Zack Hample

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Rubber band ball -- frequently asked questions


How much does your rubber band ball weigh?
321 pounds.

Can you lift it?
HA!! No. It’s not just the weight that makes it tough to lift. It’s the size and shape. There’s nothing to grab onto.

How big is it?
The diameter is 25 inches. 

How big are you going to make it?
I'm limited by the width of the door to my apartment. If the ball gets much bigger, I won't be able to get it out.

When did you start your rubber band ball?
When I was four. My older cousin Nicho had one, and he was the coolest guy in the world, so I had to have one too. My mom actually started it for me because I wasn't able to wrap the bands around it at the time.

You've spent decades working on a rubber band ball?!
It's just a part-time thing. At this point, I only add a pound per month, which takes about an hour. I could add a pound much quicker if I didn’t care about it looking nice, but I think of this as an art piece.

What's in the center of the ball?
Rubber bands.

No, in the VERY center. Did you start with a ping pong ball or something?
Hell no, that's cheating! My ball is 100 percent rubber bands.

But how do you start with nothing?
You don't start with nothing. You start with a rubber band, preferably a big one. Just fold it over a few times and then carefully wrap other bands around it. This is what the center of a rubber band ball should look like.

Does it bounce?
It certainly does. Here's a video of it being dropped several times by a forklift at the Discovery Channel studios in Canada.

Does it float?
No clue. I never had the guts to try this particular experiment. I suspect that if it got wet, the water would seep into the core and slowly rot the entire ball from the inside out.

How do you find rubber bands that are big enough?
I order the tan bands from a company in Pennsylvania that specializes in industrial-strength office supplies, and I get the colorful bands from a small distributor in New York City.

How big are the bands?
The tan and red bands are 12 inches long. The green ones are 14 inches, and the blue ones are 17 inches. 

Isn't this expensive?
Not really because I buy them in bulk. Adding to the ball was more expensive in its early stages when I used tiny bands that came in small packages.

Were you always the superstar of show-and-tell?

Do you have the record for the largest rubber band ball?

Nah, not even close. The biggest ball in the world weighs more than four tons. The guy who made it got sponsored by a rubber band company and lives in the country, so space isn't an issue.

How do you prevent the outside layer of the ball from deteriorating?
I make sure to keep adding to it. Each fresh layer preserves the bands beneath it.