Only the U.S. has Solo plastic cups, so the rest of the world has to work with other shapes and sizes. It takes a lot more non-solo cups to form a sphere, even when you’re building with smaller cups. It’s also harder to get these “any cup” balls nice and round. Our Any Cup How-to shows one way to do it. But you can find some pretty cool sparkle ball videos on youtube from other countries. I highly recommend the video below by Italian Walter Calabrese. I tried his method. and it works really well. (See result here.) When I finally make a styrofoam “bubble lamp,” this is the method I’ll use except with hotglue.
note: blue and white sparkleball above by Walter Calabrese.
Two things I absolutely love about sparkleballs. . . The infinite possibility within a limited set of elements. (cups + lights) And the mystery of who invented them. So let’s address my two favorite things while admiring the lyrical beauty of Styrene by artist Paul Cocksedge.
In 1973 Victor Papenek and James Hennessey published the classic Nomadic Furniture with instructions for “Bubble Lamp,” a light fixture made of styrofoam coffee cups. Every crafty mom in the 70’s made a Bubble Lamp. NYC Designer Jonathan Adler hangs his mom’s over the dining table today and credits its coolness as the inspiration behind his successful career.
Fast forward to 2002. Paul Cocksedge melts polystyrene cups and creates “Styrene” as his graduation piece from the Royal College of Art, London. Today you can find it for custom order on his studio website. Price Upon Request. (To make your own, check Youtube for one of many DIY vids, like this one by KrazyKred. )