“Can I hotglue a sparkleball together?”

 

Carl uses clear silicon caulk on hard cups sparkleballs. He builds the ball with paperclips, puts the caulk between the cups, reclips, and lets it harden for a couple of days.

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.


Want to make holiday sparkleballs?  Here’s what you’ll need.  Want to make it easy?


MORE HELPFUL 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

 

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Getting Your Sparkleball Really Round :)

Many thanks to Sparkleball Master Carl Boro for these techniques.

Tis the sparkleball season!  Time to get stapling! There are lots of videos on youtube to show you how to build an original sparkleball.  But they don’t always show you the best way or the tricks of the trade. That’s why it’s nice to have some step-by-step instructions with a few shortcuts and some technique thrown in.   If you’re a perfectionist (like a few people I know), there are some tricks to getting your sparkleball really round.   These tips of Carl’s may sound geeky, but they’re simple, and they work.

  1. THE RIGHT CUPS
    If 12 cups doesn’t make a tidy circle to start, your cups aren’t solo-style which is essential for the Original Sparkleball.
  2. DON’T OVER STAPLE
    Use only 1 or 2 staples per cup.  This keeps the ball flexible and stretchy as you assemble it.  When you’re done and like the shape, you can add more staples.
  3. STAPLE DEEP IN THE CUPS
    Don’t know why but this makes a difference.
  4. HOW TO STAPLE – 1
    As you join cups, make sure one rim tucks under the other, and the rims touch. Doesn’t matter who’s on top, but the cups should nestle neatly.
  5. HOW TO STAPLE – 2
    When you fit the 9-cup ring on the 12-cup ring, first staple at 4 “compass” points.   When those 4 Cups are anchored finish stapling the rest of the cups to the 12-cup ring.  Really important to get the right shape.
  6. TRUST THE CUPS
    As you settle one ring on top of the other,  you’ll see some cups  sit between two cups (valley) and some sit on top of a cup.  Wherever they sit, staple.
  7. GAPS
    There will be some gaps.  Don’t force cups together.   Instead, reinforce where cups do touch with a few extra staples when you’re finished.

 


more helpful 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

 

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checklist for making sparkleballs

Here’s an easy checklist to nudge you gently forward on making the sparkleball you’ve always wanted.  With the materials on hand, you’re halfway there.

1. Cups. When you’re grocery shopping, back-to-school shopping, or at the pharmacy look out for Solo 9oz tumblers. They come in packs of 40s and 50s, and you’ll need 50 cups per ball so buy more than you think you need.

2. Stapler and staples. Once you’ve got the cups, test the stapler you have to see if it works to join two plastic cups. No? You’ll need a plier stapler. I bought my Arrow at Ace Hardware. And don’t forget staples!

3. Drill and 1/2″ bit. This is for the holes in the bottom of the cups. Got a drill? Got a 1/2″ drill bit? Got a friend who does? You’re in business. If you’re going to make a bunch of sparkleballs, invest in a step drill bit which is made specially for drilling plastic. (You can also use a soldering iron to burn the holes in, but you’ll need really good ventilation.)

4. Lights. You need a string of 100 minilights to put 2 per cup. Do you have an old string? If not, gather all the other stuff, and when the lights hit stores in October, Voila! You’re ready to make your sparkleball.  Want battery lights?  Amazon has some good ones.

5. Hanging stuff.  You’ll want to hang it right away, so check out this pinterest page for ideas about hanging sparkleballs.  An extension cord comes in handy.

6. Party.  Share this post with friends and plan a sparkleball party together.  That’ll git ‘er done, as my stepdad Bill says.

 

 

Why I Love the Arrow P22


Nobody pays me to promote the Arrow P22.  I’ve  tried other plier staplers, but the P22 is  my personal favorite  for building sparkleballs.  It staples plastic cups like butter.  Well, almost.  Sometimes it needs a little oil. Sometimes  a staple jams. It’s a tad clunky.  But we’re old friends, and nothing does the job better.

Today I learned that the P22 is made in the USA.  Hooray!  And that Arrow was founded by Morris Abrams, the inventor of the staple gun and clearly a man with an overall special talent for staplers.  Mr Abrams was born in New York City in 1908, the son of Romanian immigrants.  I like that my stapler has an authentic American story.  Just like sparkleballs :)

The Arrow P22™ will run you $15ish, with a box of staples adding another 2.50 or so. Once you have it, you’ll find it’s good for stapling all kinds of things.  Look for it at Ace Hardware, on Amazon, in places like Home Depot, and maybe at craft stores. Don’t forget to buy Arrow P22 staples.

 


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