How to Make Ping Pong Ball Lights


If you want to add a decorative touch to your patio or to a room in your home, hang a strand of miniature lights. For a more unique look and to diffuse the glare of the bulbs, you can cover the bulbs with ping pong balls. White ping pong balls are translucent so the color of the lights shines through with a warm glow. Although strands of miniature lights are available year round at home decor stores, they will be least expensive around Christmas.

Things You'll Need

  • White ping pong balls (see Tips)
  • Vise
  • Drill with 1/8-inch bit
  • Strand of miniature lights (your choice of color)
  • Glue --- Carpenter's or Elmer's (optional)
  • Place a ping pong ball into the vise. Clamp the vise closed so the ball is secure but don't clamp it so tight you warp or break the ball.

  • Drill a small hole in the ping pong ball. Only drill one hole, do not drill through the other side of the ball.

  • Remove the first ball from the vise. Slip the ball over one of the lights on your strand to test that the hole is large enough. If it won't fit onto the bulb, put the ball back in the vise and use the drill bit to widen the hole until the ball fits over the bulb. You want the ball to fit over the bulb and be snug on the bulb socket. The hole shouldn't be so large that the ball falls off the strand.

  • Repeat Steps 1 through 3 with the rest of your ping pong balls.

  • Place one ping pong ball onto each bulb of your strand of lights. If any of the balls are too loose, squeeze a small amount of glue on the bulb socket to hold the ball in place. Allow the strand to lay flat on your work surface until the glue has thoroughly dried.

  • Hang your lights and then plug them in.

Tips & Warnings

  • The number of ping pong balls you need depends on the length of your strand of miniature lights. Some strands have 10 to 20 lights, while others have up to 100. Choose a size that best fits your needs.
  • If you use glue to hold the ball onto the strand, you will need to break away the glue to replace a burnt out bulb. To break the glue, twist the ball while holding the bulb socket.
  • Use miniature lights only. The hole you need to drill in the balls is too large for them to fit snugly onto strands with larger bulbs
  • If you do drill too large a hole in your ping pong ball, you can place the ball up to the cord of the strand and secure it in place using hot glue.
  • Wear safety goggles or glasses when drilling the ping pong balls so you don't get plastic in your eyes.
  • If the lights will be used outside, get a strand rated for outdoor use.

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  • Photo Credit jeu de ping-pong image by Francis Lempérière from
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