I have been admiring these pool orbs for years….but not so much the $100/each price tag! Pool and garden orbs are so fun and festive and, in my opinion, the perfect outdoor decoration for an Independence Day celebration. (6/2/2016 Update: You can now find 12″ orbs on Amazon for about $30 bucks each….still more than the $1 orbs in this post though!)
I could have maybe justified $100 for an orb. But what was one orb going to do for me? Orbs call for being grouped together, to maximize their design statement. I certainly was not going to shell out $500 or $600 for the couple of times a year that I’d need them. I knew there had to be a cheaper way to get the look.
Balloons were the obvious choice for the structure. The challenge came in how to light them with the appropriate glow. My first attempt had me ordering 50 small glow sticks off of Amazon. Fail. The glow sticks gave off such a faint glow that you could barely tell that the orbs were lit.
Then I stumbled across these submersible tea lights in our basement. I’d purchased them years ago (actually, for my wedding!). I think they’re even cheaper now than they were back then. Less than $1/light!! They’re pretty versatile too – my mom and I have had a lot of fun over the years experimenting with them in floral arrangements and other holiday decorations. I’ll try to give some examples of other uses for these guys in a future post. Anyway, it turned out that the submersible tea lights fit the bill perfectly.
Makes six pool/garden orbs
2 red balloons
2 blue balloons
2 white balloons (Amazon has a nice pack of Red, White & Blue Balloons for cheap)
6 submersible tea lights (*The Dollar Store sells the battery operated non-submersible tea lights at 2/$1. They are slightly larger, but may also work in this application since the lights don’t actually get wet….haven’t tested this though, so not sure if you could fit it in the balloon)
First, twist your tea lights to the on position. Then, stretch the opening of each of your six balloons and pop one tea light into each balloon.
Blow up the balloon to the desired size. I wanted mine to be more round and less oblong, so I didn’t fill mine up to maximum capacity.
You may need to tilt/shake the balloon to ensure that the tea light is facing up. The added bonus of using these tea lights is that they have a bit of weight to them, so they ensured that the orbs would stay right side up, and that the tied end of the balloon stayed under water (or in the dirt).
Float the orbs in the pool. Alternatively, you could scatter them around the garden (I did that as well, but the pictures turned out embarrassingly bad, so you won’t be seeing that application – sorry!) . When you are finished with the orbs, simply pop the balloon, remove the tea light (and turn it off). Save it for the next go-round!