Making Mini Sparkleballs


Dart makes souffle or portion cups in 4, 2 and 1-oz sizes.  They are closest to small solo-style cups I’ve found.  So you can follow the Original Sparkleball instructions and come out with mini versions.  The 4-oz cups (left) make a really nice mini.  The 1-oz souffle cup (right) is trickier.  With it, I had to follow a 14-11-6-1 recipe. My stapler was too big,  so I used paper clips and hot glue, as in the Hard Cup method.  The 1 oz mini also has room for only 25-50 lights.

Remember to staple deep in the cups and make sure the rims meet.  Also,  there are some stapling guidelines if you want your sparkleball really round.  Read them here.

To find portion cups, check restaurant supply stores, like Smart & Final. Try online. It also looks like Dixie makes some similar cups, including a 2 oz jello shot cup.

To make a mini sparkleball with hard plastic shot glasses and see more mini sparkleballs made with other cups go here.  And a collection of mini sparkleballs on Pinterest.

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


Mini-Sparkleballs by Brandon and Randy Schimka

belardo8The easiest mini-sparkleball to make is with 4 oz “souffle cups.”  These pudding cups are close in proportion to 9 oz solo-style cups, just smaller, so the same 12-9-4 formula works.   I learned this trick from Randy and Brandon Schimka, the father and son team who produce Belardo Lights, one of San Diego’s most popular front-yard electronic light and music holiday displays.  The Schimkas, including granddad Joe, work all year planning and building for opening night Saturday after Thanksgiving.  On the Schimka’s belardo7website, you’ll find the inspiring story behind Belardo Lights and many how-to’s for their custom-made display items and electrical systems, including their souffle cup mini-sparkleballs.   (See our page on mini’s for other ways to make them.)

See the Schimka’s light show at 5306 Belardo Dr, San Diego CA, 28 Nov – 27 Dec .  Great video of the entire display with mini-sparkleballs






Carl built it with paper clips then used silicon caulk to attach the cups.

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.  

Piet Mondrian except round

lorraine2 (300x300)
Lorraine’s Sparkleball, 2015
Piet Mondrian, 1921
Piet Mondrian, 1921

Tomorrow is Lorraine’s birthday.   Lorraine is a true friend and that rariety of rarieties: a native San Diegan (by way of La Jolla.)  She was at my first sparkleball party where all the sparkleballs turned out cattywompus because I hadn’t worked out how to make them before I invited friends over.  Today, for her birthday sparkleball I cut up some soft plastic cups I found at the 99⊄ store and glued a few rims into the clear cups.  I like the modern art effect.  Sort of Piet Mondrian except round.   I hope she likes it.