Spending New Year’s at home with the kids this year? You can still keep the night fun! See Ringing in the New Year with Kids for lots of great family-friendly celebraton ideas and… make your own New Year’s ball for an early countdown with your kids!
- Styrofoam ball (we used an 8″)
- Aluminum foil
- Duct tape
- Large container of circular diamond gems
- Glue dots — mini 3/16″ and medium-sized 3/8″ ones (for our 8″ ball, we used about 1,200 dots)
- Eyelet screw
- Thin rope, twine or string
How to make your own glitzy New Year’s ball:
Completely wrap a Styrofoam ball with aluminum foil. My foil wasn’t quite wide enough to cover the entire ball so I cut a couple small pieces of foil and patched over the exposed styrofoam. (I used a glue dot to help secure this extra patch of foil.)
Cut 2 wide strips of duct tape and secure in an X at the top of the ball. Cover with foil. This just gives the screw a little reinforcement and will hopefully keep it from pulling through.
Poke an eyelet screw through the duct tape at the top of the ball. Screw in.
Using scrapbook adhesive, stick gems all over the ball so it has the glitz and glimmer of the real thing.
Loop twine or yarn through the eyelet screw and tie. Leave a long end to the “rope” so you can lower it from a spot in your home (hanging light, curtain rod, plant hook, etc).
The boys started off adding the gems in lines, then began to be a little more spuratic with their placement. Dylan (our 3 1/2 year old) started to get a little antsy and placed gems here and there. We realized it was easier to achieve a filled in look by making sure each gem we added was touching 1-2 other gems than to fill our gaps with the small gems so I began reminding the boys to make sure the gem they were placing was touching as many other gems as possible.
Daddy even joined in the fun by putting glue dots on the back of the gems! With Brad’s help, we were able to stay ahead of the boys and could have a couple gems ready for them. Plus, it was really nice having his craft with us!
(Our glue dot tip… putting the gem on the glue dot roll and then peeling the whole thing off was quicker and meant we had less contact with the glue than if we just used our fingers and peeled the dot off!)
Dylan’s attention span decreased as his sleepiness increased. So he called it a night while Connor and I kept going until we ran out of glue dots (we used two rolls of 300 and were only half done). Connor said doing this activity made him happy! He was doing so well with his gem placement and was very thoughtful on where he was placing each one to fill in any gaps. Plus, he loved his one-on-one chat time. He has never seen a ball drop. After explaining it to him, he was still full of questions… “how does the ball get on top of the building?” “will the gems fall off?” I told him tomorrow we would watch a previous years’ ball drop. This seemed to satisfy his curiousity for the moment.
Connor was amused with seeing his refection in the gems. “I can see my eye!” he proclaimed as he was searching for the perfect place to add his gem. A little later, he used his hands to focus the light and watch the refections of them in the gems.
Yes, adding all those tiny gems took awhile… by that I mean hours. But it was fun family time and we are so thrilled with our finished ball that we plan on using it to ring in many new years!