Tips on Plugging In

Here are two suggestions to make it easier and more attractive when you hang your sparkleball.

1. Hide The Plug
A small tweak that makes a big difference, especially when your mini-lights have short leader wires.  Plug sparkleball into an extension cord, then push all the plugs back inside the ball, through gap between cups.  Re-staple cups if necessary. Only the extension cord wire is left.  Much neater!

 

2.  Make Your Own Extension Cord
Action Lighting sells these wonderful gadgets called “vampire plugs.”  They’re male and female parts which slide and lock onto lamp wire with little teeth, hence the nickname.   Vampire plugs are great for customizing cords of any length. I like making short ones to connect balls to each other.  You can also create a long cord with a series of female plugs at intervals, to hang a row of sparkleballs with less cord mess.   Plugs sold here.  Good instructions here.      (click photos for more information.)


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

How to Hang It – 2

how to hang a sparkleball 3
extension cord plug tugged inside; ziptie-ring hanger at top.

 

A few basic thoughts on hanging your sparkleball.

First:  before putting the lights in, decide if you want the plug at the top, bottom, or middle of the ball.  That’s covered in an earlier post and video How To Hang It – 1.

Second:   When the sparkleball is finished, I like to plug it into an extension cord,  then tuck the plugs inside the ball.  Staple opening closed, and there’s less clutter hanging from your ball.

Third:  the hanger.   These days I use a ziptie, split ring, and large black pot hook.

hang_a_sparkleball3
hook, zip-tie, split ring

On completed sparkleball, I punch holes in two top cups with a holepuncher. Then I thread the ziptie, and add a split ring.  I cinch it tightly and reinforce the two cups with extra staples.  

To hang, I use a 5 in. black “s” hook.  I think I found them first at Ikea, but when I googled they popped up at a lot of places.  You can also find them in a birdfeeder store or for hanging pots in the kitchen.  I like them because they’re big enough for tree branches.

That’s just how I do it.  There are so many different and cool ways to hang and display sparkleballs, I made a Pinterest board to save ideas. You can check it out here.  There are also lots of ideas among the photos if you look carefully.

katie4
dangly snowflakes conceal the wire

UPDATE:  Here’s how my friend Katie hangs her sparkleball.  Love it.

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
–  painting the cups
–  make The Original Sparkleball
–  make AnyCup Sparkleball
–  making Mini Sparkleballs

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO: Amber’s Sparkleball Tree

Amber_Merefield_sparkleballs It’s time! Let’s kick off the 2015 Holiday Prep Season with Amber Merefield’s Sparkleball Tree.   Here’s how she does it:   for each ball,  Amber makes a hanger out of two lengths of chain, s-hooks, zipties, and a swivel snap hook.  Outside, she uses a combo of ladder and tree-climbing (“like Tarzan”) in the 20-30ft dogwood tree, which is wrapped in white lights.    Each sparkleball is hung with several releasable zip-ties.  The zip-ties aren’t tightened completely to give the sparkleballs play in the wind.  Once sparkle balls are in place, Amber runs the electricity, using custom-length extension cords made of SPT-2 wire and vampire plugs.   A custom “wire harness” at the base of the tree sends a separate cord and plug to each ball.   We love the effect of sweeping white tree and red balls, but Amber says she has plans to add green and blue balls this year.

amberSee more photos of Amber’s 70,000 light display on The Lights on Taunton Road Facebook page.  In person, you can see the display at  5 Taunton Road, Medford NJ.  Amber Merefield is a regular contributor on Planet Christmas forums.  (photo: Medford Sun)

 

 

-click photos for detail-

 

 

 

How to Hang It – 1

crystalCA
Crystal’s “striped” sparkleball which got me thinking.

When Crystal B sent a photo of her striped sparkleball, I emailed back to ask how she’d “made the stripes.”  I felt pretty foolish when she said she’d just used two colors of cups.  It took a while for me to realize that how the sparkleball hangs determines how we see it.

To show off the horizontal rows so you see stripes,  you’ll need to put the plug  in the “top” of the sparkleball half. When you insert the last 4 cups, do it in pairs and leave a gap between them.  Put the plug through the gap and thread the lights  starting in the middle of the half.  (video below)

If your plug comes out the middle, the rows will run sort of vertical/diagonal.


how-to-hang-it posts:
–  how to hang it – 2
–  how to hang it – 3
–  how to hang, mount, display sparkleballs / Pinterest
more helpful DIY 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
–  painting the cups
–  make The Original Sparkleball
–  make AnyCup Sparkleball
–  making Mini Sparkleballs

 

 

 

 

 

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