Recycled Garden Art Contest – “Bowling Ball Art”

One of our special categories for the Recycled Garden Art Contest is

“Bowling Ball Art”

.Bowling Ball Art


Here are the answers to some questions you may have about making your creation:

  1. Where do I find a bowling ball?  These can be picked up at thrift stores, garage sales, auctions, on Freecycle, and sometimes at the bowling alley.
  2. Do I need to prep the bowling ball before painting or glueing? It is suggested to use rubbing alcohol or white vinegar to clean the ball to remove the wax finish on it. And then to lightly sand the ball to roughen it up a little so the paint or glue will better adhere to the surface.
  3. Do I need to fill in the finger holes, and if so, how? You can fill the finger holes if leaving them would distract from your finished creation. I like to leave at least one hole open so I can put it over a piece of rebar in the garden to hold it in place. If you wish to fill the holes, stuff aluminum foil or paper toweling into the hole leaving about ¼” headspace. Then fill this headspace with concrete, wood putty, or caulking. Allow this to dry well before you continue with your project.
  4. Do I need to a base coat of paint?  If you fill the holes with putty, etc., you will need to paint at least that portion to match the rest of the ball. Some will paint it the same color as the half-marbles they are covering it, or if you like the color of the ball, you can just leave it unpainted.
  5. What kind of paint do I use?  Be sure to use a paint that is designed or plastics or use a plastic primer before painting. Also make sure the paint is rated for outdoor use. Spray paint works the best.
  6. What kind of things can I glue to the bowling ball?  Anything you want! I’ve seen them covered in marbles.


Covered in pennies  (It takes about $4.50 in pennies. To shine them up, let them soak for a couple of minutes in a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar with 1 teaspoon of table salt. Complete instructions found at


Plastic lizards were glued on and them painted


I’ve seen them covered in roofing nails, with the flat head glued to the ball and the points sticking out all over (no photo). They then put it in a cactus garden.

This one was covered with Celebrate It Decorative Fillers, which is the colored glass. Complete instructions found at



  1.       What kind of glue do I use? The best adhesive to use for glueing on objects is GE II silicone waterproof caulk/sealer. I prefer to use the clear, but you could use colored also. The GE II is preferred because it has a mold inhibitor. Be sure to get the one for outdoor use. Mosaics require different adhesives. This site gives specifics instructions if you are going to do a mosaic –
  1. How do I start?  It is easier to glue if you place the ball on an empty coffee can or a roll of tape to keep it from rolling around.  Glue the objects on one at a time by putting some of the caulk on the object and then placing the object on the ball. Hold in place with you fingers until it adheres. I suggest only doing ½ of the bowling ball at one time. Let this dry for 2 – 24 hours and then complete the rest of the ball.
  2. Do I need to grout after I’m finished glueing? That is up to your artistic perspective. I personally do like the look of grout, so I don’t apply grout. But you may prefer the more finished look. This site explains how to grout –
  3. Does my finished project need to be sealed? If you painted your ball, you need to give it 2-3 coats of an outdoor polyurethane to help the paint last longer. If you grouted your project, you may want to seal the grout to prevent stains.
  4. After it is completed, how long before I can put it outside in the garden? It is best to let your creation cure for several days before you put it outside. This applies to glued AND painted bowling balls.


Here are a few more examples of bowling ball art.

ladybug-bowlingballart watermelon-bowlingballart













If you are entering our Recycled Garden Art Contest with your bowling ball creation, it is suggested to bring along a stand to set it on. Otherwise it will just sit on the floor of the garden.

Complete rules for this contest can be found on our website


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