How to Make Giant Lighted Ornament Balls
A few years ago we discovered a street in our city that is lit with giant hanging lighted ornament balls. We drove down the street with our low beams on and were truly speechless. It was magical, ethereal and beautiful seeing giant orbs of light suspended in mid-air. Since then I’ve scoured store shelves to find these beautiful lighted spheres. Little did I know that they were truly a DIY project.
This year, our neighborhood decided to hold a workshop to teach anyone who was interested how to make giant lighted ornament balls. You know I was there with bells on ;-). Here’s how to create your own hanging lighted Christmas ornament balls complete with hanging suggestions!
Giant Lighted Ornament Balls Materials Cost breakdown:
- Chicken Wire: 2′ x 50′ roll (yields about 12 balls) – $24
- 3 – 100 light strings of outdoor Christmas lights (green wire is best) – $10
- Twisty tie from the light strands
- Poly-braided rope or clothes line rope – $10 per 100 ft.
- Extension cord: $15
- Small water bottle
- Aircraft sheers for cutting wire
Cost: approximately $37 per ball with extension cords and hanging supplies (not including gloves and shears)
- Three way plug in adapter $5 (to add more balls to one cord),
- Extra extension cords
Giant Lighted Ornament Balls Instructions:
Cut a section of chicken wire 46″ long (using a 24″ width roll). Shape the section into a cylinder.
Secure the ends of the chicken wire by folding the ends over and securing to the opposing side. Stop about 8″ from each end.
Overlap the end pieces as shown to create a cone shape at each end. Secure the chicken wire ends like you did above.
Begin to pleat and fold the ends to form round ends.
Once the end is fully tucked, thread excess wire or a twisty tie to “stitch” the end closed.
Grab and mush sections of your chicken wire shape to form a sphere. Bouncing the wire ball on the table can help crush some protruding sections.
In the end you should have some semblance of a sphere.
Unwrap your Christmas lights and test them before wrapping.
Start with the female end of the lights. Wrap it through a section of chicken wire and then tie a knot to secure the end.
Grab your partner and start rapping….errr wrapping to the music.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a partner, it can be a solo gig, too. (Special thanks to my neighbors Rob, Darlene & Cindy for being models.)
At the end of each strand, tie the cord through the chicken wire to secure. After the first strand, plug another strand in and continue wrapping. The optimal glowing occurs from 300 lights per sphere!
After wrapping all three strands, test your lighted ball to make sure all the connections are good.
Hanging the lighted ornament ball:
There have been many suggestions for hanging these balls. Some things to try:
- Potato Gun
- Rock tied to a string
- Baseball with a screw eye attached
- Bow & Arrow
- Bean bag
But, what worked best for me was to tie a small 8 oz. water bottle to the rope.
Then I could swing and release the bottle up and over a branch. The alternative is to wind up cowboy style and release on an upswing. Make sure you have plenty of slack on the rope and don’t stand on the rope (been there, done that.) Frankly, this task takes some patience, but eventually you’ll either make it over a branch or move to a lower branch. LOL.
Once the bottle has cleared the branch, lower it down.
Grab your extension cord and lighted ball. Feed the end of the extension cord through your chicken wire ball and tie it before plugging it into the light strand.
Remove the water bottle from the rope and tie the rope around the ball and extension cord knot.
Hoist the ornament ball and extension cord up into the tree. Tie the excess rope around the tree and the extension cord slack to secure the ball.
Plug the extension cord into an outlet and wait for night time.
This ball has two different colored strands (pink & blue).
Soon all your neighbors will join in the fun.
And then you’ll have a block party of lighted holiday orbs.
What looks like a normal street during the day becomes a truly magical display at night.
A neighborhood in Greensboro turns their annual lighted ball workshop into a food drive. Read more about these beautiful ornaments and more instructions here.
Best of luck and hope you have a truly fabulous holiday season!
Sharing with: Tidy Mom’s I’m Lovin’ It Party
So cool! I have been wanting to make some of these! Thanks for the easy instructions!
What a wonderful community activity.
Can’t wait to share this on my local/community FB pages 🙂
They are incredible – not sure I can make one, but they look so pretty!!
I know you could make one! They are easy. Just wear gloves and it helps to have airline sheers. (big wire cutters)
These are beautiful! Mother made some for me years ago – but instead of using chicken wire, she used grape vines. The neighbors loved them! Happy holidays!
Kudos Handy Girl. What a great idea & tutorial! Beautiful way to light up the neighborhood for the holiday.
found some instructions here
Very very clever! Great post!
I have used grapevine balls and covered them in lights. They are not quite as large, I don’t think, ( about 10 inches across) but they make a beautiful statement in my Christmas tree! I use white lights, but might switch to colored. They look awesome on the street! Love it!
That is so neat! I wish my neighborhood did something like this!
Ashley, you could organize a street party and make them. Then hopefully the idea would catch on to the rest of the neighborhood in a few years ;-).
Are there printable instructions without the photos? Thanks!
Sorry Diane there aren’t.
Those look beautiful, love that you have them all over the neighborhood!
What a great way to bring a neighborhood together. Those look beautiful all together, lit down the street.