Make Your Own Garden Gazing Balls From Recycled Bowling Balls
Spray Paint Space Painting is a hot craze going on all over the country right now especially at beach side locations and on city streets. Although there are so many really amazing spray paint artists out there the techniques are easy enough that anyone could do it and produce something that will amaze your friends. You do not need any sort of painting talent to or experience. You do have to have a quick eye and learn the technique because speed is necessary.
I am going to take you though step by step how to do the technique and on top of this I am going to show you how to create something completely unique using the techniques.
Start With Hunting Down A Cheap Bowling Ball
I scored several bowling balls at a garage sale for only a few dollars so you don't have to purchase a new ball. I run into them fairly often so with a little hunting around on Ebay, Craig's List or local garage sales you can find them too.
The base is a glass candlestick I bought in the local dollar store.
Your going to have to get several colors of outdoor spray paint. The colors are optional except for black and white.
If you plan on keeping your gazing ball on the candle stick you will have to glue it down with an adhesive that will not wear off. I suggest Gorilla Glue. Don't glue it until your finished painting your gazing ball because you want to get the ball at the best angle and won't know that until painted.
Once you are finished painting you will want to seal the ball with an outdoor paint sealant. Make sure you purchase high gloss.
You will also need a good quality magazine that has pages that they use high gloss pictures. You will need to tear the high gloss pages out and keep them near you so that you can grab them quickly.
The video I like on this painting technique smooths the paint layers with fire. This melts the layers together, but I am not recommending this step or saying to leave it out. I never do it because I am not comfortable with it and the gazing ball in the photos does not have the fire step.
There is one other thing you will need, but I will tell you later on in this article. It's optional and you won't need it until the very end.
Glue gun with low heat glue sticks
Several paper cups, bottle caps and the tops of the paint cans. Anything that resembles a cap. You will need several sizes. It's better to collect up too many than not enough and the larger the variety the nicer the project comes out in the end.
Apply Several Layers Of Paint
I normally start with a layer of white and apply 3 colors to it. Overlap the paint on top of each other and work quickly. You don't want it to dry before you apply the next step. This isn't the time to answer the phone.
Space painting on a ball is different than flat paper. You want to work fast and only one planet at a time before moving the ball. This is because if you use too much paint it will drip.
While it is wet grab the magazine paper
Remember to use the gloss type of paper and not matte. Matte takes too much paint off. Press the paper down and wait a few seconds then lift.
Each Time Is A New Experience
What I love about Space Painting is that every time is something new. This is what happened after I lifted up the paper.
Creating The Planet With Different Size Cups and Caps
Here is where making a ball is different than paper. I use a dot of dot of low heat hot glue on the cup to make it stick. Since you will want to protect the planet from spray paint after it is formed it needs to stay in place. On a ball it won't work especially if your working with a lot of different planets. The drop of low temp hot glue pops right off the ball when you lift off the cup.
Spray around the cup with black paint. I usually like to put some white right above the planet and then paint over it with black so that the planet glows.
Keep working around the ball with different size caps and cups. Leave them in place while working on the next one so that they don't get sprayed. By the end it looks like a land mine. I let the paint dry between planet for around 10 minutes so it never drips as I turn the ball.
Keep repeating the process.
Finishing The Ball
Once your ball is sealed and dry you can adhere it to candle stick or if you prefer you can buy a gazing ball stand. If your going to use the candle stick I would use a small amount of gorilla glue because the bond will be permanent and it will withstand the weight of the ball. I have not had trouble with the balance and we get a lot of wind.
This ball is done very simply because I want everyone to be brave enough to try the techniques. I will probably end up painting over this and get a little bit more detailed. I will post photos when I decide what I am going to do. For now I am putting it out in my garden among all my other pieces of art.
To create comets on paper you turn the can upside down and rest the nozzle on the paper. You then tap it once and you get a comet. On a sphere you can't do that so I sprayed one side of a card and let the paint rest into the V that forms between the cardboard and the ball.
Turning Off The Lights
I used an excellent glow in the dark paint. It has a slight tint to it, but for the most part it is clear. I applied it to the ball and let it charge in the sun. To create the stars I applied the paint to my fingers and flicked it onto the ball.
Glow In The Dark Paint - Light it up at night
Not all glow in the dark paint works the same. Some only work under a black light and other paint will charge during the day and glow as it gets dark. This is the brand I use for the gazing ball.
Space Painting Video's Can Give You Different Techniques
I didn't apply some of these techniques to the ball because I was not painting it from a perspective from a planet. I wanted it to look like you were floating out in space. You also can't spray the whole thing at once because the paint would drip so there are some technique differences doing space painting on the ball.
I liked this video anyway because she is an excellent space painter and she really shows what you can do with the different layers. Before using the ball I would try a few flat pictures first. Speed is the key with space painting because the paint dries so fast. If you find you need moisture on the paint just spray the clear in between the layers.
I would love to hear your comments about this lens
Ms. V on February 28, 2017:
I have a bowling bowl but it's not the shinny kind. It's more like a rough black matte material. Almost feels like suede? Would this still work??
Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on May 16, 2015:
I love this idea. I think I even have a few bowling balls. Thanks for this.
Corrinna Johnson from BC, Canada on June 08, 2014:
Love this idea! They look like a lot of fun to make and I can imagine they would look gorgeous in my garden!
Reshel from Sierra Nevada ~ Reno on March 30, 2014:
Lovely Gazing Ball, will have to try to do one this summer. Thanks for your great lens!
anonymous on June 13, 2013:
Wow, what a great idea, thanx for the inspiration and sharing the know how. I look forward to trying this in my garden
Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on June 01, 2013:
A really great way to recycle old bowling balls.