In the Garden: Making Gazing Balls…
Discarded bowling balls don’t look the same to us anymore. All we see is their potential,…what color you like and how they’ll look with different textured materials glued on. Once created, these garden gazing balls are brilliant!
Pennies, crushed glass, buttons and glass gems can all be used, glued on with our favorite glue, GE II Silicone for Exterior Windows. Pat Brown has done four gazing balls so far, and thanks to her sister’s thrifting, “I have more to do, too. This was my winter project.” she says.
Ask at bowling alleys for bowling balls ast their prime,…sometimes you’ll get lucky,…as lucky as Kathleen Switzer?? Some would think she’s nuts, but we understand,.. and expect greatthings soon from this bevy of BBs. “Yup,” she says, “I m going to be busy. Haha!”
Also, find bowling balls at yard sales and thrift shops, usually found for under $10. Sometimes you get lucky color-wise, like Susan Bauer (below)
In the garden
Finding a place to set the bowling balls is half the fun!
Susan Bauer explains, “I don’t have the patience to decorate bowling balls, but I still use them in my garden as hose guides or “as is” for pure decoration. Of course, the more colorful the better! I just scored a “two-fer” set of predominately red bowling balls at a local thrift store yesterday to use in addition to these blues. Yay!”
“My ‘gazing globes’ are hollow cedar stumps, (with smiles and giggles,) each with a bright natural-colored bowling ball on top!” Jenna Nelson says. “My brother and I had a brain storm and made two of these mock gazing globes from bowling balls. They were going to be throw them away, GASP, so I got them!”
Carrie Guilliams made her bowling ball with gems, grouting in between (a very fun step!) and left one finger hole open so it could be mounted on a rebar stake.
Sandy Sloterbeek tells us, “This bowling ball gazing ball was made while on vacation in Michigan. The rocks are from the shores of Lake Superior picked up by my sister and her family.”
:Find an old bowling ball and look for native stones from your area….glue the stones on with GE II clear silicone let them dry a couple days. I grouted between the rocks and sprayed it five times with an exterior matte finish. A high gloss would have made the stones look more like they do when they are in the water. Now I’m looking for another bowling ball to make,…can’t wait to get started!”
Marie Niemann says, “ Here’s my first penny bowling ball, behind which is a wonderful old copper boiler I plant every year. I used GE Silicone ll and really don’t know how many pennies it took. I cleaned out my piggy bank, but I suppose you could buy $5-10 worth from the bank and see how far they go. The glue washed off my hands quite easily. I spread some over a small area with a knife and towards the end I’d just dab a bit on each penny to stick on for the second layer. Just think… they eventually will turn BLUE as the copper ages!”
“Penny balls are fun and we love the patina the pennies take on. Was it Marie Niemann who has a way of aging them faster with her spray? Hurry up and make one while we still have pennies in our coinage,” laughs Sue Gerdes. She painted her bowling ball brown and used one layer of pennies.
“I am so excited to finish my first bowling ball mosaic, Becky Norris exclaims! “I have wanted to make one for several years and finally found a bowling ball and some great ceramic pieces to us on it. I had a lot of fun with the three dimensional flowers I used on the sides and back. I made the flowers from coffee cups that I nipped and then glue with Dap auto and marine silicone.”
Felicia Lisa confides, “These are my never fail garden hose guards. Goodwill bowling balls! This one is sitting on top of some hunk of old machinery salvaged years ago… it’s super heavy iron. You can also drop one of the finger holes over a piece of rebar, hammered in the ground sticking up about 4″. I guarantee you… they don’t move nor do your hoses pop over them! They will increase your vocabulary if you happen to stub your toe on one so… be forewarned!”
Our favorite glue for Flea Market gardening projects:
GE II Silicone for Exterior Windows is easy to use, available in two sizes and weatherproof. Found on Amazon and at hardware stores.