Sparkle balls are lighted holiday decorations you can make quickly and economically at home. These balls cost under $10 to make (if the season is right for buying Christmas mini-lights) and they can be used to decorate showers, weddings, parties, teen's rooms; as well as at Christmas. I just decided to provide as much information on the how-to of it as I can as a small public service.
Sparkleball Lady from San Diego, CA Editor's Note: This looked so easy and pretty that we decided to make one for the site. The cups cost about $5.00 for 2 packs of 40 (you need 50), but you could probably get them in bulk for cheaper.
We had the lights on hand but basic 100 strand light strings are usually only a dollar or two. We also needed to buy a cheap soldering iron, which was $8.00, but you might have one already.

Here are a couple of helpful hints that we figured out along the way: Make your center holes slightly larger than you need to thread one light through. When you do the second row of 9, place three cups symmetrically first and then melt the rest into place. When you get to the top 4 cups, place all of them in together and then hold them in place as you melt them together. When you are inserting the lights in a "zigzag pattern", it is necessary to go along the outer row a couple of times.
We found it easiest to go straight down to the middle four and then fill out the rest of it. But this year I've finally discovered an excellent no-melt method for putting the holiday light balls together-- thanks to my new husband, Steve! By Sparkleball Lady from San Diego CA  View This PageThis page is not on ThriftyFun, but we had to share it.

It is thin enough that it slips right into the holes left by the soldering iron at the base of the cups. If you need to use S-hooks you should make sure you burn one hole large enough for the end of the hook.
We just used an old hat and scarf that we had around the house, but you could really decorate it up if you wanted to.

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