DIY Project: Ping Pong Ball Lights
About The Author: Callum Mundine is the co-owner of LED World (with his brother Simon). They are a lighting design studio based in Melbourne, Australia. One of his passions is creating crafty DIY projects out of lighting product. You can read more about them on their website.
If you feel like getting creative, these ping pong ball lights are a fantastic way to brighten up a room. You can hang them in your living room, illuminate your patio, or go that step further with your party decorations. They’re incredibly versatile and easy to make, so here’s everything you need to know.
- Strand of LEDs
- Ping pong balls
- Precision knife
- Silicone or glue (optional)
First things first. If you’re hoping to use some extra Christmas lights you already have at home, that’s absolutely fine as long as they’re LEDs which stay cool to the touch.
Whether you choose white or colored lights is up to you. I prefer white lights for indoor use and multicolored to decorate outdoor spaces, but it really depends on the effect you’re looking to create.
Remember that when the bulbs are off, both types will look white as the color will only shine through the ping pong lights when they’re switched on.
Ping Pong Balls
To know how many ping pong balls you’ll need, first you need to decide on the lights you’re using, and then count how many bulbs your LED strand has. Shorter ones tend to have 10 or 20, whilst longer ones have about 100.
It’s always best to buy a few extra in case any of them break whilst you’re working on the project. Amazon usually offers good deals for bulk orders and can work out cheaper than buying them in small packs at your local sports store.
These lights can make a lovely addition to balconies, terraces, patios, or gazebos. All you need to do is make sure they’re rated for outdoor use, and use some silicone to seal the balls to protect them from rainwater.
I prefer to use silicone as it’s much easier to peel off if you ever need to replace a bulb. Glue would also work, but you might find that the ping pong balls break if you try to remove them.
As this project is economical and simple to do, you can use these lights almost anywhere you like. They look great draped over a food table, hanging in a tree in the garden, and even around birthday cakes.
If you want to use them in an area which isn’t close to a socket, you can always choose battery operated LEDs. These often come with a built-in timer, which is handy for setting them to come on automatically.
Once you’ve got the hang of making them, you can also decorate the wiring or hang things from the cord, such as wildflowers or streamers.
- Using a precision knife, cut an X into each ping pong ball. Be careful if you’re holding the ball in your hand as it’s easy to slip and injure your palm. If you’re working on the project with your kids or want to hold them more securely, you can place the balls in an empty egg carton.
- Push each bulb through the X in the ping pong ball. Try to push it in enough so that the whole bulb is covered by the ball, but not so far that it touches the inside. Repeat this process until all the lights are covered.
- If you’re hanging the lights outside, it’s best to seal them to prevent water and dust getting in. You can do this by adding a small amount of silicone around the socket, making sure you cover the X entirely. Allow the lights to dry on a flat surface before handling them again.
- You’re almost done! All that’s left is to hang your lights up, step back, and enjoy the warm glow they create in your room.