The 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 website, 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
The superstar of Sabel’s collection is Sparklehive, the Frank Lloyd Wright of sparkleballs. It’s built in two pyramids of stacked rectangles, which are then joined end to end with a soldering iron. Pyramid one (at left) is 6 tiers of cups placed the same way //// . In Pyramid two the cups are nested /\//\/. A light strand is suspended inside from the top and cascades down. Sabel says that Sparklehive looms over the room in a wonderfully creepy way. I think it’s quite majestic.
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.