Any-Size Cup



Any cup will make a sparkleball with time and patience. An Original Sparkleball is built of three rings containing 12, 9, and 4 solo-style cups.  Using other cups,  you’ll have to figure out a new formula. There’s no one formula that fits all cups.  Below is a step-by-step method on how to figure it out.  There’s also a  blog post on Any-Cup videos which show other methods.  I suggest doing a little research before you begin.  Oh, and buy tons of cups :)

UPDATE:  If you are using 9 oz cups or smaller I highly recommend a different method than the one below.  It produces a very round, large sparkleball.  See it here.

Formula:  different for every cup shape and size
Don’t count my cups. Yours may be different. But method is the same.
You will clip entire ball before you take it apart and rebuild it, stapling.
Click photos for details.


WARNING:  It can be hard to get the Any-Cup Sparkleball really round, but here are some tricks. 

As you staple cups, make sure one rims touch and one tucks under the other. 

There will be some gaps.  Don’t force cups together.   

When you add a ring on top of another ring, staple at 4 “compass” points.   With those 4 cups anchored, then finish stapling the rest of the cups in the ring.

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 settle, leave  and staple.

As you add rings, alternate where first cup is placed.  If Ring Two first cup sits in a “valley” of Ring One cups then that’s your first
staple point. When you add Ring 3,  place the first cup directly on top of that “valley” cup. Staple using the 4 points technique above. On Ring 4, go back to the valley. Alternate placement of the first cup like this until the side is built. This is similar to hexagonal packing, which gives the ball a nice round shape.

Some Any-Cup Sparkleballs from Photo Pages.
Click photos for details.

The Any-Cup method is how people make Giant Sparkleballs.

A Giant Sparkleball needs extra secure hanging and support.

Walter Calabrese’s Any-Cup Method






10 thoughts on “Any-Size Cup

  1. It took me awhile to figure out that the stapler was so important! After purchasing 4 different staplers, and trying the twist tie and hot glue method, I finally found the Arrow P – 22 stapler. It reachers far into the cup and staples go right in! Also stapling each ring together before stapling to each other made it easy to work with! Thanks for all your help and I love the pictures from all over!

    1. Hi Janet! Sometimes there’s no other way but experience :) I’m so glad you found a method that works for you– and that you were willing to share. (I love my P22!) Send a photo, and I’ll put you on the sparkleball map. Alex

  2. Hi, PleaseI need your help. I wanna know the formula if I’m gonna use a 3oz cup.
    We live in UAE, 9oz is really hard to find.. Pls help!

    1. Hi Hannah! Because cup shapes vary I can’t tell you exact formula. But if you build it as the Any Cup instructions show, ring by ring, you can figure it out. Use paperclips or clothespins to hold cups together while you figure. Build Ring 1 to be a circle. Build Ring 2 one or two cups smaller, and so on. I can tell you that it will take you probably 100 cups or so. Keep me posted! Alex

  3. Thank you so much for your quick response. I’ll be trying the 3 oz or the 1 oz by tomorrow.. I was assigned to decorate our christmas party andsparkleball is a very great idea, budget friendly and easy to do.. just having a slight prob looking for right sizes of cups and its formula. I was just trying to figure out also how many cups do I really need, to build atleast 8 sets of the Sparkle balls before buying it.

    7 oz is a bit big for a very low ceiling hotel. (I was planning to hang it)

    However, I will surely give you an update!
    God bless!

  4. Hi! I saw these big light balls how to- wonderful instructions!
    I saw the black glue gun could you tell me where I can get one?
    I have been looking all over for one just like it!.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Peggy, Janet is right about the stapler. A plier stapler works best on the soft cups. Glue gun works great on the hard plastic. But people make them all kinds of ways. I think I got my glue gun at Michaels (a craft store) but you can find them at hardware stores like Ace and Home Depot. Good luck! Alex

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