I decided to try to snap myself out of the "oh, pitiful me" funk I'm in (probably due to my birthday) and nothing makes me happier than a good 5th grade craft project. I decided to focus on Christmas and happened to think about something my mom made a few years ago after seeing them at a craft fair. Hey, that was all the incentive I needed. I hit Walmart and picked up the supplies I thought I'd need to make these balls. Some of the stuff, like a drill and bits and a stapler, I already had. Here's what I thought I needed...I chose blue lights with white wire since I planned on hanging these outside if they work, and I decorate in blue lights. Any color ought to work and I'm thinking any color of transparent cups should work, too, but I'd use clear lights if I used colored cups. Without further ado, here's my starting plan:
I figured out quickly that a fat-assed drill bit is needed. At least bigger than I originally thought. After a few false starts, I found that a 3/8" bit was good but if you happen to have a 1/2" one, that would be good, too. I had to do a little forcing with a 3/8" hole, even though it did work. See, I got a light in the drilled hole and if you buy a set of 100 lights, you'll need to get 2 in that hole. 3/8" still works and probably gives a better hold than 1/2" would but yeah, either will work. You'll have to drill through 50 of these cups for a full ball or 25 for a half ball to hang against a wall. I did these one by one in my dining room, risking a new and unintended piercing in my hand each time. I live life on the edge like that. If you have some scrap wood, you could stack a load of cups on the wood and drill through them all at once to save on time and fear. A lesson learned through my own pathetic lack of math skills: If you are doing a 1/2 ball, use a strand of 50 lights (two in each hole). I don't want to discuss that further. Just know your lights need to go as shown in the picture below, only 2 per hole.
Once you've confirmed you can fit the lights in, put the lights aside for now. We need to build this damn thing. I used staples. If you have a better way of attaching two plastic cups together, by all means try it. Have a stapler and staples handy, since I think you'll probably resort to them in the end. Put the cups together with sides touching all the way down, stapling once or twice as shown below, to attach. The sides must touch in order to achieve the round shape needed to make a ball. Goddamn, my hand looks like something out of a Japanese horror movie. Sorry about that. Anyway, staple the cups (minus lights) together.
It causes a person to have to pick out many, many staples. This is annoying.
As if this project couldn't get more annoying, we're going to install the lights now. Start with the female end and in the center of one half (it's really important to start in the center, I found out the hard way), begin gently forcing 2 bulbs through each hole working to the outside set of cups in a clockwise manner. If you're going to use this outside, you might feel better sealing up the female end of the plug with electrical tape and you definitely need to end up on one of the outside cups of the ball half.
It's really pathetic that it took me all damn day to figure these out and the fact I'm excited about a craft project that involves plastic cups is more than a little sad, too. However, I feel happy when I see them and I think they'll be pretty hanging outside, so pfffffttttt! Make some. You'll like 'em.