After Carl Boro saw a neighbor’s sparkleball, he went home and just figured out how to make one. With time he developed his own designs and methods, creating a garage full of colorful sparkleballs made from different cups and lights. He sent me some photos a few years ago, and we began a lively email exchange.
In 2015 I visited Carl at home near San Francisco. It’s no exaggeration to say that day changed my life. The fun we had exchanging ideas and working together cemented our friendship. It also pushed me to update and improve this website. I became more determined to share the mutual enthusiasm of friendship and craft with people like you, so that all of us around the world can work together — no matter what our beliefs or backgrounds– in a safe, creative virtual garage like Carl’s.
Below are just a few of Carl’s creations, as well as links to posts about him. Leave a comment and Carl will answer. To see over 90 photos of Carl’s wondrous work, visit Pinterest.
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.
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.
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.