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.
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:
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:
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.