Finding the Right Cups

sparkle ball cups

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.


more SPARKLEBALL DIY POSTS:
–  MAKE THE ORIGINAL SPARKLEBALL
–  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 ANYCUP SPARKLEBALL
–  CAN I HOTGLUE IT?
–  MAKING MINI SPARKLEBALLS
–  HOW TO STORE YOUR SPARKLEBALL

When Sparkle Balls Fail

The biggest reason a sparkleball doesn’t turn out right is you’re using the wrong cups.  Only Solo-style squatty plastic cups will make an Original Sparkleball.  If your 12 cups don’t make a nice, tidy circle then ditch your cups and go shopping.  Otherwise, you’ll end up with a sparkle blob.

fail2
“the sparkle orb disaster”    (read the story)
fail5
Lena’s sparkle “ein” (egg) in Swiss snow.

Lights can be faulty, which is why you always plug them in and check before inserting. It’s best to use new lights instead of an old string you have lying around so your sparkleball will burn brightly longer.   The stapler can be wrong, too. A lightweight stapler is probably not strong enough to hold the cups together for very long. Even my friend Carl, the master sparkleball maker, has faced failure.  This morning he went out to his garage and found this:

fail1

It seems the silicon caulk that Carl uses doesn’t like Smart&Final brand hard cups.  I had a similar problem before I learned to use paperclips to hold hard cups together after I’d hot-glued them so the glue could get a good set.

Finally, there’s The Velveteen Rabbit reason sparkleballs fail:

fail4
spotted at a Vermont barn party by Juliet

Old Age and too much love.  Cups get brittle and yellow.  Lights go dim and bonds wear loose.  It’s time to say goodbye, recycle, and move on.