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How to make a light ball from plastic cups

Updated April 17, 2017

The lighting in a room adds to the decor of that room as well as the room's mood. Make your own fun and funky light ball, like the one on the Sparkle Ball website, from inexpensive plastic cups and Christmas lights to use as decoration in a child or teen's bedroom or even your living room. Craft several light balls to use as decorative lighting at a school dance or birthday party.

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  1. Spray the cups, one at a time, with spray adhesive before sprinkling them with glitter over a paper plate. Set the cups aside to dry.

  2. Use a soldering iron to put a 1/2-inch hole in the bottom of each cup once they are dry.

  3. Lay twelve cups on their sides in a circle and use clothes pins to hold them together by the rims.

  4. Melt the cups together using the soldering iron near the bottoms of the cups by placing the soldering iron inside one cup and melting through that cup to the second cup.

  5. Add a second layer of cups on top of the first; this layer is made of nine cups. Use clothespins to hold the cups in place while you solder them to each other and to the first layer of cups.

  6. Place the final layer of four cups on top of the nine cup layer. Again, use clothespins to hold them in place while you solder them.

  7. Remove all the clothespins once the cups have cooled.

  8. Create a second hemisphere of cups in the same way you create the first.

  9. Push two bulbs through each hole in the bottom of each cup, starting at one end of the strand and working with one hemisphere. Start with one of the cups in the twelve cup layer and zigzag up and down the layers as you push the bulbs through.

  10. Repeat the bulb-pushing process with the other hemisphere, this time starting with the other end of the strand of lights.

  11. Push the two hemispheres together, once each cup has two bulbs, making sure that the plug to the lights sticks outside the ball. Solder the two halves together to make a ball.

  12. Solder the rims of the cups together where they touch naturally to strengthen the light ball.

  13. Solder a hole through two adjoining cups, a little below their rims, and slip one end of a S-hook through the hole. Clothes that end of the hook with pliers.

  14. Slip one end of your chain onto the other end of that hook and close that end with pliers.

  15. Slip one end of the second S-hook through the other end of the chain and close it with the pliers. Use the other end of that hook to hang your light ball.

  16. Tip

    Use clear plastic cups tinted in different shades or different colours of Christmas lights to make your light ball more interesting or a better match for pre-existing decor.


    Only an adult should handle the soldering iron if performing this craft with children.

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Things You'll Need

  • 9oz plastic punch cups, 50
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glitter
  • Paper. plate
  • Soldering iron
  • Clothespins
  • 100-light strand of miniature Christmas lights
  • 2 S-hooks
  • Pliers
  • 12-inch length of chain

About the Author

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.

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