DIY Ping Pong Ball Cafe Lights

DIY ping pong ball cafe lights

Right now Edie sleeps with us in our bedroom. Sometimes she actually sleeps with us in bed in a LulyBoo (love that portable thing) and other times she sleeps in this cradle above in the corner by the door to the sunroom where the rest of her nursery is (see the full nursery tour here). Because this is a small space I wanted to make it special and thought some colorful cafe lights might do the trick!

DIY ping pong ball cafe lights

Did you know you can make these cafe lights from a strand of LED lights and ping pong balls? It will cost you about $16 with plenty of extra ping pongs to spare for another strand. The LED part is crucial- don’t use regular twinkle lights. LED lights don’t get hot and so it’s safe to add the plastic balls.

DIY ping pong ball cafe lights

DIY ping pong ball cafe lights

I really love how they turned out. My hope was that filtering the colored lights through the white ping pong balls would create a pretty pastel color and it totally did, which I was pleased with.

DIY ping pong ball cafe lights

In the daytime the cafe lights look pastel but at night they get more vivid- almost primary colors. Edie is mesmerized by them! Because they’re LED you can make them dance and sparkle and flicker all you want. It’s kind of enough to give you a seizure so I like to keep them on either constant or slow fade. Edie prefers slow fade too. Last night these lights were what relaxed her enough to finally fall asleep after a good long crying spell.

See how to make them after the jump…

Photography and styling by Liz Stanley. Assisted by Sara Albers. Graphics by Loren Croiser

Multicolored LED lights ($6 for a string of 100)
Ping pong balls ($10 for a bag of 144)
Exact-o knife

Directions: (see written below)

DIY ping pong ball cafe lights

1. With an exact-o knife make a very small cut along the seam of the ping pong ball about 1/4 inch wide or smaller. Cut another across the first to make a very small cross shape cut.
2. Wiggle the ball onto a bulb.
3. Be careful to not handle the balls too much when you wiggle it onto the bulbs. They do tend to get squished. Although when doing this whole strand we only squished 2 or 3.

And one more of Edie Jean in all smiles:

DIY ping pong ball cafe lights


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Hi! I really want to do this as a gift for my sister, as she’s been talking about decorating her room, but I read through the comments and saw some of the pros and cons, was just wondering, have you had any problems with them getting too hot or burning the ping pong balls? Thank you!!

Please please please if you are going to use these and they are so very pretty, pull the bed AWAY from the wall (or better yet do not string these lights on any wall near the crib. I hate when people are alarmist but I had a friend who loved children and babysat for an adorable little girl that she absolutely loved. She made a mobile for over the crib never thinking that this child would ever be able to reach it but YES she did and she is not longer with us and my dear friend will never be the same again and of course never will her parents. SO NOT WORTH TAKING THE CHANCE…… Please don’t hate me for posting this I just couldn’t not do it. I read your post that you don’t actually leave them over the bed but others may not read that particular post.

Pretty sure that if you are using LED lights the flammability of ping pong balls shouldn’t be a big issue. They let out hardly and heat at all, especially compared to incandescent balls, so as long as they are in an area where air can circulate it should be fine.

Looks cute, but it is a BAD IDEA. Not only may the balls be flammable, but the plastic exhales poisones fumes (sorry for my bad Englisch, I am Dutch and writing from Germany and don´t know the correct words!!!)


Science teacher here. Please don’t make these lights. Ping pong balls are made of one of the very first plastics discovered and they are extremely flammable! Seriously, go outside and try lighting a match to one before you hang them over your baby’s bed!!
(Too bad. They were super cute.)

Please don’t put these in your child’s room.

She’s using LED lights, didn’t you read the post? They don’t get hot at all.

that is the COOLEST idea! you are a crafting genius and a great way to give a nice matte soft-glow effect to the light feel of LEDs. i really want to try this one!

heehee that last pic is adorable – edie looks pretty pleased, too! ^__^

These are super cute! Do you leave them on at night? I always worry about training my kids to want a night light (like my parents did to me), so I try to keep it dark when they go to sleep.

This is so fantastic! We are moving back to the US this summer and I’m making these for my daughter’s room the moment we arrive! 🙂

this is adorable, and I know a million people will tell you this, but above the crib this is a major strangulation hazard! I’ll just say from experience that sometimes they can reach much higher than you think, and the first time I ever saw my little guy pull to stand was in his crib, so just move them higher than you think they can reach!

Yeah we don’t actually hang them over her head in the crib, we just wanted to get a shot of her looking at them 🙂

This is so lovely, definitely want to try it! The balls don’t fall off?

No! I think we’ve only had one fall off and we’ve hung it several times in different spot and such. They stay on great! Just keep that cross cut small 🙂

This is such a great idea! So simple and doable with a great effect. Thanks for posting about this!

This is way to cute! Have you tried with regular xmas lights? Or do you think they would get to hot. We just bought travel trailer and definitely going to make for the awning. Thank you for the wonderful idea!

I love this idea! I’ve got the amazon links open and I’m planning to make these this weekend! Do you think using the warm white instead of multicolored would work? Do you think they’d be too faint?

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