Turn Plastic Cups Into Giant Sparkle Balls

Shawna Bailey
by Shawna Bailey
5 Materials
10 Minutes

If you're looking for a really big impact Christmas decoration, this is the project for you. Using just Christmas lights and some household materials, you can make giant sparkle balls for your home.

Step 1: Gather your materials

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I used about 100 mini plastic cups, fairy lights,  a stapler and a  drill (Optional) to make holes in the cups. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a drill, then you can punch holes with an x-acto knife or even a screwdriver. If you’re using something else to make holes, check to make sure the holes are correctly sized for your fairy lights. It would be a real shame to build your whole sparkle ball only to discover the lights don’t fit.

Step 2: Put holes in your cups

I used an 11/64 sized drill bit to make holes in my cups. By drilling through them, I was able to do 100 cups (in 2 groups) in under two minutes. Like I mentioned before if you aren’t using a drill, then just make your holes with whatever you're using.

Here's what each cup should look like after you've added your holes.

Step 3: Staple them together

Using a stapler from our office, I started building the ball. Make sure to squeeze all the way down when stapling, so that the cups really stick together. I found it easier to staple as far down away from the lip of the cup as possible.

In order to make a ball, I simply put the second row (and third and fourth row..) of cups around the first row. That, combined with the gentle slope shape of the cup, made it easy to make a ball.

Here's a picture of half a ball. You need to make two halves and attach them after you have added the lights.

Step 4 : Add the lights

Because my holes were exactly the same size as the fairy light bulbs, I was able to pop them in and they all stayed in place. If you find that your holes are too large, a small drop of hot glue will hold them in place. If you find that the hole is a little too small, force the light in -- then they won’t fall out. If it's really small you might have to make it bigger.

Voila! These are safe to hang outside.

We string them all along our porch for a really WOW effect you can see from the street. I actually hang them using a small piece of string I tie in between two of the cups. You can easily save these from year to year!

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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 23 questions
  • Linda Thornton Linda Thornton on Dec 01, 2017
    Where did you find the cups that size

  • Jennifer Jennifer on Sep 13, 2020

    can you send me link for printed directions

  • DaLonna. Sprinkle DaLonna. Sprinkle on Nov 12, 2020

    I’m confused, if you used 100 cups for your ball, how does that work ? Wouldn’t you need more in row one than the -12-9- then 4 ?

    is like to make a bigger one . Any suggestions . Thanks 😉

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3 of 68 comments
  • Ruthie Ruthie on Dec 14, 2019

    we made these back in the eightys. Only after the ball halves were made we sprayed them on inside of cups with hair spray and sprinkled a single color of glitter into the cups , before we put the lights in and put them together. So when we hung them on the porch we had large Red and green , gold, silver, etc , huge Christmas balls. Fun to see old things come back. Some just put top edges of single cups into a little glue on paper plate and dipped into glitter before starting stapling together. Those were classy looking. Be sure to get the lights that don't go out if one goes. :)

    • Ruthie Ruthie on Dec 14, 2019

      we also after ball was finished ,took a single cup sprayed it gold and put on top. Had hole in it for light string to go thru. Have fun. :) Really finished it off to look like a actual Christmas ornament.. Be sure to put this on where lightstring from tree comes out....................

  • Anne Anne on Jan 13, 2020

    My compliments, Shawna Bailey! My granddaughters and I made a bunch of these and I'm pretty sure it took us longer than 10 minutes for each one! Must have been my clumsiness that slowed the girls down. The first ones we did, using off brand cups, didn't turn out round or neatly fitted; we had to use Solo brand. Obviously, I should have followed your tutorial and saved some time and money. Live and learn. I will be following you now. Thanks!