How to make a gazing ball out of a bowling ball

repurposed bowling ball

I have made several of these beautiful gazing balls. They are one of my favorite garden ornaments. They are very shiny, very pretty, and the best part . . . unbreakable!

diy bowling ball gazing ball

These are the supplies you need.

 

  1. Old bowling ball
  2. Alcohol
  3. Plaster of Paris
  4. Pieces to decoupage (wallpaper samples, fabric, stickers, etc)
  5. Outdoor polyurethane

diy bowling ball gazing ball
Step #1 Use the alcohol to clean the bowling ball. The alcohol cleans all of the oils from the bowling alley.

plaster of paris Step #2 Mix up a small portion of the plaster of paris, and pour into ONLY the finger holes. Be sure to leave the thumb hole clear.

diy bowling ball gazing ball Step #3 Let the plaster of paris dry for several hours, I let mine dry overnight. Neatness does NOT count in this step.

diy bowling ball gazing ballStep #4 Use a knife or similar item to scrape off excess dried plaster, then wipe it down with water.

gazing ball bowling ballStep #5 You are now ready to begin decorating your gazing ball.

diy gazing ball

Step # 6 Use a marker to color in anything on the ball. If you look closely you can see that I colored over the stars and one of the finger holes. I of course colored the other one after this picture was taken.

 

rub ons

Step # 7 Start applying your appliques. On this gazing ball, I used a Tatouage rub-on. I have also used them on a floor cloth and on a headboard bench.

tatouage It is fairly simple to do the Tatouage. You simply lay it on your gazing ball, and rub it on. :)

butterfly stickers

I bought these butterfly stickers at our local Dollar Tree Store.

gazing ball

I thought the orange butterflies looked really nice with the color of these flowers.

gazing ball

bowling ball gazing ball
Step # 8 During step # 2 I told you to leave the thumb hole clear of plaster. This is why! Suspend your gazing ball on a dowel rod of some sort. I picked up this rod at my local Habitat for Humanity Re-store for 50 cents. Apply the outdoor polyurethane with a natural bristle brush. I buy mine at walmart for about 88 cents, they have a wooden handle and very short bristles.
I apply my poly with an up and down motion, trying not to let the poly “puddle” near the bottom thumb hole. I apply at least 4 coats of the outdoor poly. How many coats you need to apply depends on what decoupage medium you use, wallpaper is a little thick, so it usually takes more coats. This Tatouage is very thin, and I could probably have gotten away with 3 coats.
gazing ball bowling ball

unbreakable gazing ball bowling ball

In this picture I have the new gazing ball displayed in my flower bed with my cute little cherub gazing right into it!

bowling ball gazing ball

If you look closely you can see the reflection of the tree. These truly are gazing balls. You can use a variety of “holders” for your gazing balls. I pick them up at thrift stores all the time for 1-2 dollars each.
I have this blue gazing ball in my flower bed. It has been there for over a year. I do recommend giving your gazing ball shelter during the winter months. I brought mine up on the porch last winter. It’s probably a good thing that I did because we had that nasty ice storm.
Have fun with this project! They make great gifts, especially if you have someone who no longer bowls. I’ll let you in on a little secret… I’ve only bowled about twice in my entire life! shhhh, don’t tell anyone, k?
gail

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Gail Wilson is the hammer and drill behind My Repurposed Life. She is in the process of repurposing her life as she juggles all the responsibilities of running a home and a successful DIY blog. You can always count on Gail to give you the 411 on DIY on a budget.
About gail@myrepurposedlife.com

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  1. Gail, thank you so much for coming by and liking my page in facebook and for sharing it also. That was really sweet of you. Thanks again.
    Pam

  2. Adorable…I love this idea.

  3. Oh My Word! I totally love this. I was just looking at my neighbors gazing ball the other day on my walk. And I have a pretty purple bowling ball (Like your blue one) in my bowling bag that is to heavy for me to use. I just might have to make a project out of it. LOL!

    Sharon

  4. Gail:

    I wanted to let you know that I shared this post as a “bookmarked on the Boardwalk” feature. I love this project and wanted to make sure that my other readers had a chance to love it too! You can find it here:

    http://www.bobbypinsboardwalk.com/2010/10/bookmarked-on-boardwalk_17.html

    You’re welcome to stop by, take a look, and grab a button.

    Have a great week, friend!

  5. What a cool idea. I really like how yours turned out. Thanks for sharing at ‘Look at me, I’m SO Crafty!’ at Fun to Craft.

  6. What a neat way to use a bowling ball. I have featured your gazing ball on my blog. If you like,come by and grab my featured button at Veronica’s Korner. http://veronicas-korner.blogspot.com/

  7. Hi, I’m new to your blog, and Im so glad I found this! I love this gazing bb idea…how cute! But, pardon me for being uncrafty, but what’s this Tatouage? I can see they are flowers here, but not sure, where I’d get those?

  8. OK, you got me. Now that you posted this handy step by step tutorial I have absolutely no excuses not to do this with those 2 BB’s I found at the curb Wednesday morning.
    It’s like it was meant to be! You must be psychic or something.
    Rose

  9. is that not stunning. i can’t stop gazing at it!!! lol. it’s very, very cute. love it!!!
    thanks for such a great idea. wow.
    sue

  10. That is crazy creative, girl! My goodness.

  11. Neat..very inventive.
    Pam

  12. This is great! I also read your post about the blue gazing ball. How very creative! I want to do one, so I just need to find a bowling ball! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!
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