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My Thanksgiving of Gold Ping Pong Balls

Posted on November 30th, 2014 in Decorating, Entertaining

I love drama at the dinner table. Now, I don’t mean the type of drama where Aunt Judy has had a little too much to drink and starts spilling the family secrets. I mean the visual drama of a tablescape that lets guests know they’re in for an extraordinary evening. One thing I like to do is hang things above the dining table, because that space above the table is prime real estate for decorating. In the past, I’ve dangled silk rose petals, branches, leaves, fresh calla lilies, but for Thanksgiving this year I came up with the ambitious idea of hanging strings of golden orbs. The question was how would I do it, and would the process drive me insane. The good news is that I did not go insane, though I am probably not going to attempt this again in the near future. Here’s the end result, followed by how I did it.

Thanksgiving ping pong ballsI started with the balls. I found these ping pong balls at Amazon for only $8.30 for 144, so it cost less than $35 for almost 600 ping pong balls. These were practice balls, so they were softer and lighter than real ping pong balls, which is not good for practicing ping pong, but great for what I needed.ping pong balls

To spray paint the balls gold, I punctured a hole in each one and inserted a piece of stiff wire into the hole. Then I held each ping pong ball by the wire, spinning them as I spray painted them shiny gold so they would have an even coat. Then I poked the wires in styrofoam to allow the balls to dry. pingpong2

After I had all the balls painted, I strung them in strands of 4, 5 or 6 orbs, so there would be variance in the lengths. To do this, I used a 5″ doll needle, which went through the center of each ping pong ball as I made the strands.pingpong3

And at the two points where the thread meets the ball, I added a dab of glue so the balls would stay in place. I used Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue.pingpong4

When all the strands were dry, I packaged each in plastic to keep them separated, or else they would tangle on the way to the house where I was doing Thanksgiving. To hang each strand, I placed a dab of poster putty (I used UHU Tac), to adhere the strands to the ceiling.pingpong5

And the result was magical. The shiny gold on the ping pong balls reflected light so it looked like they were lit from within. I also glued some extra ping pong balls to the branches in the tall vases, and added some to the floral arrangements. I spent all that time painting the ping pong balls you better believe I was going to use each one. I hung all the strands of ping pong balls the night before, and by the next day gravity had taken about 10 of the strands. But there were plenty still up, so the result was still spectacular. I think this idea would also look beautiful for a wedding, don’t you?FB_thanksgiving3aFB_thanksgiving4aFB_thanksgiving5aFB_thanksgiving6aFB_thanksgiving7a

49 Comments

  1. Nancy says:

    Absolutely stunning!

  2. Kellie says:

    Beautiful!

  3. Lynn Gardner says:

    What are the tall vases made from…looks like pvc pipe…and how are they secured at the bottom? What I love most is the drama of all this without having anything interfering (much) with one’s conversation across the table…. accomplished not only by all the space between the hanging gold balls, but also by the very tall, narrow vases and the very short floral pieces. Thank you so much for this one! I would be tempted to recycle old tree ornaments for something like this in the house….so as not to add more trash to the environment, but that’s just me and obviously on a smaller, non-commercial, scale. Love.

    • admin says:

      They are actually skinny clear glass vases. I spray painted the insides of them. That was a challenge because I couldn’t get the paint to spray on the lower part of the vase, but I just sprayed a lot at the top and it dripped down. The coverage was uneven, making it look like mercury glass. Thank you!

  4. Just amazing. This is a stunning use of gold and very creative to use the ping pong balls. It is obvious a lot of work went into this, but the results speak for themselves. I am sure all of the guests were very impressed with this beautiful tablescape. I am sharing this over at FB and Twitter and pinning!

  5. patricia says:

    I just HAVE to make this arrangement for christmas. More please

  6. Arin says:

    Can I ask what brand of spray paint you used? These are so shiny!

  7. Dianne says:

    How did you kept the vases from falling over? I have tried to put limbs into vases befor and I couldn’t kept hem from falling over. Yours is breathtaking. Love your ideas with the balls hanging.

  8. Carole Sbordone says:

    This is absolutely stunning! You must have an incredible amount of patience! Hope you will post some of your other great ideas!

  9. Sandy says:

    Where do you get the branches for the vases please?

  10. sherry leger says:

    Would red and green work for Christmas or is it to much color? This is so pretty I am reconsidering my wedding backdrop ….:o)

  11. Pam Green says:

    It is stunning! Were you able to find a way to reuse the balls afterward? My favorite part of the setting is the mix of balls, lights and trees.

  12. Louise says:

    That is just gorgeous…great creativity!

  13. Judy says:

    Beautiful! Who wouldn’t love to sit at that gorgeous table!

  14. Michelle Kawczynski says:

    Nice Idea…! Thank you for Sharing

  15. Michelle Kawczynski says:

    Nice Idea, Thank You for Sharing

  16. Michelle Kawczynski says:

    Nice Idea! Thank You for Sharing….

  17. Roger says:

    More homes would have thread but I wonder if a small diameter fishing line ( 4 lb. or 6 lb. test) would also work? FYI: I have strung 9′ lengths of red, white and green tri-beads in 5 bead increments using 17 lb. test fishing line. This does get a little heavy. If anyone is interested, you can also use a strong string (white) or twine. Just a different idea for garland for your tree.

  18. Maria Lopez says:

    WOW!!!

  19. Tani Sherwood says:

    Who knew you could 144 ping pong balls for less than 10 dollars! I need them! Not sure what to do with them at this point. I would love to be the kid of person who can decorate like shown in the pictures but I hate taking down decorations. But I am sure I can use 144 ping pong balls,

    • admin says:

      They sell them on Amazon in bulk like that. I guess people use them for beer pong! And it was heartbreaking taking them down, but we preserved each strand in aluminum foil so they can be re-used again one day.

  20. Denise Anderson, Australia. says:

    WOW! I just love what you have created. Must have been heaps of work, but the result is stunning. Congrats.

  21. Marge says:

    …wonderful idea, execution….how did you affix the hanging balls (to a ceiling via ?

  22. chris says:

    Love this! Very nice give me so many ideas.

  23. bs says:

    Absolutely gorgeous and elegant

  24. Maria says:

    Wonderful idea.Thanks

  25. Mary Buckles says:

    Definitely beautiful. You could have hung them using small paper clips opened up., if you needed to. Just take the center & pull it outward, instant hook; much cheaper than christmas hooks & much sturdier. How do you come up with these amazing ideas? They also have clear spray acrylic out there, if anyone wants more shine.

  26. Emme says:

    Stunning – how very creative.

  27. Patty Johnson says:

    I’m available for Thanksgiving if you need to fill a chair😃 This is crazy gorgeous fun!

  28. Barbara Eisenhower says:

    One word FABULOUS!

  29. Jeannie C says:

    Love love love love love – and love some more! This is fabulous!!! Just wow! TY!

  30. Darlene Chinchar says:

    Modern, artistic and an eye for charm! Well done!

  31. Courtney says:

    Wow, so beautiful and elegant looking! I bought that same deal from Amazon a year ago to make globe string lights but ended up looking cheap. I’m SO glad I found your idea and tutorial! I didn’t know what to do with them and now I can make something stunning! I love you’re creative idea! Thank you!!!

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