There are many techniques used in turning that mundane bowling ball into a work of art, but all begin with proper cleaning of the ball surface. Wash off the ball with soap and water and then wipe it once more with either rubbing alcohol or vinegar to remove all the oil and wax build up from the alleys.
You may want to rough up the surface of the ball with some coarse sandpaper so any paint or adhesive applied will be able to adhere properly. Then rinse the ball again and dry it off.
Place the ball on a coffee can, small bowl, or similar object to make it easier to work on (and prevent it from rolling away). You may want to fill in and chips or holes with concrete or wood putty. You can fill the finger holes with aluminum foil or Styrofoam and then just fill the end with putty. Leave one hole open if you plan on using rebar to display it.
Now you can begin to decorate your ball. You can paint it (using acrylic paint) like the balls below.
Or you can cover it with a faux stone paint for a different look. A good sealer should be applied after the paint has dried to protect it when it is displayed outdoors.
Or you could do a mosaic application, like the following balls.
The first ball used small pebbles and the second ball used flat marbles. Tiny mirrors, pennies, broken pottery, buttons, beads, etc. can also be used. I’ve even seen a ball covered with roofing nails – one big spike ball!
Mrs. Buzz has found the GE Silicone II is the best adhesive to use in our area. It remains pliable (liquid nails and other products get rock hard and have a tendency to chip off) and the II in the silicone is an anti-mold ingredient that will prevent the adhesive from developing mold and mildew. She has left her bowling ball outside all winter with no adverse effects.
Only glue a small section at a time and allow it to dry for several hours before moving to a new section. This will help prevent the marbles (or whatever you are applying) from sliding off before the adhesive dries. Allow the final products to dry and cure at least 48 hours before exposing it to the elements.
You can add grout to your mosaic if you wish. Mrs. Buzz prefers the ungrouted look for mine. You may also apply a final sealer on your ball if you wish.
Your imagination is the only limit to what you can make with your bowling ball. There are lots of pictures on the internet of bowling ball art.
For more details and registration for the Recycled Garden Art go to http://thelinncountyfair.com/doc%20files/Recycled%20Garden%20Art%20Contest.pdf or http://www.thelinncountyfair.com.