best.

A regular 1/2″ drill bit works just fine if it’s sharp enough. Use a knife and cut x’s in the cup bottoms. Or a soldering iron to melt holes. Any hole is better than no hole!  So just do it. . .like the man in Canada who put holes in his cups with a screwdriver he heated up on the stove top :)  A sparkleball is very forgiving.


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
–  painting the cups
–  make The Original Sparkleball
–  make AnyCup Sparkleball
–  making Mini Sparkleballs

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