From your emails and my own trial-and-error, I know how hard it can be to find the right soft plastic cups. Solo® brand cups are just plain terrific for making a classic sparkleball. Their unique shape means that 50 make a gorgeous sphere. There are other brands that will work. It’s really about the shape. Big mouth, little base, slanty sides. Above are cups I’ve used with success.
For some strange reason, solo-style cups are an American thing. Sorry, rest-of-the-world.
Warning: many 9 oz cups do not work for the Original Sparkleball. If 12 of your cups doesn’t make a nice circle for the first ring, don’t despair. Switch to instructions for hard cups or any-size cups to find the right formula for the cups you have.
Here’s a sparkleball made with Party City color hard plastic cups in “white.” The maker, Carl Boro,paired them with warm white LED lights for a soft ivory pearlescence. Total moon-glow. Because of the cup’s shape, each half is built in four rings: 14 – 11 – 6 – 1 (64 cups in all.) To see how Carl does it, check out instructions for the Hard Cup Sparkleball.
Sabel is a filmmaker, artist and photographer who makes sparkleballs. Each is born out of what’s at hand and then soldered together, with enchanting results. There’s Sporeball with tube shotglasses inserted between the 9 oz hard cup layers. Darkleball’s webbed core of CD’s melted in a microwave. Mini FireHazard MD’s layers of little medicine dosage cups. Sparklehive composed of 10 oz Chinets in two pyramids, base to base. And my favorite, Dishwarped, a surreal stunner made of big cups melted in the dishwasher. The entire collection is on a timer, and Sabel says that when they’re lit at once it’s like the Tree of Souls in AVATAR.