I have a sparkleball situation coming up where there won’t be an outlet. Battery-powered lights were the obvious solution, but how good are they? Pretty great, according to the comments I read on Amazon for Vmanoo string lights. Folks rave about how long the batteries last. The lights are on a timer, and several commenters write that one set of D batteries (3) went the entire holiday season. I’m sold. I’ll report back when I see how much juice my battery-powered sparkleball has. (see below)
The lights I got– 100 multi “dancing” — are pretty darn bright. (see video below) There are a few drawbacks. One, the battery box is cumbersome and heavy, so you’ll have to find a place for it if you hang the sparkleball. Two, these are not recommended for bad weather. But that’s no problem if you just put your sparkleball out when you want it! How great would these be for a wedding in Vmanoo’s clear white battery lights? Next, rechargeable batteries :)
UPDATE: These battery lights are terrific. I can’t believe how long the batteries have lasted, and they’re super bright. Can recommend Vmanoo absolutely– and I’m sure there are other makers.
Sparkleball friend Carl Boro has astonished me again. He built this full blue sparkleball — blue cups and blue lights– with blue bobby pins! Carl discovered that long bobby pins are perfect for connecting the 9 oz hard plastic cups. (Not Solo-style soft cups. They have a raised lip.) I did a quick google search and found Durahome, EDI, and Party Essential hard cups on Amazon. My local grocery sometimes has them, and so does Party City. If you build one, make sure you check out the Hard Cup instruction page. The Hard Cup formula is different than the Original Sparkleball.
Carl says you’ll need about 126 bobby pins. Not a big investment. He also said that the clips slipped a little when he put the lights in, but once that was done, he just straightened the ball out.
Fran, my neighbor across the street, always rates my sparkleballs. After all, she has to look at them. The newest one scored an A+. “Black Beauty,” as Fran calls it, is an Original Sparkleball with black cups inserted inside each clear cup. The black cups are Hannah K brand from Amazon. I intended to use them by themselves to make a black sparkleball for Halloween, but the ball didn’t come out right. So I added them to a clear sparkleball. This will work for any cup you can drill or make a hole in. As you add lights, put a black cup inside a clear one and insert lights through both. The Hannah K cups come in lots of cool colors which will be fun for the holidays.
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.