How to make an LED outdoor sparkball light
If you have plastic cups leftover from entertaining over the holidays, here's a way to recycle them into an LED light that is perfect for your New Year's party. The light is illuminated using battery-operated LED fairy lights and is stunning once switched on. You can hang it on the patio or in the garden to add fun lighting to your party.
I got the original idea for this project from seeing sparkleballs on the Internet. The only problem is that it was impossible to find the right size of plastic cups to make the sparkleball, plus I wanted to use plastic cups leftover from entertaining over the holidays. Although I didn't quite make a ball, the light still came out great and will definitely be used for my New Year's party. The transparent plastic cups bounce the colourful, flashing LED lights around the room.
To make my version of a sparkleball you will need 46 transparent plastic cups. I tried various configurations to achieve a completely circular ball, but just couldn't get it right, so this design is circular but open at the top and bottom.
Rather than use a stapler or soldering iron, I decided it would be far less fuss to use a hot glue gun. A Dremel glue gun is the best to use for this, as you can control the heat setting and have a on low so that the glue sets hard much faster, which means less holding the cups in place until the glue hardens.
There were a few cups here and there that needed to be cut off on both sides to fit into spaces. I used a sharp craft knife and cutting mat to cut out small sections where necessary.
Glue each layer on top of the previous layer, adjusting the plastic cups so that they overlap each other as you go around.
The LED lights are not glued in place, I simply pushed individual lights through gaps in the cups. To be able to hang the LED light, I glued two long strips of string to the inside of the cups. You could also use thin chain if you want a more decorative finish. My lights will be outdoors, so you won't really see them in the dark.
These are battery-operated LED lights that will be hung around the garden on New Year's Eve. I had an old plastic light that fitted perfectly in the middle of the circle, so I decided to use this to hold the battery pack for the lights. Alternatively, hot glue the battery pack to the inside circle.