Keep Your Christmas Lights Out To Make A Stunning DIY New Year's Eve Ball

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For those that like to ring in the new year at home with family or are planning to host a New Year's Eve party for neighbors and friends, this DIY decoration will make your gathering memorable for everyone. By holding onto your Christmas lights after December 25 and placing each bulb inside clear plastic cups that are all attached together, you'll be able to make a ball to drop at midnight. While it won't be even close to as large as the one in New York City, your setup will still be magical and fun. All you'll need are some battery-powered Christmas lights (either white or colored), clear plastic cups, a stapler, and a drill. 

To hang the ball from the ceiling or a banister, you can use fishing line or ribbon, which you could then lower down slowly at midnight. On the other hand, to really make the most out of this project, you could create a stand as well. To do this, you'll need a 2-foot plywood round, a PVC pipe that's 1 inch in diameter and about 5 or 6 feet long, four L brackets, spray paint, and fishing line. If you only have string lights that plug into the wall and aren't battery-operated, they may still work for this hack. However, the tail-end of the lights will have to hang out of the ball, which may limit the number of places you can put this New Year's Eve decoration.

How to make a New Year's Eve ball with Christmas lights

To start this project, you'll need approximately 100 small clear plastic cups, which you could buy on Amazon for under $8. Make a hole that will fit one bulb from your Christmas lights in the center of each cup with a drill or a nail that's been heated with a lighter. When using a drill, be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this could crack the plastic. Check to ensure one light will fit snugly in the hole before doing the rest — if the hole is too big or too small, adjust your drill bit size.

Now, you can start to form the ball. Place several cups next to each other and staple them together wherever the sides of two cups touch. As you go, this should start to create a rounded shape with the rims of the cups facing outwards. When half of the ball (about 50 cups) is done, begin inserting individual bulbs from your Christmas lights into every cup. Keep stapling cups together to create the other half of the ball, but leave a space at the bottom so you can put in the rest of your lights and the battery pack. Alternatively, you could make both halves separately, insert your lights, and then staple the two pieces together. When you're finished, turn on the lights and hide the battery pack in the center of the ball.

Making a drop stand for your New Year's Eve ball

To take this decoration up a notch, try crafting a stand for your ball to drop from at midnight. If you don't want to make your own stand, you could simply hang the ball with fishing line, ribbon, or even yarn attached with staples or super glue and slowly lower it when the time comes. Otherwise, a stand can make your holiday decoration look even more elegant and realistic. Start by choosing your desired height and purchasing a PVC pipe of this length (a 5-foot pipe is sold at Lowe's for $4). Now, attach the pipe to a circular piece of plywood (available at Walmart for under $2) by drilling four L brackets around the base.

You can then spray paint it gold or silver to match classic New Year's decor or choose any color you desire. Once the paint has dried, include any decorations around the base like New Year's Eve hats, glasses, and sound makers or tinsel, flowers, and additional string lights. Attach a long piece of fishing line to the top of your ball and place it onto your stand. Make sure the pipe goes through the top and bottom of your ball so that it can slide down the stand. Now, attach the fishing line to a wall, chandelier, or a banister to hold the ball in place. At midnight, you can slowly lower the fishing line to make the ball drop.