This DIY project is the perfect way to add a decorative touch to a room and create a great atmosphere. It’s easy and quick to do, so get your hands on some ping pong balls and get DIY-ing!
Callum Mundine is the co-owner of LED World (with his brother Simon). They are an Australian based lighting design firm. One of his passions using his knowledge from the lighting industry and adapting it into DIY projects for his children. You can read more about him on ledworld.com.au.
Things you’ll need:
- Strand of LEDs (white or multicoloured)
- Ping pong balls
- Precision knife
- Silicone or glue (optional)
Here are a couple of pointers to help you get started.
If you have any extra Christmas lights at home, you can definitely use them. You just need to make sure they have LED bulbs which stay cool to the touch. It’s always a good idea to plug them in and check that all the bulbs are working before you start working on the project.
LED strands are available in white or multicoloured. If you’re buying them specially for this project, choose whichever you like best. I prefer white lights for decorating rooms inside your home, as they create a warm, welcoming glow, and coloured lights for illuminating outdoor spaces. But it’s really up to you.
To use the lights in an environment where you don’t have a plug nearby, such as in the garden or as a table centrepiece, LEDs are also available with a battery operated switch. Some come with a built in timer too, which can be extremely handy if your lights are hanging outside.
Ping Pong Balls
If you’re wondering how many ping pong balls you’ll need, that depends on the length of your LED strand and how many bulbs it has. Shorter ones have between 10 and 20, whilst longer ones have about 100.
Once you’ve decided on the lights that will work best for you, count the bulbs and buy at least one ball for each light. Ping pong balls are quite flimsy, so it’s better to get a few extra in case there are any breakages.
If your local sports store only sells them in packs of two or three, Amazon usually offers good deals on bulk orders.
Ping pong ball lights also look great on balconies, terraces, gazebos, and gardens. If you’re planning on hanging them up outside, check your lights are rated for outdoor use. As they’ll be more exposed to the elements, it’s a good idea to seal the balls so water and dust can’t get in.
To do this, just add a touch of silicone around the bulb socket. You could also use glue, but silicone is much easier to peel off should you ever need to replace or access a bulb. If you do use glue, a twisting motion should help remove the ball intact.
Ideas for Decorating
These lights are incredibly versatile and you can use them almost anywhere. They make great Christmas decorations, look great hanging under outdoor umbrellas or around patios and add an extra flare to food tables on special occasions.
You can even decorate the cord itself with tinsel or by hanging wildflowers. Have fun with the project and be as creative as you like!
First, use a precision knife to cut an X shape into each ball. To make this process easier, you can place the balls in an empty egg carton to hold them in place. Take care when you make the cut as it’s easy to slip and injure your palm.
Next, push each bulb on your LED strand through the X, enough so that the whole light is inside the ball, but ensure the bulb isn’t touching the interior. Repeat this process until all the lights are covered with ping pong balls.
If you need to make the balls more secure or seal them to keep rainwater out, cover the X and the bulb socket with some silicone. Allow the lights to dry on a flat surface before handling them again.
Finally, hang your lights up, and enjoy the lovely atmosphere they create in your home.